Sunday, April 06, 2008

A Burning Question

Honeycomb big, yeah yeah yeah!So this weekend, as I waited in tense anticipation for the season premiere of Doctor Who (which, by the way, rocked--more on that later), I decided I'd start watching the new season of Torchwood, since I've heard good things about it.

I've caught the occasional episode of the first season on BBC America, but I've never gone out of my way to watch it (though it's next up in my Netflix queue). I know the show isn't exactly popular among Whovians for its blatant attempts at being "adult," but it's managed to hold my interest more than most of the comparable American programs.

Anyway, I just finished the fourth episode, and it left me with a bit of confusion: Torchwood began as a super-secret organization, that much I get. But over the last couple of years, it seems like it's become more well-known. More than once even in this season, people (police and civilians) have referred to Torchwood as though it's a part of everyday life. And why not? For three consecutive Christmases, London has been the hub of some kind of alien invasion or spaceship-related event, not to mention the ghosts, the Cyberman invasion, the mannequin attack, and the occasional mad scientist turned into a giant bug. Londoners are familiar enough with extraterrestrials and the paranormal that they've started to plan their holidays around them.

So why in the world is secrecy so important to Torchwood? The "Men in Black" logic doesn't apply here--the general public already knows about aliens, and they've been strangely calm about the whole situation (that's the British for you, I guess). So why (Spoilers, highlight to see) is Jack so adamant that Rhys forget what he knows about Torchwood? I mean, he relents eventually, but why does he even care? Torchwood isn't a secret, aliens aren't a secret, and it's not as though there's even a huge danger if the details of the day's events got out. So what's with their secrecy?

Incidentally, I think I'm finally getting a bit of that Rose Tyler fatigue that the other Whovians have been joking/complaining about. I think I largely avoided it by watching the whole series all smushed together, as opposed to seeing it over the course of three years, and I like that the Doctor doesn't just dump people and leave without ever mentioning them again. I keep wanting to say "I wish he wasn't always pining for someone," but that's really the theme of the new series, isn't it? The Doctor puts on a goofy smile to cover up the loss and pain and fire that burns at the center of him. The recurring theme of the series is that whatever he touches, he destroys (or changes irrevocably)--Gallifrey, Rose, Martha, Madame de Bouffant, Astrid Peth, LINDA, Donna, Sarah Jane, etc.--and losing that would mean losing the emotional center of the series. But it would be nice to see the series move on, even if the Doctor has trouble doing so.

Incidentally, if the rumors are true, and this is building toward some climactic finale involving as many of the past companions as is physically possible, then I welcome all the guest stars who could possibly show up. But after that, I really hope we can get a single, regular companion for awhile.


Erin Palette said...

One of these days, I plan to write a blog post titled "Dear Torchwood: I love you, but stop being such a slut."

I can't answer your question, though. If I had to guess, I'd say it's the difference between people suspecting there is an anti-alien agency, and *knowing*.

Sort of like... well, you know the military has a plan for everything, right? Because that's what militaries do, they plan for stuff that you hope never happens.

I *guarantee* you that the US Army, Navy, and Air Force have at least one plan for how to defend against extraterrestrial invasion. I don't know how good or realistic it is, but I'm dead certain they have it. I can't prove it, though.

However, if a credible source leaked to a credible journalist that "Ultragreen" is a contingency plan for the evacuation and subsequent nuking of US population centers in the event of alien invasion, people would have a shitfit.

Mella said...

Marco M.

Anthony Strand said...

Speaking of companions returning, for some reason I really want to see Ian Chesterton show up on the new series. But every time I try to think of things they could do with him, it's always a less interesting version of "School Reunion".