Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Torchwood: Lost Souls

The Singing Stone Horizon Guide to Touchwood
written without any permission (or consent) by anyone who would sue me
by Ewen Campion Clarke

DISCLAIMER: This is an unauthorized program guide to the stupendously awful Doctor Who cash-in Angel-rip-off. Neither the guide nor the series is to be taken seriously. Or orally. And if rash occurs – and it probably will – consult the Doctor immediately.

"TOUCHWOOD... outside the government, beyond the police, up its own arse and quite probably clinically deranged. But we’re the only secret government conspiracy that will end the world by accident rather then nefarious evil diabolical criminal genius. We MEAN well. Honest."

Episode 14: Hard-on Collision

With Touchwood reduced to just Captain Jack, Gwen and Ianto, Cardiff is more vulnerable now than it has ever been in centuries to the weevils, the rift debris and the forces of darkness. So, of course, this is the time Jack immediately suggests they all go on a vacation to Switzerland to forget all their troubles.
While taking a tour of the CERN facility at Geneva and pretending to be Welsh Ambassadors, they bump into Martha Jones who has successfully joined UNIT and is investigating the mysterious spate of disappearances in the Large Hadron Collider which is attempting to find the fundamental particles of existence, examining the building blocks of matter itself in a 27 kilometre tunnel in a big circle. Jack is immediately interested in "the biggest bang in history", and is rather disappointed when it’s just a euphemism for the creation of black holes to turn the Earth inside out.
The collider countdown has started at the behest of Professor Katrina Johnson and the supremely dodgy UNIT boss Oliver Harrington despite the fact lots of people vanish in the tunnels while others have collapsed with an unknown illness, started glowing and then slowly faded way as their bodies disintegrate. Jack sends Gwen and Ianto to explore the tunnel – not particularly caring if they live or die. The pair split up on bicycles, not quite realizing it’s a rather stupid place to go monster hunting when Johnson is about to turn the thing on.
Jack demands the closure of the operation on the grounds the test in May allowed aliens to slip through onto Earth and do nasty stuff to people. Indeed, in the tunnel a swarm of creatures resembling old cardboard boxes attack Ianto, claiming for some reason to be the reincarnations of Owen, Tosh and George Harrison when they’re really the deadly QUIRKS! Nevertheless, Ianto is convinced they’re the genuine article and agrees to help them conquer the world.
UNIT boss Harrington has also fallen for the Quirks’ unconvincing impersonation and is convinced the Quirk Imperator is actually his late wife returned from BEYOND THE GRAVE! Jack points out how retarded this idea is and Harrington admits that, yes, it IS rather stupid now he comes to mention it. Snatching up a sawn-off shotgun, he runs into the tunnel and shoots all the Quirks and then blows his head off.
As they return to Cardiff, Martha makes it quite clear that she never so much as wishes to clap eyes on any of the Touchwood team ever again, and Jack muses that the answer is somewhere out there; and that sometimes asking the question IS the answer, but sometimes it isn’t... then gets confused and gets Ianto to make them all some coffee.
Suddenly, everything outside Cardiff shimmers and vanishes – and suddenly the city is surrounded by a strange ocean with waterspout-shaped cloud formations as enormous ringed planets slowly rise over the horizon. More seriously, above said ringed planets hangs a huge fleet of Dustbin saucers and within, the Dustbin Suzpreme is making a longwinded speech. For a change.


Trivia Questions
1. What happens next? 2. Which original Touchwood Novel was ripped off THIS week?

Great Moments - Last thirty seconds. Brings back memories of The Best Wife.

Fashion Crimes -
No idea. It’s on audio.

Missing Adventures -
Martha goes on at length how she sure as hell has never encountered something as embarrassing as the Quirks during her travels with the Doctor. Mind you, even if she had, she’d probably lie about it.

Technobabble - "Reverse the quirklarity of quirktron quirk flow! Quirkly!"

Great Lines -
Jack: Can Quirks swim?
Ianto: Apparently not. (beat) Anyone for coffee?

Jack: I needs to be strong for Gwen and Ianto. In a way, I kind of blame myself for Tosh and Owen dying like that.
Martha: Well, so you should.
Jack: Oh well, who cares, I was always going to outlive the bitchy wankers anyway. I’m glad they’re dead, to be honest.

Jack: We’re having an orgy!

Martha: Gwen? How are you doing after your two close freinds died?
Gwen: Martha, I’m on a bike cycling around a 27km tunnel hunting for an alien that sucks peoples neutrinos out. Now is not the time for your amateur girly-chat physco-therapy. Now FUCK OFF!

Ianto: I’m going to die in a tunnel...in Switzerland.

Crap Lines –
Jack: What do those clouds look like to you?
Gwen: Candy floss!
Jack: ...never mind.

Jack: The dead don’t come back. Apart from me, obviously.

Ianto: Guess what?
Gwen: What Ianto?
Ianto: My bike has a bell! Ding-ding!
Gwen: That is so awesome!
Ianto: I know!
Gwen: Can you believe Martha thinks we’ve gone crazy?

Plot Oversights
- We are supposed to believe that someone can have their neutrons eaten on a subatomic level and then magically get them all back again and be in perfect health? Removing all your neutrons would tend to make you instantly decompose into a high energy plasma of protons and electrons!
- Jack’s monologue about the LHC is clearly nicked from the BBC news website, since he even lists the web address for further information.
- Why are there long silent gaps in the episode? Is it a deliberate audio rendering of Gwen’s teeth?
- Martha asks Jack and Gwen how they’re coping after Tosh and Owen’s death, but she doesn’t ask Ianto. Doesn’t she care about him or does she rightly assume Ianto hated the pair of them?
- Jack constantly refers to his mobile phone headsets as "shark teeth" instead of "bluetooth". Mind you, they’re not supposed to be called that anyway, so it just compounds the error in my book!

Viewers’ Quotes

"Mourn your dead, land of the free! If you want to be a hero follow me! For one and twenty canon thunder into the bloody wild blue yonder, for a patriotic ball-less wonder, NOW I’M A FUCKING HERO!!"
- The Creator of the Quirks (2008)

"I must admit that since seeing Owen and Tosh being killed off, making Adam Rickitt into Touchwood has been at the front of my mind. There is now space for two new team members - an ideal chance to bring in Adam. Obviously Adam would not be suited to play Lavros. It would waste his looks, I mean, his superb acting talent, his performance as Nick Tilsley in Corrie (one of the UK’s highest rated programmes) displayed a great range and depth. The team could probe into dark, mysterious places with Adam, who has far greater acting skills than a lettuce. The latter is a leafy plant and therefore cannot move!"
- Sparacus "Flamingo" Jones (2009)

"Hard On Collision is about as disappointing as realizing that CERN didn’t destroy the Earth, meaning you have to go vote in tedious Council elections the next day."
- Cameron J Mason (2008)

"Yes... we know Tosh and Owen are dead! Give. It. A. Rest!!"
- Mr. Sensitive (2008)

"My girlfriend is very negative about Freema’s acting and Martha in general. She had to die. I HAD to do it. I think I might shoot myself. I know there’s only so much that can be done..."
- some serial killer on Death Row (1977-2008)

"AM I MISSING SOMETHING? I gave up listening after about halfway through – this was sub-Big-Finish with wooden characters, a cliched plot and clunky dialogue. I mean seriously, how long was this idea brainstormed for, HALF-A-PINT?! I know I can’t critize the whole thing, because I just couldn’t stand to waste any more of my time listening to it! I found looking out of a train window more interesting! Weak fan-fic level twaddle! I’m ashamed that I recommended this to people I know! Now they’ll think I’m a total moron! AND I’M NOT!"
- LunarSea (2008)

"With such a small amount of Touchwood being made for broadcast next year, I was so hoping this would be a way of filling the gap. Oh boy was I suckered! WHERE has the hardcore adult version of Doctor Who gone? Is this the future of Touchwood now that it’s had a pre-watershed watered-down-version? WHERE are the challenging storylines? What happened to the halcyon days of the one with the Cyberwoman?!"
- Brian Damage (2008)

The Author Speaks
"Of course, they only told me that Tosh and Owen were being written out when I was handing the script in, so I needed a massive rewrite to make it part of the ongoing Touchwood narrative and fit between Exit Stage Freaking Left and The Stolen Cardiff. I was sad at first as I loved the characters and didn’t want them to go. My second reaction was: fuck em, I still get paid. It would have been very tricky in a 45-minute radio drama to have five main characters, with supporting characters on top NOT TO MENTION THE QUIRKS!"

Trivia Answers
1. Watch "Journey Till Dawn" and find out, you idiot. 2. "A Social Life" by Pete Anghelides.

Rumors and Facts
In 2008, the governments of the world joined forces in an unprecedented global alliance and considered all possible options for future human development. On the grounds that if they DIDN’T wipe themselves out in war, kill the planet with pollution, or end civilization altogether in a massive financial crunch the fact was the sun would STILL explode in five billion years and even if they DID move off Earth, the whole galaxy would STILL collide with Andromeda and the whole universe would undergo Heat Death anyway.

Rather than waste the rest of eternity staving off the inevitable, it was decided to simply put Earth out of its misery by destroying the entire planet in an artificial black hole. Pretending that it was just a scientific test with an ominous nickname of "Big Bang Day", the countdown to Armageddon began and in order to distract the population from their imminent slaughter and spaghettification, Radio 4 commissioned Dave Lister to write a special audio to celebrate the switch-on of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Of course, the script was full inaccuracies about the geography of the underground complex and how the accelerator tunnel cools down, but Lister’s drama was considered a higher priority as no one was going to be alive to complain about the goofs around particle physics.

Unfortunately, due to the accidental reversal of the neutron flow polarity, the expected black hole created turned out to be smaller than an atom and exist for less than a pico-second. Indeed, if it weren’t for all the huge and powerful detection equivalent at CERN you’d be forgiven for thinking the bloody thing didn’t work at all.

With Project: Earthanasia screwed up, the global alliance disbanded and the critics savaged the radio version of Touchwood – never once suspecting it was merely a smokescreen to stop them noticing being crushed to a mathematical point with no dimensions. The Sunday Times noted, "THIS is the sort of output we pay the license fee for?! The sort of ambitious and expensive programming no commercial radio station could ever hope to do in the present ecology of broadcasting? PULL THE OTHER ONE, MATE IT’S GOT BELLS ON!! It’s as though Radio 4 approached the point of serious educational broadcasting — and then disappeared into the black hole of celebrity."

It’s so-called wit like that which makes us all dearly wish the world HAD ended on that fateful day.

Ruminations –
This isn’t canon.

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