Wandering through the living room and observing me grumbling at the TiVo while making sure a Season Pass was set for tomorrow’s season premiere of Torchwood (“Grumblegrumble why doesn’t someone just stab Owen in the face grumblegrumble if you’re such a super sekrit organization, why do you race around in a giant flashing SUV with your name stamped into the hood grumblegrumble”), my brother brought the entire proceedings to a halt with a single insightful moment: “If the show drives you that crazy, why are you watching it?”
Maybe I’m girding my loins to watch Torchwood (with that crew, you kind of need to go into things with your loins protected) because events in its parent show persuade me the main character will be fun again. Maybe its because writer (and recently named Law and Order: Piccadilly Circus showrunner) Chris Chibnall admitted that they miscalibrated how much they let the characters’ mistakes pile up, suggesting they won’t make the same miscalculation twice. Maybe it’s because James Marsters of Angel and Buffy fame is not only showing up to kiss Captain Jack–he’s showing up after having raided Adam Ant’s wardrobe. That is admittedly pretty persuasive.
The most accurate reason, however, is probably that I’m a completist. Once I’ve been sucked–suckered?–into a TV world, I have to know everything about it. I’ll read comic books or tie-in novels. I’ll scour the Interwebs for anything and everything written about that show, regardless of whether it’s a serious academic treatise on Buffy Summers as transgressive feminist icon or Melllvar’s fan-written screenplay. I’ll badger Netflix for DVDs of deservedly obscure entries in the writers’ or actors’ filmographies.
And thus: Torchwood. Forty-some-odd years of Doctor Who paraphenalia to sort through apparently isn’t enough–now I have to add Torchwood goings-on to the list, just in case they reference Doctor Who in some fashion. And sure enough–there’s a hand in a jar. More importantly, there’s Martha! They’ve marbled in just enough Whonalia to make me worry I’ll miss something important about the show I love if I skip the show I…tolerate. It works. And it’s unlikely to stop–it’s why I’m trying to get around work firewalls to check out Joss Whedon’s Sugar Shock. It’s why I had to persevere in listening to The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams on NPR, even though it took almost four hours thanks to thoughtless people who kept interrupting me and asking me to do, you know, work at work. It’s why I merrily hummed my way through old LPs (vinyl, people!) of Gilbert and Sullivan for a week after the West Wing gang welcomed Ainsley to the fold.
It’s an illness, but I suspect I’m not the only one suffering from it. So we need to form a support group, hope Torchwood really is better this season, or squat on facestabbersagainstowen.com. Votes?