Friday, 29 February 2008

Torchered to Death

It was a big day for Torchwood. Billed by the BBC as "their darkest hour", they were facing up to the fact that Owen was dead. After 5 minutes of screentime and an hour in their world, they had had enough of that facing up to facts malarkey, and Capn Jack went to a church full of snoozing weevils, who kept a Special Glove (twin to Buffy's glove of Mynhegon) which brings people back to life in a biscuit tin under a small avalanche of broken dolls. I was pleased by this detail, and I have started to warm to Torchwood.

Soon Owen was up and running, full of the darkness of death, and acting as a portal for Death Itself. It was very important to the gang to stop Death from claiming thirteen victims. Otherwise Death would walk the earth and his hunger would know no bounds. Many people might point out that Death does walk the earth, and that the idea that he would gain control seems - well, are the Dead going to be more dead after Death comes back? Will there be more of them? It didn't seem to make any sense. Still, it was clearly an important piece of information, since Death bothered to mutter it to himself in a strange Death-language that took the alien technology (everything in Torchwood is done with alien technology, probably including the special effects, meaning there's no need to worry about them taking over the world just yet) several seconds longer than usual to translate. This was just long enough for Tosh to say it wasn't working - she is named after what she talks, and should have whacked the Alien Tech with a human fist before making any such ridiculous claims.

Then Death followed them to a hospital - apparently a work-related decision; maybe Death was feeling too peaky to kill the healthy, though the gang thought it was due to Death's wish to conceal his plan. Shouldn't have possessed Owen and talked to himself in front of the CCTV then. Things carried on making less and less sense until Owen played two-man ring o' roses with Death which despatched it back to the Other Place. Don't ask, I've no idea what it was all about, and neither has anybody else - certainly nobody on the creative side.

Owen being dead is actually a hoot. He can't sleep, shag or drink, and this makes him very sad. However, it does mean it's now safe for him to date the Femme Fatale of the Group - Tosh. They can't have sex, but then none of the women in this show are permitted to do so - only boys, and preferably together.

Anyway, I said it was a big day for Torchwood and so it was - the day we found out whether Capn Jack's omni-sexuality embraced necrophilia. And it turned out it didn't. There are still some places - like Canadians having sex with dead people, or women having sex with anybody at all, that are too dark for even the post-Watershed BBC to go. Thank goodness.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

I know it's only me ...

But hell, couldn't Torchwood just try to be something other than a feeble imitation of Buffy?

Bad enough that the episodes are weak re-tellings without the wit and character of the original, but surely they could have changed the titles? "End of Days" and "Sleeper" are both straight steals, and "Something Borrowed" echoes "Something Blue". It's just - depressing, to make so little effort, and insulting to your audience, to assume they won't notice.

Owen is about as dead as I am. Possibly less.

As I say, I'm growing increasingly convinced it's only me...

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Intergalactic Austin Powers

Scary episode this week: horrible people chopping up an innocent off-world creature for meat while it was still - quite inexplicably - alive. Gwen's man finding out that she meets her half of the rent by hunting aliens. And Capn Jack Not Getting Any. My he looked hacked off. He emoted teariness, wood-faced fury and ethical dilemma by turns, but we viewers knew that what was really pissing him off was that he had been FORCED to go a whole fifty minutes without a snog.

At one point he had Gwen in a tight-shot up against a tall order, but still she did not dive forward with a small gasp and smother him in a suffocating 90 second screen kiss. I don't know why; he was telling her she couldn't run up to her husband until after he had endangered and/or incriminated himself with the alien-butchers, which was just as alluring as his talk last week on how he was glad he'd left his home planet because he'd seen such amazing stuff, and that earnt him a Random Snog from one of the team. There was neither lead-up to this snog, nor was there any sequel to it; it seems that this is just what happens to any character left alone with Capn Jack. He doesn't care what he snogs or sticks his dick into; far from being an alien, he seems - well, pathologically & superhormonally male. He pretended to cry out of pity for the alien whale, but for my money, when Burn Gorman was struggling with an Acme Comedy Syringe full of Alien Whale Killer (his own invention; three buckets full of which he had cunningly knocked up in two seconds flat from the contents of an Ikea shelving unit full of bottles of coloured liquid, none larger than the average bottle of cough mixture) in a "mercy killing", it was not the continued anguish of being butchered piecemeal that he was rescuing the house-sized mammal from; no indeed, it was the likeliness of a romantic interlude with "Capn Jack".

That man has no more right to that rank than I have. He's so blatantly somebody who's made up an army label for himself so he can impress people who don't know any better. He hasn't even got the knowledge to pretend to a decent rank. Captain indeed. At least Dr Who used to be helped out by a Brigadier - fallen on hard times now. But now, Capn Jack uses his rank to get dates and it's all a very obvious ploy. "I'm a Captain, baby, does it make you horny, baby?" I kept expecting to hear him crooning at the chained leviathan. Or Rhys, whom he was also very tetchy about not getting to snog.

Oh well, there is always next week, when I think it will be Burn Gorman's turn for Capn Jack's attentions. His character should be well up for it. He uses extra terrestrial rohypnol to get relationships; his sexual politics are just exactly the same as Capn Jack's.

Does it make you horny, baby?

Monday, 4 February 2008

Oh, the Shame ...

Once again I am gripped by febrile guilty interest in something I know I shouldn't be watching. This one is called "Vanity Lair" and it is on T4 Sunday at lunchtime (when people of my age should be serving up crispy roasts to ungrateful oiky children of their own genetic stamp.)

There are ten self-selected "beautiful people" who sit around wanting to shag each other in a mild sort of way, but are prevented by their own all-absorbing narcissism, a series of "tests" of their attractiveness, and the fact that each week they have two new auditionees, of whom one will stay, duly choosing who to evict to make room for them. So either they shag everyone or no one.

The show claims it will test "what is most attractive", and advertises a hope that qualities other than the skindeep will emerge victorious. What currently looks like it will emerge victorious is having a penis. Already the group has chosen to take in a man, and he has chosen to evict a woman, leaving the group 6:4 male. The boys and the girls like men - boys because they're the elite, like themselves, girls because they dislike other girls for being shallow and vain, like themselves. Within a very few weeks, that will be a very boy heavy house.

When I first stumbled across it, I thought it was a remake of that film where nobody can leave the dinner party; they are rather creepy. My impression was not altered by the fact that when their faces were tested for symmetry the boy whose face was least symmetrical left the dinner table for the toilet and retched. It was the most extraordinary display of distress. Not for the first time, I wondered if Channel 4 has Gone Too Far. Obviously the person concerned is vapid beyond the wildest wet-dreams of Heat magazine, but the fact that he was genuinely upset fascinated me. He has no sense of self beyond his floppy hair. He doesn't even realise it. I genuinely wondered if he should be on show, because surely believing you are only as good as your hair-do indicates that the balance of your mind is disturbed.

Or maybe it's just me. Maybe I am eccentric because I don't think my value as a human is dependent on the floppiness of my hair. Maybe I shall be watching next week.