The title of this article is one of the best descriptions (shamelessly nicked from Harsin’s post over on The DVD Forums!) of Russell T Davies‘ Doctor Who spin-off I’ve heard so far. After months hype and anticipation, Torchwood, is finally with us and it looks like good old Russell has scored a bit of an own goal. You see, it’s just not very good.
The publicity machine has been in action for a while - various descriptions have been thrown about by the cast and crew. “X-Files meets This Life“, “adult sci-fi” and “Doctor Who with sex” they said - unfortunately none of these really stick. It’s patently NOT Doctor Who and while it has sex, it’s not really sci-fi either and it certainly doesn’t hold a candle to anything like The X Files or This Life. The scripts are terrible and the series has not one ounce of originality borrowing from anything you care to think of. RTD was a big fan of Buffy and here he tries to replicate the success of Angel in developing a more grown-up spin-off from a successful show - but in the case of Torchwood it hasn’t worked.
If it wasn’t for it’s Doctor Who links, not only would it never have been green-lit, no-one would be talking about it now. However, it seems that Russell can do no wrong and the UK media continues to fawn over him as some sort of media genius. We KNOW he can do good adult TV thanks to things such as Queer as Folk, Second Coming and even Casanova, but he seems to have lost the plot. Doctor Who needs the light touch to appeal to a family audience and it works wonderfully, but Torchwood doesn’t and yet we still seem to be getting child-friendly stories with some gratuitous bonking and a few fucks and shits thrown in to justify it’s post-watershed existence. Calling this adult television is insulting to those that were hoping the UK would for once have some intelligent, non-diluted and thought-provoking science fiction to rival anything the US can offer. Instead we have this mishmash of ideas that doesn’t know if it wants to be a comedy, drama, thriller or some seedy sex-obsessed late-night junk.