Saturday, January 29, 2011

Season 4 of Torchwood: Or, When will Russell T. Davies stop stealing Supernatural episode plots?

My posts have all been way to serious lately and that blog description up top does say something about pop culture does it not? Time for a little snarkiness at the expense of a television show.

I just read this article from January 8th of this year. It details both the name change of season 4 of Torchwood. Originally the season was to be called Torchwood: The New World and now it is to be called Torchwood: Miracle Day.

Now...this name is just too ridiculous for words. Why is it necessary to NAME the seasons? When did Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, etc. become too good for television series? Movies have names for each installation, a series has a series name and season numbers, no need for a name for each season...

However, that's not even what I wrote this post.

I wrote this post because this new season seems like Russell T. Davies seems be stealing his plots from Supernatural even more these days.
I wouldn't have even noticed except RTD made the massive mistake of actually getting me WATCH Supernatural in the first place when he said that if fans wanted to watch a show where the main characters never die, we should watch Supernatural.

Good going man, tell angry fans to watch a show that is made in another country and broadcast on a different channel than the one that signs your paychecks...and happens to the be the one that you enjoy yanking plots from? I thought you were smarter than this...I should be used to disappointment where you are concerned by now.

The plot for this season (don't read the rest of this post if you don't like spoilers!) is

John Barrowman returns as the British Captain Kirk
Eve Myles also returns, playing the character I can't stand at all on this show.
The plot of Miracle Day is the most explosive Torchwood storyline yet. One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging — they get hurt and sick — but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four months’ time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy.  The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?”, he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

There is 10 episodes of this...it's like RTD just yanked the plot from season 4 (episode 15 "Death Takes a Holiday") of Supernatural and put a multi-national, government conspiracy twist on it...which is admittedly what RTD seems to do best.

I would call this a coincidence, if it wasn't for the fact that this is not the first time this has happened in Torchwood.
In season 1, the episode Countrycide, the plot is almost identical to that of the episode "The Benders" of the first season of Supernatural. The plot? Oh yes, our heroes hear of mysterious disappearances in the boonies (Breacon Beacons for our Torchwood elite and Hibbing, Minnesota for our Supernatural boys). Both groups assume that the disappearances have to do with their special area of expertise (Aliens and supernatural creepy crawlies, respectively), so off they go to investigate. Team mates are kidnapped (or team mate, singular, for Supernatural) and those that remaining are trying to find out what happened to them. It turns out that what they are hunting is not aliens or supernatural creepy crawlies, but some rather fucked up humans who are cannibals (in Torchwood's case) or just redneck hicks who enjoy hunting humans for sport (in Supernatural's case, they never explicitly mention cannibalism, but their is a scene where a man is using cleaver and a saw on something in a kitchen.)
Both groups keep souvenirs of their kills, piles of shoes and jars of eyeballs and organs in the case of the cannibals and "hunting" photographs, wind chimes made of, what looks like, a human pelvic bone and a jar of teeth in the case of the rednecks.

There is even ridiculous amounts of similarity in some the dialogue. At one point in "The Benders" Dean is looking at the "souvenirs" and says:
"I'll say it again. Demons I get, people are crazy" - Dean

Near the end of "Countrycide" Gwen is questioning the cannibal ringleader and says:
"I've seen things you couldn't imagine and this, this is the only thing I can't understand" - Gwen

Similar, yes?

Also at the end of both episodes, the ringleaders are questioned, and almost begged in both cases, by the good guys about why they did the things they did. They answer, in similarly creepy tones, with similarly disturbing facial expressions:
"Because it made me happy." - Torchwood
"Because it's fun." - Supernatural.
The only difference being that after Gwen questions the man, he's carted off by the police and after the policewoman (who was also captured by the rednecks) who questioned the hunter the scene cuts with the sound of a gun shot, she later tells Sam and Dean that she shot him because he was trying to escape.

Now, some might point out that this plot has been used often in sci-fi and horror. X-files had a couple of episodes similar to the "Our show is about the supernatural/alien, but we would like to show you that humans can be fucked up sons-of-bitches too" theme.

I'm not saying that RTD can't use the theme, but damn if the plot lines of the episodes aren't almost identical. Watch them side by side, really, you'll agree.
Combine this with the fact that Davies, spiteful, recommendation that fans angered by Ianto's death in Children of Earth (okay, that was a mini-series, they are exempt from rules of not having a separate name) watch it because no main characters die, means that he is fairly familiar with the series himself.

I just have one more note to add about the plot line for this new season of Supernatu...er, I mean Torchwood.

Russell, you were the one that said you were keeping sci-fi realistic (patently ridiculous given that the point of sci-fi is not realism, by the way) because everyone dies. You already have a man who has a teflon non-stick coating against death, an alien who regenerates into a new body if the plot calls for his death (or the actor decides he wants to swan off), a woman who is your pet character who never seems to die, even when put in situations where she should have and now a whole 10 episode season where people LITERALLY CANNOT DIE! Can we try for a little consistency please?

I have to agree with Meredith Jacobs, who wrote:
Too bad this concept didn’t come about before the deaths of Ianto, Owen (Burn Gorman), and Tosh (Naoko Mori). The series definitely won’t be the same without all three of them.

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