Before the link...a few of the points that both resonate with me...and sting. As I said, when the suggestion of lynching came up...I really would much rather Russell had a wonderful surprise for us all and had worked his way to it via grim, narrow-spectrum storytelling. In other words, I would like nothing more than to have RTD turn the Titanic around and give us all a happy Christmas.
The New York Times supplies these gems.
America these days gets its televised science fiction in a narrow spectrum, from serious to grim. (Hello, “Battlestar Galactica.”)
Maybe we have a hankering for aliens who appear to be wearing our old Halloween costumes and for stories of such giggly impossibility that we’d be embarrassed to watch if we had a second to stop to think.
I am saddened by that assumption about Doctor Who and its writing staff. I wish I could say it was uninformed but this reviewer clearly watched CoE. And came away believing it was well below par. The monsters are called "dime store concoctions" at one point. SIGH!
Russell T Davies, the Welsh writer and producer who revived “Doctor Who” and created “Torchwood,” has thrived by taking the low-rent, knockabout style of the original “Doctor Who” and giving it a nighttime-soap-opera gloss.
Hello, melodrama! Hey, Cat? Soap opera being the very definition of melodrama.
Every week or two the Torchwood team sets out to identify and defeat a new alien, then returns home to lick its wounds and count its losses.
One problem with “Children of Earth” is that it has to stretch this process over five hours. This means, inevitably, less derring-do and more fretting over things.... Another way that Mr. Davies ekes out the story (major spoiler alert) is through one of his favorite devices: killing off significant characters. In the show’s first two seasons the Torchwood team lost three of six members.
The ranks will be thinned again before “Children of Earth” is over, a development that sent British fans into a tizzy when the mini-series was shown there two weeks ago. It’s as if Mr. Davies were playing a game of chicken with the BBC.
And I would add...RTD is, also, playing chicken with his loyal fans, daring them to keep coming back for more pain.
But despite these quibbles, “Children of Earth” is still good fun, if not good, exactly.
Which is what I've been saying. Though I don't think I would have used the word "fun."
“Torchwood” has always been about jokey repartee and Saturday-matinee save-the-world heroics, and those are here, along with other constants, like clumsily staged action and middling performances. Mr. Barrowman and Ms. Myles are funny, likable and great to look at, but that’s about as far as it goes.
And again...I say...if Torchwood and Doctor Who aren't fun anymore, people will not be watching them. You cannot sustain the Doctor as he is right now.
That lift of spirit that S1 and S2 left us with...was a valuable contribution to drama...and it is what brought the show international acclaim, too.
I am a New Who fan because I adored spending time with the Doctor and Rose. They stole my Old School heart and made me love them. I also liked Donna and Jack...and Jackie and Mickey and even Pete. If you ask me, New Who lucked out beyond the telling of it in the casting of Billie and David. Chris launched them, but the charm of Billie and David's competence is what kept the show alive after Chris left.
Catherine Tate, while lovely didn't bowl me over with her acting chops...rather it was her storyline and her growth as a character that I related to. I believed in her character and the help she gave the Doctor. All gone now, sadly.
Should RTD challenge the boundaries of other people's assumptions about what Doctor Who can or should be by delivering quality television? Well, absolutely he should. But he needs to pull it off, dot his i's and cross his t's. He can't let his rivets show...or he opens the show and fanbase up to the sort of ridicule we old schoolers are all too familiar with from snooty American critics. And there is something to be said for doing swashbuckling soap opera justice. Happy endings for everybody, yeah?
I also came across this review at Amazon.com that I wish I knew how to link to...which sums up the plotting issues I've been having, very nicely. I would say we had a three hour story if we actually added in plausible attempts to defeat the aliens.
What we have here is a two hour story stretched to five hours. And, man, what a rough, brutal slog it is getting through this thing. The story itself (spoilers) concerns aliens who are so advanced they can travel between the stars at will yet are incapable of synthesizing whatever chemical it is they extract from prepubescent children in order to get themselves high. They also can't build environment suits for themselves and spend more time puking pea soup than Linda Blair. A few giggles for the kiddies the producers are clearly trying to entertain, I suppose.
The latter half of these five loooong hours are filled with much wringing of hands as characters make one ridiculous decision after another. Sadly, its all just so contrived. The folks in charge take the invaders at their word that they can destroy humanity without raising a sweat. But if the aliens are so tough, why don't they just take however many children they want and be done with it? No alternative methods are ever even considered when dealing with the aliens. "You want kids, you got 'em, just not mine" are essentially the politicians' attitudes.
I haven't seen so many people so boringly debate so many contrived moral questions and ambiguities since the last Star Trek series was canceled. Contrived really is the word of the day here. Every last thing that happens in the final couple episodes is completely contrived to arrive at the predetermined ending, which causes the whole darn thing to come off as oh-so-painfully fake and dishonest. Not to mention a waste of time.