Robin Torchwood

TV The brilliantly chipper Torchwood.TV has blurbs and book covers for the first wave of spin-off novels and they seem to be infected with the same 'blah... blah... not sure what this is about' storylines that we've enjoyed over the past few weeks. Also, can anyone explain what's going on with the eyeline angles in the cover for Border Princes? Jack's looking in one direction, his gun's pointing at the neck of the random captive who himself is looking at the sky probably trying to work out how he managed to make the cover.

Also on topic, Tom Charman offers a genius suggestion for why Torchwood isn't working. Not enough story to go around each week: "Even though it looks from the outside like an ensemble show, it’s miserably failing on such things, partly because it keeps insisting on only having one plotline to sustain you for 50 minutes of runtime. [...] Putting five cast members together running through the same plot just gets dull." Tom's right -- even Spooks often has something approach an A-plot/B-plot/C-plot structure beloved of most drama series and yet in Torchwood they hammer a single story through the fifty minutes which means that often action and information is repeated or there are cutaways to characters doing practically nothing but stand on roofs just too keep them in the story.

Off topic, last night's episode of the increasingly brilliant Robin Hood (I still can't believe the upturn in quality) was written by Paul Cornell and directed by Graham Harper. Gunpowder filled in for nuclear power in a parable about how forces for productivity can so easily be turned to evil. As well as the kind of blistering but legible action you'd expect from Harper, loyalties were tested and the ongoing secrets and conspiracies mounted once again on top of one another in a beautifully funny and literate script from Cornell. Despite the name that is the title, it's also fundamentally an ensemble show, and although just sometimes the merry men tend to flock together they're all given a slice of the action as are the sheriff, Guy and Marion. Really it's great and if you can catch one of the BBC Three repeats you'll not be disappointed.

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