Having seen a marathon run of the first season of Dr. Who (Eccleston) about a week ago on BBC America, I was really drawn to the character of Captain Jack Harkness. In addition, the endless promos of Torchwood, I really got my interested to check out this spinoff series. The question that has bugged me and not was answered in the first show was how did you get back to our time?
With any new series, there are certain setup in the premise and to establish who the characters are in a short amount of time. What kind of ticked me off was how the character of Suzie Costello was killed off in the first episode. For being the 2nd in command, there was no sense of loss as if to say, oh well – she was just another redshirt. For starters, the actress is Indira Varma who I know remember seeing in the movie Kama Sutra back in 1996. In addition, I looked her up on IMDB.COM and saw that see was in the miniseries Rome on HBO which I really need to see. (I need to add her to my list) But seriously, if you are going to off a character and make us at least care to make the story work. Whether we agree or not, give the audience some time to understand the character’s motivation and grieve along with Jack as he puts her corpse in to the morgue.
The other detail that bothered me was how Jack to Gwen that no one takes home any of the alien devices they collected home. Yet just about every single team member takes something from the home office. How are we to trust Jack is a leader of his team when his team members are disobeying his orders? Perhaps this will have a later consequence the writers will come up with? We shall see.
The other problem I had was how Captain Jack was describing to Gwen how there were several other Torchwoods. This is where my uber-geekness comes out. Jack tells that Torchwood 1 was destroyed in a battle, Torchwood 2 was manned by a strange tall man, Torchwood 3 was his station in Cadiff, and Torchwood 4 disappeared without a trace. This reeked with the explaination gave on the history of the Babylon project:
Babylon 5 is the fifth Babylon space station, a modified version of an O’Neill Cylinder. Three predecessors, the original Babylon station, Babylon 2 and Babylon 3 were all sabotaged and destroyed before their completion. The fourth station, Babylon 4, vanished twenty-four hours after it became fully operational (“Babylon Squared” and “War Without End”). Babylon 5 is substantially smaller than the previous stations, due to budget constraints after the failure of its predecessors. The station is set in the Epsilon Eridani star system, orbiting the third planet, Epsilon Eridani III (frequently referred to as “Epsilon III” in the series). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon_5
While the speech was not verbatim, the delivery was way too similiar. Call me a nit-picker but this was a rip off from one series to serve another. I could just hear Jack say, “Torchwood is our last best hope,” aaarrrggghhh.
Overall, the setup of the premise and characters, while rushed, still managed to be quite entertaining. Unlike the premiere of Flash Gordon on the Scifi Channel, this show was watchable and enjoyable. To sum up the show, I thought it was a great mix of X-Files meets Men in Black premise. The weevil creature effects were incredible and very realistic in its facial movements. I am eager to see them again.
The Captain Jack character is very much a whimsical personality much like Dr.Who expect with the bi-sexual overtones. I was surprised how much Jack was toned down but he still managed to get the point across by commenting on how well Ianto Jones looked in a suit. Ianto shot back to whole possible sexual harrassment issue in the workplace.
While cool tech toys often steal the story or make for a clever plot device, I am very curious about the backstory of each one. The knight’s glove that Suzie wore to bring back to the dead was way cool; very Witchblade-ish. Where did the glove come from? Who will now wear the glove? What things will we see on coming episodes?
Overall, the first show is not an A but a solid B+ in my book. Here’s a question I pose to you, could someone start to watching the series without watching Dr. Who season 1? I am in praise of the BBC America channel for giving me a reason to get excited about seeing quality scifi shows.