Now that the episode has aired in the US, Australia and Canada and the UK people want to talk about it. They want open discussion but I still don't want to post something that could spoil anyone that hasn't seen it yet. Through the magic of the "Read More" button on this blog I can now say my peace without people accidentally reading something scrolling the main blog page. So if you're open to my spoil-tacular thoughts click that "Read More" link...right there...in the bottom right corner of this pre-blog message...
Read part 2 Torchwood "The New World" - A Celebration!
Working on this site I get to know a lot of fans. I talk to you guy, mostly on twitter, and I get to hear your complaints and praises. Let's face it, Sci-Fi fans are a very vocal group so even if you're not searching it's hard to miss the fan reaction. I feel like the best way for me to express my thoughts is to first address the main concerns I've heard so let's break them down:
"It's been Americanized"
Best to get this one out of the way first. This was the main worry from fans before they saw it and some seem still bothered now that it's aired. So, has Torchwood been Americanized? Yes. Is it a negative thing? I don't think so. I've now watched this episode 14-times and from the first viewing it felt like American TV. It felt that way not because it was overly sexual or action packed but because of the look of the show. The bottom line is that American shows have a bigger budget and now so does Torchwood. The big American change comes down to the big American budget. But that's a benefit to the show. Nothing about the new improvements, cosmetic changes, take away from the things that make Torchwood the show we love. It's still our old favorite pair of boots, they've just been shined.
"But it's so American"
This is actually a different issue that a friend of mine mentioned. It's less about the American influence and more about the American content. The fact that Torchwood is being taken to the US and most of the lead actors are American (or American sounding, we all know John and Jack are a lot more complicated than all that). People want the inherent Welshness that is the norm of Torchwood series past. I'm a bit of two minds on this issue. Part of me, the emotional attached side of me, wants things to stay the same. I want Welsh accents all over, I want to see Welsh locations and I want UK specific references that I sometimes have to look up. Why fix something that isn't broken? Another side, the logical side, knows that it's not necessarily a bad thing. As with any changes to familiar things it's scary, but not an absolute recipe for disaster. Things change, shows evolve but there are usually reasons. A lot of times the change ends up being a good one. I think we need to see where this one takes us.
"The timeline doesn't quite work"
This is something specific to existing fans of the series. It's always been sort of unclear what the timeline of Torchwood is between Children of Earth and Miracle Day. The best answer we got was "some time has passed". I think answers to questions about this have remained purposely vague because they wanted to fudge the figures. As far as I can tell this series and the previous one are meant to take place at present day, the dates they aired roughly. Generally with shows I assume that unless otherwise noted.
Let's work this out with a little fan math.
Children of Earth aired in July 2009, exactly 2 years ago. At the start of that series Gwen was 3 weeks pregnant. At the end of the series we flash forward six months so while it was July 2009 in real life, the show had progressed to January 2010 with Gwen being almost 7 months pregnant. Figure in 2 months more of pregnancy and we get to Anwen's birth around March 2010. To catch up to present day baby Anwen would have to be about 16 months old. I don't know for a fact but she seems quite a bit younger than that. The creators probably wanted to have Miracle Day set now but they wanted to keep Anwen younger. It's not a big deal really, fiction fiddles with the ages of children to suit stories all the time. It's safe to assume Miracle Day is going on around July 2011.
"Needs more Jack"
This is definitely something I can relate to, but you have to consider the source. I love John Barrowman enough that I am half of a fan site dedicated to him. I think the world as a whole needs more Jack and John Barrowman, so of course I wanted to see him more in this episode. I did notice he didn't get his usual amount of screen time, but, I don't think there was too little Jack, not really. Hear me out...read me out? Anyway, this episode was a set-up for the rest of the series. It was about the American cast as well as new viewers discovering the secret Torchwood. To that end, it made sense that Jack was mysterious and scarce. Eventually the show will become about him and his new Torchwood team, but the first episode really had to be told from this point of view to make it accessible. In the same way the first episode of Torchwood series 1 was about Gwen unraveling the mystery, this series opener had to act as an introduction to Torchwood. First episodes are hard to pull off, a lot of story to prepare while keeping it entertaining, all things considered even without as much Jack as I'm accustomed to, they did a great job.
"Jack is Mortal"
WOW, talk about over-reaction of the century! I feel like taking all the fans and shaking some sense into them. As soon as this spoiler leaked people started to assume the worst. Jack being mortal automatically lead people to the following two conclusions: Jack would never be the Face of Boe and Jack would die (for good). Why are we making this jump? What an unnecessarily pessimistic leap! I get that part of the idea of making Jack mortal is to scare the fans, to make us worry about Jack now that he's not a fixed point, but calm down friends. I wonder if the reason we've come to expect the worst case scenario is because we're used to character deaths and unhappy "Torturewood" endings.
I always say there is little use in letting speculation get you down and I stand by that. Wait to see what happens and if you don't like the end result, then be upset. In this instance we should forget the trends of the past, this is a whole new Torchwood (well you know what I mean) with a whole new set of rules. Just because Russell T Davies isn't afraid to kill characters doesn't mean he's going to. I doubt if there is a death quota he aims to meet each series. And even if there was, there are plenty of new characters to kill. I reckon that by the end of this series everyone who was "saved" by the miracle will die anyway, certainly that will sate RTDs blood lust.
Let me say this now. You can quote me:
I DON'T FOR A SECOND BELIEVE THAT THEY WON'T REVERSE THE MIRACLE OR THAT THEY WILL KILL JACK WITH ANY SORT OF PERMANENCY.
The miracle is the thing of the series, it will be resolved one way or another by the end. As much as "Torturewood" likes bittersweet endings, I doubt if they would go so far as to end the series with the human race falling to pieces beyond saving. It's gonna be fine, the miracle will resolve, Jack will be a fixed point, Boe is back in the picture.
As for killing Jack, at worst they'll kill him mid-series and he'll resurrect by the end. AT WORST. So what if he's mortal? People live through there mortality every day! Even in high risk jobs. As far as Jack of the future is concerned, being alive, probably the Face of Boe, don't count it out. Seriously, it'll be OK. Why would they eliminate the main lure of the series? Not to say that there aren't other great aspects, but Torchwood started because of Jack and Jack's fans are the majority of the viewers. He'll be fine.
I am going to stop this blog here so it doesn't get too lengthy. Please feel free to read part 2 Torchwood "The New World" - A Celebration! for my thought's about what made this episode great. xx
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