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Confession time: I know this is almost heresy, but I still can't shake off the feeling that MD might have been better (not that it isn't good; I loved the last episode and this one was also quite brilliant) without the connection to TW. It's just... every time they switch back to Wales, Rhys, Gwen's family, or sometimes even in the scenes with Jack and Gwen... somethings jars. Just a little bit, but it does. It doesn't feel quite natural to me. There's always the tiniest crack in the fourth wall. When Rex says that Torchwood treats the whole thing as a game, I thought that was quite symptomatic, because this dichotomy doesn't just exist on the Watsonian level, but also on the Doylist — they're trying to weld together two styles, two worlds... and IMO not only does the effort shows too much at least sometimes, but the result isn't quite satisfactory either. Maybe/probably/hopefully this is something that will be remedied in the remaining episodes, but what I think has been missing so far is some sort of genuine emotional bond between the 'old' and the 'new' characters. I loved the scene between Gwen and Esther in Dead of Night, but we need more like that. I'd especially like to see a scene between Jack and Rex that isn't some sort of stupid alpha dog pissing contest about who's giving the orders, and while I really need to rewatch the last three episodes, IIRC the most substantial interaction between Jack and Esther so far was in the first episode when he retconned her. It almost — almost — makes me wish TW had stayed dead after CoE, because the irony is that, on some level, apparently I want the new story, the new characters, more than another season of TW. It took me a couple of episodes to warm up to the American characters, but watching Escape to L.A. I suddenly caught myself thinking that I care about Esther and her sister quite a bit more than I care about Gwen and her father.


On the other hand, of course I do want Jack's story to go on, I loved his scenes in Dead of Night, and in any case the whole premise of MD depends on him, so this is all really a bit of a paradox.


Gah. I don't know; I'm so torn. I never expected this to happen.


(ETA: I might change my mind again about all of this once I rewatch the episodes. It's really only some kind of vague feeling that comes and goes and that I can't satisfactory put into words. In the end, it might just be me. Probably is.)

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
elisi
Jul. 30th, 2011 08:36 pm (UTC)
Gah. I don't know; I'm so torn. I never expected this to happen.
It's kinda funny, because it's pretty much *exactly* what I expected to happen. It's a good show, but it could be almost any show, and wouldn't be any the worse for it. Although I'm coming at it from a different angle... that is, it's just not my show anymore (see this post) - my emotional investment is almost non-existent. (I said in a recent post that it's a bit like watching through a duvet, and that's actually a pretty good description. All my emotions were clearly tied to Ianto.)

What I find interesting is that you (at least for now) feel the same way, since there seems to be quite a split between the 'S1-2 yay! Everything after that boo!' and the 'S1-2... eh dumb, CoE + MD yay!' - and there are a lot of people squeeing over MD. Makes me a bit sad that I can't.

(I hope I'm making sense, I'm so sleepy I can barely type.)
solitary_summer
Jul. 30th, 2011 10:04 pm (UTC)
I expected to maybe feel a bit blah about the new parts (and did, after the first episode); I didn't expect to like them better. *facepalm* Although that might change again once Jack's part of the story becomes more central, which it probably will, considering the recent turn of events... In any case, I thought ep. 3 was better balanced in the respect of ''old vs. new'.

It's such a weird in between state of things... Thematically, MD is absolutely connected to the earlier TW seasons as well as RTD's DW seasons. Stylistically, you can see where they try to make it fit, except IMO half of the time it doesn't really work. I don't know if I'm way off with this, but sometimes it even feels like JB and EM are still playing old school TW, with the humour, quirkiness and self-irony, while the American actors are much more straight-forward serious about it...

I'm also not that emotionally invested, but I think that might be partly due to all the analysing and meta writing I've done. The way I watch has changed massively over the last year or so; I think I've simply lost the knack of uncomplicated squee. Damn...
elisi
Jul. 31st, 2011 07:46 am (UTC)
V. quick question - have you listened to the radio plays yet?
solitary_summer
Jul. 31st, 2011 08:00 am (UTC)
Not yet, I haven't really had the time.
elisi
Jul. 31st, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
Won't spoil you then. Just two things: 1) They're 100% Old!skool Torchwood (the plots! oh the plots! *dies laughing*) and 2) They're ALL ABOUT DEATH! Really, it's quite ridiculous, and 3) The last one made me cry.

Anyway, am kinda rushed at the moment - will get back to you later today.

Edited at 2011-07-31 08:48 am (UTC)
tigercheetah
Jul. 31st, 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
The last radio play made virtually everyone go "OMG!OMG! I DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING' :)

As good as MD is - as a single piece of drama - the radio plays were a reminder of what's missing from new Torchwood.
elisi
Jul. 31st, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC)
I'm also not that emotionally invested, but I think that might be partly due to all the analysing and meta writing I've done.
Could be, but for me that's not it. I listened to the radio plays, and am in the process of putting the final touches to some meta which is nearing the 5000 word mark. Mostly because the last one (House of the Dead) was so completely crammed full of meta and fanservice that I've yet to recover. (It gave me closure. Two years I've been heartbroken, and now I am happy. ♥) Anyway, what I was trying to say is that outsize squee is generally what spurs me into writing meta... But it might very well be different for you.

The other thing, is that for me Ianto was Torchwood. And I sort of mean that literally. Torchwood (and Jack) was all he had. Gwen, otoh, kept her life outside TW - she had somewhere to go once it all collapsed, and whilst that is certainly a good thing, it makes her not completely Torchwood if that makes sense? I'm not putting her down, it's just that everyone else we ever saw was... devoured by their job? Every recruit was in some way screwed up (Alice, way back in 1899, was in some kind of correctional facility) - Gwen was the first one to be just normal. (I'm basically thinking on my feet here, bear with me.) I think what I'm saying is that even though in CoE the Hub was destroyed, the essence of Torchwood was still there thanks to Ianto. Of course Jack is, in many ways, Torchwood incarnate, but he's also other - 51st Century, American accent, has travelled the universe, immortal perspective. There's no one who is *just* Torchwood. And there is no physical place (the Hub, Torchwood Tower), to ground things either.

So, unless they go to Torchwood 2 (one creepy guy in Glasgow, was it?) or stumble across Torchwood 4, I don't know that the show can re-establish what it's lost.

(You don't mind rambling, right? Also I've not seen ep 4 yet, so not too many spoilers, thanks! *g*)
solitary_summer
Aug. 1st, 2011 08:54 pm (UTC)
Not at all! :)

And I really have to listen to the radio plays now, pretty much everyone seems to be pleased with them...

I think you're right, Ianto did on some level embody Torchwood, more than Jack, and not just because Jack has a different perspective and Torchwood is just a brief episode in a very long journey for him, but because Ianto for some reason believed in Torchwood, despite his experience with it. Perhaps because he was younger and not so disillusioned yet, perhaps because he had to believe in something to keep on going after Lisa... Jack, OTOH, was basically sitting on his suitcase in S1, S2 made it clear that he spent a largely unpleasant century in Torchwood, and actually made me wonder how he could still stand it there, and CoE once again emphasised that Torchwood was not a good place for him to be. No wonder he wanted it to remain buried in the first episode of MD. It's a strange situation, if you stop to think about it...
elisi
Aug. 1st, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
And I really have to listen to the radio plays now, pretty much everyone seems to be pleased with them...
Yes! Yes you do! :D *draws hearts*

because Ianto for some reason believed in Torchwood, despite his experience with it. Perhaps because he was younger and not so disillusioned yet, perhaps because he had to believe in something to keep on going after Lisa...
Ooooh that's a brilliant insight! I'm TOTALLY stealing it for my meta! (It ties in with all kind of things, oh yes it does precious.)

No wonder he wanted it to remain buried in the first episode of MD. It's a strange situation, if you stop to think about it...
*nods* During S2 (and until CoE) he definitely came back/stayed because of his team, and because he wanted to try to move on from his Doctor-obsession, but Torchwood... is just a brutal place, full stop. (I could go on at length, but I've got fic brewing - inspired by House of the Dead), so I won't natter on here about half-formed ideas. I need to poke them in private a bit more first. :)
tigercheetah
Jul. 31st, 2011 09:06 am (UTC)
The old/new elements do feel a bit disjointed, in that even though I'm enjoying MD as a drama in itself, it doesn't feel like Torchwood to me - more like another drama series where Jack, Gwen and Rhys are playing guest roles. Jack standing on an LA beach in his 1940's gear really didn't ring true for me.

I was just thinking yesterday that I'm not really bothered about whether Gwen's father dies or not because we haven't seen that much of him so far - or maybe it's just because after seeing so much death in Torchwood since the whole show began, I'm losing a bit of the empathy that I started out with. I've sat through the deaths of Ianto, Owen and Tosh, so why should I care about Gwen's father just because she's Torchwood's leading lady?

For me, I think the new series feels like a seperate show to the Torchwood we knew because it's lost that 'homely' feel that it used to have - from being set in the local area of Cardiff to having a proper base in the form of the Hub to Gwen being at home with Rhys more often. Even 'coffeeboy' Ianto brought a homely feel to the original team that CIA characters never could.
solitary_summer
Jul. 31st, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
more like another drama series where Jack, Gwen and Rhys are playing guest roles

This. I guess that feeling might change if/when Jack becomes more central to the story, or once the new team (if one can call it that) starts bonding, but right now that's how it feels to me, too. I also wonder if splitting the setting and emotional focus is going to work in the long run. The main part of the show is clearly going to play in the US — are viewers really going to care what happens to Gwen's family if she only ever interacts with them over the phone?

It's strange, because the thematic connections are so strong that I can't say it's not TW, but, yes, it does feel different, even from CoE.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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