Six Smart Women Discussing Doctor Who

601372_10151315309299856_227302541_nSome thoughts that I thought while listening to you all (and doing laundry)

TORCHWOOD

1. Given how popular and widespread the opinion that ‘Torchwood is rubbish’ is among Doctor Who fandom, I don’t feel remotely bad that Verity does not provide ‘balance’ in this degree.

2. I love Torchwood. All the Torchwood!

3. What you did represent really nicely is the disconnect between those who feel the different seasons of Torchwood are different shows and those who feel it’s all part of the same thing. I think I’m more on Katrina’s side because I feel that there is a fairly strong narrative progression between each of the different ‘eras’ of the show but I will admit that I like them all for fairly different reasons.

4.I am so overdue for a massive Torchwood rewatch that it’s not even funny.

5. Part of the reason that I will defend Miracle Day in particular, but actually every different era of Torchwood (they all need defending sooner or later, I’m not going to bother with 1 & 2 much here because you all have that covered) is because of the writing of Gwen Cooper and unlike almost every Torchwood fan ever, I really think that Torchwood is as much Gwen’s show as Captain Jack’s. Like Lynne, my natural tendency is towards the fun, campy and more light-hearted era of the show, and yet I think the best and most consistent writing of Gwen as a character happened in Children of Earth and Miracle Day. Mostly I like her when written by or in the style of RTD, and far less so by Chris Chibnall who I felt was a lot less interested in her than all the other characters. So I spent a lot of Season 1 & 2 loving a lot of the show but feeling frustrated with a) some of the Gwen writing and b) a lot of the Gwen hatred that came from fandom, which was so overwhelming that I never managed to translate my love of the show into any kind of fannish response.

6. Did I mention? Overdue for a rewatch. Am looking forward to coming back to the early show after the later progression. But I do strongly think that Gwen’s narrative in CoE and MD was fabulous, and that she grew really nicely as a character. Rhys, too, was a great character who was written as stupid for most of Season 1, improved in Season 2 and was just fabulous in the later versions of the show. Their marriage, parenthood and the mix of domestic & violent SF issues they faced really resonated with me.

7. I think people tend to forget, because of the trauma of the later episodes of Children of Earth, how funny it is. The first few episodes have some of the best Torchwood banter of all time – more polished than in the earlier seasons, but still having quite a bit of their tone.

8. Miracle Day was grim, yes, but it was surprisingly cohesive as a 10 episode series. it had a great ending – the final episode paid off so much of the set up. it didn’t have nearly enough of the Torchwood lightness and humour – agree with all that – but it was really interesting science fiction, Gwen was fantastic in it, and I really liked the culture clash elements whereby it’s incredibly obvious quite early on that Jack and Gwen are in an ENTIRELY different show to the other characters. Even down to the fact that Gwen wears sensible boots while all the American actresses (including the FBI agent and the doctor) wear high heels because, that’s what you do in a US TV show.

9. I spent most of Miracle Day whispering ‘don’t kill the baby, don’t kill the baby’ under my breath, because frankly from the moment Gwen got pregnant I have been terrified about the fate of that bloody baby (killing off unborn babies, and babies generally, is one of the most overused tropes in TV and one that I became super sensitive to after having my own – I’ve got callous again now, but I still notice how often & badly it’s used). I may have overly positive feelings now towards the series because the baby made it through alive.

10. Unlike apparently most viewers I really liked Mekhi Pfifer as Rex. His reactions to Captain Jack represented something like 90% of the comic relief in the show (the rest was Rhys). The fact that he was so weirded out by Jack and in particular the entire TORCHWOOD show that was so obviously not the show he was supposed to be in, and his macho heroics (but constantly being effortlessly outcooled by Jack) was really entertaining to me and the twist at the end of the series made me laugh out loud. I really really want a version of Torchwood in the future which is Rex and Jack bombing around the universe, stuck with each other now, and being an odd couple.

SARAH JANE

1. Yeah we haven’t watched Season 5 because it came out after Elisabeth died. Have been able to rewatch Sarah in Doctor Who no problem, but not this.

2. I also thought SJA would be a good gateway show for my daughter during the period that she got super scared of everything including Doctor Who (she loved it until she was 3-4 and then went all scared for a few years). The trouble was, she got brave about Doctor Who in general before she got brave about monsters and Sontarans in particular (seriously she would scream the house down if she saw them on a magazine cover: HUMPTY DUMPTY MENNNNN!) and so my attempts at SJA fell flat. She got into it later but as with Deb’s children, she just plain likes Doctor Who more.

3. I, however, love SJA as a viewer as well as a Mum. Having the older female mentor figure and the kids adventuring was really enjoyable, and the mix of monsters and kindness (as Lynne mentioned) worked so nicely. I’ve tuned into a couple of Wizards v. Aliens and can see it’s very similar in tone and production, but it just doesn’t click for me the way that SJA did. Their monsters are brilliant, though.

4. Clyde and Rani forever.

5. RTD’s recent revelation that if the series had continued, Luke would have had a romantic storyline with another boy, and that CBBC specifically asked them to include a gay character because it was something they thought they should have on the network was very interesting, and I’m sad we didn’t get to see that develop (apart from all the other reasons to be sad). I think showing how Clyde in particular dealt with that would have been interesting. And how cool that the BBC were open to doing that in what had become their flagship program for teens!

K9 & COMPANY

1. Of its time

2. I used to watch it over and over when I was 10. Loved it. Nostalgia means I never have to criticise it ever.

3. Not rewatching it helps

4. Damn, now I have that theme tune in my head.

5. Lynne are you kidding me about the lack of lesbian subtext? Do you not remember the character of Juno at ALL?

MY DREAM SPIN OFF

1. Obviously Vastra and Jenny, Tipping the Scales, MAKE THIS SHOW.

2. Mickey and Martha. I’m not sad we never got to see their relationship develop in Torchwood in Children of Earth as originally planned because at least one of them would probably have ended up dead, but I’d happily watch them fighting Sontarans any day of the week. And Jack could drop by sometimes for tea and banter!

2. Big Finish have pretty much met all my needs as far as Classic series spin off goes. Romana, Susan, Counter-Measures, Jago and Litefoot, Bernice Summerfield, Ace, you name it.  I will +1 to the Rani and Master show, with the addition of making their downstairs neighbours be Craig, Sophie and Stormageddon. (sometimes they babysit – Stormy has to get his megalomaniac influences from somewhere!)

I’d love, however, to see a live action version of the 8th Doctor and comic companion Izzy. Does that not count if it has the Doctor in it?

How about Chancellor Flavia Investigates?

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Comments on: "Tansy’s Two Cents – Spin-off? Or Spin-out?" (1)

  1. I’m with you, Tansy – I think there’s lots to enjoy with Torchwood, in all of its incarnations. Did I love Miracle Day? No. Did I think it was terrible though? Not at all! I’ve never looked at the Torchwood team as incompetent nor do I think they were written that way. I totally agree with Lynne that they aren’t a secret organization at all, but we had the same issue in Classic Who with UNIT. Apparently you had to sign the Official Secrets Act to even know about its existence, but yet they have a giant UNIT sign outside their HQ. Something is awry there. :p I actually did a rewatch of the first two seasons of Torchwood recently – I need to get to Children of Earth and Miracle Day because I haven’t watched them in ages! I’d like to see my reaction to seeing Miracle Day again though because I really haven’t rewatched it since it aired. I do have to say I side with the majority of viewers as it relates to Mekhi Pfifer though – he does absolutely nothing for me. To be fair, I carry some baggage from when he showed up on another show I loved (ER) and I didn’t like him there either. But who knows – maybe that will change on rewatching Miracle Day.

    As for the other spin-offs, I love ’em! SJA was fab and I, like many others, was so sad when Lis passed. I think the show could have continued in a different way, focused on the other characters, but I understand why RTD didn’t want to do that. K9 & Company is always great fun and I would have loved to see that pilot actually lead to a series.

    What about future spin-offs? I have to think that if Moffatt wanted to do a Vastra/Jenny/Strax spin-off, he would have done it by now. But between Who and Sherlock, his dance card may just be too full. It would be fun to see it materialize, so let’s all keep our fingers crossed. 🙂

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