Friday, January 05, 2007

Evil Santa, Alien Pop and the Apocalypse

So, Christmas has been and gone, and with it, Doctor Who sealed its place as part of it. After just two Christmas specials, the good Doctor is almost as traditional as the Queen.

The most recent special wasn't as good as the previous year's homage to Hitchhiker's, but the evil Santa's were back, there was a star-shaped spaceship over London, and (this being TV-land) it snowed on Christmas Eve. And the good Doctor saved the world while dealing with the loss of Rose, which happened immediately prior to this episode. There was even a subtle nod towards Torchwood, which also ended its first season this week.

At its best, Torchwood has been great viewing. Unfortunately it has had more than its fair share of mediocre episodes, and really, someone should tell the makers that adult TV doesn't have to include sex every week. Or, in fact, at all.

For me, Torchwood is at its best when trying to be the Welsh Angel. And sure enough, the season ended with a barely averted apocalypse straight out of the Buffyverse. I have to mention the ending, but I don't want to spoil it, so highlight the next bit if you want to know why.

The final episode starts with Ianto reading from the book of Daniel, as an introduction to the coming apocalypse. Imprisoned under the rift, and inadvertantly released in the last episode, is Abaddon, a big scary monster that instantly kills anything its shadow touches. Up to and including Captain Jack, who sacrifices his apparently immortal self to save the world. Gwen, still believing him to be immortal, spends 'days' with his corpse in the Torchwood morgue, until he awakes only to be spirited away by a passing TARDIS.

You can see why I had to mention it.

There are plenty of loose ends, and a second series has been commissioned. If we're lucky, the series will find its identity and Captain Jack and his crew will become more than two-dimensional characters who do little more than work and sleep with each other.

Elsewhere in the Whoniverse, it being the holidays, I managed to catch the pilot of the Sarah Jane Adventures. I wouldn't normally comment on childrens TV - and it was sillier than the most kiddy-friendly Doctor Who stories - but it seems the people in the Doctor Who spin-off department have swallowed a Bible, or at least a book on end-times prophecy. So we end up with Mrs Wormwood, a nasty alien come to take over the Earth by putting alien DNA in fizzy drinks. Oh, and there's an all-knowing kid created in a laboratory who may have some important role to play as the thing pans out.

Just another Christmas in the Whoniverse then...

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