Friday, September 2, 2011

Torchwood: It's a Miracle I'm Still Watching


I've been watching Torchwood: Miracle Day. I feel like I should get a medal for that sacrifice of an hour of time each week. To tell you the truth for the past two weeks I've had to negotiate with myself to get me to sit down and watch. I tell myself that I'll slog through another episode so that I can watch an episode of Alphas as a reward. Not that Alphas is a perfect show. It's just a lot easier to watch than the monotony that is Miracle Day. These two shows have something in common. They both have African American men who complain about having to work with amateurs. Was there a memo?

First of all, brilliant idea. Nobody dies and the world goes to Hades. There's a mystery to solve. Torchwood is involved. On paper it seems really good. Too bad the episodes are hit and miss. Minutes of brilliance in hours of boredom. Too bad so many things do not make sense.

Here come those spoilers....

1. Jack is no longer immortal. I take it to mean that he is no longer a fixed point in space and time. Or however they explained it in Series One. Thousands of years go by and Jack is still alive. No matter how hard he tries to die. Then, BAM, a little piece of alien technology changes everything. Not only for Jack but for the whole human race. I guess I can suspend my disbelief for a while. They had better be some KICK ASS aliens. And not no boring old Daleks either.

2. Things that happen are conveniently forgotten when they need to be. In the first episodes someone tries to kill Gwen and Jack. Someone implicates Ester and Rex in treason so the CIA are looking for them. Later Ester uses her own name to enter a Category One camp and no one comes looking for her. Yet when Rex wants the CIA to find him they turn up in a jiffy.

Gwen travels back to Wales under an assumed name. It's reasonable to assume that when she returns to the US she is using the same name. She is "on the run" from the CIA with the rest of the gang after all. So why, when Gwen Cooper is paged to the white courtesy phone, does she run and answer it? It's the bad guys. They're holding her family hostage. They want Jack. They know about the special contact lenses why don't they know what name she's travelling under?

3. Speaking of those contact lenses. It turns out that the bad guys holding Gwen's family are not THE bad guys. They're just henchmen of the granddaughter of one of Jack's old lovers. He's been watching Jack for decades. It still doesn't explain how he knew about the contact lenses.

4. The granddaughter. The whole forcing Gwen to bring Jack to her by kidnapping her family seems like a make work project for guest star Nana Visitor. When Jack hears it's Antonio (or whatever his name is - too lazy to go check at the moment) he wants to see him. All Nana would have had to do was pick up a phone. Jack would have come running. To me there is no bigger sin than wasting good actors on stupid, and ultimately useless, story lines. Yeah, we learn about "The Families" and Jack finds the alien tech behind the miracle but it's just tacked on at the end of an extended foreplay session.

There were a couple of other logical problems that I meant to write down. I may edit this later if they come back to me or if I find others.

The whole Phicorp/Danes story line is part creepy, part unbelievable and part boring. Why would any company want a man like Danes for a spokesperson? What's the point? There had better a be a really good reason and it better show up soon. I get that they're trying to do a little allegory on the US medicare problem. Drug companies (and those who invest in them) make their money on sick people. There's no money in wellness. If no one ever gets "well" after they get sick it's like Christmas, New Year's and Halloween all rolled into one for drug companies.

That brings me to another quibble I have about the show. Something unforgivable. They've made sex BORING. I don't care if it's hetero, homo or alien, the sex should not be boring. Five minutes into the Antonio flashback I wanted to scream, "Yeah they have sex. Move along. Nothing to see here." Rex's homophobia and Jack's rubbing it in his face (so to speak) got old after the first couple of times.

The last thing I want to mention is continuity. Take a look at the scene with Ester and Rex after they get out of the Category One camp. Watch the makeup under Ester's crying eyes. Just sayin'.

There are just a few episodes left. I'm hoping that they get better. I'm hoping that it all turns out to be really cool. I'm not holding my breath.

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