The Glass Teat


The Thin Blood Line or,

Where have you gone, Russell T, Russell T?

By Geoffrey Dow

Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

An unabashed (if often critical) fan of all things Doctor Who, Geoffrey Dow is writing about Torchwood: Miracle Day each week. Click here to for an overview and links to all the postings.

Torchwood: LOL Day. Apologies to Pink Floyd. Image manipulation by Geoffrey Dow.
Torchwood: LOL Day. Apologies to Pink Floyd.
Image manipulation by Geoffrey Dow.

I laughed.

At the moment of revelatory apotheosis, when Captain Jack Harkness raised his arms over his head like Christ on the cross to save the world ... I laughed.

Presumably this was not the reaction Russell T Davies or co-writer Jane Espenson were shooting for.

I laughed out loud, but it was the desperate bark of a man who knows the 10 hours he spent watching Torchwood: Miracle Day — and many more writing about it — are hours of life he can never have back.

This was 10 of amateurish, confused, unfocussed and amnesiac television that ought never have got past the proposal stage. How is it that nobody ever rapped Russell T Davies on the knuckles and shouted, "Hey, show-runner! Where's the story!?!"

This series was one of the very worst things I have ever watched. I can't remember seeing in one place so many dropped plot-lines, so many pointless characters or, in ostensible science fiction, so much half-assed world-building and ludicrously naive political commentary.

What were you thinking, Russell T, Russell T?

  • Why Oswald Danes, child-rapist and murder, as a central character? And if you had to have him, how could you forget his role as front-man for PhiCorp and/or Dark Messiah? A laptop courier and suicide bomber didn't need all that build-up;
  • PhiCorp. What the hell happened to PhiCorp? Introduced and developed as the corporate Bad Guy, it became an irrelevancy at series' mid-point, so why bother with it in the first place?
  • The Tea Party and the Tea Party lady. Remember The Tea Party lady? She was crushed in a car, along with any pretension the series had to being political commentary or satire;
  • Your completely impossible portrayal of he legal systems of the entire Western World;
  • "Day 61" of the new Great Depression. 'Nuff said;
  • Vera Juarez and the commentary on the American medical system. Remember her? Remember that? Neither do we;
  • Jack's Angel of love. Springing Angelo on us so late was bad enough; making him irrelevant in the very next episode was unforgivable;
  • The inanity of the central metaphor, Category Ones as stand-ins for victims in a new Holocaust. Since, after episode three or so, there was no discernible difference between a Category One and a dead person, why did you expect us to care that "the government" was burning their still-twitching bodies?

There's more, there is so much more — the unbelievable lack of security, anywhere; the garulous villains forever explaining their nefarious plans; how the only sign of the Great Depression is a shortage of junk food in one episode; Jilly Kitzinger as somehow important to anybody — but I can't stomach going on, any more than I can be bothered to give a blow-by-blow account of the final episode.

Suffice it to say that those who guessed Jack would save the day by making love to the Vagina of Doom were not quite right; it was Captain Jack's Magic Blood that would save the day.

His blood — and Rex's, as it turned out. Somehow, despite being the world's last mortal man, Jack still had the cojones to pump out an unending supply of the rest stuff, enough to give Rex a full transfusion. And so Rex too is now unable to die.

Never mind being a "fixed point in time", Jack's immortality is a blood-borne disease!.

It is a sad thing indeed to say of such an earnestly-intended 600 minutes of television that at its climax it ascended to the level of camp — but I laughed and I laughed and I laughed.

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