Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Famed and Shamed 2007

In January 2007, you guys voted in the first Torchwood.TV Awards. We've already posted the "Best of the Best" - and now it's time to hear your opinions on everything else. What worked, or didn't work, during Torchwood's first season? It's time we mark out the brilliant from the just plain silly, as we explore the Halls of Fame and Shame. Who will come out top?

There's only one way to find out... FIGHT!

HALL OF FAME

A lot of you have responded positively to the Torchwood cast; with a few of the team getting a lot of your attention. Laura E comments that Eve Myles acting has been "one of the best things" about the series to date, not surprisig as she's the character who's received the biggest share of the lime light so far!

Elsewhere, John Barrowman is ever popular after his five episode stint on Doctor Who. Regular reader Springmaus wrote in with a very amusing quip "Um....John Barrowman, just because he rocks!". Loads more of you Woodies agreed, and the final word on the matter goes to Keikokin who simply says "John Barrowman has been bloody fabulous. Wonderful performance, time after time. " You know what? I don't disagree!

Towards the end of the series' run, we were introduced to a new (hopefully) reaccuring character called Bilis Manger, played by the wonderful Murray Melvin. He's captured a lot of people's imaginations, as Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh observes: "Frankly, the introduction of Bilis Manger; he seems to tie the series together more well than any other individual element to date."

Reader Graham Symms elects to choose a more controversial choice for his vote: "I’ll have to choose Chris Chibnall, for writing some fabulous scripts and being show-runner for one of the best British TV series ever." I personally don't understand what's wrong with Chibnall's writing - so I have to agree with Graham here that the man does indeed deserve some praise.

From Torchwood's very first episode, "Everything Changes", one thing stood out every single week; the show's "amazing" set design - something that Clare Allen agrees with, "Every episode there seems to be something new to look out for - although I now miss the taradactyl!" Likewise, Eileene Coscolluela feels the another part of the design team needs some praise, "The location scout/set design for Torchwood. I really loved the locations and settings for Torchwood. Whomever is their location scout and who did their set design is brilliant." Yes, Cardiff does look wonderfully beautiful, doesn't it?

For some people though, the excitement began weeks before the first episode had even aired - "When I saw the first proper trailer after Robin Hood, I nearly exploded in happiness." says Alex Bryan. I'm in the same boat; as I saw a trailer some three months before broadcast, and was blown away!

On the otherhand, some people just couldn't make do with silly adverts; and the highlight of their Torchwood experience was those cinema screenings around the UK in October, "The best Torchwood related thing for me was going toManchester to see the preview; watching it in a room full of Torchwoodlovers...undiscribable!" And reader Emma Nelder isn't alone in her thoughts - so fingers crossed for more screenings for season two!

Emma also enjoyed the episode "Captain Jack Harkness" - particularly the moment where we meet the 'real' Captain Jack Harkness. Another reader, Amanda Graham, loves the episode for a completely different reason - the dance and the kiss! Aww, we've got some true romantics out there, haven't we?

One point I really have to agree with was made by V. A. Bamford, who simply said "The community and how it's captured peoples imagination". I have to agree on this one - because if Torchwood's taught me one thing, it's how incredibly loyal fans can be; visiting this very site every day, and making new friends amongst our chat features. It's for you guys that I respectfully dedicate this little post - because without fans, both this site and Torchwood itself are nothing. So thank you.

For one reader, the task of picking just one favourite was almost too much to take - over to you kezzybabes: "For me the best thing about Torchwood is the way its so intense and has me on the edge of me seat each week and wanting more. I'm very impatient and don't like waiting a week for the next episode! It can make you laugh, and cry (which I have many times) and the acting has just got better and better; and I love the way I now feel like I know the characters a lot deeper by the end of series one". But at least she could make her mind up -which is more than I can say for about the final entry...

Finally, the last word has to go to Springmaus (again!) who raised a chuckle by writing "A single greatest thing? That's not fair! I loved the whole series; all the characters... everything! And torchwood.tv too!!! Don't make me choose!".For your own sanity Springmaus, I won't...

HALL OF SHAME

Chief offender was the episode "Random Shoes", which the majority of readers mentioned at least once in their emails. Kezzybabes states "I really didnt enjoy the Eugene episode,it was really boring and I lost interest there for a while" - which is really saying a lot, as Kezzy is one of Torchwood.tv's most avid readers, and therefore a giant Woodie! Jamie Havelock agrees (in a rather amusing way!) "The episode 'Random Shoes' was so bad I switched on my tv and didn't even realise it was Torchwood!" Shamefully, I wished I was watching something else that week!

Another fan-hater was the Cyberwoman, with Amanda Graham simply writing in her "Hall of Shame" post "Cyberheels!". Reading OutpostGallifrey's forum, and numerous other forums, it seems fans just can't forgive the designers for creating such a hybrid cyber-costume. I have to agree with Eileene Coscolluela when she says "Whomever designed the Cyberwoman outfit. Very embarassing!" Yes, but come on, we're Who fans - we've lived in the shadow of "The Web Planet" for donkeys. Surely we're use to embarrassing by now???

Torchwood is supposed to be an adult series, although a lot of you don't think it really is. Clare Allen points out "They keep promising adult, but I am waiting for a real version of adult rather than the BBC version - the episodes all apear to be 15's. To me 'adult' means an 18 rating - even Buffy managed that a couple of times! I'm sure they have the power to make this a truly shocking and groundbreaking show." Perhaps we'll see more "adult" in season two...

Here's a question; was the swearing in Torchwood too much for you to take? Simon R. Mills thinks so, ""The gratuitous swearing. This was the biggest turn off for me and seemed to be used in all the wrong places for no real reason. It was like the writers were saying "we're a grown up programme now and can swear when we want". Worst offender was Owen, especially the "f*** buddies" bit. This made the character really unlikeable and I just didn't care what happened to him." All those Burn Gorman fans out there (and there's A LOT!) seem to disagree...

One particular worry about Woodies everywhere is the mystery of Myfanwy. Graham Symms points out "I loved the show so much its difficult to think of something. Possibly not seeing anything of Myfanwy the Pterodactyl later in the season. Or did the Cyberwoman kill her?". Erm... next question!

Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh believes the main problem with the series is its central concept, the Rift: "The rift -- hypothetically the central element of the series -- wasn't even addressed until the second to last episode. It wasn't until the second half of the series that all the regular characters were given enough material for the audience to know what to make of them. Ideally, the second episode would have been all about the rift and the Torchwood team's individual roles in maintaining it. Countrycide was way too early; before you screw with the formula, it's best to get one down! We needed more time right up front to see what the show was supposed to be about. Still, it did mostly come together in the last few episodes."

Captain Jack himself seems to be troubling a fair few of you; "Well for starters there hasn't been near enough shots of John Barrowmans bottom, or naked John Barrowman! Come on we don't want to see Owen in those sex scenes... Captain Jack Jack Jack! We need to know more about the stopwatch!" Kezzybabes, you really are one disturbed individual! Elsewhere, Dion Page has a much more valid point to make, "Captain Jack Snogging Captain Jack - the surrounding crowd just would not have STOOD BACK & watched them in 1941!!" Quite, but this is Torchwood - and as we've learnt, not exactly the height of realism!

Reading around the internet, it's not exactly easy to miss Torchwood fan fiction - which is cropping up all over the place (including Torchwood.tv!). But one reader, xx, has a real objection to make in his 'shame' list, "The overall quality of the fanfic.". I take it now wouldn't be an ideal to ask you xx about the Torchwood Archives?!?

Mike Simms worries about the cast themselves, "The single worst thing about Torchwood was the dreadful make up, especially on the men. Notable gaffs were Owen in the Out of Time episode- too much foundation and pink lipstick and the 1940s Captain Jack – too much eyeliner and mascara." Mike, do you hear that? It's a career in fashion and design calling out for you!

Another area where a lot of you disagreed upon was "End of Days" - particularly the demon Abadon. WhiteScreen notes "That was so OTT. Less is more. All that foreshadowing and then ... that. The shadow of death thing was a nice touch though." I have to disagree - although yes, the CGI wasn't exactly at its best that day!

One of the most important areas of concern though was the balance of the series, a point that Allison Allen and others made quite clear in their voting. You lot think that the series was pretty inconsistant throughout - with events from one episode being completely ignored during the next. On a similar note, some characters got much more of the lime light than others - with Ianto suffering more than any other. Alex Bryan wrote about that point "When I realised how little of the fabuous Ianto we saw throughout the series." So come on BBC Wales - more Ianto in season two!

She had the final comment last time... and gets the same treatment here; because what she's saying pretty much sums up how a lot of Woodies are feeling right now. Over to you Springmaus: "The waiting! And now it begins again...." Too right. 2008 has never seemed further away...

Guys and gals, it's been an honour; thanks for voting! I really couldn't have done this without you.

Keep reading, and writing in - because your opinions matter most of all.

Until next time...
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