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Silver Fic
... giving Ianto the key to Jack's happiness since 2009
My review of CoE ... 
9th-Oct-2009 10:23 am
Okay, I posted this review on play.com (it's not been published yet) of Children of Earth and thought that maybe you'd like to read it *shrugs*. I've tried to keep it honest and put some positives in there (okay, I managed one) and also tried to keep it impartial. Note the 'tried' part of that sentence.


Anyways, here goes:



SPOLERS!


Okay, I was really excited by the release of this third series, and got nothing but five days of disappointment. The entire thing felt strange within the Torchwood canon, and if anything the plot was written first, and then Torchwood was shoe-horned in later. I mean: what did Torchwood actually do? They spent most of the time in a warehouse watching a video feed - and when they did get involved, they made themselves look like complete idiots and got one of their team (the only one left that was likable after what they did to Captain Jack this series and the way Gwen was written pretty much throughout the show) killed!

You watch this expecting a good, science-fiction adventure and what you get is a melodramatic political drama with an alien in a tank that likes to screech a lot, with a touch of Torchwood thrown in as a vehicle to get people to care about the story. They do show us some background on Jack and Ianto, though all we really learn is that Jack is a heartless git (I believe they used the phrase "serious character development" to explain this) and we all have the rug pulled out from under our feet when we discover everything we've learnt about Ianto so far is a complete lie and no one knew him at all.

To be honest, I'm not sure what 'Children of Earth' was really trying to tell us. You get a bit of "drugs are bad" mixed with "politicians are just as bad" and there's even the feeling that "everything you ever love will either leave you or die as a result of your own actions". Add in to the mix that they branded Ianto Jones with a lambda (an international symbol of gay pride) on his cheek, the suggestion that homosexuality has its own unique scent and Jack being uncharacteristically bastardish to the man he apparently loves before carelessly getting him killed by a mysterious and incurable virus, and you can't help but wonder if there's an underlying theme of "don't be gay - you'll end up being killed by a terrible illness and no one will love you". I don't care if Russell T. Davies is gay, he can't get away with that kind of thing on a 'double standards' card.

The plot holes are massive and infuriating - with viruses released from air tight tanks and the apparent ability for childrens' voices to travel in space (that's right - apparently sound can move through space!) as well as vast continuity, science and what I can only describe as 'common sense' errors and it's almost like they didn't really think this Amazing Piece of Television through at all. The underlying themes of sacrifice are totally cancelled out by the fact that, once again, PC Gwen Cooper remains pretty much untouched by the entire proceedings and a lot of the plot loses credibility for the mere fact she's becoming - in the words of the fans - a 'Mary Sue'. You can't help but agree. She doesn't so much as break a nail or scuff her expensive boots throughout the entire thing, and it jars the story - especially when other characters have been killed off with almost gleeful abandon.

There is also the issue of where Torchwood was at when the series ended: basically, they were no where. Gwen is pregnant (somehow, she managed to acquire a womb of steel and not miscarry during the emotional and physical trauma of 'Children of Earth'), Jack is completely broken and back to where he started from before he met the Doctor; Ianto, Tosh and Owen are all dead within five episodes and lord knows who the new team is going to be. Lois was very nervous and bumbling; Johnson was far too trigger happy. While Jack has his moments, at least he goes for kneecaps rather than brains.

So yes: You'll probably like this if you're a fan of Gwen Cooper, hate gays - or maybe just don't mind lazy, sloppy writing.
Comments 
9th-Oct-2009 07:59 am (UTC)
I completely agree with everything you said. I actually got BORED watching COE (when I watched it the first time). There was just too much drama! I did like how Ianto was being revealing but it felt very pathetic. I mean, I would have ENJOYED Ianto being revealing and all (if he hadn't died) but Jack was just SO MEAN and unkind to the person he apparently loves. UGH! Even GDL wants Ianto to be brought back (not right away but some time in the next season). Plus, there were TONS of plot holes; I could spot some of them a mile away.
9th-Oct-2009 09:38 am (UTC)
You rock.
Seriously, all this is so, so right.
x
9th-Oct-2009 10:09 am (UTC)
Perfect! But I'm not entirely sure about impartial.
9th-Oct-2009 10:55 am (UTC)
I totally agree!!! *nod, nod*


But what annoyed me the most, except Ianto dying and Gwen being a ****, was the fact that NO ONE thought of the possibility of killing the Alien... no one.... (at the early stages of the five part season) <_<''' I mean... come on! That's what Torchwood do... kill Aliens... *shakes head* And I mean, the excuse of not killing it is pretty lame when the Alien is killing off people here and there, and making demands like 10% of the children... It's already a war, damn it!! (why not kill i before everything went out of hand... just pull the plugg to the tank or whatever) And us humans being so powerless and cowards... me didn't like THAT at all... we are a fighting race... just look at the world and you'll have a hundred examples... *glare at RTD* *cough* Sorry... I just had to went a little... *blush*

Edited at 2009-10-09 11:06 am (UTC)
9th-Oct-2009 11:56 am (UTC)
Very impressed with your review- actually, it's everything that I've wanted to write to the BBC, but haven't as I couldn't get my writing not to sound completely hostile. I hope you post it to the savecoffeeboy comm. I'm sure they could use it. I'd quote it the next time I send something. It's really great.

You've got a great talent for words. Rockstar level.
9th-Oct-2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
I can only bring it home to RTD's incredibly, pointlessly dark vision. And when I say "vision" I don't mean that uniquely lucid image of a future that our Master will lead us to. I mean the Master ate something that didn't agree with him and then unfortunately decided to commit the resulting nightmares to paper.

I've read lately that he's now planning to take Dr. Who in a darker direction. Hey, Rusty! If I want darker I can pick up a newspaper. I can check out my bank balance. I can open my eyes next time I'm standing on the bathroom scale. What I want from you is entertainment and you've delivered precious little of that lately!

Meanwhile, the creativity of fandom is amazing. Every day I'm reminded of the wonderful things the characters can do at the hands of those who truly like them.
9th-Oct-2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
RTD isn't in charge of Who anymore.

What got to me (and there were several things that did) was one, the entirely pointless revelation that Ianto had lied about his past for no apparent reason, and the red shirt nature of the cast. Killing him so soon after Tosh and Owen wasn't a blow like their deaths were - it just told me that I shouldn't bother to care about the characters because in the end they all die.
9th-Oct-2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
I totally agree with this. Though, I did like Days 1-3 for the most part, especially for the Ianto moments. But if this was to try and endear Gwen to the fans, all it did was cause a lot more dislike for her.
9th-Oct-2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Well said, m'dear.
9th-Oct-2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
I have to agree with you. Where I'm living day four just aired two days ago and I'm not too sure if I want to watch day five. Seems it's not really getting any better.
CoE might be an okay drama-mini-series with a lot of criticism for politics but I still don't get what it has to do with TW. I was very happy with the "monster-of-the-week" episodes of Season 1 and 2 but CoE really got boring from time to time and I have trouble following the plot. I really missed the funny moments, the snarky comments and the scenes that just make me smile (or smirk) which were some of the reasons I really liked TW.

I have to admit I'm a little biased because I really like Ianto and I read spoilers before CoE aired here (and let's be honest, if you have internet and read a bit it is impossible to avoid them. At least for me!) but I was willing to give it a fair chance. I was disappointed. And I'm really clueless on how they are going to to make a fourth season of TW when all they have left are the two main characters (I refer to Gwen as a "main character" since we got introduced into TW through her eyes, luckily every member of TW got "their own episodes" in Season 1 and 2). As far as I know the hub is gone, the SUV is gone, the rest of the team is gone (and from where I'm watching there is still one episode to go, so some more time for other things to go, too).

So now I'll go and eat a bit of chocolate (preferably dark) and watch some episodes of season 2 since my dvds arrived last week.

I'm sorry I spammed your comments, but I felt like I had to wholeheartedly agree with you!
9th-Oct-2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Just wanted to say, I totally agree with the review and this post. The humour and lovable characters, along with the wonderful set were what made me love TW (oh, and the Janto action too, of course!) CoE didn't feel like TW at all. It was like watching a slow car crash and everyone seemed to be OOC. After watching Days 4 and 5 in one evening, I had an almost overwhelming compulsion to snap my DVD in half so I could never watch it again. I didn't, but I still haven't watched it again.

I never watched TW for dark drama, I watched it for sexy, comic, sci-fi action. That and Ianto Jones...
9th-Oct-2009 04:38 pm (UTC)
Hello,
I've been lurking about enjoying your Silver verse, and I just wanted to pop in with a comment.

My personal opinion is that COE was just used as way to make Gwen the "star". Rip Jack's character to shreds, destroy Ianto's character (homosexual stuff, lying, and the general out of character actions) and kill him and of course we're not suppose to like them anymore, we're suppose to LOVE Gwen because she's perfect. I mean she's perfect. *roll eyes*

Anyways that's what I think COE was all about.
9th-Oct-2009 07:12 pm (UTC)
definitely an accurate and honest review.
putting aside the "gay phobia" thing, this was not the adventure series i was struck on the first time i saw torchwood.

it is as you said, once the plot for each day was ready they simply tried to fit it in.

one of the problems was that they had different writers for each episode and somehow they could not pull it together. you could say that fans were mislead into something we were offered with lies, and got nothing but a bad show, poor development of the so promised serious relationship of jack and ianto, and no real firm ground to start with a new season.

to think torchwood got me in the first place because treated "adult themes" along with good sci-fi without being too controversial but seriously a promising show that could last for years and years...
9th-Oct-2009 09:42 pm (UTC)
Good review, your points are valid and I agree with most, but I only really have one crit- and that is the Gwen!Bashing.

Granted we're all angry that she got let off so very lightly in the abomination that was COE... but your last comment sort of suggests that to like Gwen you then must hate Janto... I adore Janto, but also love 'Gwen' especially since I've met Eve Myles in person and chatted to her for a while- she's wonderful!

Sure 'Gwen' was irritating in series 1, but series 2 she grew in character and series 3, despite having the obvious elements of mary-sue and force-field covering (for which I blame RTD), she was rather good...

Just my thoughts xD
10th-Oct-2009 01:13 am (UTC)
I didn't suggest you had to love Gwen and hate Janto. They were 'or' options.

And I have no issues with Eve Myles (aside from one comment she made about 'mollycoddling' fans). I know she's probably a lovely person, but that doesn't change the way I feel about the character she plays. The issue I have with Gwen is that she's so bossy, stubborn, annoying and constantly on her high horse throughout the first two series - though I did quite like her until she started that affair with own. I didn't start actively disliking her until she drugged Rhys though - for me, for a simply 'flawed character' that was a step too far. Given the reasons she did it, it was technically abusive behaviour and I can't really identify with her at all.

I admit even I was beginning to find her bearable in CoE, but the fact she did come out of it unscathed did jar with the story - everybody lost something or was affected in some way, while she and Rhys were totally fine. She also insisted on making everything from day Four onwards all about her, and she was back to "annoying" status again.
10th-Oct-2009 12:42 am (UTC)
Well, I'd love to be able to disagree with you. You know, in that world where series three of Torchwood was actually Torchwood and all.

Sigh.
10th-Oct-2009 05:37 am (UTC)
Great review-- personally, I got bored watching it. It was like they dropped the Torchwood characters into a particularly tedious political drama.
And the whole 'poisonous gas from an airtight tank' still cracks me up. It's just so obvious...
10th-Oct-2009 09:12 am (UTC)
Wow! I think you hit all of the important points in this very concise critique of the train wreck that was CoE! There wasn't a single point I disagreed on. Excellent! And also, thankyou. It's nice to know there are others out there still reeling from the most disappointing TV series I've ever seen.
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