THIS BLOG WILL CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS FOR TORCHWOOD: CHILDREN OF EARTH. IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN IT AND DON'T WANT TO RUIN THE EXPERIENCE DO NOT CONTINUE READING. GO AND WATCH IT NOW. IT'S ON BBC IPLAYER. (IF YOU'RE IN THE STATES OR ANOTHER COUNTRY THAT CAN'T ACCESS IPLAYER PLEASE IGNORE THIS BLOG AND WAIT TILL YOU'VE WATCHED THE SHOW.)
Okay, still taking a break from the poems for a mo. Just wanted to get this out while I'm feeling it.
I last posted on Thursday after a very emotional response to the 4th episode of Torchwood. I was actually concerned that after such a deeply affecting episode the final episode wouldn't live up to it. So I took a break, spent the weekend with friends and avoided Torchwood and Twitter (being very aware that it seems to have become a haven for spoiler-mongers!)
I have just watched the final episode on I-player and stand by my previous views.
This was possibly the most brilliant piece of television that I have seen in years.
The basic concept underlying the series - the world's children in danger - was truly inspired. When you watch a tv show that is meant to be tense, dramatic and shocking, the natural instict is usually to endanger the main characters. To provide the audience with a person or persons that they can get to know, connect with and then place that character in danger.
Torchwood have managed to hit on a far deeper concern that can be shared by any audience member, young or old, seasoned fan or first time viewer. Our children are without a doubt the most important thing in this world (and I'm speaking as a single woman with no children and no immediate plans for any!)
Following the huge twists and turns witnessed in the initial 4 episodes, the finale kept me on the edge of my seat, completely absorbed and truly scared. I have long been a fan of Joss Whedon's because of the fact that you cannot always expect a happy ending. Torchwood managed this brilliantly. I honestly thought there was no hope. That millions of children would be taken to a fate far worse than death. And I can't remember a time when I have been so scared and hurt for something that I knew was fictional.
The actors gave some amazing performances. I would particularly like to mention Peter Capaldi - I cannot believe that I'm even writing this but I completely felt for Frobisher and his final decision to kill his family rather than let them suffer what seemed completely inescapable. I actually thought to myself that were I in his position I would do exactly the same thing. For something as simple as a television show, a piece of 'entertainment', to make you think about such horrific dilemmas and to make you discover a part of yourself that you've never considered - that is such a powerful thing.
The direction of Euros Lyn was brilliant. Keeping such an exceptional level of tension throughout that my neck muscles are actually aching from being tensed for the last hour!
But mostly I would like to talk about the writers.
Russell T. Davies, John Fay and James Moran.
I have had mixed opinions of Russell T. Davies' abilities as a writer for some time now. I thought Queer as Folk and Casanova were excellent stories, controversial, modern, challenging and exciting. Then I watched Bob and Rose and was extremely disappointed. My views of Doctor Who are mixed. Some stories strike me as unusual, exciting and most importantly, they question and explore the basic concepts of time and space that are the core of Doctor Who (for me at least). Other storylines have seemed self-serving, shallow and in some cases clear examples of 'phoning it in'.
With Torchwood: Children of Earth (Hereon CoE) I can find no fault. This was a brave, challanging story that pushed all boundaries, broke many rules and ultimately, kept me glued to my seat, loving and hating the visceral experience I was receiving.
I would also like to specifically address James Moran's involvement from the more public forum.
All of the writer's did a superb job, however James Moran is, to my knowledge, the only one of the three who is widely accessible with an incredibly open online presence. I have been following him on 'Twitter' for several months now and have found his posts and his blog - found here: http://jamesmoran.blogspot.com/ to be amusing, engaging and interesting. He is very vocal on the day to day life of a working writer, providing insight into the processes many of us take for granted.
As the most accessible member of the writing team, naturally many fans who have been majorly affected by this brilliant show turned to James to comment on their feelings following the airing of each episode.
I am very thankful that technology has advanced to a point where we are able to communicate with people whom we admire. But in the wake of CoE I have been greatly saddened by the realisation that not everyone is as appreciative of the privilage that this communication is.
While there was, in James' own words "over a thousand messages from viewers talking about the show. The vast majority have been extremely positive." there was also a number of extremely negative, abusive, personal messages sent to him.
One of the reasons that I left the online Harry Potter fandom several years ago was the number of immature comments that would be put forth in discussions. Many of these messages were (as far as I could tell) posted by younger fans, in their early teens. I excused this behaviour as a sign of immaturity and inexperience, convincing myself that they would grow out of it.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I read some of the more negative messages on Twitter and discovered that they were written by people my age and older! (I'm in my mid-twenties.
While I doubt any of these type of people would read my blog. I would like to say this anyway, just to get it off my chest.
If you are incapable of seperating reality from fiction, then you should stick to watching shows like Big Brother. They were designed for people who feel it is acceptable to abuse others for no reason other than that you dislike their opinion on something.
Grown men and women should not harass and insult people like James Moran, who open a window into their lives, views and experiences. This is exactly the sort of behaviour that gives people a negative view of the internet. And worse, it is the kind of behaviour that gives people a negative view of fans.
Science Fiction has often been held up by the media as a sanctuary for geeks, freaks and wierdos. Those of us who are sci-fi fans are well aware that this is complete rubbish. Attacking writers does not do the fandom any favours. We are not nutters. We are not incapable of understanding that what is happening in that little box in the front room is NOT REAL. I have found that any writers I speak with are happy to argue points and trade views. But it has to be relevant.
To be honest, I could continue to rant about this for a while, but I'm tired and frankly, I think that James Moran has said what I'm trying to say in a much better way (which is why he gets paid to write and I crunch numbers all day!)
Please read James' Blog http://jamesmoran.blogspot.com/ and this goes out to everyone - when you post to people online - not just celebrities, everyone online. Think how you would feel if you received that post yourself. Remeber that just because it looks like you're communicating with a bunch of words, behind those words is a real person, with real feelings.
Anyway, on that note, I'm off to bed. Hopefully to a nice dreamless sleep for once!
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