Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Russell T Davies' faith and optimism: a defence and discussion

Not mine, if you thought I could do such a thing, but a finely articulate argument and analysis from Phil over at Actually Existing. Phil admits that Torchwood is tosh (and by Medium Rob's scarcely spoilering review, episode three travels further down this line) but Phil provides a wonderful discussion of the core features of RTD's work that make it both appealing and dictate its focus. I'll let you read it for yourself, but it is one of the clearest pieces I've read on why some find RTD's work difficult to appreciate.

For me, I guess that I have a certain sympathy with the three core concerns, albeit that I can equally be enthralled by darkness, wickedness and internal character believability. Sometimes that's IS what I want, but lightness too has its place and it is nice to see it so well explained by Phil in his post.


stu_n said...

The problem with Captain Jack is that he made his biggest impact in his first appearance — and that was scripted by Stephen Moffatt, who is by far the best writer among RTD's cronies. Nobody else so far has been able to do anything interesting with him, and that includes RTD himself. Moffatt wrote a slippery, morally compromised but charming conman whose sexuality was simultaneously an integral part of his character and the least interesting thing about him, and whose character actually developed as the consequences of his actions became clear. Davies wrote a wisecracking innuendo machine who knew his way around a submachine gun and had good abs.

One of the biggest problems I have with RTD's work is that he seems to think that internal character believability (and plot believability) can be sacrificed for the sake of lightness — and that's just bad writing. What's worse, that attitude gets passed on to everyone writing for him.

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Good retort, and I'm with you re: SM as one of the best writers on DW recently. But it still stands that Phil's piece is a good explanation of WHAT it is that RTD is doing, and far more empathetic to his aims than is usually said.

MediumRob said...

It's notable, though, that Phil's explanation doesn't cover the majority of RTD's work. Certainly, Century Falls, Touching Evil, and Second Coming don't fit the explanation. Dark Season kind of. Mine All Mine, maybe.