fairyd123: (Jack B&W)
[personal profile] fairyd123
As I hadn't written about them here are my thoughts on the Torchwood radio plays which aired this week:

I thought it was a real shame that this was the first one that they aired as it was the weakest of the three by a significant margin. As a piece of writing for Torchwood it was poor and as a radio drama it failed completely to make use of the format - there was nothing in this play which couldn't have been filmed on the cheap in Cardiff. I think that anyone tuning into this out of curiosity would never have tuned back in for the next two or more importantly tuned in for the series on Monday.

The whole thing was just so dull and dreary.

My biggest problem was simply that I could not bear to listen to the guest actress. I thought that her delivery was decidely stilted anyway but her speech - this bizarre combination of a stereotype of how the world's most illiterate incomprehensible teenager must speak and this oh so self conscious made up dialect was grating and downright painful to listen too. At times it made listening to Asylum a bit like listening to a podfic of some 13 year old girl's first fanfic - the one with the self insert Mary Sue who's actually an alien and whose mother sacrificed her life to save her in a fire.

The characterisation of the regular characters was also dodgy. Jack throwing knives and all for putting the girl in prison for the rest of her life simply because she's alien. Really? Jack's from the 51st century and he's never been shown to have an issue with aliens living on earth unless they cause problems and yet in this he's being all bigoted against aliens - dreadful characterisation.

And Ianto was barely in it - Gareth could easily have sat this one out. Eve fared a little better but Gwen still didn't have very much to do in this. The lovely Tom Price as PC Andy came out best and even he didn't get to do a lot but sound thick and get excited about aliens being real.

Extremely poor start to the series - after this one I went in and cancelled my pre-order for the 3 cds on Amazon.

This one was much better and at least made decent use of the format by visiting India something they could never do on the show - I mean the play had sound effects and everything!

I know a lot of people loathed the Duchess but I thought she was played rather well. Imperialist, utterly uninterested in the world outside her door and somewhat unhinged by Jack leaving her. Not a pleasant character by any stretch of the imagination but well acted and as jaded aristocrats go I felt that she was much more what the Who writers were aiming for with Michelle Ryan's character in Planet of the Dead.

Liked her instantly picking up on on the relationship between Jack and Ianto and Jack's continuing reluctance to put a label on their relationship dismissing her curiosity out of hand by calling Ianto "his assistant". I liked how you could detect the very faintest hint of jealousy in Ianto's delivery - while he's aware that Jack's back catalogue of lovers must be enormous it's a bit different being confronted by one.

I wish that the locals hadn't been depicted as either helpless or evil (not quite sure why the servant who merrily co-operated with the massacre of thousands got away scot free) I would have liked to have seen a proper branch of Torchwood in India rather than a time locked corrupt relic of the Empire.

Gwen and Ianto were also completely useless in this story. They are presumably heavily armed and yet they get knocked out by a man moving towards them sedately with a bottle of chloroform. Hopeless!

Still fast paced and enjoyable with entertaining snappy dialogue.

I didn't have high hopes for this as Phil Ford wrote my least favourite episode of the last series (Something Borrowed which took weeks worth of lovely nuanced work from the actors building character and relationships and hurled all of that out of the window so that Gwen and Jack could come across as loathsome specimens of humanity making goo goo eyes at each other in front of their significant others on her wedding day) not to mention a Gwack heavy tie in novel but this was surprisingly good.

OK granted the plot really doesn't hold up to much scrutiny. The virus plotline was rather too similar to Stephen King's Cell . It was also riddled with holes. Why did the virus remain within the Cardiff and West's phone system and not escape to the wider telephone network in the 1970's? If the affected victims had the ability to call people with their brains then why didn't the original victims just keep ringing the phones in the defunct property until eventually someone investigated the noise and answered? Over 30 odd years they would have surely eventually amassed enough victims (rather than one poor tramp) to give them the ability to spread to the wider phone network. If the premises had been left derilect for 30 + years then why all of a sudden did they decide to sell off the phones and why sell them if Cardiff and West were aware that there were issues with the phone system - seems odd behaviour for a company thoughtful enough to have its own nursing home. And where the hell were all these Welsh folk getting their vintage phones from? ebay?

And Jack's actions in this story were just ridiculous. There is a virus in the phone system which is transmitted to anyone who answers the affected phone. So when Jack is faced with a whole room full of ringing phones what does he do?

Answers the phone.

And the Darwin Award goes to...?

I'll give Phil Ford a pass as the blog on the plays made it clear that John Barrowman was only available for two days worth of recording and that they wrote him into a coma to accomodate that but seriously Jack's actions make him seem too stupid to live.

The "casual" off hand reference to the neurologist ex-flame of Jack's right before he keels over was also far from smoothly done but again leeway has to be given for the story having to be changed to cope with John's absence - and the guest actress was really rather good.

But Eve was great in this and it's always lovely to have Rhys heavily involved and Kai plays him brilliantly - Gwen is a lucky woman!

And then there's that speech.

Personally I have to say it's a little too hearts and flowers for my tastes and I don't actually see Ianto saying any of it. Rather OOC but my inner soppy romantic did rather enjoy it and Gareth's delivery was wonderful. I may possibly have welled up just the tiniest bit at one point. The idea that Ianto watches Jack sleep and hopes that he dreams of him while knowing (brutal pragmatist that he is) that their time together is so short that one day he'll just be another character in one of Jack's outlandish tales if he's remembered at all is just heartbreaking. Poor Ianto - knows he's got zero chance of living to have a single grey hair on his head and that his relationship with Jack is just a "blip in time".

And oh dear god the foreshadowing. The heavy, heavy anvils of doom. You can practically see the Sword of Damocles hanging over his head. Ianto's speech was part declaration of love, part goodbye speech all in one. Either they're about to pull a killer double bluff or commit commercial suicide by offing one half of the shows most popular pairing. I know that not everyone likes Ianto and that no one person is bigger than the show but the pairing is the dominant one and it most definitely sells merchandise (as sales of In the Shadows will no doubt attest) and I can't believe that the BBC are competely indifferent to that in these times.

To be honest I've always felt that the prospects of series 4 were rather remote but after listening to The Dead Line I do think that the chances of series 4 with the current cast? Well I wouldn't like to get the odds on that in Vegas.

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