Torchwood: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang


Directed by Ashley Way

Written by Chris Chibnall

Starring John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Naoka Mori, Gareth David-Lloyd and James Marsters

I seem to be one of the very few people to have actually liked the first season of this show, or at least, to be prepared to acknowledge that fact. It had its faults, undoubtedly, but it also had some real high points and Eve Myles in the role of Gwen Cooper really shone throughout.

There has been much talk amongst “online” observers about the show being a disaster, with both Russell T Davies and Chris Chibnall coming in for a lot of criticism. The suggestion has been put forward that they were given an almighty boot up the arse to sort out the myriad of faults in the show and get their house in order in time for season two. The very fact that the BBC made the decision to move it from BBC3 to BBC2 is, as should be blatantly obvious, evidence that these rumours need to be treated with suspicion. Clearly, they were certainly not as unhappy as some would like us to believe.

‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’, the opening episode of the second season premiered on BBC2 on 16 January 2008, just over a year after the finale of season one on the digital BBC3 channel. It has been greeted by a very positive reaction, with some reviews bordering on the effusive.

There has been much talk about the presence of James Marsters, the American actor who played Spike in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’. Here he is playing Captain John Hart, a time agent from the closely-guarded secret past of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman). He was, it quickly becomes apparent, once Captain Jack’s lover, agent partner and adversary, seemingly all at the same time.

Although it appears to be the intention to make Captain John a mirror reflection of Captain Jack, Marsters plays him as a kind of one-note variation of Spike, even going as far as employing the exact same mannerisms and non-specific English accent. The only thing missing is the bleach-blonde Billy Idol hair.

My only prior experience of Marsters is in ‘Buffy’ and its spin-off ‘Angel’, but he is apparently an actor possessed of some skill and range. Therefore, I assume this portrayal is what was requested of him. There were some nice touches, but I wasn’t much impressed by it overall.

The story was a bit simplistic and threadbare. Captain Jack warns everyone not to trust Captain John, not even for a second, after which they all proceed to be taken in by him, including Jack himself. It seems they all take a fancy to having sex with him, leading to complacency, even if some of them try to deny the attraction. I am being somewhat glib but so was the storyline.

Ultimately, of course, they win the day and restore everything to semi-normality; simply, it seems, because of their ability to drive very fast through the streets of Cardiff in the dead of night.

Eve Myles was underused, in this episode at least, although it is understandable that the spotlight would be on Captain Jack at the very start of the new season. The production values were high and the whole thing moved along at a breakneck pace. There was plenty of action, but very little else.

I found it all a bit boring and I struggled not to switch off before the end. However, I still have high hopes that as the season settles in and calms down things will start to improve.


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