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July 11 2011

(SPOILER) Jane Espenson's commentary on Torchwood: Miracle Day. It'll be a regular Monday feature at AfterElton for the duration of the series. And yes she was thrilled to see youknowwho in the first episode.

I watched, but who is youknowwho? I didn't see anyone surprising except for the guy who used to be on Greek!
Robin Sachs! I was pleased as punch to see him.
I had to wiki him. I had no idea he was Ethan Rayne, nor do I know who he played on Torchwood.
The article states both of those things, however.
What? I didn't see Robin Sachs, when did he appear? edit: found out from article

[ edited by mrchip on 2011-07-11 23:04 ]
It was only a few seconds, but so great to see Sachs. Wish he got more work.
Missed him, must go back and find him.

The earmuffs scene was my favorite. It was well done and not so hokey. I totally believed Gwen would grab them and put them on her baby.

Will this be linked weekly? I know that I'll forget this by next Monday.
Probably not. I think a heads up about the series of articles is enough coverage.
Follow her on Twitter; I'm sure she'll tweet when they go up.
Thanks, Jane! I'm not going to register over there just to comment, but know that, by hook or by crook *winkwinknudgenudge*, I WILL be watching this show from Korea.
Was it any good? This is coming from a big doctor who fan who never could quite enjoy Torchwood.
I'm actually a fair Torchwood fan, and I love Jane without reservation, but I think she was watching a different show than me. Everything she found delightful, I found to be bad writing/acting and full of logical holes.

I still liked the ep, but Torchwood:Children of Earth hit such high quality standards that this new season feels a bit of a let down so far. Hopefully it will improve drastically.

But YAY Jane for at least doing the commentaries.
I thought the first episode was pretty great, but I have been in TW withdrawal mode for 2 years now so I am gladly eating everything they serve me---and even licking the plate!
Didn't immediately recognise Robin Sachs (I just knew that I knew him) but great to see him on there.

Liked the episode just fine largely for the reasons Jane points out. It was a lot of setup but then there was a lot to setup and I did smile at RTD's underlining of "So wait, Wales is separate ?" and the bridge thing (note to the CIA expenses office: if he'd flown into Manchester he could've just driven down across the border for free). Gwen with ear-defended baby in one hand, gun in another was hilarious and cool at once, Jack's reveal and when he realises that when everyone else's switch went one way his was toggled the other was cool (though I thought they maybe belaboured it a bit towards the end, not to mention were really indiscreet in front of a complete stranger - and agent of a foreign power - re: the whole immortality thing).

And wild Wales looked lovely of course, particularly the beach and Old Rectory at Rhossili (though NOT making pretty much anywhere on the Gower Peninsula look lovely would be the real achievement). You can stay there BTW, it's a holiday cottage for rent (prices start at about 2000 for a week right enough ;).
Wait, growing up I thought that house at Rhossili was haunted. I mean, that's the story we've always been told, and so consequentially told everyone else.
Well, on the basis that every single thing I was told (or told someone else) while growing up was 100% true then it must be. Which is probably how Gwen found out about it (some sort of Torchwood investigation). Nothing else even remotely makes sense.

(google tells me one of the reputed haunters is one Reverend John Ponsonby Lucas who rides up and down the bay doing stuff. Being restless i'd imagine. There're others but none with quite such entertaining names - Ponsonby Smythe would've been even better but that's hardly his fault. I blame his parents)
Is that the same stretch of beach that was used in the original Prisoner show or is that another part of Wales? Sure looked familiar. I know the Village is Portmerion (sp?).
I have to agree with mr_bigpileofdust. Another big problem for me was the editing. That whole sequence of the CIA guys trip to Wales while having a conversation on the phone was just a mess. And the tone of the episode was all over the place and it didn't feel like they got a good balance between the drama and humour. It'll be interesting to see if maybe the extra 9 minutes of the UK version smooths some of that out. But I guess those are pretty nit-picky type of complaints and I'm still looking forward to the rest.
Is that the same stretch of beach that was used in the original Prisoner show or is that another part of Wales?

Not sure but I doubt it. Portmeirion's quite a way further round and up the coast (it's in north Wales) so i'd imagine they just filmed the beach scenes of 'The Prisoner' there or thereabouts (e.g. White Sands Bay, Portmeirion's own - smallish - sandy beach).
I'm excited for the UK version to air so we can find out just what was cut and what was added. Since this is on Starz, I'm hoping for Spartacus-esque full frontal nudity! Cap'n Jack nekkid? Please please please!!!
There are lots of beaches like that, and actually ones that are easier to film on further north. Rhossili bay (the Torchwood beach) is a bugger to film on I imagine because it's relatively busy and hard to get a vehicle down to. North Wales has more deserted ones.
"Is that the same stretch of beach that was used in the original Prisoner show or is that another part of Wales? "

No I believe that was shot elsewhere in Wales ( Portmeirion) and what you saw on TW was shot in an area called the Gower.

[ edited by sueworld2003 on 2011-07-12 16:58 ]
Wait, why are the UK and US versions different? I wasn't aware of that...
Raeven7, Starz! shows are around 50-54 minutes long and BBC shows need to be close to the full 60 minutes. There has been talk that some of the more graphic stuff from the US version will be toned down for BBC and that there will be extra (mostly filler I assume) time of other stuff added to the BBC version. I seriously doubt a casual viewer would be able to tell the difference. They won't put actual additional plot points in either version.
Except for that startling bit about Gwen's baby being made entirely out of chocolate.
Nah, that was foreshadowed in series 2 when Owen ate that Yorkie. The cottage cheese aliens were a surprise though (I mean, it's among the least intimidating of all the cheeses).

The US and UK versions of many shows are different Raeven7, usually just for time, sometimes also for content, it's not at all a new thing or unique to 'Torchwood'. The extent of it will be interesting to see first hand though - apparently when 'Spooks' first made its way over to the US (as 'MI5') entire subplots were jettisoned in order to make up the 15-ish minutes of advert time and it's hard to see that not making a significant difference to the show but I never watched 'MI5' so had no way to tell. Curious whether the 8-ish extra minutes of 'Torchwood' will add anything worthwhile (it's kind of odd to think of Starz creating an extra 8 minutes they know their viewers won't get to see but I guess that's a consequence of the co-pro deal...io. Or maybe they'll stick it on their website as extra scenes ?).
Saje, I have a hard time believing that there will be entire extra scenes rather than just tighter editing on the Starz! version. Ad supported US shows have around 41-44 minutes runtime. Premium pay cable (like Starz!) shows can be anywhere from 50-55 minutes.

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2011-07-12 22:46 ]
Whatever the case, I hope the eventual DVD release features "expanded" episodes with nothing cut out. I don't want to see the new UK stuff as deleted scenes, I want it fully integrated into the episode along with what would have been cut from Starz.
Yeah, i'd think the DVD sets will have the whole shebang (presumably subject to certification concessions for the appropriate regions/countries). I don't own any 'Torchwood' on DVD because in the UK BBC DVDs are overpriced IMO (which I particularly resent since i've already paid for the shows once) but series 4 may be one I have to buy if I want to watch it in its most complete form.

Ad supported US shows have around 41-44 minutes runtime. Premium pay cable (like Starz!) shows can be anywhere from 50-55 minutes.

Episode 1 is 51:12 including credits and 'Next time...' preview, BBC hour shows are usually about 59 ish (also inc. credits/preview). I dunno of course (until I see it) but 7-8 minutes seems a lot to just be trimmings from scenes without it initially being written "flabby" (and whatever we may think of RTD as a writer I don't see him sitting thinking "And now to add the pointless crap so that we can cut it for Starz" ;). Agreed though, it obviously won't be essential plot stuff, presumably it'll "just" be character beats, extra dialogue, fleshing out backstories and so on (maybe the odd culturally specific reference ? Though id've thought that'd be part of its appeal too so maybe not).

As I say though, we'll see, should be interesting.
^^ On iTunes, the running time for episode is 54 minutes and some odd seconds. What's that about?
** episode ONE
54:01. Huh, weird. Beats me (FWIW the ever reliable - *cough* ;) - Wikipedia also has it down at 50 minutes. Which, credits and preview aside, seems to match).

Is there a "Previously on..." with it maybe ?
It's on iTunes? Where? I haven't been able to find it.
I can't find it on iTunes either. Maybe it's only on iTunes in the UK or Canada? It makes sense that Starz! would limit its availability in the states since the way they make money is through subscriptions not the tiny amount of money iTunes brings in.
^^ It's on iTunes Canada and the episode runs 54:01. Perhaps they are using the BBC version?
The episode I watched in Canada on Space on Saturday night, I have no idea if it was the Starz or BBC version. Since Space breaks into British or cable shows with commercials, the show was broadcast from 9:10-10:20 PM. I have emailed Space to try to find out which version they're showing.
Not sure exactly how the spoiler policy works, but can I just say that the UK broadcast is several days behind the US, so any extra caution taken over spoilery things in headlines would be appreciated. (This post is perfect in this regard.)
Well, I couldn't see a blind bit of difference, anybody else ? The BBC broadcast seemed to air without cuts but also without anything extra that I could tell - it ended at the same place about 50 minutes after starting, no scenes seemed longer, no extra scenes etc. The time between the end of the episode and the 10 o'clock news was filled with an entire series preview about 5 minutes long (viewed through squinty eyes, sound down) and then trails for other shows (mainly The Apprentice which, y'know, whatever).

Maybe other episodes'll have significant differences but Episode 1 not so much (didn't expect cuts right enough since there wasn't really much in the Starz version that the BBC wouldn't show).
I think the scene where Gwen and Rhys kissed in the hospital was longer. Come to think of it, I don't remember those two kissing in the Starz version.
But we Starz viewers were promised all the sex!
Some people say the preview of the entire season wasn't included in the Starz version (instead just a preview of the next episode).

They're also saying the picture quality is different.

I still wanna know which version Canada is getting!
Nah, Rhys and Gwen kiss in the Starz version too, dunno whether it's longer/shorter/the same length but they definitely kiss (and in both versions it's long enough that it's more a snog than a kiss, no mere peck on the cheek but more the apparent prelude to kicking an ICU patient out of bed and going at it ;).

And I didn't watch the preview at the end of the Starz version either but it was certainly much shorter, just based on elapsed time, more like a "Next time..." whereas the BBC one explicitly said "This Season...".
I know this topic is probably long dead now, but just wanted to pipe in with my opinions on the the opener.

Reading Jane's commentary, she does manage to pick out the bits I did like. Basically, the Wales scenes and the moments with Jack. So, everything with the old characters. The new characters I was less involved with. Everything seemed to just be diving headlong into the story, without much consideration of letting the viewer get the new characters. Rex is possibly the one this applies least to and he comes out of the episode as the most interesting on the CIA people (I did enjoy the bit with the pills that Jane points out, although I agree with Kaan that editing for travelling to Wales sequence was pretty horrific.)

Still, I like the concept that suddenly no one can die and perhaps once the Torchwood team reach America things will pick up on that side of the pond.

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