The Blood Line

The Thin Blood Line or,

Where have you gone, Russell T, Russell T?

 

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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One of the most pointless and

One of the most pointless and worst things I have ever seen in the Doctor Who universe or Torchwood's. They screwed up the continuity of both universes by putting it during the Matt Smith doctor's time and yet Doctor Who never mentions Miracle Day as an occurrence during the Doctor, Amy & Rory's adventures. Starz used it as an excuse to DROWN the unfortunate viewers in endless gay sex porn and needlessly GRAPHIC violence to the point that it made me and my husband physically ILL to watch it. Yes, Jack is a very sexual creature, but they could have shown just the beginning of his encounters while they still had their clothes on, or in the act of disrobing and done a tasteful cut, but no, for some sick reason, Starz thinks this is what the average viewer wants to see. I'm sorry, but that's what pay-for-porn channels are for and if that's what Starz is, they should be listed as a porn channel.

Oswald Danes was a DISGUSTING character and it seemed pointless to make him out a child rapist/murderer. Why go that far? Was it to show how evil Phicorp was for hiring him? To make us hate the pharmaceutical industry any worse than the planet already hates them? The Category 1/Holocaust angle seemed to be lost in the rest of what was happening to humanity. It was brought in so late, it seemed to be little more than another thing to tick off in a laundry list of, "let's show all the horrible things that will happen to the planet if this happens" and it certainly was a helluva more important plot point than that! Oh and making Rex immortal? Way to go, rewarding the jerk of the series with immortality. Why didn’t they give that to a much more likeable character in the end, like Vera or Esther? Reward the good guys for once, don’t piss off your audience by making bad choices on who to save. Yes, in real life, good people die, but they also triumph. If I want to see bad guys win, I have real life for that. I don’t go looking for it in television.

And next time, don’t drag out who the bad guy is over more than half the series. I had no patience for waiting to find out who to hate and boo and neither does the rest of your audience. The story was so badly constructed, that they lost viewers when their favorite characters were killed off. And from the mountain of complaints I have seen over the internet about this series, it, like the laundry list of miracle day repercussions, is the least of your problems!

Davies (the creator) even managed to make me lose faith in Gwen’s character once I heard that she turned Jack in to get her family back and she and Jack were the only reason I was watching this pathetic excuse for a series in the first place. Russell T. Davies, you used to write good Doctor Who. You’ve let your fans down, you let potential fans of your work down and shown that you can’t write a decent series to save your life, which is INCREDIBLY sad since you had a team of supposed GOOD writers. Not even they could save you from yourself. I don’t know what happened between when you used to write GOOD stories for Doctor Who and now, but you seriously need to find another line of work because this SUCKED!

Re: One of the most pointless and

If you think the sex scenes were pornographic, you need to get out a little more often. I note you didn't get DISGUSTED by the nearly as explicit straight sex-scenes, and that what you call "endless" actually occupied only a few minutes out of 10 hours of screen time.

I agree the program was lousy, but not because I fantasize it was "drown(ing) ... in endless gay sex porn".

Seriously, your homophobia is showing and it's as at least as ugly as the topic under discussion.

Srisly

Thanks for coming down on that Kristine person. Ain't it funny how the bigotry always shows up as CAPTIAL LETTERS?

The straight sex scenes were

The straight sex scenes were also as bothersome in their graphicness. I am not a homophobe...many of my friends are gay. I'll amend that part of my post.

I have seen many TV shows

I have seen many TV shows come and go. I have seen shows where I never understood why they were canceled (Dark Angel for example), I have seen shows losing their "spark" over the seasons, guess everything gets boring at some point... But I have NEVER seen a show ruined like Torchwood. All the time I expected Aston Kutcher to jump out from behind a piece of set to shout: "Punked!" Because I couldn't believe that somebody really gave that pile of sh!te a green light. Where they thinking RTD and his folks are the pope or why did nobody bother to beta his scripts? Because there are not only enough dropped story lines etc in there to drive you nuts, there are also so many biological, medical and geographical errors in there, it makes you wonder if they hired a 6 year old as a ghost writer for them.
I will never give up the hope that Torchwood will return to what it once was, but for that it would need a totally new production crew, not to mentioned be back in the hands of the BBC. Starz is only after making a fast dollar with gore, big explosions and sex, they're not interested into good entertainment, the fact that they produced this big laugh makes that clear. If Torchwoods future looks like Miracle Day then I pray that I will never hear form the show I used to love so much again!

Re: I have seen many TV shows

Anything's possible, I guess, but I don't think I'd be willing to a first-viewer of any new Torchwood. I suspect the franchise has been ruined for me permanently.

Torchwood

But John Barrowman looked really good!

Re: Torchwood

I'll give you that, he's a handsome specimen. And he's putting on a pretty brave face about the program, to boot.

I have been waiting almost 24 hours for this!

Seriously, as I was watching it last night, I kept thinking, "when will Geoffrey put his review up?" That was the only thing that got me through one of the most painful episodes of television I have ever watched.

Things!

* You know, if they didn't want me to think Giant Space Vagina, they probably shouldn't have given Jack and Rex such ecstatic faces as blood ejaculated from their chest wounds into the gaping crevice.

* Oswald Danes. Why? I don't understand why this character was needed. At least Jilly was good-looking and there was some point to her being evil.

* The Family totally sucked. If I am going to have to wait nine episodes for the villains to even be shown on screen, they had better be awesome.

* This is a minor thing, but if they could get one person in to see Gwen's dad, why is it Rhys and not Gwen's mom?

* Practically none of the travelling back and forth across the pond turned out to be necessary.

* The villain lady's speech at the end was horrible. I'm sure if you already run the government, finance, and the media, there are more convenient ways of taking over the world than filling up a Giant Space Vagina that you just happened to find with the blood of an immortal that you just happened to find to make everyone in the world immortal in a totally crappy way.

* Jack's immortality was conferred by a TARDISized, Bad Wolfed Rose. It is not contagious. He insisted throughout the show that it has nothing to do with his blood. If there was any way it could be transferred on, would he not have figured it out in however thousand many years on the planet?

* Of all of the characters to turn immortal, it had to be annoying Rex? Now we're stuck with him forever. Well, probably not, as there's no way this will get picked up for another season.

* The glib discussions at Esther's funeral. Everyone sounded like a goddamned asshole.

* Jack's little speech to Oswald sounded like 13-year-old on fanfiction.net trying to write one of the Doctor's epic speeches.

* The BIG NOOOO at Esther's death.

* Catfight in the elevator! Fuck you, male gaze.

* Sad Girl Chinese lady. 'Nuff said.

* The blood transfusion was such a blatant asspull that emergency room doctors are still shaking their heads about how it got up there in the first place.

There were a few things that I liked:

* Being dead already, neither Tosh's nor Ianto's characters were ruined by being associated with this crap.

* Being somewhere else in the universe, the Doctor's character was not ruined by being associated with this crap.

* Um, Jilly's hair. I really like Jilly's hair.

I think that's all she wrote.

Re: I have been waiting almost 24 hours for this!

Seriously, as I was watching it last night, I kept thinking, "when will Geoffrey put his review up?" That was the only thing that got me through one of the most painful episodes of television I have ever watched.

Comments like that (almost) make it all worthwhile.

I still think Danes was there because Davies thought he had a great idea for the character in the early planning stages, and couldn't bear to take him out as things fell apart (for whatever reason that things fell apart — lord knows, I've heard that LA has it all over Cardiff in terms of distractions, animal, mineral and vegetable). Kind of like the death camp metaphor seemed like a good idea, and Jilly, and PhiCorp, and teh gay love affair, and, and, and ...

I'm sorry I missed pointing out the Sad (but Wise and also Greedy) Chinese Lady.

I kind of dug the catfight in the elevator, but then my gaze is male (though I didn't find it hot, just more intense then about anything since Gwen kicked ass on the first trip across the Atlantic. (Remember when Jack was poisoned? Remember when we still hoped something good might come of this fucking thing?)

Oi. I'm really very, very, tired. Did this week's Who give you Hegelian Angst? Inquiring minds are waiting to find out!

I still think Danes was there

I still think Danes was there because Davies thought he had a great idea for the character in the early planning stages

It took me a while to figure it out, but I think Danes was included as part of RTD's ongoing commentary criticism of mass media influence on public perception. (That theme's been there from the start of NuWho, TBH. Only everyone notices the religious metaphors more.) If the Families, via the media, could successfully convince the public to support and even idolize that vile piece of work, then the public could be convinced of anything. RTD's mistake was to include Oswald in the climax.

Re: I still think Danes was there

...think Danes was included as part of RTD's ongoing commentary criticism of mass media influence on public perception.

Well sure, I have little doubt that was the intention, it's the execution I have problems with. As it ended up on the screen, after 10 hours of ostensible drama, the "criticism" we're left with is that people are kinda stupid and will follow any flashy new thing they see on television.

Sorry, but I can get more sophisticated analysis by accosting any given 12 year-old on their way home from school, than I got from Miracle Day.

If the Families, via the media, could successfully convince the public to support and even idolize that vile piece of work, then the public could be convinced of anything.

I never for a second believed the adulation, any more than I believed in the legal technicality that got him out of jail or that I believed in his sudden switch from loved to "most hated man in the world".

Similarly, I didn't believe in the legislative processes, the stupidity of the characters or the lack of security at all those top-secret sites.

Long story short, I think you're reading-in what never made it to the screen. I suspect your right about what Davies intended, based on what he's done before, but it's only a guess, because there was "no there, there".

I totally loved the latest

I totally loved the latest episode of DW, in a Hegelian Angst kind of way. Like, yes, it upset me on a number of levels, but in the exact way I felt it was intended to upset me. Best episode this season.

Re: I totally loved the latest

Glad to hear it — are our tastes converging or something?

Meanwhile, I grew tired of dropping hints and looked up Hegelian angst. I learned something and am pleased to know your crowd used it correctly.

yes you nailed it

yes you nailed it

I lauhged too

Well, I was all *eyeroll* at Jack's cross pose; when Jack was shot and his blood came spurting out into the giant vagina, then I laughed. Serious failure of dramatic intent there. Some of my favourite bits of this one include: the bad guys allowing the team to pontificate and confer with each other across the world; the families believing that once they blow up the compounds the Blessing will be buried forever and can never be uncovered by any means known to man; everything with Oswald Danes (Aha! I have prepared in advance an expendable and very explodable person to act as a living bomb!).

Other stupid but less entertaining (for a certain value of) issues are questions like why the families felt ending death was a necessary step for setting up a new world order (there are less unconventional and simpler ways to topple existing regimes and collapse the world's economy), or how they got the idea of feeding the Blessing Jack's blood in the first place. Did they have enough of Jack's blood to fill a body twice over (it has to take all of his blood of course, this is drama)? Just thought they'd try hurling this immortal's blood they have lying around into this hole they dug up, from both ends, simultaneously? They had no idea what this hole is or what it could do, it could have killed everyone on the planet or turned us all into penguins. How could they know what would happen before they did it, and if they didn't how could they have prepared all those drugs? Or are we supposed to have forgotten about that by now? Oh, the stupid.

Re: I lauhged too

The way everyone (not just here) has latched on to, and laughed uproariously at, the "giant vagina", you've got to suspect that no one on the production team actually thought of it as that at all. Or maybe RTD is just right sick of the whole business and wanted to put it out of its misery.

No no no no, please don't

No no no no, please don't even go there, just reading all those very valuable questions makes me go bonkers about how none of this made ANY sense at all.

I start to think it might be best not to go further than thinking of the main plot of these 10 hours. Which is, basically, that the evil world controlling Families set all this up to... control the world.

Feels like a nice cosy infinite loop to me, preventing me from even asking any more questions.

ridiculous explains this whole season

Pretty much YES to this whole post. My reaction was the same. Nothing made sense and everything was ridiculous. And actually sister and I started laughing at the 'blood transfusion' scene and haven't stopped till end credits. Coz really, it was that or crying over the days I lost for this stupid season. I cannot fathom how the man who gave us CoE can manage to screw up so intensely. ): The whole thing just reads as one huge ass long boring intro into an actual story. Whatever Rusty, whatever.

Maybe because CoE was the

Maybe because CoE was the same crap-story full of plotholes, it just went on for five episodes and we still had the impression it was Torchwood.

BTW I totally agree that MD was idiocy after idiocy, nonsense after nonsense. I just feel sorry for Captain Jack/John Barrowman. I really love Jack and it annoyed me to no end to see a great character trashed, used, abused and annihilated in the way Jack was in MD (and in CoE too). But now if Steven Moffat wants him back to Who, he will need to do a great amount of clean sweep and damage repairs.

Thank goodness it's all over

Thank goodness it's all over is all I can say. (What do you mean it's not over yet?) Oh, damn it seems they haven't seen it in the UK yet. Oh well, a few more days and it will all be over and thank heavens for that. I hope we never again have to hear the names Rex Matheson and Esther whatever her name was. In fact I hope series 7 of Doctor Who opens with Jack Harkness waking up in the TARDIS and realising it's all a dream. Miracle Day played out as if the writers wrote all their ideas down on bits of paper, placed them in a bag and shook them up, then wrote it down in whatever order it came out. In fact, to be serious for a moment, it felt as if perhaps Russell T Davies wrote the beginning and the end on the back of an envelope and then lost interest, leaving the American writers flailing about in the writing room, bumping into each other and walking in to walls.

Amen

Thank goodness it's all over is all I can say.

Captain Jack waking up from a long nightmare would be far better than the knowledge we spent 10 hours watching this thing die its humiliating death.

Shitpile of godawful

Shitpile of godawful writing?
Major f*ck up?
Epic fail?
I just can't decide which one to choose. I'll be polite and settle with 'this might be the single most stupid thing I've ever seen' for now.

I keep thinking it (just!) might have been somewhat good if it had been a joke. A parody or something? But it wasn't, was it? This was truly meant to be taken seriously.

(Right? Just want to make sure.)

Like you, I laughed. Also, felt embarrassed, oddly enough, on behalf of the writers.

I've only been catching up with your recaps a few days ago. That was one fun evening - thank you for that. You were spot on. So I was waiting for your review in great anticipation. I would have so enjoyed a more detailed one but I can't blame you for not doing it. Just like you, I can't even begin to list all the things that were wrong with this. (Still might do some time. ;-))

If I had a wish today, I would wish that Russell T, his accompanied writers, the BBC salesmen for once appreciated TV shows and the Starzzzzzz buying agents of soon to be ruined TV Shows read your recaps.

JFC, this was beyond bad.

Re: Shitpile of godawful

I've seen some really bad American (and, maybe worse, Canadian!) sitcoms, so I hesitate to say it was the worst thing I've ever seen, but I'm hard-pressed to come up with a specific that beat it out in the awfulness sweepstakes.

It's the fact that it seems so clear that it wsn't a joke, of course, that makes it so terrible. I've read some of the blogs Jane Espenson has posted about the series and I have a hard time believing that she means what she says as she gushes about how good everything is.

But not many mothers can see their children as ugly, so maybe that's what's going on here.

Anyway, thanks for your kind words; it helps take away from my own pain.

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