The series characters are, basically, the problem with the show. When the focus is somewhere else, the series can be pretty good.
I've been enjoying the revival of Dr. Who, which is scoring a lot more hits than misses, even in the third season, when screenwriters usually start getting desperate. (Though I have to say that the episode featuring Daleks in the Empire State Building was pretty dire.) (I should also caveat, as General Haig used to say, that I've never watched Dr. Who before the current revival.) So when Torchwood started, starring a charismatic character spun off from Dr. Who, I was pretty interested.
The baleful revues from the UK got here before the series did, so you can't say I wasn't forewarned.
I knew, for example, that the executive producer was openly gay, and that the show featured an openly gay star playing a bisexual action hero. (At last, I thought, maybe I'll find out about this "Liberal Gay Agenda" I've been hearing so much about!)
I was amused, during the opening episode, when Captain Jack's subordinates openly speculated about their leader's sexuality. (Overuse of the eyebrow pencil should have been your first clue, guys.)
But problems developed. Which didn't have to do so much with sexuality, but with sexuality as a part of character. The characters didn't make any sense to me.
Most of the characters' s sexuality was pretty protean--- they would boink men, women, or aliens depending on what the plot required. And that's the problem--- their characters shift with the demands of the plot, instead of the plot coming out of the demands of the characters.
And, with the exception of Gwen and Cap'n Jack, the characters just aren't very attractive or sympathetic or interesting, and for me to care they need to be at least one of the above.
Not only that, they're not very bright. I mean, here they are in this super-secret alien-fighting organization that stands above the law and above the government, and I seem to recollect that every single subordinate found some reason to bring an alien menace through the elaborate security straight to headquarters. In one case they did this literally over Captain Jack's dead body.
And they did this utterly without consequences. You'd think they'd at least get fired.
I mean, let's imagine a CIA agent bringing a Chinese spy into the code room at Langley and inviting the fellow to have a look around. "Or we could have sex on the deciphering computer, after you've finished photographing the code book."
Don't you think the DCI might have something to say about it afterwards? Fire the fellow? Try him? Shoot him?
Not in Torchwood. Cap'n Jack is a forgiving sort of guy.
And what's with the two-parter finale of the first season? When they were fighting Belial, or Beelzebub, or Behemoth, or whatever quasi-Biblical entity that got conjured up? When did this become The Omen: the Series?
The strange thing is, Russell T. Davies is creating a lot more interesting characters over at Dr. Who, and doing it consistently.
I'm still finding Torchwood watchable, but I hope the series finds a consistent voice before Beelzebub comes back.