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Published on March 31st, 2008 | by Simon Mills

2007 Round Table – Part 2 (page 2)

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Conversely, the Toclafane were almost universally despised, with Terra putting it succinctly, “The Toclafane would have to go down as the worst this season. They were just a bad Dalek rip off and didn’t work to threaten or wow me.”

Having thoroughly dissected the monsters and villains that tickled our fancies, the assembled motley crew move on to new pastures… The realm of spinoffs with Torchwood and Sarah Jane Adventures coming under close scrutiny. [Author’s note: due to a fracture in the space-time continuum, i.e. a complete failure to finish the Round Table articles in a timely fashion, Torchwood has now (almost) completed it’s run. Let’s see if our collective insights were borne out in what we saw…]

Terra reckons that “Torchwood filled in the ‘what’s on TV now’ gap for me. It was a smart show with good characters and writing, however it did have its hiccups much like any other new show during its first season” while Anthony says “If Torchwood can tone down its sex and swearing ratio, and find its focus more efficiently, then series two should do fine. There’s fantastic writers aboard the series, and some of the best directors, designers and such that the UK has to offer.” Quite so, Anthony, quite so. Overall, the opinion is that the first series of Torchwood was a bit confused and “didn’t really know what it was,” says Christian, “It wasn’t for adults – most adults I know stopped watching it after the Hills Have Inbred Welshmen or whatever it was called, and rightly so. It obviously wasn’t for kids – was it therefore for confused and angry teenagers? I dunno… I didn’t really get that much out of it, other than a dislike for Captain Jack, Gwen Cooper and Owen Harper, confusion over a stop clock and baffling devotion to a Cyberwoman, and some sexy moments with aliens. Weird.”

Nick only watched one episode of Torchwood series one, and didn’t want to watch the more adult stuff, “I don’t see why there seems to be an obsession on TV with everybody having to have sex with everybody else. Just write a good drama for goodness sake…” He reckons, though, that “Sarah Jane will be fine for children.” Terra doesn’t agree, thinking it was a let-down, “It was a kid’s show and I must remember that, but I felt she was not well served by it as a character. She had been my favorite companion for years so to see her reduced to a children’s show acting with a cast of children (sorry kids, good actor all round just not what I want to see) was a bit upsetting. It would have been nice to see a Doctor Who age group show for our old friend Sarah Jane, instead, she inherits the Slitheen. I’ll still tune in though.” Christian likes Liz Sladen and says that she “is one of those rarities – a very strong actress who isn’t *that* famous, other than in Doctor Who, and with her sonic lipstick and young companions, spacious attic and supercomputer, she should find facing and fighting monsters a doddle.”

Anthony liked The Sarah Jane Adventures, too, “…everything that I wanted NuWho to be back in March 2005, but ultimately found they weren’t. The spin-off mixes adult humour in a very child like manner, with well thought out, clever plots. There’s more than an occasional nod to the past, and the warm feeling that this is very much connected to the show I grew up watching as a child myself.”

Matthew makes an excellent observation and there are nods from around the room when he says that “The Sarah Jane Adventures should have been better pitched at an adult audience (especially as K9 has been pouch-nabbed by commercial broadcasting), securing Sladen’s considerable talent with threatening, supernatural and alien menace stories. TSJA could have been the Torchwood that it never is/was.”

A footnote now for the long-rumoured K9 show… “K9 on his own would, I feel be a total tragedy,” says Christian, “anyone involved should be running to Mr Hancock and saying ‘Can we have the Daleks please?’ They’re the only true spinoff from Doctor Who, and why no one has realised this and done something about it is one of those bizarre mysteries of the world.” There is more nodding and murmuring at this. In fact, Terra is nodding so fiercely that his electrodes have worked loose and there is an urgent pinging noise coming from his mobile life support system.

The discussions come to an abrupt, but temporary, halt as we rush around to the back of his chair and attempt to figure out how to wire him up again.

Tune in soon to the third and final part of the ever increasingly time warped Kasterborous Round Table 2007!

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