Dear Russell Davies: Our Plan to Fix Torchwood

By Sam Lowry | September 8, 2008 5:33 pm

torchwood1.jpgThe release of the Torchwood Series 2 DVD gave us the opportunity to watch (in some cases watch for the first time) every episode of the second season.

And the verdict?  In the immortal words of Ed Grimley, “totally decent, I must say.”  John Barrowman still rocks.

With that out of the way, I’ll add that the show is also showing troubling signs of flaming out after the upcoming mini-series. Series Two had at least one genuinely terrible episode (“From Out of the Rain”) and a few marginal ones (“Something Borrowed,” “To The Last Man”).

Unlike Doctor Who, Torchwood doesn’t have a multi-decade reserve of goodwill and nostalgia to fall back on.  Unlike Buffy, Captain Jack isn’t a teenager whose adolescent angst can be mined for a season’s worth of new story arcs.

Here are five things we’d like to see more (and less) of in the Series 3 mini-series that would improve the prospects for the show to live on.

1)  More Martha Jones. Yeah yeah yeah, I know Freema Agyeman is committed to do Law and Order UK (apparently with Lee Adama).  But seriously, she carried the middle part of Series 2.  She’s smart.  She’s sexy.  She knows her way around an end-of-the-universe scenario.  How BBC can’t work this out is beyond me.

2) More sex.  For a show that was supposed to combine Doctor Who and sex, lately there hasn’t been very much of the latter.  Honestly, Captain Jack talks a good game and he smooched James Marsters, but Series 2 showed him to be a pretty sedate monogamist.  Sure, he gets it on in the office, but so did George Costanza.  On top of that, they killed off the two most sexually active Torchwood team members (Owen and Tosh).  We really need to get back to the good old-fashioned interspecies deviant sex plots.

3) Less talk, more action.  At its heart, Torchwood is an action show.  Like Doctor Who, the show works best when the characters are racing to save the world from that week’s big bad (preferably with Martha Jones and having some sex along the way).  In the context of some crisply plotted action, the audience appreciates some character development.  Too often, though, the show grinds to a halt to accommodate some angsty overacting from one of the principals.

4) More Victorian Torchwood.  This may not apply to this mini-series, but I loved Captain Jack as the alien-hunter for hire at the turn of the last century.  I’m guessing they already have a Jack the Ripper script ready to go.

5) Strong New Team Members.  To live on, the classic shows (like Doctor Who and Buffy) need to have the ability to introduce new characters and make you care about them (or at least have a strong opinion).   Alternately, shows like BSG have large ensembles that allow characters and storylines to step up or fade back as necessary.  A three-person Torchwood isn’t going to cut it for the long haul.

MORE ABOUT: Torchwood

Comments (6)

Links to this Post

  1. links for 2008-09-09 « Unisyc. | September 9, 2008
  1. Nina

    Disagree on the Martha Jones, Less Talk and New Team Members bits. It’s only 5 epidodes next season, let’s do a bit more fleshing out of the principals, first please . . . and by fleshing out, I mean SEEING more flesh. Enough with Rhys’ bare butt…twice…how about John’s and/or Gareth’s, preferably in the same scene! AND what happened to all the swearing from season 1?
    I ADORE this show but the adult nature does seem to have been turned down to simmer for the second series.

  2. Captain Jack Sparrow

    that’s right Nina, there has to be swearing for it to be an adult show


  3. Nina

    No, Captain J Sparrow, there doesn’t HAVE to be swearing for it to be an adult show. Perhaps I’m misreading, but it seems from your “face_plain” that you think I’m a bit of an arse.

    It just seems to me, in reality when tense, highly charged situations occur, they are often accompanied naturally by some colorful use of language befitting the drama. It’s one of the things that sets TORCHWOOD apart from the other network shows that air here in the US on other than the premium pay channels like Showtime.

    All I’m saying is that in season 1, particularly, it was refreshing to see TORCHWOOD and BBCA not shy away from adding that little extra bit of realism and not cave to the puritanical values we’ve come to expect from most American television shows.

  4. T. Archie

    Martha is always an asset (she has a great butt). Seriously, I agree with the author, why can’t the BBC work it out with Freema Agyeman regarding Torchwood? Actually, I’d like to see her back doing Doctor Who as Martha and the Doctor were dynamite together, and they have plenty of unfinished business. Yet I like Freema’s style and not letting the dust settle and waiting for BBC to offer her anything. Freema went out into the world and found herself another gig, you go girl. Freema did a great job as Martha and if the BBC doesn’t appreciate it, then they can obviously see that ITV and Law and Order does appreciate Freema’s great talent.

  5. Very interesting post – Might be old new, but it was new to me. Thanks.


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