Saturday, October 2, 2010

Oh Captain, my Captain (Jack)

In addition to being a huge Star Wars nerd (I beat my cousin who introduced me to Star Wars 2 games out of 3 in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit last weekend), I also have come to thoroughly enjoy the latest Doctor Who series and the spinoff, Torchwood.

Or, rather, I did until Russel T. Davies stepped in with his bright ideas for the end of season 2 of Torchwood and Children of Earth.
(Before I continue on this rant, let me insert a spoiler warning here)
If I had a laser screwdriver like the Master's, then I would go after Russel T. Davies with it. Sure, he created the two series that I love, but he also shattered everything I know and loved about Torchwood. I'm not entirely sure why Davies feels that consistent casts are undesirable, but he really needs to stop killing half his cast. When it comes to Doctor Who it's almost understandable to have a constantly rotating companion, but I don't see the reason for it when it comes to Torchwood.

After Owen and Toshiko died at the end of season 2 I was quite sad about it but I also was hopeful for the show's future. I had hoped that with a smaller and more intimate cast that Ianto would be given space to grow even more into his part. Through most of season 1 he was just the coffee boy who cleaned up after the team. I loved when he started becoming more involved and I even loved the relationship that he was having with Jack. To me, Ianto had such potential as a character. And then Davies wrote Children of Earth. *shakes head*

First of all, I think it was an incredibly clever story; I mean, come on, aliens that need kids to use as drugs? Wow. To quote Ianto, "oh, you are warped on the inside." Awesome.

Not so awesome? Ianto's death. On one hand we have Owen and Toshiko who both died very honorable and heroic deaths and on the other hand we have Ianto who got taken out by gas while he asked Jack to never forget him. Argh! Not that Ianto's fears weren't completely valid- how can Jack be expected to remember every single being he had a relationship with when he's lived possibly millions or years?- but I think there were so many better ways for poor Ianto to go.

I'm almost afraid to get started on my intense dislike of Jack after "Children of Earth". What kind of hero kills his own grandson? I understand that it was the only option and it can be argued that it was a very brave action on Jack's part, but I'm not sure I could stomach it. One of the things that I love about Doctor Who is that no matter how bad things get and how many people have died on his watch, the Doctor and the people around him always draw their moral line somewhere and refuse to budge from there and when the episode ends you sit there thinking "wow, if people could really be that awesome then I sure could be proud to be human". Yet I had the exact opposite reaction to "Children of Earth". After watching it I wanted to take a long shower. There was no warm fuzzy feeling (or really any satisfaction at all) from defeating the aliens and I was almost glad to see Jack go. One of the things I love about Torchwood is the fact that it isn't afraid to explore the darker parts of humanity that the lighter hearted Doctor Who won't go near, but there should always be that balance so that in the end you can feel good about the characters winning. Torchwood lost that by the end of "Children of Earth". Among other things.

It's almost 2am and hard to keep everything straight in my head, but I think I hit all the main points I have now against Torchwood. I know it's coming back for a new season but I'm having a hard time convincing myself it's worth my continued viewing. It lost the spark that initially got me hooked, and I'd rather not watch a show when I wish it would simply fade peacefully rather than get butchered some more by Russel T. Davies and his desire to kill main beloved characters. Let's just say I'm extremely glad that Davies has stepped down in writing the newer Doctor Who episodes. Stephen Moffat has been handling the 11th Doctor wonderfully.

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