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Saturday, August 01, 2009



Thank you for an intelligent, informed review of Torchwood. There is such a swamp of unintelligent and uninformed rants about the same online that it is a breath of fresh air. It almost seems as if some people watched a totally different programme. The writers and directors did a fine job. Excellent guest cast, notably Peter Capaldi and the main ensemble of John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Garreth David Lloyd brought a powerful story to life. I hope your students DO watch it.

Marianne Seggerman

You left out two things. Well, one and a half. Torchwood (the group) has its ethical dilemmas but the real quandaries are those faced by the political leaders and their lackeys. No rave of Torchwood Children of Earth is complete without a mention of the work of Peter Capaldi as John Frobisher. Simply, heartbreaking. And um you neglected to mention Captain Jack's flirtation with just about everyone (less than in earlier series) and his deepening relationship with Ianto. Long overdue - fans have been bugging the Star Wars creators to expand their horizons for decades in vain. If your reaction is eeeew then don't watch - there are plenty of us not into Dr Who not into Star Wars but really into Torchwood because of Captain Jack and his omnivorous appetite - and his straightforward way of satisfying it.


Poor Jack - exemplifying utilitarianism at terrible personal cost and in complete contrast to the Star Trek universe where Spock's sacrifice was soon reversed.


Don't say English when you mean British/UK, please. The only thing that does is seriously annoy the Scots, Welsh and Irish. There's no such thing as the English goverment, and hasn't been for 300 years - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_England

Created by Queen Victoria to deal with extraterrestrial threats - and because the Doctor and Rose annoyed the hell out of her.

Did you miss the clear separation between Crown and State, in the show? Not that that exists in real life, though :/

Cardiff is actually a city.


Thanks to all for the comments.

Rose: I am glad you liked the brief review. I agree with everything you say about the show. The acting was merely excellent. The writing was extraordinary.

Ms. Seggerman: Captain Jack bridges the gap between the Torchwood team and the moral quandaries of politicians and military leaders. He shared guilt for the original deal with the alien devils. And he paid dearly for it. I can't agree more with your assessment of Peter Capaldi as John Frobisher (for those who haven't watched, a bureaucrat who shoulders the moral and mortal burdens of the crisis in order to shield his superiors. Capaldi was nothing short of magnificent in that role.

As for Captain Jack's flexible sexual appetites, that did add an interesting dimension to the show. Seeing men kiss still comes as something of a shock on film, but I had no trouble seeing Jack and Ianto as lovers.

Rhianon: yes. Star Trek was fun. Torchwood was dead serious.

Laura: Forgive those of us in the colonies for not getting things in the mother country quite right. I had no intentions of irritating the Welsh, or my relatives in Ireland. As for the Scots ...

My apologies to Cardiff.


I'm attempting to teach Children of Earth to my first year critical thinking classes. I struggled a little with the length, but decided to show some introductory material, fill in the gaps, and then have them watch Days 4 and 5. I'm combining it with some readings about the Judenrat (Jewish Councils) who cooperated with the Nazis to empty out ghettos during the Holocaust (most of them under threat of death -- to themselves and their families). We're also reading The Lottery. It's fairly easy, I think, for students to grasp the utilitarian arguments at work throughout. They struggle more with the other ethical options (and I struggle to properly explain them, frankly). Anyway, this semester is my first try at this, and I'm so happy to have found this post! I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on the various moral philosophies at work in these episodes.


Andrea: Thanks for returning me to this old post. I am fascinated that you are using Children of Earth as a critical thinking tool. Everything is here! I don't have a lot of time to blog on scifi, but I do so when I can. I desperately hope for the return of Captain Jack. Returning is what he does best.

I certainly agree that this series put the shortcomings of utilitarian ethics in bold display. I would like to use it in my own philosophy classes, if I can find the time to fit it in.

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