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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Prole Hole
    October 21, 2013 @ 2:27 am

    "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang works. It’s fun." Does it, though? I mean, the plot basically functions to get us from A to B to C to D but I dunno, I recently rewatched all of Torchwood minus Miracle Day (because, well, it's just terrible) and the thing that struck me most about Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is how incredibly dreary it all is. The plots it sets up for the rest of the season (do we need spoiler alerts here? Well here's one anyway) with Jack's brother could have been covered in about two minutes flat. "Hey, Ianto, I've got a lost brother I'm still feeling incredibly guilty about." "Really Jack? Tell me about it" "Oh I let go of his hand and he vanished from sight and it was all my fault." "Hmm, thanks for setting up the rest of the season Jack!" See, it's easy! Captain John just feels… I dunno, incredibly obvious somehow – I've never watched Buffy so nothing being carried over from there. And for all the big-disco-fightin-n-snoggin going on it came across as having your foot flat on the accelerator and the clutch being in at the same time – the engine is highly over-revved but you're not going anywhere. I know, I know, this isn't a review blog, but going through my rewatch I was just so glad when I got past this episode and something more interesting came along (anything, really). Season Two is a great improvement on Season One in almost every way and if we had to have an episode like this, well maybe it's better that it's the first one so it's done and we can all move on to something better.


  2. Bennett
    October 21, 2013 @ 2:55 am

    This might not be a popular opinion, but what most people describe as "fan service" seems to me more accurately described as "fan disservice".

    I don't know…I just feel that it's a show's responsibility to be above catering to the idle fantasies of its fan-base. I prefer it when shows don't just give us what we want, but instead give us what we don't know we want yet. I think it's in a fan's best interest to not be handed a suitcase full of sweets.

    Of course, this might be an example I'd have to concede….after all, being irresponsible is part of what Torchwood does. Were I a fan of it, I'm sure I'd feel appropriately serviced.


  3. jane
    October 21, 2013 @ 4:54 am

    Being handed a suitcase full of sweets is perfect for the season opener, because now you have something that can be taken away.


  4. jane
    October 21, 2013 @ 4:56 am

    "Never watched Buffy" would certainly put a stake in much of this episode's pleasures.


  5. Theonlyspiral
    October 21, 2013 @ 6:47 am

    It's like watching the "Five Doctors" without having seen any Doctor Who before.


  6. Chris Andersen
    October 21, 2013 @ 7:15 am

    When I hear the accusation of "fan service" I have to wonder if it isn't being unfair to the creators of the show. Yes, (some) fans may like the idea of Spike and Captain Jack making out, but maybe Davies made this episode because he liked the idea of Spike and Captain Jack making out.

    In other words, if this was "fan service", maybe Davies was the fan that was being serviced.


  7. Alan
    October 21, 2013 @ 7:57 am

    Warning: TV Tropes ramblings.

    To my recollection, Spike was NEVER a Magnificent Bastard. On the contrary, he was quite the opposite of that in that his schemes were always ill-considered and almost never worked according to plan. And in point of fact, he was at one point the trope namer for Spikeification (since renamed Badass Decay), a reference to the process by which a dangerous badass villain is watered down into a simpering puppy because the actor who plays him is popular and so the writers are forced to change his character so it's plausible for him to stay around.


  8. Alan
    October 21, 2013 @ 7:59 am

    Personally, I can't remember ANYTHING about this entire episode EXCEPT Jack and John snogging. Just from reading Phillip's post, I suddenly said to myself "Oh yeah there was a blowfish guy, wasn't there?"


  9. Ununnilium
    October 21, 2013 @ 8:19 am

    Sometimes, the thing you really want is something you never knew you wanted. And sometimes it's exactly the thing you knew you wanted. A good author will know how to balance these.


  10. Daibhid C
    October 21, 2013 @ 9:24 am

    Oddly, the blowfish is the main thing I remember … well, not the blowfish itself so much as Bloody Torchwood Woman. The rest of the episode failed to live up to the comedy of that moment, IMO.


  11. Prole Hole
    October 21, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    Seems obvious, but pretty sure an episode of Torchwood should be able to stand on its own without having seen Buffy…


  12. Elizabeth Sandifer
    October 21, 2013 @ 10:39 am

    It is worth noting that Buffy was, broadly speaking, more popular in the UK than the US, and that this wasn't a play for obscure material in the way that doing it on a US show would be.

    It's also worth noting that Prole Hole is going to be disagreeing with a lot more posts than this one if he really likes Season Two of Torchwood.


  13. Prole Hole
    October 21, 2013 @ 10:42 am

    Bloody Torchwood Woman is kind of the encapsulation of the amateurishness of the Torchwood team. British government blows them up when even some old granny can read the name of the "secret" organizaion stamped on the side of their incredibly conspicuous (and easy to steal, it seems) SUV and knows who they are? Serves them right…


  14. Prole Hole
    October 21, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    "Really liked" might be overstating things a bit… Ido think it's a definite step up from season one in terms of its tone and consistency, and there's nothing nearly as bad as, say, Cyberwoman, in season two, but that's not to say it's without its flaws… More to follow!


  15. Prole Hole
    October 21, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

    Additiona, as I posted slightly too quick – I didn't mean to imply that Buffy was in any way obscure, I know that I'n unusual in being a fan of telefantasy but not having ever gotten into Buffy. It's more that if you're going to do this kind of episode it might be wiser to not do a big old pile of fanwank as your first epside immediately after your show has been promoted to BBC2 and instead maybe do something that would help to drawn in and sustain an audience beyond "hot guys kissing" (which I never object to). As an excersice in crossover fanwank, I'm sure it succeeds – as an episode of Torchwood, not so much,


  16. Assad K
    October 21, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

    I was slightly surprised that, given that Blowfish guy is police enough to stop for the old lady crossing the street, he gets gunned down by our heroes a couple of minutes later. Also odd that given all the mayhem he has caused, John is able to swan off into the sunset – presumably being played by James Marsters had nothing to do with it…


  17. Alan
    October 21, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

    There are also different types of fan service. The Jack/John snogging satisfied one group of fans, but another segment of the audience was happy to finally have some insight into the 51st Century from whence Jack came. Apparently, Jack isn't that much of an anomaly among Time Agents and isn't even the worst of the bunch. And "murder rehab" is a thing. That, to me, makes Jack's future sound like something from Judge Dredd.


  18. Anton B
    October 22, 2013 @ 5:02 am

    This comment has been removed by the author.


  19. Anton B
    October 22, 2013 @ 5:09 am

    '…with a British accent that, while rubbish, was at least better than usual for trans-Atlantic accent imitations.'

    James Marsters' British accent was, to these ears, excruciatingly bad and hardly worse than Nicola Bryant's American accent which came in for a lot of derision on these very pages as I recall. The odd thing was Anthony Head demonstrating a perfect English accent every week as Giles. Did they not think to compare notes?


  20. Alan
    October 22, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    Punk rock, Man-U-Loving Spike wasn't supposed to be doing Received Pronunciation, not that the production staff or Marsters had any idea what Received Pronunciation was anyway. I let it slide because the character, while originally British, had traveled a great deal. Bryant's American accent was grating not for its inherent quality but because it was idiomatically British but said with a bad attempt at an American accent. In Twin Dilemma, she responds to Six complaining about Five's "feckless charm" with the phrase "oh what absolute rubbish," which is the sort of thing that Margaret Dumont might have said to Groucho but which no young American woman would have possibly said in the 1980's.


  21. Anton B
    October 23, 2013 @ 1:08 am

    So that was a fault in the writing not her acting.

    'Punk Rock, Man U loving Spike wasn't supposed to be doing Recieved Pronunciation.'

    I never said he was. But some attempt at researching a convincing London or regional British accent might have been good. I'm not even bothering with Drusilla, her 'luvverly cockney' routine was straight out of My Fair Lady via Dick Van Dyke but at least was vaguely period-accurate within the context of Pop culture. Marsters' accent was just weird, somewhere between Australia and Boston. And while we're talking writing, my friends and I also laughed out loud at the writers seeming conviction that the word 'bollocks' would be bandied around with such abandon by an English person – Punk Rock Man U lover or no. It is actually still quite a rude word.

    If Idris Elba and Hugh Laurie can do such convincing US accents that people are taken aback to discover that they are British and the Spinal Tap guys can pull off pin point accurate London Rock musician dialects surely Marsters could have made a bit more of an effort.


  22. Ross
    October 23, 2013 @ 2:04 pm

    I found Spike's accent very easy to buy once it became clear that he was originally an crappy emo victorian poet who's spent the last hundred years trying as hard as he could to look like a badass. His accent is diagetically fake. He's the british vampire equivalent of a middle class white boy from the suburbs trying to sound "urban".


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