Monday, June 14, 2010

...and, in Los Angeles...

EXEC: We need a new show and we need it fast! [into intercom] Who's next on my list, Bunny?

SECRETARY: Russell T Davies, sir.

EXEC: Russell?

SECRETARY: RTD?

EXEC: Nope. Nothing.

SECRETARY: He's the executive producer of Doctor Who, sir.

EXEC: Oh, right. Big Gay Al. Send him in.

[RTD enters.]

EXEC: Hi.

RTD: Morning! Thanks for seeing me so soon.

EXEC: No trouble at all, ReTarD.

RTD: Um, it's pronounced "Arrteadee".

EXEC: Yeah, R2D2, whatever. So... Doctor Who? Big hit. This new guy in the bowtie? Brilliant. The hot babe in the miniskirt? West Hollywood could be converted. What can I say, R2, you have saved that show from complete arc fatigue failure! This stuff about the cracks? Way better than knocking wolves and stuff...

RTD: Um. No.

EXEC: What?

RTD: That's Steve Moffat who's in charge now. I was the guy before him.

EXEC: Oh. ...OK. Yeah. The other redhead wasn't bad either. OK, R2, what can you do for me?

RTD: Well, I was thinking of a USA version of Torchwood?

EXEC: Torch Wood.

RTD: The very same.

EXEC: Look, R2, hate to say this, but you got the wrong guy. The timber industry's on the other side of town, but thanks for looking me up...

RTD: No, no, it's actually a TV show.

EXEC: Oh. A TV show called Torch Wood?

RTD: Yes.

EXEC: Hmm. So, it's about the Olympics? Some kind of carbon footprint global warming thing?

RTD: No, no, no. Torchwood. It's just a name.

EXEC: So, who is this Torchwood guy? Is it a guy? Could be a girl.

RTD: No, no. We're getting confused.

EXEC: Sorry. Please explain.

RTD: Right. Torchwood is the name of the Torchwood Institute, a secret organization that captures alien technology and reverse-engineers it to help the British Empire rise again.

EXEC: Yeah... OK. See where you're coming from. But our demographic isn't going to be over the moon about a show where Limeys try to take over the world using stolen alien ray guns. It's a bit lacking...

RTD: Well, that's the basic premise. It could be Americans.

EXEC: Americans wanting to help the British Empire rise again?

RTD: No... just, you know. A secret organization of Americans capturing alien technology and reverse engineering it for... I dunno. Anti-terrorism.

EXEC: You saying us Americans can't make our own doomsday tech without mugging passing aliens?

RTD: Not at all.

EXEC: It's very... Men in Black, isn't it? Only without the tolerance to others and the knowing humor.

RTD: Well, yes, but the thing is that the organization's collapsed. It's run by complete amateurs with huge emotional and mental problems that cause more problems than they solve.

EXEC: Yeah... it's a good pitch, 3PO, but we already have Fringe for that sort of thing.

RTD: But the characters are the selling point!

EXEC: Glad something is. OK, who are the cast.

RTD: Well, the main character's called Captain Jack...

EXEC: What? From Pirates of the Carribbean?!

RTD: No. He's a different Captain Jack. In fact, that's not even his real name.

EXEC: ...it isn't? Then why do you call him Captain Jack?

RTD: Um. Billy Joel?

EXEC: His real name's Billy Joel?

RTD: No. He's named after a song... Look, he's this chaotic sort of ruthless character with lots of wisecracks who struts around in a long coat and...

EXEC: Is he played by Johnny Depp?

RTD: No.

EXEC: Big mistake there, Jar-Jar, we could sell anything with Johnny in it. So, come on, we've got this rip-off character. Give me something to work with here.

RTD: He's omnisexual.

EXEC: ...so?

RTD: He'll shag anything with a hole!

EXEC: So his only real gimmick is he is a complete slut? Maybe for a sitcom, but an action drama series? Is every episode going to be about one of his exes...

RTD: He's also immortal!

EXEC: Hmm. So we have an immortal in a long coat running a company full of idiots causing more harm than good.

RTD: Yes!

EXEC: Look, I try to keep up client confidentiality, but morally I feel I should inform Joss Whedon's lawyers.

RTD: This isn't a rip-off of Angel!

EXEC: I didn't mention Angel.

RTD: ...shit, you didn't.

EXEC: All right, Gi Quon, who else?

RTD: Well, there's this psycho cop and her useless boyfriend, but they've just had a baby...

EXEC: A baby? So, basically, they have to stay at home and look after the baby? This sounds more and more like a sitcom to me. Captain Jack, Babysitter. Could work as an Absolutely Fabulous sort of thing...

RTD: It's serious science fiction.

EXEC: Really? Gimme some plots you've used.

RTD: Well... the first one was about this metal glove that brings people back to life for thirty seconds.

EXEC: And this is useful, how?

RTD: Well, you can ask murder victims who killed them! And that's who they did!

EXEC: Did they find the killer that way?

RTD: Yes! Well. No. None of the victims saw the killer.

EXEC: So the metal glove's pretty useless. Anything else.

RTD: Well, there was an alien monster that took over women's bodies and make them kill people by screwing them to death and feeding off orgasmic energy. And there were some redneck cannibals. And, um, this giant stone demon under the town. Then there was this giant whale people were turning into hamburgers...

EXEC: You're not grabbing me here, Padwan. So we've got these three characters. Anything else...

RTD: Well, we had them in a secret underground base full of cool alien technology and a funky SUV vehicle.

EXEC: Cool.

RTD: But I blew them up.

EXEC: ...why?

RTD: Steven wanted some more studio space.

EXEC: Did they get replacement bases and vehicles?

RTD: No. Actually, I left them penniless beggars who stole stuff from people on the street.

EXEC: Why?

RTD: Well, they were really arrogant pricks.

EXEC: So how exactly did the last series end?

RTD: Like I said, the base and all the alien technology were blown up, the cop and her boyfriend went off to have a baby and everyone else died. But Captain Jack came back to life and then hitched a lift on an alien space craft, never to return.

EXEC: ...I'm sensing you don't really like this show. What made you call it "Torchwood" anyway?

RTD: It's an anagram.

EXEC: What of?

RTD: Doctor Who.

EXEC: So... this show whose title is just jumbled up letters of a show you actually like... with a cast of "complete pricks" you either killed or otherwise got rid of... and a set and merchandise options you deliberately blew up... working for a fallen empire scavenging alien crap that's never used...

RTD: Very nihlistic, isn't it?

EXEC: Yeah. So, basically, I'd have to sell this remake as "Angel working for Fringe only with absolutely no cool technology or likable characters in plots you wouldn't even find on Mad TV".

RTD: If you like.

EXEC: See, Greedo, I'm not sure this is going to work.

RTD: How about a straight continuation. Torchwood in America!

EXEC: Where were they before?

RTD: Cardiff. In Wales.

EXEC: Why there?

RTD: There's a space time rift that causes all the aliens to go there.

EXEC: Oh. Which is why they're based in Cardiff and not LA. Because there's no aliens there.

RTD: ...yeah.

EXEC: So, you want us to continue a British series that has no cast, no sets, no plots, no monsters and doesn't even have a proper title?

RTD: [quiet] If you'd be so kind.

EXEC: I like you, Palpatine, I really do. But basically all you've done here is ask me to come up with a completely new show with a title you admit will be completely irrelevent.

RTD: Yes.

EXEC: Can you see my problem here?

RTD: Yes.

EXEC: Close the door on your way out.

[RTD rises and leaves.]

EXEC: What a headcase. But we need to make something. [into intercom] Bunny, is there anyone else on the list?

SECRETARY: Just Chris Lilly sir.

[Exec leaps to his feet and runs out the door.]

EXEC: RUSTY! WAIT! I'VE CHANGED MY MIND!


The incredible true story of how Torchwood got a fourth series.

32 comments:

Matthew Blanchette said...

I had to look up Chris Lilley (with an E); couldn't you have used a name for the gag that would've appealed to a more "international" fanbase, like Ricky Gervais, or James Corden? :-P

Youth of Australia said...

I had to look up Chris Lilley (with an E);
Lucky you. Those who DO know what he is envy your ignorance.

couldn't you have used a name for the gag that would've appealed to a more "international" fanbase,
Why should I?

like Ricky Gervais, or James Corden?
No. Because Chris Lill(e)y is the AntiChrist. You just don't like Gervais or Corden.

:-P
:|

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

I like Ricky Gervais. Well... I like stuff he makes.

...how weird IS the Torchwood story? It only really hits me when you write about it. Why did RTD make it and disown it in the space of a few months? Why? WHY??? Not to mention CoE feels like him going out of his way to destroy it just when the show had grown its beard...

Youth of Australia said...

...how weird IS the Torchwood story?
How long is a piece of string?

It only really hits me when you write about it.
Just me?

Why did RTD make it and disown it in the space of a few months? Why? WHY??? Not to mention CoE feels like him going out of his way to destroy it just when the show had grown its beard...

Well... MY theory (and this is just a theory)...

2005. Chris Eccleston's quit. There may not be a second year. RTD likes the cut of Barrowman's jib. He has the idea of Excalibur, a critty supernatural cop show.

Then, DW gets renewed. Excalibur is put on the back burner. RTD gets offered a DW spin off - but all the ideas they want are shit, like Young Dr. Who. In desperation, he decides to make Excalibur. But it has to be a DW spin off. Easy, thinks he, just make the boss Captain Jack and write the cops into the next season. He hands over the redrafted script with a few refs to Boomtown and Cybermen and then starts work on DW2006... and then TSJAs as well!

Torchwood as it is now known is out of his complete control. The script for Day One has been considered good enough. People are insisting "Cyberwoman" will be a classic. RTD has his doubts, but is simply stretched too thin to fix it. 2006 drags on and he decides that Torchwood is - frankly - complete shit.

But it rates well, and the "DW spinoff" angle is worth its weight in gold. They can't ditch a moneymaker no matter how crap it is, like a lead dildo hanging around their necks.

RTD gets more and more disillusioned, and decides to quit the show and leave to Chris Chibnall, but he's less interested than ever. The first season is ignored by continuity. The new writers hate the show as well, in particular Phil Ford.

Nevertheless, Season 2 isn't quite so bad. RTD has a bunch of ideas for The End of Time he can't use, a set to blow up for Steve. He decides the 2009 season will be TW's last, but with him in the driving seat this time. Outside factors make it the week-long story. Out of sheer gut reaction, RTD leaves the series open-ended with Gwen alive and Jack around. Then, reedits the last episode so Jack isn't on vacation, he's just gone.

No more Jack, no more Torchwood, no more Gwen. RTD's finished with Doctor Who but keeps SJA around to keep him ticking over.

America is interested in a Torchwood USA remake. Five minutes after talking with RTD, this idea mysteriously stalls. Then, they decide to do a fourth series. Since RTD has plenty of free time and stupid cracks in the wall so no worries about continuity, he agrees to take charge properly.

Barrowman, of course, is up for anything - and even he knows TWUSA is better than Desperate Housewives or playing Captain Jack as a crossover in My Family.

And, in 2011...

Jared "No Nickname" Hansen said...

Wow. Very thorough response.

I was going to step in and defend Torchwood series 2 heartily... but then I remembered what a mixed bag it was. Sure, A Day in the Death, but also Something Borrowed...

Speaking of gritty cop shows, (*snort*) I've sent you the third series of Ashes to Ashes. A little while ago, actually. Just checking you got it..

Youth of Australia said...

Wow. Very thorough response.
As you can tell, it was on my mind.

I was going to step in and defend Torchwood series 2 heartily... but then I remembered what a mixed bag it was. Sure, A Day in the Death, but also Something Borrowed...
Yeah. Though, Season 2 was undoubtedly a huge improvement on Season 1.

Speaking of gritty cop shows, (*snort*) I've sent you the third series of Ashes to Ashes. A little while ago, actually. Just checking you got it..
Ah yeah.

Got that on Friday. The file names didn't work, so it took me ages to discover which ones were which. I've also not got eps 2-3.

I watched the whole end of season in one go. Slightly disappointed in the fact the most outspoken fan theories turned out to be completely correct, and that we didn't get to see Sam and Annie.

Keats was a cool villain. He looks like the bastard son of Adrian Mole and John Safran, and acts like the illegitimate offspring of Sherrif Vasey and Simpson from Hornblower. Oh, and the guy who was pretending to be Sam Tyler? Very good. I began to wonder if it WAS John Simm in very good makeup, he got the voice, the eyes, the bodylanguage, perfect..

It's so sad there won't be another series. The Gene Genie deserves to be a 21st century cultural icon, way more than Quatermass did...

Youth of Australia said...

Oh irony of ironies, even as I click "post", I discover ABC2 are repeating TW from the very and inferior beginning!

Matthew Blanchette said...

Sorry for the rotten comment, Ewen; it was a damned hilarious post. ;-)

By the way, I know the Graham Williams years (and Douglas Adams, along with them) get shafted by the fans, but I'm curious: What did you think of the potential behind Shada?

Miles Reid said...

You know... it wasn't until you mentioned 'Fringe' that I saw the similarities in some way to Torchwood. I'm not saying that Fringe rips on Torchwood, but if Torchwood had been more life Fringe in the first two years, it probably would have been a lot more satisfying show... and would've saved us all the mental anguish and pain of 'Children of Earth.'

Fringe on the other, while my first opinion was very much of a 'X-Files for the Y2K era' show, but soon quantum leaped in quality in my opinion. The second series was great and ending on such a great note. Torchwood though... yeah, I'll watch it.

Youth of Australia said...

Sorry for the rotten comment, Ewen; it was a damned hilarious post. ;-)
All's forgiven for cheap flattery.

By the way, I know the Graham Williams years (and Douglas Adams, along with them) get shafted by the fans, but I'm curious: What did you think of the potential behind Shada?
Potential? Well, I'd say the potential is visible from the bits they recorded. It would have been a decent story, but no City of Death. In terms of writing, I think the BF adaptation works a bit better (but who's to say Tom Baker wouldn't have suggested similar improvements during recording).

Matthew Blanchette said...

Potential? Well, I'd say the potential is visible from the bits they recorded. It would have been a decent story, but no City of Death. In terms of writing, I think the BF adaptation works a bit better (but who's to say Tom Baker wouldn't have suggested similar improvements during recording).

Personally, had JN-T ever finished it, it might have worked well as the Season 18 opener, especially since the scripted final comment (i.e., the Doctor wondering how he'd be as a nice old man) leads quite well into the general plot of The Leisure Hive... but, of course, having "a new adversary" at the start of the season, with an old adversary at the end, works as a nice sort of book-ending, don't you think? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

Personally, had JN-T ever finished it, it might have worked well as the Season 18 opener,
Which is what he repeatedly attempted to do - though it would have been a very different version, a four-parter set almost entirely in Cambridge with the bare minimum of new material.

But it was not meant to be.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Which is what he repeatedly attempted to do - though it would have been a very different version, a four-parter set almost entirely in Cambridge with the bare minimum of new material.

But it was not meant to be.

Really? How d'you think he would've gotten in the bits on Shada, and Skagra's ship, and such?

One of the most interesting bits upon reading the teleplay, for me, was trying to imagine how they'd have done the sequence where the Doctor is trying to cross the time vortex from Chronotis's TARDIS to his own; you're saying JN-T would have cut this? :-(

Youth of Australia said...

Really? How d'you think he would've gotten in the bits on Shada, and Skagra's ship, and such?
Not sure. The first episode would have been parts one and two. The second episode would have Skagra stealing the TARDIS and the bit on Think Tank (cutting the guff about turning the ship into a time machine). The third episode would be all the revelations about Skagra, Shada and Salyavin, with presumably the plot restructured to stop Skagra getting to Shada (which would remain unseen). The fourth would have tied up as many loose ends as possible and ended with a new scene where the Doctor and Romana babble about tenses ("when shall we be going to have been?" sort of thing).

imagine how they'd have done the sequence where the Doctor is trying to cross the time vortex from Chronotis's TARDIS to his own;
You ever see the airlock bit in Horns of Nimon?

you're saying JN-T would have cut this? :-(
Depends on the budget. He might have turned it into a simple teleport from A to B.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Not sure. The first episode would have been parts one and two. The second episode would have Skagra stealing the TARDIS and the bit on Think Tank (cutting the guff about turning the ship into a time machine). The third episode would be all the revelations about Skagra, Shada and Salyavin, with presumably the plot restructured to stop Skagra getting to Shada (which would remain unseen). The fourth would have tied up as many loose ends as possible and ended with a new scene where the Doctor and Romana babble about tenses ("when shall we be going to have been?" sort of thing).
Damn... well, I've considered JN-T to be many things, but never before have I considered him unimaginative; that'd have been a terrible way to end the story. :-(

You ever see the airlock bit in Horns of Nimon?
Sorry, no; I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to buying DVDs... :-P For some reason, I was imagining it looking like the opening titles, except with Tom Baker frantically trying to move from ship-to-ship (and without the giant sullen Baker head and diamond logo, of course ;-)).

Depends on the budget. He might have turned it into a simple teleport from A to B.
Well, I'd heard that the budget was severely slashed from the Hinchcliffe years on (Destiny of the Daleks being the most notorious example), but you're saying JN-T wouldn't have even given the story the decency of being properly finished? :-(

Ahhh, well; at least he gave what portions had been filmed a video release in the early '90s -- that's how I happened upon them, on YouTube. Considering all the work they put into that animated segment to replace the lost bits in The Invasion, I would've liked to see something similar done to complete Shada (they'd need a sound-alike to replace Denis Carey, of course, but I think all the other major players are still alive and willing)... :-S

Youth of Australia said...

Damn... well, I've considered JN-T to be many things, but never before have I considered him unimaginative; that'd have been a terrible way to end the story. :-(
You seem to be of the belief that JNT would have LIKED that version.

This would not have been what JNT thought was cool, but what he could convince the BBC to pay for.

Actors would need rehiring - not as easy as it sounds. Sets build to match up with models and stuff. And it wouldn't be six episodes, it would be four.

This would be the accountant's cut, not the director's cut.

And, surely, haven't you seen the completed version with Paul McGann??!?

Matthew Blanchette said...

And, surely, haven't you seen the completed version with Paul McGann??!?
Nope... wouldn't know where it resides on the 'net, anyway.

Bits of it were altered for the McGann version, anyway; most notably, none of the recorded material was used (new Doctor, after all), but that can still be rectified... ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

*face palm*

Why not, say, try the official BBC Doctor Who website - it's between Real Time and Scream of the Shalka.

Matthew Blanchette said...

*face palm*

Why not, say, try the official BBC Doctor Who website - it's between Real Time and Scream of the Shalka.

That far back? Okay; I'll give it a try... ;-)

I sorta wish they'd do it for the Matt Smith era, but it'd certainly be an awkward fit, what, with a Time Lord residing at Cambridge as the Doctor's supposed to be the last one, and all... :-P

Also, you know what might be nice? A multi-Doctor story, featuring Eleven and Eight, where Eight regenerates into Nine right before the last quarter of the episode! :-)

Youth of Australia said...

...you're not really an active member of the fanbase, are you? People have been coming up with those ideas since 2003 and REG. There's even minmi's law - like Godwin's law, except about a Paul McGann regeneration tale.

That's SEVEN LONG YEARS of people saying "Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was a multi-Doc story with Paul McGann and the Ninth Doctor..."

Which is why I wrote this.

"Oh yeah, mind like a seive," the Ninth Doctor says, shooting the Eighth Doctor through the head. He falls to the ground and instantly implodes to become an identical Ninth Doctor. The other Ninth Doctor turns to face the audience. "Happy now? He's dead. So now you can put this up on youtube, take down all those crappy fanmade sequences, eat your beans on toast, be average. Oh, and donate to Children in Need or I'll rip your bloody arms off."

Matthew Blanchette said...

...you're not really an active member of the fanbase, are you? People have been coming up with those ideas since 2003 and REG. There's even minmi's law - like Godwin's law, except about a Paul McGann regeneration tale.

That's SEVEN LONG YEARS of people saying "Hey, wouldn't it be great if there was a multi-Doc story with Paul McGann and the Ninth Doctor..."


I KNOW that, Ewen, but...

...since RTD seemed reluctant to ever cook one up (even a comics version flatlined before publishing), I'm sorta hoping ol' Moffat would be slightly more up to it -- and, let's face it, McGann and Eccleston certainly aren't getting younger; it seems Eccleston would be up for an easy paycheck, anyway, which is why he's only in the last quarter of my plot idea (he wouldn't like all the strenuous work that half an episode would require, anyway...). :-P

The Doctor being convinced the Gelth were going to kill him could use a minor explanation, as well; post-regenerative amnesia, which is why Eleven might be confused when both he and Eight show up... aboard the RMS Titanic?

Eh? Eh? ;-)

Youth of Australia said...

1) Eccles did a huge interview in the last few weeks. He. aint. coming. back.

2) The comic version was scuppered by forces outside RTD's control

3) There's a clear explanation for how Doctor 8 died. People just don't watch "Rose" carefully enough.

4) "Eh?" is not a valid way to continue a conversation, no matter HOW many smilies are used.

Matthew Blanchette said...

1) Eccles did a huge interview in the last few weeks. He. aint. coming. back.
A rather good explanation for why he left, here: http://www.agonybooth.com/forum.aspx?g=posts&m=68715#post68715

2) The comic version was scuppered by forces outside RTD's control
Again, heard it all, before... :-S

3) There's a clear explanation for how Doctor 8 died. People just don't watch "Rose" carefully enough.
Yeah, "Time War trauma", etc., etc... but what does it "mean" Stress? Exhaustion? Besides, if the Doctor committed suicide, wouldn't it end up like this? http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Exile

4) "Eh?" is not a valid way to continue a conversation, no matter HOW many smilies are used.
Yeah, sorry; it got away from me, there... figured you might like to hear it.

Nevermind. :-P

Youth of Australia said...

1) It doesn't change the fact he aint coming back
2) You're so in the dark about things I have no idea what you DO know
3) That's not what I'm talking about
3 a) It's Unbound for a REASON
4) Now you know.

Matthew Blanchette said...

C'est, la vie.

So... I know Australia's about a week ahead of us Yanks (thanks to BBC America's asshole-ish decision to push us back a week before the Silurian two-parter), so I'm curious: No spoilers, but what do you think of the upcoming two-part finale?

I've heard there's going to be a lot thrown at the wall, but do you think it'll all stick?

Youth of Australia said...

Part One wasn't bad. Bit nightmarish though, with Cybermen designed by John Carpenter.

Matthew Blanchette said...

Part One wasn't bad. Bit nightmarish though, with Cybermen designed by John Carpenter.
Huh... so, better than Army of Ghosts, you'd say?

Youth of Australia said...

Yes, I would.

Seriously, you want these sort of chats? Just email me. It's so much easier than having to log on each time.

Matthew Blanchette said...

What's your e-mail address, again, then? Mine's matt311@cox.net, but I did a cursory search of your blog page and couldn't find yours... :-S

Youth of Australia said...

Just like the last five times I suggest it...

ewen32@iprimus.com.au

Matthew Blanchette said...

Again, sorry... :-S

Youth of Australia said...

32 comments now! THIRTY FREAKING TWO! GAAAAAAAH!