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Torchwood DVD cover

Let's face it, Torchwood was born with a silver spoon in its mouth. Not only is it a spin-off from one of the most popular dramas of the day, but it exists to fill a niche on UK television which has stood derelict for years. British SF drama for adults is all but extinct: with the exception of a few aborted X-Files clones and Sixties remakes, UK television has entirely failed to serve a grown-up audience starved of intelligent tales of the fantastic. Into this barren wilderness Torchwood emerged, bawling, an only child with no siblings for competition and every reason to win unconditional devotion. Instead, it turned out to be a monstrous brat that only its mother could love.

Torchwood's two-part season finale perfectly exemplifies the spoiled excesses of this fledgling series, but not before surprising us with one of its occasional charms. The pivotal moment in its penultimate episode, "Captain Jack Harkness," comes as two military men share a passionate kiss on a dance floor in 1940s England. It's a contrivance which completely ignores the social taboos of the era for dramatic effect. (In reality such an event would probably have resulted in lynchings all round.) It's also an example of the way the series tends to self-consciously flaunt its post-watershed status at every opportunity, repeatedly and defiantly mistaking swearing, smut, and petulance for cutting-edge adult drama. And yet in the context of the episode the moment is a rare exception to the rule: touching, sincere, and one of the more genuinely mature relationships the series has depicted.

The remainder of "Captain Jack Harkness" is also an uncharacteristic success. It concerns two of our lead characters trapped in the 1940s by an enigmatic gentleman, while their colleagues 60 years later race to pull them back. The premise, reminiscent of Sapphire and Steel, is developed well and makes for a solid, if unspectacular, piece of SF television, marred by technobabble but invigorated by the poignant relationship between the two men. It also benefits from an unusually good performance from John Barrowman, and a creepy guest-villain turn from Murray Melvin. Like writer Catherine Tregenna's earlier instalment "Out of Time," it buoys a generic premise with human drama, using sympathetic guest stars to hold a mirror up to the often unlikeable main characters.

There's a telling flaw in this penultimate episode, however, one which is far more typical of the season as a whole. It comes in the form of Owen Harper, who wants to use the situation as an excuse to open a rift in space-time and find the woman who dumped him, risking the entire world in the process. Time and again over the course of the season the characters have been revealed to be emotionally wounded and needy individuals who seek solace in sex and who are prepared to sacrifice anyone and anything for the sake of their lovers. In concept this approach could still produce touching tales of individuals driven to the brink of desperation by loss and need; people we can all recognise in our own darkest moments. In practice Torchwood's writers never know when to stop at the brink. Its characters never conquer their weaknesses in redeeming moments of self-awareness or nobility. Instead, they remain slaves to their emotions, spiralling ever downward and seldom lifting a finger to avert or set right the damage they cause along the way. In "Cyberwoman," for example, Ianto sides with his murderous girlfriend to the bitter end, while Toshiko repeatedly betrays her colleagues for her manipulative lover in "Greeks Bearing Gifts." Even when snatched away from their own destructive folly their typical reaction is not remorse, but anger and resentment. These are not adult characters but spoiled adolescents, hormones raging, lashing out at everyone around them, rolling swear words around their tongues for the sheer novelty of getting away with it. And so Owen, the ostensible bad boy among anti-heroes, does indeed open the rift—although not before his colleague Ianto is forced to shoot him in another of the series' trademark weaknesses: ludicrously overwrought melodrama. Their confrontation is so overwritten and overplayed that it becomes a sublime moment of unintended humour.

Which leads us to the second part of this season finale, an episode which spends most of its length pitched at the exact level of that Ianto and Owen scene. If the penultimate episode was a solid tale blighted by flaws, the final episode, "End of Days," showcases every one of the show's worst excesses and precious few of its redeeming features. Although both parts aired in one continuous block, the concluding episode is really a separate story spinning out of the previous instalment's conclusion. We learn that Owen's actions have caused cracks in time, causing people from the past and future to be unceremoniously dumped in the present day, and threatening to bring about the end of the world. It's a concept that underlines the show's ultimate irony, for while Torchwood notionally exists to protect the Earth from threats, almost every problem it has solved has been initiated or made worse by the team's own short-sightedness. The premise of different eras becoming tangled is not without interest, and the idea of people from the past carrying a deadly plague is a good one, even more so the fear of some incurable futuristic disease. However, this is all background: the real focus is on the regular characters being tormented by visions of their loved-ones who exhort them to fully open the rift.

We're then treated to a litany of the series's greatest self-indulgences. In a short space of time the characters have a collective emotional breakdown and come to blows, screaming at one another in needlessly ramped-up conflict. Insubordinate, they turn on Captain Jack, who has spent most of the season suffering repeated accusations of being a monster despite being one of the least nasty characters in the show. Jack, as ever, demonstrates his dazzling leadership skills by flinging personal insults and pointing his gun at people's heads. Not content with having amped things up to ten, the show's lead writer Chris Chibnall can't resist going one louder by having Owen shoot Jack in the head—not knowing that his boss can't die. The team, blessed with neither common sense nor self-restraint, then proceed to open the rift. Naturally this makes things worse, releasing a god of death which promptly massacres most of the city. But that's okay because at least the team's loved ones are safe. The sight of a massive CGI demon stalking the skyline like Godzilla while Torchwood's car alarm goes off is another moment of quite remarkable hilarity. Finally, the demon is destroyed in a scene of pure pulp adventure as Jack Harkness sacrifices his immortality to the beast's unquenchable appetite for death. Quite why this kills it is anyone's guess.

On one level I'm being a little unfair. Although it devolves into an exercise in sustained hysteria, the final episode is heir to the myriad unresolved tensions and neuroses which the characters have exhibited over the course of the season. It's perhaps inevitable, and even part of the point, that these should take over the episode and turn a crisis into the ultimate personal showdown. The cathartic nature of the story for the characters (albeit at the expense of most of the population of Cardiff) is highlighted in the closing scenes as the characters sob and hug and make up with their resurrected boss in a series of touching moments of forgiveness. What's lacking is any sense that this forgiveness is earned. None of the characters' flaws have been examined in any depth. No special insights or resolutions have been reached. No one has learned from their selfish mistakes. On the contrary, in this episode they blunder into their biggest atrocity yet, and their hugs appear to be nothing more than relief that everything has turned out for the best. Forgiveness feels particularly unearned for Owen, who is only fortunate that Jack turns out to be immortal so that he can have his moment of catharsis by shooting his boss in the head and still get a big hug afterwards. The rest of us should be so lucky.

This lack of rehabilitation cements the unfortunate impression that Torchwood is a self-help group which exists to provide therapy to its deeply disturbed members at the expense of the world's safety. To focus a television series on such a dysfunctional group is not in itself a bad idea, but the depiction of the disorganised and amoral team sits uncomfortably at odds with the very traditional premise of the series, which establishes them as the planet's elite line of defence.

By the end of the episode it's hard to imagine a season finale which better captures the show's joltingly disconsonant tone. At heart the series is an old-fashioned horror-adventure series like its parent Doctor Who, but one overlaid with gleefully adolescent attitudes to sex and violence, and with characters who—like many adolescents—are the centre of their own universe to the point of being sociopaths.

It's a hard show to love. Perhaps Torchwood is what Doctor Who looks like when it gets acne, swears at its parents, and starts leering at the opposite sex.

Maybe it's just a phase.

Iain Clark has always written a great deal of nonsense, but increasingly feels the need to inflict it on other people. He lives in the North of England with his wife and two cats.

Iain Clark was born in the same year Star Trek was cancelled. He has contributed a number of TV and film reviews to Strange Horizons, and lives in the North of England.
23 comments on “Torchwood: "Captain Jack Harkness" and "End of Days"”

Surely if Torchwood leers at anything, it leers at the same sex. 😉
I agree with most of the things you say, and still, there's a bit of me that really, desperately wants to like Torchwood. To take your metaphore slightly further, it's a bit like Harry Potter in the 5th book - he's a hormonal teenager now, you can't stand him, you really want to slap him, but you can't stop reading.
For me there are two main flaws in Torchwood. The first one is continuity of both plot and character - or rather, the entire lack thereof. It's like the writers had one meeting and then stopped talking to each other, reading each other's scripts and watching each other's episodes. There is one episode the existence of which I absolutely refuse to acknowledge, it's so badly out of character (Small Worlds). This phenomenon is worse than Star Trek, Xena and the X-Files as their worst (this week there are aliens, next week it's all a government conspiracy, this week the writers have been reading the boards and Xena is a lesbian, next week she ain't, this week Ianto wants to kill Jack, next week Ianto is shagging Jack, that sort of thing).
The other problem, of course, is that Torchwood really is Russell T. Davies' Big Gay Crusade. And as enjoyable as that is to watch for all the fangirls, he really should stay out of politics. It's heavy-handed. And, thinking about it, given the characters' emotional immaturity, it really does not put gay or bisexual people in the best of lights. If anything, it seems to re-enforce the stereotype of the promiscuous bisexual (Owen, Jack) and the needy lesbian (Tosh).
Ah well, I shall continue to wait for the day when a gay couple is shown on television in a stable family setting. (As to how I think gay people should be shown on TV, here's a stab at it:
In the meantime, I can only recomment the Sarah-Jane Adventures. RTD does much better television for children - or maybe it's just he's dropped the politics from this one. I shall almost certainly watch Season 2 of Torchwood nonetheless.

Thanks for the feedback.
Surely if Torchwood leers at anything, it leers at the same sex. 😉
I think it's more omni-leering...
Small Worlds was actually one of the best episodes of the season for me, but as you say it's not particularly in-character for the series, leaving the feeling that the team have been shoehorned into the premise.
I'm not sure whether the series has a gay agenda; it seems to have more of a promiscuous agenda. Indeed there seems to be no-one on the team who hasn't kissed, slept with or pined over more than one gender during the course of the first season. Even Tosh, whose only on-screen relationship was lesbian, appears to have a crush on Owen.

Like Iain I am a fellow North of Englander, which is perhaps why I agree with him so much.
Torchwood could have been a brilliant series. It had everyrthing going for it: high production values, loads of repeat broadcasts on various BBC channels so that it was almost impossible to miss, mostly excellent special effects, and the lift of being a spin off from possibly the most successful series of Doctor Who yet.
It also had an outstanding leading man and the photogenic value of present day Cardiff.
So why wasn't it much better than it was?
Quite simply, the writers just aren't up to doing adult drama. Every time they try to do it they fail miserably. The series, other than John Barrowman, has also been saddled with some pretty terrible actors, who only make the juvenile scripts look even worse than they are.
If there is a future series, I hope the BBC brings in someone who can either edit out the nonsense or writers who really can write adult drama. And that most of the current cast either disappear sometime between now and then or are killed off in some convenient cataclysm in the first episode to make way for some much replacements.

There is to be a second series.
The basic problem with the last two episodes -- which plummeted off a cliff as far as quality is concerned -- is that as others have said, some of the scriptwriters aren't up to the job. However, there is a deeper malaise, which affects most tv programmes.
Apart from having no interest in scientific accuracy, the show's staff have no interest in history; any member of staff who can describe 1940's Britain with its powdered eggs, legs painted with tea in place of nylons and 'seams' drawn with pencils as 'glamourous' shows a woeful ignorance.
But rigour is unnecessary to the BBC Drama Department, as it is to most independant producers. It's role is to provide glossy programmes that look good without demanding any sort of thought from their audience.
Even in that modest respect, judging from a straw poll in our office this week, the BBC failed miserably with the last two episodes.

It's a contrivance which completely ignores the social taboos of the era for dramatic effect. (In reality such an event would probably have resulted in lynchings all round.)
This is the fourth time I've come across some variation on this statement. It is simply and straightforwardly not true.
Firstly, the taboos of the era are not ignored; when the two Jacks begin to dance, the other people in the dance hall stop dancing and stare at them. It's clear that something odd and a little shocking is happening.
Secondly, although the laws and the official policies of the armed forces remained the same throughout the Second World War, there was a de facto liberalisation brought about by wartime conditions. The army couldn't afford to lose good soldiers, and in general people took more risks and gave less of a crap about sexual mores because they could all be blown away tomorrow (which was, you will recall, the theme of the episode). This is well-documented; see, for instance, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman.
Given that the real Jack Harkness was a respected, distinguished officer, admired and liked by his men, and given that there weren't any superior officers present, and given that he had a history of being known to go out with women, and given that a huge white glowy thing appeared at the end of the hall and swallowed up the stranger who had danced with him (thus rendering any reports anyone wanted to make severely suspect), the odds of anything seriously bad happening to the real Jack Harkness were somewhere between "slim" and "none".


I don't really mind the acting but the writing, you're right. This show really falls down on the writing front. It mistakes sex and swearing for adult most of the time. The total incompetence of the team defies belief. Case in point 2nd episode, bit of titillation as sex-crazed alien possessee's pheromones cause Gwen to snog her. Despite the fact it could be seen as a strange of Gwen to be doing this and having sex with said alien results in death team they all stand there having a gawp. In reality even the misogynist wanker Owen should have sounded the alarm bells straight away.
They haven't really given enough thought to the universe and characters. Torchwood London's a fair size. Why if the rift's so big and important does Torchwood Cardiff only have 5 people? How does Torchwood interact with everyone else eg government, UNIT? Are the team techies or field agents? If they're techies shouldn't they be working somewhere a bit brighter and shinier? If they're field agents shouldn't they be a bit more competent at working together and fending off attacks ie Countrycide and wouldn't the technology they scavenge get passed to someone who could work on it full time? What does Gwen do? She's got no technical skills and RTD seems to have rejected a link to the telepathic Gwyneth played by the same actress in Doctor Who. Why can't they follow orders etc? Why does Tosh, on finding out Mary knows who she is, start blabbing to her all about Torchwood rather than reporting her immediately? I could go on.
The later episodes were better in my opinion but still fall short of dark edgy adult sci-fi and to constantly hear RTD telling how fantastic it all is week on week was pretty irritating.

Katherine makes an interesting point about attitudes to homosexuality in the Second World War, and I certainly don't wish to contradict this (though my understanding is that it was most liberal in situations where the sexes were segregated). But in one way it doesn't actually matter. Many people (myself included) watched that episode and thought "that wouldn't have happened." They may be wrong to do so, but the point is that the programme has taken them to a point where their credulity is strained, and unnecessarily, as the point could have been made without the big public kiss. Torchwood has far too many of these moments. Moreover, given that the real Jack Harkness, supposedly an RAF officer, introduces himself as 'Captain' rather than 'Group Captain', talks of 'the 71st' rather than '71 Squadron', and indeed is in operational command of a squadron rather than, as would be appropriate to someone of his rank, flying a desk, if Torchwood got WWII sexual mores right, I can't help thinking it was only by accident.
The biggest stretch of credulity, of course, is what Sarah identifies, that for a secret government alien-hunting organization these people are so bloody unprofessional, in contrast to Torchwood London, who for all that they were wrong-headed (as governmental organizations in Doctor Who tend to be) at least had a clue what they were doing. I think the problem stems from an attempt to have Torchwood Cardiff be both an X-Files organization, and at the same time the sort of interested amateurs that Angel Investigations were. But you can't have it both ways. As a result, by the end of thirteen episodes all of Jack's staff have been insubordinate so often and so seriously that the only credible outcome is for them all to be sacked, and for Jack to go as well for leadership failures. Now, if they then continued to hunt aliens, in competition with the 'official' Torchwood, that might actually produce an interesting series. Sadly, I fear that excessive self-confidence, plus the loyalty to the Doctor Who brand that keeps people watching and hence the ratings up, means that the creators don't see the problem, and will carry on the same path.


It's a bit like what happened to 'adult comics' in the 1980s. Loads of stories in the papers about how comics had 'grown up' (ignoring years of history) only for a raft of juvenile tales of immature attitudes to sex and violence to flood the market and anyone expecting anything more grown up were sadly disappointed. It's easier to find more quirky titles nowadays. Maybe Torchwood is the 'adult commics boom' of Beeb sci-fi telly and that later on they might actually come up with something more intelligent.
I still love Captain Jack though.

I take your argument that attitudes may have been relaxed in the 1940s; I'll confess it's not my specialist subject so I may be missing some subtleties of the social context. Nonetheless I think that even today in many parts of the UK this display would have provoked a reaction; I wish that it were otherwise. While social attitudes may have been relaxed in wartime, this particular group of people seemed typically middle class and not particularly enlightened in their views in other respects, for example with regard to race. I still believe that there's a difference between a gay relationship which is noticed but which is unobtrusive and which gives others tacit permission to ignore it, and two army officers sharing a passionate, prolonged snog on a dance-floor in the centre of a throng of onlookers.
I do accept that we don't actually see more than the immediate startled reaction of the onlookers, and that lynching was not necessarily the literal consequence, but I think that having the two men clinch in that particular environment is inevitably going to raise questions in the mind of the audience about how the onlookers are going to react.
Regardless, I should note that in the review I did actually praise the relationship. I think it's an unexpectedly sweet and romantic moment which is entirely in character for the two men. It's a noticeable departure from the way the show has portrayed lesbian kisses which to me have felt cynical and voyeuristic.

an attempt to have Torchwood Cardiff be both an X-Files organization, and at the same time the sort of interested amateurs that Angel Investigations were
Tony and Sarah: I think you're both spot on. The unwillingness of the writers to choose between a quasi-military organisation and a group of rogue investigators is absolutely at the heart of the show's split-personality. As presented, the team's make-up and behaviour simply makes no sense, because the writers are trying to have their cake and eat it.

"The unwillingness of the writers to choose between a quasi-military organisation and a group of rogue investigators is absolutely at the heart of the show's split-personality."
I don't think anyone involved with this sorry production had a clue as to what they really wanted nor any idea how to create a halfway realistic organisation set up to tackle alien menaces.
At virtually every level the quality of writing was lamentable. The attempts at creating "adult" relationships were pitiful, not even worthy of being described as caricatures. The inability of any of the people either to give or take orders made the whole idea of this being an "organisation" with any kind of authority outside itself ridiculous. If its members could not understand or work within a command structure and take orders when given , especially during emergencies during which the fate of the world was at stake, how could we honestly believe they had the ability to command instant obedience from the police and military? Perhaps the ridicule heaped on them by the police when they were locked inside their own command centre in the final episodes was a belated admittance of this. They were treated like a joke and, lets admit it, were one.
It is a pity that the original character of Captain Jack, as viewed in Doctor Who, was reduced to the shambolic figure seen in Torchwood. Or that such a potentially fascinating organisation was farcically portrayed in this series as a childish gang of self-indulgent, juvenile halfwits.

Firmin Frederick

As it stands I came here purely by accident after having watched episode 12...before episode 13...when Iain’s review landed first result when you type "Torchwood Captain Jack Harkness gay or bisexual" in Google.
Anyway my question goes un-answered but I read all of your comments with more fascination than indeed some of the scripts we have been slating.
Putting the niceties of the touching scene aside, military leaders must instil a sense of respect of self in the men they lead - likewise, whilst I am not a military specialist, it goes without saying that such an act would compromise his leadership as his men would undoubtedly question his moral and ethical ability to lead them in to battle.(?)
On the series on a whole, let us not forget Lost in Space with the Family Robinsons, The Dr. Who, Star Trek, The New Generation, Voyager, Deep Space 9, Enterprise, Stargate, ER (yes I said ER) and countless others that pitched for the adult entertainment arena, and just scraped through their first series as well. Against heavy criticism, to become much loved shows.
I still cringe when watching William T Riker, Captain Picard, Natasha Yar and Lieutenant Whorf in the early days and it wasn't until Picard became a drone did he really earn my respect.
I must admit that the new Dr. Who with Billie Piper has actually been less appealing to me than has Torchwood simply because there is a sense (however remote) of believe-ability embedded whilst Dr. Who still verges on the ludicrously unbelievable and often times preposterous even on a sci-fi level.
And don’t get me started on the actors! (In Dr. Who that is)
Actually I meant to raise the point that whilst episode 12 showed a cultural acceptance in our time for (and the scenes with Tosh no doubt!) people of different persuasions, I really felt disappointed that it was necessary to portray Jack in that light because for me whether he is or not is good mysticism but I'm from the old school that states:
Heroes don't show their weaknesses to their subordinates (I believe Katherine and Sarah touched on this?).
All in all I have followed season 1 with excitement, and whooped when the TARDIS made an off-screen appearance! What has the Dr. got in store for us?

Firmin Frederick

Ooops that should have read: episode 13...before episode 12 (sorry my bad)


I cant wait for series three of Doctor Who. Captain Jack Harkness returns and an old enemy returns. Also Dalek Sec returns AND The Face Of Boe with his secret for The Doctor that is only 4 words long (everybody is wondrering what it is!!). And last but not least, their is the new companion, Martha Jones, with her family. We will all miss Rose Tyler very much (espacially me, I love Billie Piper so much) who will be travelling with The Doctor (I feel sorry for her in a way, I mean she will never get away from all the monsters!!!). Well, there you go, they are all the spoilers I can give you at the moment because I can't think or know any more. Hope you like them all (you probably know them all or most of them).

hi is helen
i lioke torchwood pleaese put it on a agin

Matthew Turner

What you say about Torchwood is absolutely on the mark. So is what several others have commented. The show was dreamt up by RTD because a) a spin-off for Doctor Who would be great, b) John Barrowman is a very capable leading man, and c) lots of writers and actors are just longing to be able to swear and snog and get paid for it. (For some reason many people confuse that with being a mature adult.)
I really wanted to be a fan of the show, but it failed. The bumbling, almost fatal ineptitude and unprofessionalism of the Torchwood team was astounding. The sex and swearing seemed to be what the individual episodes were tailored around, not necessarily a plot but an excuse for a plot. And as much of a right as anyone has to their own sexuality, is there not a plain, consistent heterosexual among the population of Cardiff? Homosexuals make up, at most from what I've read, maybe 18% of the population. For all the other "gritty realism" the show tries to get across to the audience about human nature and society and all, how about that? For me, the sexing up of the show just makes it flat boring.
I look forward to the second series, however. My hopes are that maybe the production team have been listening to what people in the audience have had to say. Torchwood has a billiant premise, just sloppily executed.


I agree wholeheartedly with Iain's analysis and with many other insights posted at this site. Most of all, I'm relieved to see so many others feel as I do. I really long to like "Torchwood," but I don't know if I can stick with it. With a few exceptions, its first season was dreadfully disappointing. And as so many here have acknowledged, the problem is the writing.
John Barrowman is very easy on the eyes, but I regret that his character has never been as suave, mysterious, and cheekily charming in "Torchwood" as he was in any of his "Dr. Who" appearances. (And is that stylish but incongruous WWII greatcoat absolutely necessary? Is Jack's lack of wardrobe options just a slavish tie-in to Dr. Who, whose various incarnations each wear a distinctive outfit?)
Also, we here in America have to ask: Why is everyone in Cardiff so wildly oversexed? Maybe it's a Welsh thing. I expected "Torchwood" to be a sexy show because Jack Harkness was already established as a randy, "51st century kind of guy," somebody who'd chase anything in a thong, regardless of gender or species. But, until his smoldering liplock with the real Capt. Harkness--a season highlight, to be sure--it's been everybody else in the cast bouncing from bed to bed. And, with the exception of Tosh, they're all rather unattractive. Gwen is about as sexy as a gap-toothed plain Jane can be, I suppose, and Owen is probably considered hot by other leprechauns, but all things considered, how'd these guys get on TV? They have such perfect faces for radio.
I hope next season lightens up on the irredeemably adolescent behavior of the characters, most of whom are petulant, small-minded, and unlikable, and starts favoring clever sci-fi over clueless sex. I recall hearing the show being compared to "X-Files" at first. Indeed, it should strive to follow that model more. There's a show that somehow managed to be sexy without ever resorting to, well, any sex at all. Also, it helped that Mulder & Scully trekked to different locales in search of paranormal goings-on--even if every place they went, from Boston to Albuquerque, always ended up looking like drizzly British Columbia. "Torchwood" could do that, too. Locating a dimensional rift in Cardiff is a good idea, but keeping them there is ultimately boring. It's a great town, I'm sure, but London it ain't. Like "The X-Files," they could film carefully around town, throw in some stock footage, and pretend to be just about anywhere. Jack should even get whisked off to alien worlds now and then, a la Dr. Who. He mustn't be allowed to become too mundane.
Finally, my biggest concern--and my question to Iain--is this: Are the "Torchwood" producers listening? Is there hope for this show?
Scott in Chicago
P.S.: Obviously we Yanks come late to the table. "Captain Jack Harkness" just aired for the first time last week, and I suppose season two is already in the can. Here's hoping it's better than season one.


Well, I like sci-fi, I really do. And since a lot of sci-fi includes a hefty dose of fantasy, you have to just go along sometimes.
But Torchwood seemed like it COULD have been good- but the blatant pushing gays on us agenda... well, it galls. To each his own, but come on- how many gay guys ARE swashbuckling? Most of them would be worse than brave ladies at the thought of danger. ALL of them I know are quite swishy.
I was rather hoping there would be some attraction tension between Gwen and Jack.
And each time I watched it- I hoped ANY of the characters would shows some CHARACTER.. As in a backbone.
I'd say to my husband- geeesh you'd think such an important outfit that deals with saving the planet would have much better employees. Ones more honest, loyal, etc.
Gwen seems so far to be the best person.
It's just ruined it for me if all it will be is a gay agenda titallation with a sci-fantasy thin disquise


I, personally, am straight. I could care less who is and who is not, but the gay "sex" scenes jack is having in so many episodes is ruining the original premise that he had a 50 or 60-yr-long-relationship with the elderly lady he "loved"(?), who was killed by the harpie-like creatures who the little girl disappeeared with. You may recall the lady went outside like a complete dolt to try to get her cat back in. Anyway, jack is supposed to be pan or bi-sexual. His tiny smack with Gwen, recently, gave us a little hope. There is a heat between them that needs to be explored for those of us out here who are straight. I don't care what Barrowman is in real life. He's a great and very sexual actor. Please, please if there has to be sex on this damn sci-fi show, please get him naked and into bed with Gwen, or keep it like Scully and Mulder. I kept watching X-files the last few yrs just to see them make each other squirm. This is the only show on tv that actually has any sexual tension or heat. A show like Nip/Tuck certainly does not. If I had the opportunity to sleep with any actor on the planet, it would be Capt Jack, and I would care less that he is gay-I'd still go with him if he asked, in a second!!


I found the posts entertaining.
My cable provider just recently picked up BBC America so the family is catching up on the first season via Netflix.
I think my husband's reaction sums up Torchwood nicely - it is a randy version of Men in Black.
Like may males, the male-male kissing bothers him a bit - simply because you don't see it in the Midwest in public. But he's keeping an open mind and commented he could see how women find it facinating.
And (not being a Harry Potter fan) he is learning British slang - snogging this week - which my 16 year old daughter explained with a great deal of gigglng.
If you are expecting Torchwood to be serious science fiction I expect you are in for disappointment. If you expect it to be campy, silly and a bit of a romp - like Dr. Who, then I think you will enjoy it.
I grew up watching the Doctor (Tom Baker) on PBS and both the current incarnation of Dr. Who and Torchwood seem to me to carry on the tradition just fine - although the sets and special effects are much better.


I love Torchwood. Period. There are gays in the world. Get over it. If you don't like them, don't watch. You're not hurting anyone but yourself.

I utterly enjoyed reading about Strange Horizons Reviews: Torchwood: "Captain Jack Harkness" and "End of Days", reviewed by Iain Clark and thought it was well worth the read. The only other site I found on Yahoo wasnt as good as this one, thanks.


Battle of Britain time once more, time to remember all those fearless men, heroes, every one of them.

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By: David Clink
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
In this episode of the Strange Horizons podcast, editor Ciro Faienza presents David Clink's “Back Story.”
You like that every single word, image, and idea in my poetry has meaning and is put there for a reason, so when you ask about the plant in my poem and need to know more about it. . .
Wednesday: Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer 
Friday: The Supernova Era by Cixin Liu, translated by Joel Martinsen 
Issue 14 Sep 2020
By: Fargo Tbakhi
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Jenny Blackford
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 7 Sep 2020
By: Catherynne M. Valente
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Bethany Powell
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Bethany Powell
Issue 31 Aug 2020
By: R.B. Lemberg
By: Julia Rios
By: Sonya Taaffe
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: R.B. Lemberg
Podcast read by: Julia Rios
Podcast read by: Sonya Taaffe
Issue 24 Aug 2020
By: Leslie J. Anderson
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Leslie J. Anderson
Issue 17 Aug 2020
By: Emma Törzs
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Liz Adair
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 10 Aug 2020
By: Anya Johanna DeNiro
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Laura Cranehill
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Issue 3 Aug 2020
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Christine Lucas
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: Krishnakumar Sankaran
Issue 20 Jul 2020
By: Ranylt Richildis
Podcast read by: Anaea Lay
By: JD Fox
By: JD Fox
Podcast read by: Ciro Faienza
Podcast read by: JD Fox
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons is now accepting fiction submissions for our Mexico Special issue, which will be published at the end of November 2020!
17 Jul 2020
Strange Horizons lanza su convocatoria en busca textos narrativos para su Especial de México, que se publicará a finales de noviembre de 2020!
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