Last night the BBC showed the first two episodes of Torchwood, its new Doctor Who spin-off. What did we think?
Well, the word that mostly springs to mind is “derivative”. The whole idea of group of strange people investigating even stranger goings on looks a lot like Angel, the secret hideaway secreted behind a normal-looking building was all very Man From UNCLE. The Torchwood HQ looks a bit like an untidier version of the Batcave (with a holding cell that was taken directly from Silence of the Lambs). The lift that takes you up to the Millennium Centre is like something out of Thunderbirds. Oh, and since Captain Jack was brought back to life by Rose Tyler in Doctor Who last year he seems to have mutated into Captain Scarlet (he’s IN! DE! STRUCT! IBLE!).
There was one nice plot point in the first episode when a member of Torchwood, who we assumed would be a regular cast member, turned out to the baddie and was killed off. But even that’s looking a bit tired since Jesse was killed in the first episode of Buffy and Helen was killed in episode two of Spooks.
As expected, the first episode spent far too long introducing everything and as a result, the plot was tiny. But the BBC decided that it would give us two episodes. Which makes it very annoying that they didn’t remove the “coming next episode” section from the end of episode one.
Episode two played on the fact that Torchwood is an “adult” drama. And what’s the best way to demonstrate that? To fill the plot with sex of course. Apparently humans give off the best “orgasmic energy” in the galaxy and aliens travel for light-years to soak it up. And they do that by taking over a young woman’s body and turning her into a nymphomaniac. And sometimes she gets carried away and snogs women! They say it’s adult – but really it just looked like a group of sex-crazed teenagers had been let loose on the script.
So, not a great start. But hopefully it’s still finding its feet and I’ll be giving it a few more weeks before giving up on it completely.
Update: Blimey! Quoted on The Stage web site.