The Good, The Bad and The Ugly... an assessment of Children of Earth... there will be spoilers
I have held off from saying anything really about season three because on the whole I was just overwhelmed by Ianto's death. But then I started thinking about things - from a viewer point of view and from that of an aspiring writer. Now, please remember this is my opinion and I have every right to it. I have thought long and hard about this and tried to analyse the story with as little bias as possible. However, I am a Janto Fan - despite all the shame that is apparently meant to engender - and do accept that this can cloud the issue. Still, I am entitled to my opinion and to bastardise the Evelyn Beatrice Hall quote, you might not agree with my opinion but you should defend to the death my right to say it. I am exercising that right regardless of your agreement or disagreement.
The third series of Torchwood was slick and beautiful in ways that the previous two were not. Gone was the awkward camera jerking and the puerile sense of humour. In its place there was an adult drama and a beautifully shot piece of film. In fact, I want to dwell on the photography for a moment. Euros Lyn (director), Stephen Nicholas (art direction), William Oswald (film editing) and James Leigh (camera) all should take bows for creating a bleak looking world. 'Cool' lighting filters were put to great use to make Britain seem raw and cold. The pathos created by just the photography - forget the plot (which is probably a good idea) - was just wonderful. There was a chill before the bad started that made you think that everything was going to go horribly wrong. It was raw and visceral and just gorgeous. Rarely am I ever moved by the look of a film - the last time was Lord of the Rings - but the use of the camera work painted a world that the script failed to live up to. One might even be tempted to say that filming in late autumn could be called inspired as the Earth looked dead. The soundtrack was professional and evocative and again added to the feel of the piece.
Even the acting had been cranked up a gear. Gone was the hammy delivery and wooden acting (although in my humble opinion Gareth David-Lloyd along with Naoko Mori were always the strongest in acting terms). I understand that when given some of the lines that Torchwood has seen it must be difficult to make them seem 'normal' but over this series as opposed to the earlier ones the acting flowed and felt professional. The use of the smaller characters - Rhys and Andy especially - added extra depth and quality and not only because both gentlemen in question are good actors. Rhys was perhaps the best character in the entire series for the simple reason that he was human. Alice became the typical mother, Agent Johnson the hard-ass bitch and Clem the token mad-man. Whilst Frobisher was the other excellent character - the duality of being a father and a bureaucrat was vicious and insightful - it was Rhys that drew the audience in. He was human. He got hungry, he looked lost and out of his depth whilst his wife was running round and shooting people, his sheer joy at becoming a father overshadowed by the following events was refreshing and he had an innocent hope about him that the show desperately needed.
As actors: Peter Capaldi, Paul Copley, Kai Owen and Gareth David-Lloyd all did wonderful jobs. All the actors worked hard but these guys stood out simply because they commanded the screen when they were on it and they just seemed so very seamless. Also, credit must be given to John Barrowman whose beloved character was changed beyond recognition yet he still managed to make it "Captain Jack Harkness" which cannot be easy if the script and story are against you.
Now, had the rest of the story been spectacular I might be inclined to congratulate the writers on the numbering of Jack and Ianto's bodies. "13" is already a well recognised number and Jack is undoubtedly the most unlucky character of the whole series. Additionally - and potentially more interestingly - the Chinese attribute the following meanings to the number "1314" (both body positions): "One Live and One dead" and "Forever". Should RTD have been more polite in recent weeks or the rest of the story bullet-proof, I might be inclined to believe that this was a purposeful move. Unfortunately, this moment of beautiful genius doesn't tally with the rest of the programme and so I can only see it as a happy accident.
Finally, the basic premise: the good of the few versus the good of the many. How desperately would we like to believe that if presented with such a choice we would make a noble sacrifice? I know I would like to believe it of myself. The reality is probably much different. But in adding the twist that the sacrifice isn't that of adults but of children presents the whole extra dimension of protection. We love children and like animals will defend them to the death. There is the old adage that there is nothing as dangerous as a mother protecting her young and it is very true, it is ingrained in us - a biological imperative to protect the vulnerable future of our species. The beautiful twist that protecting all of them wipes out the rest of us is a moral dilemma that everyone will undoubtedly have an opinion on. It was nice to see this moral quagmire explored even if it was done in a very basic way.
I fear that this may be a smaller section that I previously thought. I had anticipated this to be the largest of the three but the more I think of things the more I am tempted to file them under the "Ugly" - just for their sheer *shudder*.
Let's start with the number of characters. Even several weeks later and having the IMDB page open whilst I type; I still have no idea who half the characters were. This could just be me though. Of course there was a need for supporting characters - there is simply no way you can have five hours of exhilarating television with only three characters. Even the idea is laughable. However, after the introduction of Colonel Oduya (UNIT), John Frobisher, Bridget Spears, Lois Habiba and Prime Minister Brian Green, did we then need to meet Denise Riley (Home Secretary), Defence Secretary (no name), Rick Yates (?), General Pierce (the token America), Press Secretary (no name) and the Parliamentary Secretary on top of Frobisher's family, Alice and Steven, Rhiannon, Johnny and the kids, Clem, Agent Johnson and team and Mr Dekker. In fact, whilst one might argue that whilst all of these extra named characters (because we can't forget the other characters that appear - barmaid, hospital workers, Dr Rupesh, mental home workers, newsreaders etc) are necessary to create a 'whole' story, the attention is shifted to them and leaves the supposed main characters alone and undeveloped.
One might also argue in the case of Mr Dekker that he is simply unnecessary. Anybody could have shown Frobisher the transmission data or overseen the building of the habitat for the 456. For me he was only there to point out to Jack that he had to kill his grandson. Now Jack isn't a stupid man, he'd have gotten there eventually and it might have been all the more horrifying if the suggestion had come from him rather than his reaction to this character. Dekker seemed to be the most obvious plot device: he had a creepy edge that made him seem untrustworthy and played Ianto's role in the final day - telling Jack what he had to do. Time and audience effort were wasted by introducing him as a named character.
I am banging on about "named" characters because in scripting terms they have more weight. You expect more of them - character development, story development etc - so you automatically try to remember them so you know who they are later on. When they are under utilised or unnecessary it feels like a waste of effort.
Then, there was the sheer under-utilisation of drama and suspense. How much more satisfying would it be for an audience if we didn't know who Alice and Steven were after Day One? What if we saw them being taken and then Frobisher telling Jack they had his family? Wouldn't that just add an extra spice of danger to the situation? It would have had the force of a mac-truck - "OMG Jack has family!" Instead, we see him go to see them and then - in an incredibly contrived and lazy piece of writing we find out that Alice refuses to have Jack around because he is dangerous (only to be proved right a day later) and it's inconvenient explaining to Steven that Jack can't age - they get snatched and Steven dies. Because of the way this is written the minute you see Steven you know he is going to die. It's a given, he's the character introduced to bite the dust. Instead imagine how heartbreaking would it have been to hear Jack tell Ianto that he doesn't see his family because Alice won't explain his immortality to Steven - especially after we have seen Ianto coming to terms with the implications of Jack's immortality in their relationship. In contrast the introduction of Ianto's family serves to further the plot as you actually find out a bit about Ianto and allows him to gain a car and laptop so he can rescue Jack. Here it is useful and there is no way it could have served the plot better.
Agent Johnson's set up is also annoying. We are supposed to believe that there is a super military SAS style operation that answers to a bureaucrat at the Civil Service? I am willing to suspend my disbelief there. I am not however, willing to believe that they can get there hands on Torchwood style equipment within minutes but not another child.
Then we get to the 456 themselves. Now, I did think about putting this in the "Ugly" section, however it is more of a peeve than a real complaint or perhaps more accurately - a let down. They built the perfect set. A box filled with gas and an eerie voice that occasionally caused all children on Earth to speak in chilling harmony. Then they turned the 456 into vomiting crabs. Now, I am of the opinion that whenever you set up a superbly creep character like that there is no way to live up to it and once again I was proved correct. Once a fear has a face and form it becomes mortal and vulnerable. That is the sheer beauty of Lord of the Rings - never is Sauron given a face. You hear about him, you hear him speak but you never meet him. A shadow is much more frightening than the tree that is casting it after all. There was, here, no need to have the 456 given a face. A shadowy entity in a gas filled box - which no-one could enter - would have been much more effective. Instead, we got a pathetically prosthetic crab that had indigestion - the Torchwood prop department were certainly on form with that one.
Lastly, there is Gwen. Once again I was tempted to put this into the "Ugly" section but I am willing to admit that perhaps my own views on the character coloured this. The argument still stands though that Gwen sacrifices nothing through this story. Jack sacrifices his grandson and Ianto loses his life in choosing to fight but Gwen loses nothing. She ends up with Rhys and her baby and whilst one might argue she loses Jack and Ianto, that loss isn't comparable to the losses of the other characters. When compared to Frobisher willingly executing his family to save them and Alice having her son ripped from her, Gwen's is a small loss and is cheapened all the more by the blatant torch the character carries for Jack. She comes out whole - alive and happy - and still wants more. She has her husband and child but won't let go of the possibility for love with Jack. And apart from the gorgeous relationship cultivated between Gwen and Clem and her coercion of Lois, what is Gwen's contribution to the culmination of the story? "Gwen Cooper stands alone" made it sound as though Gwen was the only one left fighting the 456 when instead she is taking children and running. It is a noble decision - to save the kids - but it is one dictated by Jack and inevitably by Ianto. Her refusal to give up - whilst admirable - seemed to be yet another dig at Jack/Ianto when compared her reaction to the loss of Tosh and Owen. Then she wanted to give up but here she doesn't seem to even need to pause before fighting again.
Oh where should I begin?
I will admit that whilst I watched the programme my heart raced and the adrenaline flowed and in that respect the show was good. Unfortunately, the show doesn't stand up to close scrutiny.
Let's start at the beginning. Day One. It was a brilliant episode: nice pacing, laid brilliant foundations for the story, introduced the main players, good script and lovely acting. However, by the end of Day One everything that makes Torchwood Torchwood is gone. The Hub is destroyed - and along with it one must assume: Myfanwy, the Weevils (dammit Janet!), the singularity scalpel, the Berkerran scanner, the baby Tardis on Jack's desk, Tosh's body, Grey's body, Jack's Hole, the coffee machine and Jack's great coat (not to mention everything he held dear) - the SUV has been stolen and we ain't in Kansas anymore… or Cardiff. After this, there is nothing in the story that means it is an identifiably Torchwood (insert theme tune here) story. This could have been Spooks with added aliens or even a brand new mini-series. The classic physical manifestations of Torchwood are destroyed. This is comparable to the Doctor without his TARDIS, Sonic Screwdriver or Psychic Paper: items that define the show are gone. Symbolically one therefore must assume we are never getting back the show we loved.
Day Two is rather fun and more like the quirky Torchwood we are used to: a lot of chaos but everything works out in the end. There are brilliant scenes here and the humour is wonderful. However, this episode contains two huge flaws and both revolve around Ianto. The first is that Ianto's dad broke his leg. Now, his sister maintains that it was because Ianto fell of the swing but Ianto's hurt makes us question why Ianto obviously adored a man who caused him - accidentally or not - to break his leg and why the injury is such a sore point afterwards. I will admit that maybe GDL chose to play it in this way and the writers were aiming for humour, but like Gwen's racist chimney-sweep statement of the previous day (which I purposefully didn't mention before so as to include here without boring anyone daft enough to read this) - who finds a broken leg that funny? The second is how Ianto is portrayed. In Day Two he is sneaky, smart and organised. He does what Gwen - for all her guns and action - can not do. Here he is the Administrator of Torchwood not the Tea-boy. At the time it is a lovely acknowledgement to the character. In the long run (see Day Four) it is detrimental.
Day Three was a waste of time - although the beans scene is a favourite. The only pertinent revelations are the arrival of the 456 and the discovery Jack was at the original exchange. It takes us 59 minutes to get all of that. There is no significant character development or story development for this to be a worthwhile episode. They could have cut it in half and had more development of secondary or, preferably, primary characters and had a better episode.
Here though I shall take the time to interject Lois. Now, I have no problem with the actress who portrayed her - she did a good job - it is the actual character I dislike. For a start she's a temp on her first day. Now I work as a temp for local government and whilst it isn't the Civil Service, I do know that they don't hand over email passwords. Even people I've worked with for months don't give me their passwords to organise their emails whilst they are on holiday even if I am their admin. I am currently working for a blind social worker and I don't have his passwords! Lois however is special. Not only is she given passwords - which are like diamonds to government agencies because of the sheer amount of information you can get at - but she is immediately au fait with the systems and knows which emails to open so that she gets involved. She even manages to convince Bridget Spears - who has obviously worked with Frobisher for years - that within two days (most of which Frobisher has been out of the office) she and Frobisher are having an affair when Frobisher doesn't even know her name. She can put in contact lens, ignoring the hygiene of Gwen wearing them first, without any practice. I can barely stand touching my eye even to get an eyelash out and my dad - a seasoned contact user - flinches or can't get them in properly on occasion. But, I repeat, Lois is special. She is a super-temp following in the footsteps of Ianto Jones and Donna Noble but without the style, coffee or mouth.
Day Four… Oh how you disappoint me. Firstly, Jack is being an ass - running away and dealing with Frobisher on his own rather than being the Captain. He may have secrets and like keeping them but rarely in end of the world situations is he seen running from the team. He's usually rallying the troops. Instead Ianto and Gwen are left to do that. Secondly, as mentioned before: Ianto. On Day Two he's wearing safety gear to drive a fork-lift truck complete with worker boots, day-glow fluorescent jacket and hard hat. Now, he's going into a potentially toxic situation and all he's wearing is two parts of a three-piece suit. How are we to believe that after what we have seen so far of this man? Once again it is lazy writing that could have easily been overcome by not having the efficient character of Day Two or by having a faulty gas-mask. Wouldn't that have been more heartbreaking? Him being all prepared but let down by technology? Instead it is quite clear that he was walking to his death. Even if we ignore the failings of his death for a moment - he surely is smarter than to believe the glass is anything other than bullet-proof? It has to contain poisonous gas after all. Therefore why would Ianto shoot the container when there must be pipes pumping the noxious air into the bloody tank which would be easier to damage?
Thirdly, Jack has no plan. He doesn't even have a Plan A when he faces the 456. Ianto tells him to fight - so he does. He says no. There are no apparent consequences just we will fight you taking our children. How is this a threat? Jack is a conman; he's a nasty piece of work. He executed Lisa, sent Mary to the Sun, let Jasmine go and made her mother forget but he can't think of a threat for these aliens? Unbelievable. Even more unbelievable is that he'd go in there with a member of his team - when he has kept them all from danger with fanatical obsession in the past - without a plan or a big dam gun.
Then there is the continuity of this part. They surrender their weapons at the door. When do they get them back?
Again we come across a wasting of time issue. All the dramatic scenes of people we don't know and don't care about dying wasted time. We are an intelligent audience - of course there are other people in the building and of course they die. I am more interested in Clem dying, Dekker escaping and - more importantly - Ianto dying.
There are so many ways Ianto could have died - if he had to, which I haven't been convinced of yet - rather than that. It was rushed, which undermined the beautiful acting and the potentially gorgeous juxtaposition of Clem's violent chaotic death and Ianto's silent still one. It felt to be a throw away death that didn't achieve anything except to create a depressed Jack and help ship him off to Doctor Who. Ianto didn't need to die so that Jack would sacrifice Steven. We already know that he is the man who does what is Right. Gwen does the Good thing, Jack does the Right thing. Sometimes they match, mostly they don't. Ianto's death only served to get Gwen back to Wales so she could run across the countryside. Yes, it highlighted the danger of their job but Jack already died five times in the previous three days - how much more danger do we need? Buffy ran for seven seasons and the four characters that were there at the start - Buffy, Giles, Willow and Xander - were there at the end. They weren't whole and Buffy had died but they were alive. The reason I draw this parallel is because their world is just as dangerous but Whedon neatly subverted this by letting the characters evolve. Xander loses an eye and leaves a woman at the altar whilst holding down a good job, Giles leaves and builds a life in England but returns, Willow turns to the dark through magic addiction, comes out and becomes the embodiment of a powerful woman, and Buffy dies, sees Heaven and grows up. All of these could be seen as deaths as very little remains of the original characters. Even though the growth is organic and well done, they are not the characters we met in 'Welcome to the Hellmouth' and yet: they are. Torchwood's writers seem too lazy to let Ianto evolve. In fact the only character that has evolved is Gwen if only because she is no longer wide-eyed and innocent. Although, it could be argued that she wasn't even that anymore after Series One, taking charge of the team in Jack's absence made her harder and more dangerous than before. Ianto didn't need to die to evolve or change another character. He could have walked away - disgusted by Jack's actions in 1965 or Jack's lack of trust. Both would have devastated Jack.
Death seemed a cheap thrill that was useless and unnecessary.
Day Five… Well… Gwen's dashing around the countryside, Jack's given up and the government are evil and the whole problem is easily solved by reversing the signal the 456 sent out to kill Clem - which turns Clem's horrific death into a cheap plot ploy. Oh… and the little boy cops it before Jack runs away. Need I say more?
The next problem I have is the destruction of Jack and Ianto…
Let's start with Ianto. Rather than seem insecure - as GDL tried to act - his lines in Day One make him seem immature. "Ooh they're calling us a couple…" *insert girly giggle*. Ianto has never had a problem talking to Jack: he propositioned him over the dead body of a colleague with a stopwatch for crying out loud! Yes, Ianto is private about his emotions, but he isn't coy. He knows Jack well enough to know Jack won't say things first. So, in all probability he would ask. He'd say - Jack are we a couple? But of course, that isn't good television. Then the character is further chipped away by the discontinuity of super-efficient "I can get hold of an RAF greatcoat whilst on the run" Ianto who turns into the man who walks into a trap. In no way does that work. And the final nail in the coffin is the idea that Ianto has been lying to everyone. Now, if Ianto had survived I would have found this an intriguing plot twist. Why is Ianto hiding his background? The opportunity for character development would be phenomenal. With Ianto dying however, it felt like an unnecessary attack on the popularity of the character instead. It seems childish, furthering no plot and actually destroying any character development done over the previous two series.
Jack's character is lambasted to a greater degree. For a start he comes across as a callous bastard. He either doesn't care about or can't see Ianto's insecurities and doesn't seem all that penitent about the children in 1965. If it hadn't been for Ianto saying, "This must have been eating you up," I don't think I would have realised Jack actually felt anything and that isn't the fault of John Barrowman. The writers didn't do anything to make Jack likeable. Gone was his flirtatious nature and "With a dashing hero like me on the case" attitude. This is heartbreaking. Jack was fresh and fun and whilst he wasn't always the typical hero, he was a good guy. You cared about him because he had a huge heart and was inevitably going to get hurt because he outlives everyone. Yet, he doesn't stop trying. If I was immortal, I might be tempted to take the next century off, watching television, surfing the internet and eating Ben & Jerry's. Jack doesn't even consider it. He tries and he gives, he loves and gets hurt and you love him for it. In five episodes they destroyed that.
You can almost understand the giving up when Ianto dies. If I lost my lover I might think "what's the point?" especially against such odds. But, I think, if I had all the tech that Jack has at his disposal at mine, I'd want payback. Jack is the type to want payback. We saw it with Mary - she hurt Tosh and threatened his team and Jack killed her - we saw it with Lisa, the cannibals and even John. Jack is a vengeful creature. No remorse, no hesitation. With Ianto, the hesitation is forgivable but the apathy? It is out of character and incredibly contrived. And, Ianto didn't need to die for Jack to realise that Steven has to. He is the hero after all. Again, it feels like they are just destroying the character for the sake of it.
I don't mind that Jack can't say he loves Ianto - the promise not to forget him is worth more in my eyes - it would have been out of character. But I can't equate this shell of a character we are given with the Jack we know. Gone is everything that made Jack Harkness the phenomenon he was and in his place the writers have left the Universe's Bitch. He's slapped and broken for the sake of it and ultimately is turned into a coward. This is the man who sat on a German bomb because of his guilt. Now, he runs away. It is a character evolution with a Missing Link. He isn't developed enough for this to flow properly. Retreating to the shell of the Hub, exhausted, to hibernate and recover would be more in keeping than cowardice. (And don't get me started on the final scene - "Shake off my boots" and vanishing in a flash of light - it is lazy and downright insulting.)
It almost feels that the writers have waged a jihad on Janto, breaking them in any and everyway possible so that no one can revive them.
Which leads me neatly to the pre-series hype. How many interviews were released where the interviewee discussed the Jack/Ianto relationship, stating in particular that Janto fans would be pleased? I read at least three. Lying is not acceptable. One could almost claim it is false advertising which is liable. Looking back, my heart aches for GDL being interviewed and having to be excited, all the while very aware that his character has been raped. How can you do that? Naoko and Burn at least had heroic and poignant exits. I still love/hate their death scene - especially Owen - because that one line "Your breaking my heart" is perhaps the most evocative line I've ever heard. The pain both actors put into the scene and the beauty of the dialogue makes up for being killed off. Ianto isn't given that poetry or that respect and it is made even worse now that the uproar is being dismissed and lies have come to light. I, in all my fan-girlish wisdom, trusted the actors and writers when they said "Fans will be happy" because really - why wouldn't I? Now, every interview I read will be taken with a huge pinch of salt. Perhaps I was naïve but it doesn't excuse the act.
And my final "Ugly": given the current political climate, terrorist threats around every corner, what government in the world would build a habitat for a potentially hostile alien? Let alone build it in one of the country's most secure facilities. Putting the tank in Thames House i.e. MI5 is like building it in Langley, Virginia (CIA), the J Edgar Hoover Building, Washington DC (FBI), the Pentagon or the headquarters of France's Direction centrale du renseignement intérieur (DCRI). It wouldn't happen. It might happen on a secure army facility somewhere in the middle of nowhere but not in a government security agency in the middle of a major city. It wouldn't happen. And, given the fact that they know the 456 are not "good" why the hell would they build it in the first place? Had the rest of the plot been spectacular, I might have been willing to suspend my disbelief over this, but it wasn't. I can't help but circle back to the thought that if the government hadn't built the habitat the 456 wouldn't have come to Earth - they couldn't have survived it - and the story would have been very different. This one fact causes the whole plot to collapse like a house of cards.
...and The Grotesque
Russell T Davies. His attitude to the fans understandable (if occasionally over the top) uproar over the death of a beloved character has been disgusting. From a purely logical standpoint, fans pay the wages. No one survives in the entertainment industry if they are not bankable. The price we pay for this is mediocre actors, singers and movies simply because they are popular and pretty. However, the fact remains Fans are a precious commodity. Now, there are those out there who make films, television, music, art, literature - entertainment - simply because they love the art form they work in. For a shockingly tiny minority they can do so without having to appreciate the thousands of people who love their work simply because their work is just so consistently very very good. However, off the top of my head, I cannot think of anyone living who would fit that criterion.
That means for everyone else they have to be aware of the masses. They don't have to like it, they don't even have to bow to it - after all it is their intellectual property - however, they should have the decency to respect it. At random I will use JK Rowling as an example. Harry Potter is a phenomenon and that has nothing to do with JK Rowlings's writing ability. Her stories are good and entertaining but in reality they are nothing special. Many of her ideas are the reworking of myths and legends or other artists e.g. Mirror of Erised and Galadriel's Mirror have disturbing parallels. But, there are nuggets of genius in there and the way it is presented makes the books enjoyable. The accessibility of the books has caught the public's attention and it is the public response to these books that will ensure Harry Potter and Ms. Rowling herself go down in history. I know of seven individuals who only read the books because someone said it was entertaining and a further three who read so they knew what everyone was talking about. She wrote the books so yes, she deserves credit, but I very much doubt she would negate the Fan impact.
Fans are wonderful things. Peter Jackson's direction and scripting of the Lord of the Ring's Trilogy was so beautiful and true to the books because he himself was a Fan. Admittedly he also had to turn out something perfect because of the Fan threat - which could be considered a negative - but that pressure ensured the end product was as near to perfect as possible.
Joss Whedon is a world builder who is very aware of his Fans - hell he gave the fan-fiction slashers out there a throw away line about Spike and Angel simply to show appreciation and awareness of his fan-base. Not once has he bowed to fan pressure but he has always listened and appreciated the support fans give a show. Buffy was a landmark television show that ran for seven years, produced a spin off show, numerous books, soundtracks, figures, memorabilia and comics and may very well return in some form to the screen. Whilst it was a wonderful show - great acting, stories, monsters and characters - the Fans have made it so very successful and Joss is very aware of that fact. So aware that he encourages fans to write fan-fiction and thanks them for their continued support with projects such as Firefly, Serenity and Dollhouse. Each of those shows are slightly off the wall and push the conventions of television but he is guaranteed a fair showing by producers if only for his fan-base.
Now, I am not saying that these people don't deserve their acclaim - because they do! They are talented and ingenious and their minds must be wonderful places to live but they know that they owe a lot to their Fans. It is the law of reciprocity. They give us good entertainment we watch/read/listen. They give us bad we stop. Fans hold the power and can make or break an artist. That is the way of the world.
Therefore you do not insult people who have loyally followed your show for years. Who watched the show when it was on a back-water channel like BBC Three and was only in the TV guide because it was part of the schedule. Fans moved Torchwood from Three to Two to One. I personally convinced three different households - excluding my own - to watch Children of Earth because of my love for the show and desire to see it continue. I couldn't guarantee that it would be BAFTA winning television but I told them that it would be enjoyable. They believed me. Because of ME Torchwood's viewing figures rose by three. Because of the thousands of FANS out there the figures rose even more. We don't account for every one of the extra three million people Children of Earth pulled in but I would bet my life that we account for a large majority of it.
And what does our loyalty warrant? Scorn, derision and debasement. It is unacceptable and even if I hadn't found the series disappointing as a whole I wouldn't watch ever again to simply stop RTD being bankable.
I pray for the day a TV exec turns to him and says - No thanks. You aren't worth it. You have no fans.
So that's it. At the time I did enjoy the show but with the immediacy of the action gone I've had time to think. Adrenaline is a wonderful thing and can cover any flaw but inevitably it fades away and what was left just wasn't enough. There were wonderful bits but not enough to excuse errors or clumsy contrivances.
I won't be watching the next series of Torchwood because, for me, it won't be Torchwood. This has nothing to do with the death of Ianto and everything to do with the death of the show. In addition, the abuse from RTD has just sealed the deal on that one.
Good luck to those of you who do watch - it is your choice and right just like it is mine to disagree with the direction taken and stop here. I am saddened and disappointed but will admit it was a good piece of television. It just wasn't Torchwood.
I welcome your opinions.
ETA... for further information on The Grotesque see this