The 21st Century is when everything changes, and Dr. Moo is ready.
Torchwood is certainly an odd beast as far as television shows go. Week in, week out, would we get a good episode or a bad episode this week? You never really had any way of predicting which way it would go! One thing you can say is that it’s either going to be amazing or rubbish television, there’s no middle ground here.
With that in mind, join me as I celebrate the two extremes with the five worst and then five best episodes of this very uneven series.
FIVE OF THE WORST
5. End of Days
Plot: The rift goes haywire as people from all different periods of history start to come through, eventually building up to some of the worst CGI ever to hit our screens in the form of a giant demon stomping through Cardiff.
Why it’s the worst: Struggling from a lack of coherent storytelling, it fails to convince us that the Torchwood crew can get by without relying on blind luck as they all prove to be inept. Not to mention that the giant demon comes totally out of nowhere, mere months after Doctor Who did the same thing so much better in The Satan Pit. Ultimately though, End Of Days fails to do what all season finales should do – leave you wanting more – as by the time it’s over you’re actually pleased it’s finished.
4. From Out of the Rain
Plot: The people in some old film at a carnival come to life and start stalking the streets of Cardiff where they steal people’s breath for some reason.
Why it’s the worst: Because on paper it’s a brilliant idea. Sadly it falls short of the full potential of its premise. Maybe this is because it spends too much time building atmosphere and not enough on the story itself, maybe it’s because The Ghostmaker is a naff villain (especially considering he’s played by the definitive Davros, Julian Bleach). In truth it’s probably both. Ironically the good concept is never given the time to breath, and the result is a bit of a mess.
Plot: Jack discovers Ianto’s girlfriend Lisa is still alive despite being CyberConverted during the Canary Wharf incident and has been kept hidden in The Hub the entire time. Then she wakes up and attacks everyone.
Why it’s the worst: It suffers from a variety of issues. For starters, how has Ianto kept a Cyberwoman hidden in The Hub for so long undiscovered? While I’m at it, why wasn’t Lisa sucked into The Void with the other Cybermen? I guess the Doctor didn’t need to be separated from Rose after all! Also, isn’t Jack meant to be a competent leader? Because he’s not showing that here! And I’ve gone on about this episode so far without even mentioning the indescribably bad costume the Cyberwoman is wearing the entire time, and you know it’s bad if I can go on so long without mentioning that!
2. Day One
Plot: A gaseous alien possesses a young woman and proceeds to kill people by humping them to death and killing them by making them orgasm.
Why it’s the worst: Read that plot summary again. That’s why.
1. Miracle Day
Plot: Suddenly, for no apparent reason, nobody on Earth is able to die (except Jack Harkness who has the opposite effect). Before long this places human society on the brink of destruction and it falls to the combined efforts of Torchwood and the CIA to sort it out.
Why it’s the worst: In theory there’s a good story here but it has no reason to be ten episodes long. As a result we get pointless subplots introduced and swiftly dropped in order to justify the length, but it’s all-too-obvious that much of this is poorly disguised padding. All the destruction the immortality has apparently done to society is left unseen, breaking the rule of “show, don’t tell”. Worse still, all the Britishness that defined the series is absent and instead we get an Americanised interpretation that lacks the show’s charm. Then the ending reveals that the Earth is actually a giant vagina – and you thought the Moon being an egg was bad – before a stupid cliffhanger that comes out of nowhere and will now never be picked up on. An infamous quote from the miniseries sums itself up rather well: “Fizzy in the UK, flat in the US.” I’ve spoken at length before now about how easily the biggest problems with this series could have been fixed but the fact it wouldn’t have taken much effort to fix it only makes it that little bit more frustrating!
GIVE ME SOME GOOD EPISODES, QUICKLY!!!
Read my choices of the five best Torchwood installments here.
When he's not obsessing about Doctor Who whilst having I Am The
Doctor play in his head, Dr. Moo can usually be found reading up on the
latest in Quantum Physics. As you do when you're a physicist.