Torchwood-is better than I thought

Torchwood Miracle Day 101_46We watched episode two of Torchwood: Miracle Day on Sunday (still behind, I know, sorry!) and have noted the negative comments appearing on my last post. I’m not sure how fair some of these are – most of them coming from disgruntled longtime fans. Fans: please bear in mind that reinventing a show for a new country, new audience, new production regime, new cast – this is a Hard Thing to do, and I think Russell T Davies et al have been pretty bold with setting up the single premise.

Granted, I’m only two episodes in so don’t know quite how well it’ll sustain itself – the one criticism I thought sounded fair was the idea that the plot of the season might well have washed out happily in a couple of eps – but it feels like its building nicely to me.

Exposition in the early days of a lot of new television series is often slightly painful (it doesn’t need to be but its hard to avoid). The premise needs playing out, the characters need developing, the universe needs staging. It’s understandably frustrating seeing this happen with a show you already know, characters you’ve followed for years. This is one of the reasons that novel adaptations are often (not always) regarded as inferior to the original – they are necessarily different to meet the demands of the new medium – and I think American TV does count as a new medium in some respects.

If we cast our minds back to the early seasons of Torchwood, if we’re being fair, we’ll remember that it was a pretty dire thing that the Beeb had made. And yet it matured by season three into a thing with millions of fans. We’re only up to episode three of the new series – give it a chance, it feels like it’ll weather well.

That said, none of the negative comments indicate people are going to stop watching, so perhaps you are all giving it a chance – just needing a place to vent and lament the passing of the Torchwood of old. To you, I say, if you wanted it to stay made in Britain, you should have been willing to pay a bigger license fee! The BBC couldn’t afford to produce a show like this by itself; heck, even Dr Who only got 1.5 seasons worth of television this year. Auntie is hurting, and admittedly it is a slightly bureaucratic mess at times, but its output is remarkable and I’ll be sad if its star wanes with the cuts we have ahead of us.

FWIW, I’m loving the Beeb’s co-production strategy. I think change is good, if unsettling, and we’ll see a whole new breed of television that works in a way we simply couldn’t manage if we were left to our own devices.