Monday, November 26, 2007

Torchwood--A Gunnie TV Show Review

Lately, Yosemite Sam and I have been watching a BBC import, Torchwood, set in Cardiff, Wales. We’ve been able to see every episode thanks to our cable company’s On Demand feature. It’s entertaining and surprisingly gunnie friendly.

First, it’s a spin-off of Doctor Who. If you don’t know about the Doctor, I can’t explain it here. Suffice to say it’s still on the air and still popular. Yosemite Sam grew up with it and is more of a fan than I am, but I really like Torchwood.

Its lead character, Captain Jack Harkness, was in a few episodes of the recently reincarnated Doctor Who. He was a con man who ended up more heroic than not and comes from Earth’s 51st Century. Through various permutations, he can’t be killed, but is stranded on Earth beginning in the late 19th Century. By the time of the TV series, he’s head of Torchwood Institute Three which investigates alien incursions and related.

That’s enough background, let’s get to the gunnie stuff.

One character, Gwen Cooper, is a police officer who observes Torchwood a little too closely and becomes a member herself. Torchwood members are expected to defend themselves with guns. Gwen doesn’t know how to shoot, because she wasn’t an armed constable. Harkness teaches her in an entertaining session. She fears the gun at first, but finds out she can shoot well and loves it. A surprisingly pro-gun message given the BBC’s track record on gun control.

Captain Jack carries a World War II era Webley Mark IV in an old leather holster with a flap. Unlike the Doctor who refuses to use a weapon, Captain Jack has no problem shooting someone who needs it. In one episode, he shoots a very evil woman several times at close range. BBC didn’t spare the stage blood and squibs.

A British show that allows self-defense is interesting. Of course, Torchwood members are not average citizens, but they’re not the police either. The Torchwood Institute is beyond government and beyond police.

It’s not all gun-friendliness though. In one episode a very scared teenager wounds Gwen with a shotgun thinking she’s one of his deadly neighbors. However, he used a pump-action shotgun illegal in Britain, so it begs the question of how did the character get it (it’s unpossible to get something that’s illegal isn’t it?).

The show is not for everyone. It’s darker and more adult than Doctor Who. For instance, Jack thinks the whole idea of sexuality is a quaint but primitive concept unknown in the 51st Century. There’re intimations that he’ll have sex with any sentient being that walks on two legs. Still, it’s entertaining and nice to see a Webley on TV.

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