Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Lucky Buggers

I've already reviewed "Everything Changes" here - and now, at last, here are a selection of your thoughts, from those "lucky buggers" who went to the cinema screenings last night. Lets begin!

Emma Nelder went to the Manchester screening (and saw me!) and made the following observations:

"Wow. That’s all I can say. Actually, it's not...but it's a good start!

After slight panic that we weren't going to make it (getting into Manchester at 5:30 on a weekday is not fun), we actually arrived before the doors even opened, thank the lord for that! And, as I have just discovered, stood behind jackharkness and his friends in the queue to get in…my dad even talked to them, very briefly, and we didn’t realise! Although how we could have done, short of a “TorchwoodTV anyone?”, I’m not sure…And what a show. The opening credits were…different, although I'm not quite sure what I was expecting...but definitely grabbed everyone’s attention! The special effects were amazing throughout, but not overdone, and the sets were brilliant.

As for Torchwood's first appearance, well... oh the happy Jackness!!!! The relief I felt as he finally appeared, striding through the rain…to promptly make a truly Jack joke with an amazingly straight face…listen carefully to the first bits of dialogue, everybody, or you miss it!

Also, listen carefully for a few references to Torchwoods parent series! I counted 3, possibly 4, and at least two had the entire audience laughing. (Got the chameleon circuit one as well!)

A wonderful opening episode - quite Doctor Who, and yet so very not. Within 5 minutes, my friend leaned over and whispered to me "its not Doctor Who, is it?", but we agreed that its defiantly as good, if not, as she dared suggest, better.

Jack is back. And about time to!

I'm off to bed now, where I was meant to be about 40 minutes ago...opps...and double chemistry tomorrow too...oh the joys of 6th Form..."

Several Torch_wood Community users have posted their reactions online:

Elfrider says:

"I just got back home from Cardiff - girl towards the front of the queue in the rather yellow shirt to anyone who was there! - and it was fantabulous.Cut for spoilers of the minor-and-not-really-strictly-spoilers kind because I want people to have a great time on Sunday/Wednesday and I know some won't want to know anything (I'd have wanted it fresh if I hadn't been able to see the preview).+ It's very...Welsh. Which seems like a strange thing to say, but it is, and I think it works. Obviously some of the jokes resounded well to the mainly Welsh audience in Cardiff but from an English perspective I think it works too.

+ Standing on buildings is apparently Jack's hobby. (That's not to say it's not cool though!)

+ There are some rather funky gadgets in Torchwood's possession."

Meanwhile, Bigtitch says:

"I don't know what it was like at other venues, but Manchester was really low-key. We went upstairs at the Odeon, got checked off a list (on production of id) and then sat in a screen and the ep started. No announcements, no nothing.We were there pretty early and it was a bit like Noah's ark because everyone was coming in in pairs - two by two! I can also say that the audience was more male-dominated than I was expecting. But then I'm here because of John Barrowman love and expect that to be a more female thing. Anyway - Torchwood.The theme tune is OK, but not iconic. Not something you're going to be humming the next day.John looks gorgeous. Really, really sexy and he comes across as someone who could easily be in charge of a team.The contemporary mood in Cardiff is perfect. Cardiff tourist board should use this ep as an advert for the city, because it looks fabulous.You can tell RTD wrote this ep - it's funny, clever, sexy and *real*. He puts people in strange situations and they react the way real people would!The set is great - much more claustrophobic than I was expecting.You will recognise quite a bit from the trailers - ep one is very heavily featured.This ep is heavily from the view of Gwen, as the stranger discovering Torchwood and you find out about it with her. But there's plenty of Jack and a bit of the others in the team. There are mentions of happenings within the DW universe.And I just totally didn't see the ending. (Can I also make a plea for all posters on the preview not to reveal the last 10 mins). Spoilers in this case - *would* spoil it. Really.I can't think of anything else, non-spoilery to put. Apart from that I had hugely high expectations of this series. This ep at least doesn't disappoint - in fact it's better than I thought it was going to be."

Fade-Forever has the following report posted:

"Had such an amazing night, I've put some views on Torchwood behind the cut. It's slightly spoliery, but nothing serious.

I am officially in love with every (surviving) member of Torchwood, ahem. My fangirl heart is pounding with a revelation made in that. I officially love Rose for.. everything, and the mentions of Doctor Who were awesome (you could tell who the obsessive fans were because there were a few giggles during that speech). I didn't expect the ending, but I'm glad. There were a lot of laughs, though bits where I thought I was going to cry for god knows what reason. They also had a view of the building we were watching it in, and if my eyes weren't decieveing me they didn't even block out the sign for the Doctor Who up-close exhibition in the background (I'll have to check that when I come back from Spain though, it seems like a strange thing to do). There was a bit of the episode where I wanted to scream at Jack, but then I kind of came to my senses and realised it was fairly in character. But I didn't mind it the end, it was for the best at the time. Jubilee pizza, I loved that bit. I was just about to class it under cheesy cop drama then... well, you'll see. I was dissappointed they hadn't given a real name to their 'pet' (who I am minorly obsessed with right now). The guy-kissing was amazing in a totally hilarious way, I love RTD so much for that. Excellent writing. Me and Andrew were stuck behind some men in leather jackets in the queue, who knew the BBC guy. We were in the queue for half an hour, which resulted in me eating almost an entire bag of M&Ms before it even began. I recognised the BBC guy, but no one I've spoken to knows his name so I'm not sure how I recognise him. I thought he looked like a 'Chris Chibnall', then I realised it couldn't be.. He did say he'd been working on Torchwood though. After the screening we walked down to the bay, I saw the Millenium Center and started squee-ing (again), ran and jumped onto this shipping thing sticking out of the ground, skipped to the tall metal feature, took a lot of photos, stood on "the ground" in front of it (despite the fence in the way), mwahaha, ran around taking more photos and generally acting like a little kid, ran back to the cinema, took a photo of a photo of a dalek (with many odd looks), then had to go home. Anyway, I adore Cardiff, I am going to university there (I need three A's but oh well) and yeah, love it. It looks amazing on film as well. "

Kataclysmic posted on her journal:

"I am so ill. I'm really not sure how I made it through the day. Got the train to Manchester for 3pm, and milled around the city centre for two hours with bryonyjayne, before meeting up with bigtitch and __hedgewytch_ and heading towards the cinema. By 4.45, I was ready to collapse, I felt awful, but I drank lots of water and overdosed on squee and sugar, and managed to remain bouncy until I got on the train home. This bouncyness was helped an awful lot by the episode, because it was amazing.It sort of never occured to me until 'Written by Russell T. Davis' came up on screen that RTD had written the ep. And I groaned a little bit, because he is not my favourite writer when it comes to DW. But this? He fucking owned this. It was fantastic. I think he writes for grown-ups much better than he does a general audience.The episode was very Gwen centric, which I did not hate (even though there was not enough Jack). I like her, much more than I do/did Rose (and the comparisons between the two are obvious), although - ohmygod, I cannot understand Welsh accents! This might be a bit problematic with this show.I do not love Gwen's boring boyfriend like I do Mickey.It was very funny. I giggled a lot, and there were some great lines, particularly the mpreg and CSI: Cardiff comments. One thing I did not find amusing, that most others seemed to, was an incident about non-consensual sex as a result of some alien technology. It was effectively a date-rape drug. It was just - meh, I didn't find it funny, and it took me a few minutes to sink back into the episode after finding myself quite disconcerted.Captain Jack Harkness. Oh, so much goodness there. Funny and hot and *dies*. That uniform. Day-um. I loved all the little references he made to the Doctor and the TARDIS... it tied neatly, but not obviously, into the DW canon. Very nice.The episode was twisty and good, but I'm not going to spoil it for anyone because it blew me away.I am not shipping anybody yet, but I have fic ideas. And a vague desire to update Flexible.*sighs*I want to watch it again. Mostly for the goodness, but also because I'm so wibbly and bleary I can't quite remember it all.I can't wait for everybody to see it on Sunday. Honestly, you guys will love it.Now I'm going to find some lemsip. I ache all over. Even my skin hurts. And I've drank six litres of water in ten hours."

Aeshna_UK posted:

"So, I never really win anything... largely, it must be said, because I never really enter competitions. But I couldn't quite resist entering a little BBC7 contest for tickets to the pre-launch cinema screening of Torchwood, not least because jwaneeta was visiting and wasn't going to get to see it on BBC3 on the 22nd due to a return flight on the 19th. Couldn't hurt to zap off an email to the Beeb, right? Not like I had anything to lose, after all....To my immense surprise, I won a pair of tickets for the London screening. This is my tale.... :DFor the spoiler-sensitive, I'll just say that it was really bloody good and well worth watching (even if you don't have a mad girly crush on John Barrowman, which I sort of do....) – the type of science-fiction we always knew the BBC was capable of, even if they didn't: exciting, scary, funny, well aware of the daftness of some of the concepts they're playing with, and skimming just the right side of cheesy. It's definitely not a show for kids – there's some bad language and a few genuinely shocking moments, as well as some quite adult concepts that parents probably wouldn't want to explain to the younger set. It feels much more like a contemporary thriller than it does its parent show, and manages to make Cardiff look really rather more dashing and exciting that it really is (having been there last week with the aforementioned jwaneeta). Jack is still Jack – funny, flirty, and ever so slightly dangerous, and the rest of the characters are great – I love them already, even given that some have had only very brief introductionsJust watch it – it's fun. :D And very Welsh.For those who aren't concerned about spoilage, however, ( the really juicy stuff is behind the cut.... )I'm sure I've forgotten some bits and mangled others, but damn - looks like this one is going to be fun.... :D If folks can try to be good and not put/repeat spoilers in the comments, it would be very much appreciated (I will delete anything explicitly spoilerish) - email me if you have any specific questions about things!"

Cupati says:

"I really don't want to give too much away plotwise [needless to say, kicking of selves has and will take place]. I'm going to concentrate on anything other than plot in fact. The title music fits very well with the title sequence, however I expected more of it. Bunny says it was in keeping with the program, being loud, surprising, and feeling like there's someone straight behind you.Gwen's accent could be considered as a bit clich├ęd. We know she's Welsh - we know it's set in Wales. She doesn't need to underline it.Probably the most annoyying part of the programme is the areial shots. Carefully dividing the show into four chunks, with a mini cliffhanger in each, it seems written for an American audience.Jack's charecter is subty different from as it was before: however, the development is consistant with events.There are direct references and parallels to Doctor Who. Some are obvious, others more discrete and intended only for the hardcore fans.The thing in the roof was more realistic than the krillitanes, though Bunny's immediate reaction was that it was one.The hub was much larger than expected, with more levels than have been seen so far.The charecters are all distinct, with their own particular roles withi the group and the plot.The set is beautiful, the filming is beautiful - and he is too, of course."

_Kali_ continues the reviews by saying: (this post was also picked up by Aintitcool news)

"OMG!OMG! Liek Whoa!!!!That was as about as coherent I was last night. Today I am a little bit more coherent, but not much. If you thought I was full of squee beforehand – you really ain't seen anything yet. Literally I was bouncing up and down on my chair in the cinema. LOL.Now my review (behind the cut) is going to be spoilery but I'm not going to reveal the major plot revelations (not until I do my screencap review on Monday anyway) because I really don't want to spoil you.Seriously, it'll have much more of an impact if you don't know because then you can do what the whole cinema did and gasp loudly in unison.We were really late. We left at three. The AA roadplanner said it would take 1hr 50 minutes to get to the printworks. We were parking up at 6.09pm. *unimpressed face* I ran (RAN!) to the Odeon and then had to run up escalators. Annoyingly, they started the screening late meaning I wasn't late at all.Watching telly o na 40ft high screen is brill and I want to watch everything on a cinema screen now. *buys lottery ticket*.[x] It's oh-so-very Cardiff and that's a good thing. I didn't go around going "been there, been there" or anything. Honest. Everyone (other than Jack (Obviously), Suzie, Owen and Toshiko have Welsh accents, it's brill. Even the TV in the background in one scene was full of Welsh people talking (sadly it wasn't Pobol y Cym)

[x] There's loads of helicopter shots of Cardiff. They've really got their money's worth. Including that one of John Barrowman on top of the white building that got them a bollocking from Cardiff Police.

[x] There's one scene where Gwen is at Roald Dahl Plas and very clearly behind her is the massive banner advertising the Doctor Who exhibition in the Red Dragon Centre. Cue hilarity from me. It's very noticeable on a cinema screen, probably less so when it's onna telly.

[x] The show is set post-Doomsday. There are comments about the war with the Cybermen – but the Daleks interestingly aren't mentioned. That's how hush-hush their appearance was, not even people on TW knew about it.

[x] There are some fleeting mentions of Doctor Who. And there's even a severed hand in a bubbly vat in the Hub. Which has prompted me to change my mind on how the Doctor and Jack meet up. I now want Jack to slap the Doctor with his own severed hand. LOL. I wonder if Jack realises exactly what it is? Oh the crackfic that could spawn…

[x] I've sat on the backdoor to the Hub. Although I'm not actually sitting on it in that picture.[x] I may have squeaked out I've been there! when Gwen went to this part of Cardiff Bay.

[x] Jack's just… well, Jack. I love his braces, they're ace. He's busy having chemistry with everything., Pints of water, dead welsh people, Gwen, Ianto, honestly.

[x] Both John and Eve were smashing. I've missed Captain Harkness.

[x] Ianto seems really sweet. We didn't see much of his hidden depths and darkness.

[x] Toshiko is now the Torchwood equivalent of Willow. Not much in the way of medically-stuff going on, but it's hard to tell from one episode.

[x] I don't care for Owen much. I agree with his comment that he's a twat.

[x] Which leads me into the swearing. Blimey there was lots of it. There was even sniggering in the audience. It's certainly a lot more adult than Who.

[x] Gwen's boyfriend is a bit early-Mickey-like. Not sure if it's a good thing but he's nice enough.

[x] There were three or four bits that drew massive gasps from the audience. Which I'll not go into until Monday – but I will, oh yes, at length.

[x] There is no Captain Jack backstory other than the fact he disappeared in 1941. It does seem to expect you to know about him. But it doesn't detract from the story. I did have to run through his backstory with His Lordship afterwards (Honestly you'd think that he'd slept through the last half of series one.)

[x] There have been consequences. The fall out from series one of Who evident. [SPOILER] Oh Rose, what have you done?????!

[x] I have the feeling we're going to see some dark!Captain Jack. This fills me with joy.

[x] I'm working on a related 'Fly Talk' (which you'll only understand if a) you've seen the episode b) ever seen/read Modern Toss)Erm, not much else to say without spoilers. Woe.

I score it 8.5/10. Woot!Now, I'm probably not the best person to ask whether or not it was a good episode. So let's ask His Lordship. He was decidedly unbothered about going to see it. He didn't even want to go to Manchester to go and see it. I had to drag him along and everything.And he thought it was ace. Now watch it, else you'll make me wear my sad face and you wouldn't want that.We got home after 11pm and that was with me driving fast(ish) down the motorway. I'm knackered today. Woe."

Lothy talks about the episode by saying:

"Well, my dad's friends couldn't go to the fashion show, so he & I went to see Torchwood!!Although I'm posting my review behind a cut, please note that there are no actual spoilers.It was brilliant! I don't think I've been this excited about a new show in years (well, unless you count the revival of Doctor Who). Very cinematic, with big sweeping shots of Cardiff of the type you usually just don't see on British TV.The feel is very different from DW. Very adult (as expected in a post-watershed show), darker, scary, humourous, sexy (the trailers show kisses of m/m, f/f and f/m combinations... my icon is a cap from said trailer), basically just excellent TV. John Barrowman was brilliant, and Eve Myles looks like she'll be a fabulous co-star. It's great to see Welsh characters in a big TV series... doesn't happen often.The episode was kind of like Rose (DW's pilot) in that it was from the perspective of the female co-star, finding out about what's going on, rather than the male lead who already knew. I find it interesting that they chose to do that; it would have been so easy to start by explaining how Jack got back to the 21st century.Anything more and I'll risk spoiling you (as much as I want to gush on about the great one-liners and similar). Just watch it on Sunday... and I can't wait for episode 2."

Over on the SFX Website, writer Nick Setchfield comments:

"The Torchwood media blitzkrieg culminated in the big press launch last night and Steve O'Brien and I were there to fly the flag for SFX (it was a pretty droopy flag when we finally left the bar at 3.00am and by God there were some suspicious stains). The location was the frighteningly swank St David’s Hotel in Cardiff Bay – scene of last year’s equally five-star launch of Doctor Who series two – and the guest list read like a Who’s Who of Who: David Tennant and Billie Piper showed up to lend support to John Barrowman, Eve Myles and the rest of the Torchwood team, along with writers Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, Noel Clarke (who’s written an episode of Torchwood), composer Murray Gold, producer Phil Collinson, executive producer Julie Gardner, and Matthew Graham and Ashley Pharoah, the guys behind Life on Mars. Goldie Lookin Chain were there too, and talked of their love for Logan’s Run to anyone who’d listen (that would be us, then).

A press conference saw Russell the T facing down typically agenda-laden questions from the likes of the Daily Mail, and he also revealed that John Barrowman won his own spin-off show because he was so damn good in bed (everyone laughed but the man from the Mail).

We were there to see Torchwood, of course. I’m just about the last person on the team to see it, having snubbed the whole clustered-around-Kirky’s-computer-watching-a-preview-disc scenario in favour of last night’s big screen unveiling (the screen wasn’t that big as it turned out, but hey…). What did I think? I’m happy to say that I loved it to bits. As an opening episode it’s as confident as “Rose” – smart, thrilling, surprising, killingly funny in places and peppered with brilliant ideas and throwaway flashes of genius (I don’t want to spoil a single one of them for you – just watch). Great cast and beautifully directed, too - there’s a fabulous, Michael Bay-ish first shot of Captain Jack, buttoning up his greatcoat as he leads the Torchwood team through the Cardiff rain… Now, I’m Cardiff born and Cardiff bred (and as the fine Welsh bard Frank Hennessy once sang, when I’m dead I’ll be Cardiff dead) so I’m naturally disposed to love anything that makes my hometown look so romanticised and glorious. But when the end credits rolled I was gagging for more, and not just the tingle of seeing the Hayes Island Snack Bar on the big screen. Torchwood truly works as a clever hybrid of mainstream thriller and genre show. I believe it’s going to be a hit. "

And finally, the Western Mail wrote:

"A whole host of celebrities, including David Tennant and Billie Piper, were out in force last night for the premiere of the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood.
The first episode of the action-packed series, starring John Barrowman as hero Captain Jack Harkness, was screened at St David's Hotel, Cardiff Bay, in front of an invited audience.
And Doctor Who himself, Tennant, and Piper, who played his former sidekick Rose, were there to lend moral support.
The stars of Torchwood, Barrowman and Welsh actress Eve Myles, were delighted that so many had turned out for the occasion.
They were joined by Swansea writer Russell T Davies, who wrote both Doctor Who and Torchwood. Both series are produced by BBC Wales.
Myles said it was 'sensational' playing the part of Gwen.
'I've had a very positive reaction to Torchwood,' she said.
'Everyone is extremely excited and complimentary about it all.
'It's a beautiful part to play, there's a beautiful cast and great scripts.'
The evening started with drinks in one of the hotel's plush lounges. Those mingling included BBC Wales controller Menna Richards and Myles's co-stars from the BBC Wales drama Belonging - Richard Mylan and Steve Meo.
The audience was then ushered into an adjoining room for the screening, which was introduced by Ms Richards, who said of Davies, 'His inventiveness and productivity amazes us all.
'Torchwood, I believe, will have as loyal a following as the Doctor himself.'
Ms Richards added that the modern and edgy 13-part series didn't have a 'male voice choir in sight or a miner in sight'.
Sci-fi thriller Torchwood follows a team of modern-day investigators as they use alien technology to solve crime, both alien and human. It will be given its first TV airing on BBC3 on Sunday.
Torchwood has been filmed on location throughout South Wales, including Cardiff Bay, Penarth and at a specially-built studio near Pontypridd. It will be aimed at post-watershed viewers rather than the family audience which typically tunes into the series about the Time Lord. Captain Jack has featured in a number of episodes of Doctor Who.
Davies, who has already amassed awards for Doctor Who, has described his latest creation as 'a British sci-fi paranoid thriller, a cop show with a sense of humour'.
He said, 'It's dark, wild and sexy, it's The X Files meets This Life. It's a stand-alone series for adult audiences which will have its own unique identity.'
Torchwood is fast-paced, sleek and glossy with plenty of dazzling aerial shots of Cardiff. It also has dashes of humour and a storyline to keep even non sci-fi fans interested.
Based in modern-day Cardiff, the Torchwood team delves into the unknown, battling against the impossible in a highly volatile underworld of savage aliens and monsters while trying to maintain their everyday lives.
Captain Jack is the ever-watchful leader of the Torchwood team. He is joined by Ystradgynlais actress Myles, best known for her role as Ceri in Belonging. She plays Gwen Cooper, initially an outsider, who meets Torchwood at the scene of a murder sparking a burning curiosity to get to the truth.
In the opening episode, viewers will see how Gwen tries to get to the bottom of the Torchwood contingent by visiting their secret base underneath Cardiff's Wales Millennium Centre. She embarks on a roller-coaster adventure which includes coming face-to-face with aliens for the first time.
Other storylines include the tale of an alien addicted to sex let loose on Cardiff's nightlife, leaving a trail of gruesome deaths."

And also:

"It has Hollywood actors, local stars, aliens and dinosaurs but they are all upstaged - by Cardiff.
Because the Welsh capital is the star of the show in Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood - the new TV drama set to become one of autumn's biggest hits.
Speaking at the launch in Cardiff last night, BBC Wales controller Menna Richards said: 'Torchwood is nothing less than a love letter to Cardiff. It's the city as you've never seen it before.'
And lead writer Russell T Davies - the man who has brought Doctor Who to a brand new TV audience - added: 'I love Cardiff, and one of the things I love the most is the sea.
'It just lets the city breathe, and there is the whole Celtic mythology thing behind it.
'We want to familiarise people with the Welsh voice.'
The sci-fi series, set in the capital in an underground bunker beneath Cardiff Bay's Oval Basin, was shown for the first time in a screening at the St David's Hotel.
Guests at the screening included current Doctor Who David Tennant, Andi Peters, Doctor Who actor Noel Clarke and Welsh actors Richard Mylan and Charles Dale.
A red glow was emanating from the Wales Millennium Centre, and green lasers shone across St David's Hotel to mark the event.
The first episode, entitled 'Everything Changes', starts with an aerial shot over Cardiff, with St David's Hotel being one of the first buildings seen.
Wales Millennium Centre, the Millennium Stadium and buildings including the BT Tower and Altolusso flats also play a leading part.
How do you solve a problem like Maria? star John Barrowman, reprising his Doctor Who role as Captain Jack Harkness, said: 'Cardiff is definitely recognisable. We had a great time filming, and everyone really welcomed us.'
And South Wales actress Eve Myles, who plays Gwen Cooper, added: 'Cardiff is a huge character in this.
'I'm extremely proud that Torchwood is filmed here.'
Russell T Davies said things to look forward to in the 13-part series, filmed partly at a specially-built studio at Upper Boat, include psychotic fairies, a pendant that gives the wearer mind-reading powers, and an episode in which a 1940s plane lands in present day Cardiff.
He said he hoped there would be a second series of the drama, which he says is 'destined to run and run'."

Whoa - I've got there at last! There you go, a full set of comments about last night's press screenings. I know that it's hardly a compensation for those readers out there who couldn't attend, but hey, there's only three days to go now. Not long. This post is probably long enough to take you to Sunday, 9pm anyway!

Please, feel free to e-mail any other screening reports, and I'll add them onto the site in the near future.
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