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Torchwood - Episode 3: 'Ghost Machine' (BBC3, 29th Oct 2006)


View Poll Results: What did you think of this episode?
Very Poor 24 4.87%
Poor 14 2.84%
Average 61 12.37%
Good 112 22.72%
Very Good 176 35.70%
Excellent 106 21.50%
Voters: 493. You can't vote on this poll right now - are you signed in?

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Old 30-10-2006, 00:05
Black Guardian
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Originally Posted by jamesp26
Wow. Wasn't expecting it to be that good tonight. That was one of the best shows of anything i have watched in a while.

That alien device - its already messing with my brain. If you actually feel what the people were experiencing at the time - that would mess you up. Very powerful in my opinion. Certainly not a dressed up kids show.

One thing about the show - the incidental music is absolutely superb. The music that played at the end when the old guy died at the end was perfect. Why can't Murray Gold be more like this in Doctor Who. Sometimes less is more.

Jim
the music seemed less overpowering this week I agree.
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Old 30-10-2006, 00:21
gomezz
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Originally Posted by Biffo The Bear
(in his North Wales accent)
North Wales accent == speaking Welsh ... in my experience. Happy enough to take my tourist money though
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Old 30-10-2006, 00:37
Gutted Girl
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A vast improvement on the two previous episodes.

Owen came across as far more sympathetic than before and reminded me of just how good Burn Gorman was in Bleak House. Interesting contrast between Owen and Bernie who had both experienced exactly the same thing; Bernie just wanted to exploit it to get money whilst Owen wanted him to pay for his crime. I did genuinely think that Owen was going to kill him.

Loved the relationship between Gwen and Rhys, but wonder if it will last. The Jack using teaching Gwen to fire a gun as a seduction technique was amusing.

One thing that I am wondering and don't know whether or not it will be addressed is was Tosh working for Torchwood during Aliens of London/WW3 or was she recruited afterwards?
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Old 30-10-2006, 00:42
Grand Dizzy
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My review...

The good
1. Owen was terrific! For me, at present, he is the real 'hero' of the show (or anti-hero) and made this episode great. We now seem to have three fairly promising actors on board, which is a good sign.
2. All five of the guest stars were all utterly excellent, and made this episode great!
3. While not actually "scary", this episode was at least suspenseful and the characters were scared, which is something.
4. The shooting range scene was a nice bit of directing/acting, which was a welcome change of pace from the rest of the episode.
5. I must commend the visual effects team for this episode. They were used subtley and did not distract or hinder the suspension of disbelief in any way. The audio was also excellent.
6. Those establishing shots of Cardiff are very good. Things like that are really important as they give a show a sense of identity.
7. Still enjoying the Batmobile (although I desperately want to see gadgets getting used!)
8. No kissing scenes! Yessss!

The bad
1. The plot was good, but predictable. As soon as Gwen had the first vision and spoke with the man it was pretty obvious what was going on. The rest of the episode had no real shocks, twists or revalations, it was just a matter of sitting through it till the end (like last week's).
2. The technical side of the plot was weak, too. The rules for how the device worked seemed vague. Does it show you bad things, or just random moments? Can you interact with the vision? The rules kept changing. What did the second half really do? What was the machine for? Its origin was never explained.
3. Sadly, Jack isn't turning out to be as "strong" or "heroic" as I was hoping he would be. He isn't being given great lines, he isn't being made to look ultra smart, or strong, or witty, or brave. He isn't interacting with anyone other than Gwen so we don't really know whom he is, or what kind of methods he uses, or even how good he is at anything. So far, all we can tell about him (from this series) is that he's just a nice guy, with seemingly plenty of experience who sits around the HQ advising people. I was hoping for Michael Knight, instead we get Devon Miles!
4. The East Asian woman still seems very bland. I'm still waiting to see something juicy from her. Something promising or interesting. Nudity would do me fine.
5. That 'butler' guy is not very interesting either. And yes you can have a character do and say nothing and give them a really powerful air of mystery. He has nothing intriguing about him. I think a bit of clever direction and lighting could have turned his brief scenes into scenes of absolute wonder and mystery. Instead he just literally looks like the tea boy.
6. Another "isolated" "alien of the week" episode with no feeling of a continuing story arc. Shame. I thought RTD was a big Angel fan (or at least I assumed he was). This series would have been great if he'd just copied the baddies straight out of that. (Is something even better in store, I wonder, optimistically?)
7. Is it me or was the sub-plot with Gwen's boyfriend a little bit pointless and lacking in any real drama or tension?
8. No hardcore lesbian sex! Noooooo!

Overall...
Things are looking up for Torchwood. There is clearly talent beyond just Barrowman and Myles, and this story was engaging, if predictable. We just need more interest and excitement from the Torchwood team as a whole. East Asian Lady needs to show some facial expression. Butler Guy needs much better direction. And Jack needs to pull his finger out, get out there, do something extremely smart and/or noble and be the show's hero. (But until he does, Owen will do me.)

And why is the 'Confidential' show on at 1.30? They don't seriously expect people to stay up that late on a Sunday evening, do they? (Recording TV shows is against the law, don't forget.)

Last edited by Grand Dizzy : 30-10-2006 at 00:53.
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Old 30-10-2006, 00:51
springy
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First I would have to say that was an amazing epidsod...
Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy

2. The technical side of the plot was weak, too. The rules for how the device worked seemed vague. Does it show you bad things, or just random moments? Can you interact with the vision? The rules kept changing. What did the second half really do? What was the machine for? Its origin was never explained.
The device works, well the first half by using emotions that were near by. It wasn't really ghost, just echos of past things that happened. I think Jack explained this...

The second half was to predict the future. It could sense what happens earlier and from then determind what could happened. I think jack knew this, and was trying to get to gwen before she had that little vision when she saw her with bloody hands..

Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy

4. The East Asian woman still seems very bland. I'm still waiting to see something juicy from her. Something promising or interesting. Nudity would do me fine.
5. That 'butler' guy is not very interesting either. And yes you can have a character do and say nothing and give them a really powerful air of mystery. He has nothing intriguing about him. I think a bit of clever direction and lighting could have turned his brief scenes into scenes of absolute wonder and mystery. Instead he just literally looks like the tea boy.
Both Tosh (Asian Woman) and Ianto (Butler Guy) will both have roles, especially Ianto. In TorchWood Declassified, I think they say that he has importance towards the second half of the series, so he isn't there to be pretty and make up the numbers...
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Old 30-10-2006, 00:59
Grand Dizzy
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I agree about the South Wales accents being somewhat annoying (distracting, anyway). It's a matter of how unusual they sound. I am not used to hearing South Wales accents on TV or real life (I live in North Wales) so a drama that features them heavily does take a little getting used to. I'm sure most people here would find a drama a little distracting if everyone in it had a heavy Swedish accent. If something hinders communication, it can become annoying. (Hence UK call centres based in India aren't very popular with most people. And not because anyone hates Indians.)

Originally Posted by Gutted Girl
I did genuinely think that Owen was going to kill him.
Ah, you should watch more sci fi! There was no way Owen was going to intentionally hurt anyone. There was no way the vision was not going to come true. All very predictable, for me. (And that's without an alien device!)

Last edited by Grand Dizzy : 30-10-2006 at 01:21.
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Old 30-10-2006, 01:33
Gutted Girl
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It's set in Cardiff, so I would actually expect to hear South Wales accents. Though I would agree that we've not heard many Cardiff accents so far. I lived in Pontypridd for three years when I was doing my degree so I haven't got a problem with the accents at all. In fact it's quite a refreshing change to hear a different accent on the TV. I've watched plenty of Sci Fi thanks Grand Dizzy, but I think that I disagree about what Owen might have done, just for a moment I did think that he would, as he was very traumatised by what he had done. Don't forget that he experienced the feelings of Lizzie.
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Old 30-10-2006, 01:47
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Good ep! I hope there's a reason Jack's being distinctly mood-swingy, though - one minute he's snapping and shouting at them all, next minute he's flirting with Gwen.

Also, I'm going to make up my own interpretation of the show and ignore everything RTD says.
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Old 30-10-2006, 04:29
IceHunter
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Originally Posted by samanthaery
whats wrong with welsh accents? i,m scotish with a scottish accent does that annoy you too?
If it makes you harder to understand yes. Accents is basically people who are sloppy with the langauge and then think they are better than others (withness the hostility here when someone finds it annoying).

I say one langauge, one accent for the planet. Obviously that is a ways off yet
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Old 30-10-2006, 06:54
LeftCoastal
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So is the Torchwood "coffeehouse" the roof of their building?
Are Jack and Gwen the only ones allowed up there?

The beginning of the episode showed promise, with the little boy and Gwen's "vision." Then the boy, as an older gentleman in the present day, recounting his story. I thought we might see some connection (or hint of a connect) to The Empty Child.

I thought I would prefer one-off stories as a change of pace to serialized drama, but I think an over-arching story is maybe what's missing. (Though, we are only 3 eps. in, and it might still develop.)

The Eccleston series of Doctor Who had the "Bad Wolf" meme streaking through it. And "Torchwood" was firmly engrained in the last series of The Doctor. It would be nice to reveal a bit of Jack's past (pre-Doctor) every couple of episodes. And give the audience at least some idea of how he "escaped" the space station.
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:11
megaresp
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Originally Posted by IceHunter
If it makes you harder to understand yes. Accents is basically people who are sloppy with the langauge and then think they are better than others (withness the hostility here when someone finds it annoying).

I say one langauge, one accent for the planet. Obviously that is a ways off yet
So you're a fascist then?
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:38
Mickey S
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Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy
I agree about the South Wales accents being somewhat annoying (distracting, anyway). It's a matter of how unusual they sound. I am not used to hearing South Wales accents on TV or real life (I live in North Wales) so a drama that features them heavily does take a little getting used to. I'm sure most people here would find a drama a little distracting if everyone in it had a heavy Swedish accent. If something hinders communication, it can become annoying.
Everyone has an accent, dizzy - even you. And no matter what your accent, those that have other accents are going to find it unusual. There are many television shows set in specific regions of England - the north, north-east, Liverpool, even the west country - and all feature regional accents. Or is it just non-English accents you dislike?

Originally Posted by IceHunter
Accents is basically people who are sloppy with the langauge
That is so uninformed it is laughable.

Originally Posted by IceHunter
I say one langauge, one accent for the planet. Obviously that is a ways off yet
Which, of course, would be your language and your accent, I suppose?

Local accents are wonderful, and a part of our identity. It would be a shame if we lost them.

Last edited by Mickey S : 30-10-2006 at 07:41.
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:42
megaresp
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Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy
Sadly, Jack isn't turning out to be as "strong" or "heroic" as I was hoping he would be. He isn't being given great lines, he isn't being made to look ultra smart, or strong, or witty, or brave.
He definitely isn't the Captain Jack we know from Dr Who. Why is that?

Torchwood Jack shows a darker nature than Who Jack. For example, he's a lot less concerned about the welfare of the general population than the rest of the TW crew. He also seems to be driven, though it's unclear why...or towards what end.

Assuming Torchwood happened after Captain Jack was left behind, he may well bare a grudge against the Dr and/or Rose. Or given that he can't die or sleep, perhaps he spent thousands of years alone on that space station.

Perhaps C.J. has become a twisted and evil villain? Consider the evidence...

1) Has a secret underground lair - check
2) Has plenty of exotic weapons - check



Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy
Another "isolated" "alien of the week" episode with no feeling of a continuing story arc.
You might be right, but there is the potential for at least 3 story arcs using what we've seen so far...

1) Jack's darker nature...what happened to him after he was left on the space station? And how has it affected him? Is he driven to find the Dr and seek revenge? How did he get to 2007? And so on...

2) Why is there so much alien tech lying about Cardiff? Is it merely the riff, or is there something much more interesting going on? Are they taking us somewhere?

3) As some asked above -- who funds Torchwood? That could, in and of itself, make for a very interesting story arc.

Last edited by megaresp : 30-10-2006 at 07:44.
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:43
Yoonix
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Originally Posted by springy
...especially Ianto. In TorchWood Declassified, I think they say that he has importance towards the second half of the series, so he isn't there to be pretty and make up the numbers...
Heard he gets a bit to do next week when his ex doesn't like her new metal underwear.
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:46
Yoonix
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Originally Posted by Mickey S
Local accents are wonderful, and a part of our identity. It would be a shame if we lost them.
The accents will take longer to die out than the languages. Countries may fight to keep their languages, but the odds are stacked against them.
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:48
Yoonix
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That episode was like watching a completely different show!

The feel was just so different. More mature. More grown-up. No tacky sex references. No bad language just for the sake of it. No blindingly stupid gobbledegook or plot devices. No juvenile schoolboy humour. Just straightforward half-decent storytelling. It even had some real acting in it too! The best of the three so far, even if it was a little dragged out. Not much in the way of sci-fi, but then too much reliance on concepts they don't appear to understand too well does tend to trip them up producing more holes than a Roman orgy.

The Ghost-Machine - not exactly an original idea, one of the best incarnations probably being "Strange Days", but the blackmail twist was welcome, although the old guy's death wasn't particularly well handled, and it did plod on unnecessarily after that for some time. Not quite as long as the ending of Lord Of The Rings, but almost felt like it.

No problems with so many Welsh accents, but I have had trouble understanding one or two of them in the three episodes so far. In this one, once the (to be) murdered girl in the pink coat under the bridge was checking her make-up and started rambling on in distressed fashion, I couldn't undertand a bloody word she was saying. Could've been Japanese for all I know.

I know Russell likes his "real-life" elements, but when this episode dipped into one or two of those elements in the middle of another scene, it just brought the whole pace to a halt with paint-drying consequences. "I'm just putting a wash on... you got any whites that need doing?". F***'s sake! Wake me up when the show's back on!

The blatant BBC plugs for "Strictly Come Dancing", "Antiques Roadshow" and "Cash In The Attic" were quite funny.

The DOG - now smaller, but rather it was in a corner where it should be.

More taking alien tech home - take it they've dispensed with that rule now.

Gareth Thomas was so disheveled I didn't recognise him til near the end! And the sound effect when he falls on the knife was hilarious! Possibly taken from "Kill Bill". Still, best performance of the show this week.

And already getting fed up with the line "21st Century's when it all changes". These are stand-alone episodes, and aside from Gwen getting to know the team, we've had little indication of a story arc of any kind. No doubt we'll keep being reminded though until the finalé. Speaking of which - anyone think The Doctor's hand will save the day?

All in all, a much better effort. Mainly because it was aimed at grown-ups, rather than schoolkids.
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Old 30-10-2006, 07:57
david@payne01.f
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Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy
My review...

The good
1. Owen was terrific! For me, at present, he is the real 'hero' of the show (or anti-hero) and made this episode great. We now seem to have three fairly promising actors on board, which is a good sign.
2. All five of the guest stars were all utterly excellent, and made this episode great!
3. While not actually "scary", this episode was at least suspenseful and the characters were scared, which is something.
4. The shooting range scene was a nice bit of directing/acting, which was a welcome change of pace from the rest of the episode.
5. I must commend the visual effects team for this episode. They were used subtley and did not distract or hinder the suspension of disbelief in any way. The audio was also excellent.
6. Those establishing shots of Cardiff are very good. Things like that are really important as they give a show a sense of identity.
7. Still enjoying the Batmobile (although I desperately want to see gadgets getting used!)
8. No kissing scenes! Yessss!

The bad
1. The plot was good, but predictable. As soon as Gwen had the first vision and spoke with the man it was pretty obvious what was going on. The rest of the episode had no real shocks, twists or revalations, it was just a matter of sitting through it till the end (like last week's).
2. The technical side of the plot was weak, too. The rules for how the device worked seemed vague. Does it show you bad things, or just random moments? Can you interact with the vision? The rules kept changing. What did the second half really do? What was the machine for? Its origin was never explained.
3. Sadly, Jack isn't turning out to be as "strong" or "heroic" as I was hoping he would be. He isn't being given great lines, he isn't being made to look ultra smart, or strong, or witty, or brave. He isn't interacting with anyone other than Gwen so we don't really know whom he is, or what kind of methods he uses, or even how good he is at anything. So far, all we can tell about him (from this series) is that he's just a nice guy, with seemingly plenty of experience who sits around the HQ advising people. I was hoping for Michael Knight, instead we get Devon Miles!
4. The East Asian woman still seems very bland. I'm still waiting to see something juicy from her. Something promising or interesting. Nudity would do me fine.
5. That 'butler' guy is not very interesting either. And yes you can have a character do and say nothing and give them a really powerful air of mystery. He has nothing intriguing about him. I think a bit of clever direction and lighting could have turned his brief scenes into scenes of absolute wonder and mystery. Instead he just literally looks like the tea boy.
6. Another "isolated" "alien of the week" episode with no feeling of a continuing story arc. Shame. I thought RTD was a big Angel fan (or at least I assumed he was). This series would have been great if he'd just copied the baddies straight out of that. (Is something even better in store, I wonder, optimistically?)
7. Is it me or was the sub-plot with Gwen's boyfriend a little bit pointless and lacking in any real drama or tension?
8. No hardcore lesbian sex! Noooooo!

Overall...
Things are looking up for Torchwood. There is clearly talent beyond just Barrowman and Myles, and this story was engaging, if predictable. We just need more interest and excitement from the Torchwood team as a whole. East Asian Lady needs to show some facial expression. Butler Guy needs much better direction. And Jack needs to pull his finger out, get out there, do something extremely smart and/or noble and be the show's hero. (But until he does, Owen will do me.)

And why is the 'Confidential' show on at 1.30? They don't seriously expect people to stay up that late on a Sunday evening, do they? (Recording TV shows is against the law, don't forget.)
1. loved your Micheal Knight Devon Miles bit.

2. recording is not illegal, distributing it is illegal.
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Old 30-10-2006, 08:23
samanthaery
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Originally Posted by IceHunter
If it makes you harder to understand yes. Accents is basically people who are sloppy with the langauge and then think they are better than others (withness the hostility here when someone finds it annoying).

I say one langauge, one accent for the planet. Obviously that is a ways off yet
well let's just say that if you can't understand me it isn't a fault of my own as i speak very clearly.
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Old 30-10-2006, 08:32
mossy2103
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Originally Posted by Grand Dizzy
And why is the 'Confidential' show on at 1.30? They don't seriously expect people to stay up that late on a Sunday evening, do they? (Recording TV shows is against the law, don't forget.)
It is? Even for personal use to be viewed within a timeframe later on? I think that someone should tell the manufacturers & retailers of dvd recorders, pvrs and video recorders then.
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Old 30-10-2006, 08:32
jimbo_bob
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Originally Posted by IceHunter
If it makes you harder to understand yes. Accents is basically people who are sloppy with the langauge and then think they are better than others (withness the hostility here when someone finds it annoying).

I say one langauge, one accent for the planet. Obviously that is a ways off yet
Biggest load of B*ll*c*s I've ever read.
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Old 30-10-2006, 08:38
samanthaery
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Originally Posted by mossy2103
It is? Even for personal use to be viewed within a timeframe later on? I think that someone should tell the manufacturers & retailers of dvd recorders, pvrs and video recorders then.
lol they should also sue skyplus+
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Old 30-10-2006, 08:44
geraniums
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I thought it was very good - by far the best episode yet screened. As for the Welsh accents, well they don`t bother me in the slightest. No problem understanding them at all. The planet would be a much poorer place if we didn`t have the rich diversity of our languages and cultures IMHO.
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Old 30-10-2006, 09:20
stuart@chandler
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A great episode - we should be really proud of Torchwood. Superb in every way. Welsh accents and everything. And living in Yorkshire as I do, there's nowt wrong with an accent!
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Old 30-10-2006, 09:23
romy
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was that bbc 3 dog there still ? how much smaller is it ? shuld i get the HD one i cannot Wait till tuesday

Last edited by romy : 30-10-2006 at 09:34.
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Old 30-10-2006, 09:25
Colin_F
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I thought it was much better. They also seem to have knocked the random swearing on the head which is pleasing. Just seemed really out of place in the Dr Who Universe.

Couple of points that have been raised:

1. Yes it looks like next week is the "butlers" episode, Sky EPG description for next week says he is hiding the Cyberwoman under the Torchwood building. Going to be some good character development there.
Week after we might get one focusing on the japanese bird. To be fair to torchwood thats how most first series of things seem to go. Focus on one character each week so that we get to know them better faster. Got a better insight into Owens character this week. Which was nice because I thought he was a creepy little bas***d after the first one

2. The domestic stuff. Yeah... can see peoples point about it but I thought it was actually quite well done. Yes it was boring, but Gwen was bored as well! Think that was the whole point. To show that will all this new stuff going on, domestic stuff is an unwelcome interruption.
That said... who phones their other half at work and asks if they want any washing done?? Guy just seemed like a bit of a tool.

3. People complaining about the accents - Wise up! Theres some ignorant sh*t being posted on this subject. They are in wales - people in wales often speak with a welsh accent. Get over it.
EVERYONE has an accent. EVERYONE. Shows set in America - people speak with american accents (or Canadian ), Glasgow with glaswegian accents, London with.... well you get the point.
Its not set in England. Deal with it.
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