Thursday, February 07, 2008

The Unofficial "Torchwood Declassified" Drinking Game

If you find yourself watching the bonus "Torchwood Declassified" DVD in the season one box set, set up the booze and follow these rules. You'll only survive if you're very, very drunk.
  • When somebody uses a string of one-word adjectives to describe an episode, take a sip for EVERY adjective.
  • If the episode is described as "dark," take two additional sips. If it's "SO dark," finish your drink. If somebody says "it's SO dark," and then laughs, polish off the liquor cabinet.
  • When Russel T. Davies, Julie Gardener, or one of the executives tries to explain why the sex and violence is "important to the plot," nod your head knowingly and drink a shot. When this explanation is followed by an extended, exploitative montage of sexy clips from the series, simply admit that you knew it all along.
  • Whenever it sounds like a cast member is in a "watch Torchwood" commercial, throw your shot glass at the screen. This doesn't count if the cast member is John Barrowman because he ALWAYS sounds that way.
  • When a cast member talks about their character in the third person, take only a tiny sip, or you'll quickly lose your eyesight.
  • Drink a glass of wine every time somebody is described as "lonely."
  • Whenever somebody describes Captain Jack in a way that could equally apply to Doctor Who, drink the entire bottle of wine. Destroy your wine cellar if this is within five minutes of somebody saying that the series premise is totally different from Doctor Who.
  • When Russel T. Davies "gushes" about a plot twist, that's okay. When the plot twist is horrible and should never have been conceived, let alone filmed, drink your brandy and write him a nasty, fannish email.
  • When John Barrowman is slick, Eve Myles is goofy, Burn Gorman is deadly serious, or Naoko Mori is wide-eyed sincere, take a sip of whatever you're drinking and then ask Gareth David-Lloyd for another, please. When Gareth David-Lloyd appears on the screen and you wonder why you never noticed his teeth before, clasp him tightly like John Barrowman would and say "I'm SO SORRY" in a broken-voiced way.


scott said...

Man, Torchwood is fun.

I'd play your drinking game, but I have kids and very little insurance.

Eli McIlveen said...

Da ha ha!

The new season is looking pretty good so far... they really have fixed a lot of the things that were wrong last year. It's not perfect, but I'm much more impressed.

Morgan James said...

We're thinking about taking "The John Barrowman Experience" which is available from his website.

Sad but true. Sigh.

It's a strange obsession but it keeps from wandering the streets at night spraying office bldgs with my stool.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

After watching the box set I view it more favourably than I did...I'll write up a post mortem soon.

But "fun" pretty much says it all, yes, though I'd add a touch of "cringe" in there as well. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I've downloaded the first three episodes and I'm waiting for the right time...I'm looking forward to it!

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Whew, that clears you from my list of "spray poozy" suspects, Morgan.

The "John Barrowman Experience?" Uh-oh. I don't even know what that is but I hope it won't lead you to harder stuff.

I genuinely like Barrowman, especially as a human being; all the "candid" Barrowman I've seen has been wonderful. The Torchwood Outtakes are hilarious.

And he's 80% good in Torchwood. There are just certain things he seemed unable to do convincingly, in particular "be sad."

Eli McIlveen said...

Oh dear, yes. Barrowman sounds like a fantastic guy... but oh geez, there's a Jack Is Sad moment in episode 4 ("Meat") where I had to stop the video for a moment and collect myself.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I haven't seen any of the new episodes yet, but I can already imagine the upcoming "Torchwood Declassified" splooge for "Meat":

JULIE GARDNER: This episode explores Jack's loneliness. We knew we'd have to do this from the very first Tone Meeting, which is why Tone Meetings are SOOOOO important.

RUSSEL T. DAVIES: Quite frankly, it was time to move Jack into a DARK PLACE. I love it! It's fantastic, it's an absolute gobsmack, how could you NOT love it? Grrreat.

JOHN BARROWMAN: Just when you think you have a grip on Captain Jack you suddenly realize that, baby, you don't know the HALF of it. And let me tell're in for a WILD RIDE.

NAOKO MORI: Oh wow, I cried. I couldn't help it! I'm crying now.

The Vicar of VHS said...

I'm so out of it...I had no idea this existed. And I call myself an internet nerd...

Coincidentally, I've been trying to bolster my geek-cred by familiarizing myself with the original Dr. Whos (the old ones), starting with what was available on instant Netflix. I watched one of the stories from the first season, but it didn't seem very representative.

Is anyone here a Dr. Who fan? If so, is it important to try to watch the development of it in order, or can I just jump in anywhere? From my childhood I just remember the episodes on PBS with the long-scarfed, curly-haired doctor...

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Is anybody here a fan of Doctor Who? Gasp!

At least three of us at last count, so we might be your one-stop informal help line.

To address your comments:

1) The classic series went through many different phases, mainly due to producer and script editor rollover. So the mood, style, and emphasis of each era tends to differ (somewhat dramatically) from the others.

The William Hartnell era (the first three+ seasons) was very much aimed at children and conceived as an educational program. The "historical" episodes carried on this mandate -- to teach kids about moments in history -- but after the Daleks appeared in the second storyline, the BBC realized that bug-eyed monsters could sell.

So the Hartnell era is really a mixed bag. They tended to be both the most stodgy AND the most experimental episodes.

2) It isn't important to watch them in order. By season 19 they started to get increasingly "fannish," focused on continuity, but they're still watchable for non-fans. The last two seasons, however, are pretty much backstory gobbledy-gook (even when you DO know the backstory).

3) The curly-haired doctor was Tom Baker, the fourth doctor, and he was the one I grew up with as well. He had the longest tenure and is considered by many to be the best of the classic doctors, and he had some wonderful companions. His first few seasons were particularly scary, but near the end of his reign it all began to decline. Many people blame a certain producer who called himself "JNT."

The third doctor (John Pertwee) was popular as well; his stories were more James Bond-ish action/adventures. I love the second doctor (Patrick Troughton) whose stories tended to be base-under-seige invasions with kooky monsters.

In short, you never know what you'll get when you pick a random episode, but at least you'll be able to follow the story. The whole "Timelord" mythology doesn't REALLY pick up steam until Tom Baker's era (though it started at the end of Troughton's).

The wikipedia page is a good start, and click on the "Doctor Who" tag at the bottom of this blog post for my other Who thoughts.

The Vicar of VHS said...

Thanks! I spent a LOT of time on the Wikipedia page already (and going through each of the Doctors on their own pages), which is kind of why I was overwhelmed with it all and wondering if I had to know everything to get anything out of it. The only page I've seen on Wikipedia with more exhaustive detail was the Masters of the Universe page! :)

The Hartnell episode I watched was "The Aztecs," which was enjoyable enough, but I see what you mean about the educational aspect. Of course all the Aztecs spoke like Shakespearean actors, but that was part of the fun for me.

I'll definitely be watching more, but I may jump ahead to the bug-eyed monsters era. I do love some BEMs. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

To whet your whistle, try "Spearhead From Space," "The Ark In Space," and "The Horror of Fang Rock." The monsters aren't bug-eyed, but those are three of the episodes (available on DVD) that traumatized me most as a child!

And yes, Wikipedia is the perfect forum for those intent on untangling the Cyberman timeline. :)

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Oh yes, and I love "The Aztecs," but it certainly isn't what most people think of when they imagine "Doctor Who." It's great character development...but first you probably need to actually CARE about (and be introduced to) Barbara, Ian, and "granddaughter" Susan.

Also, the Hartnell and Troughton seasons were filmed virtually live, with only four or five edits per episode. So they aren't exactly technically stunning by today's standards (though if you watch them with that understanding, they're brilliant).

scott said...

Doctor Who is the greatest. I personally have always had a taste for the episodes where the Doctor faces a problem so immense he needs to team up with himself to overcome it. They are easy to pick out as they are titled "The Two Doctors", "The Three Doctors" and "The Five Doctors".

Anonymous said...

oh, the Jack on Jack kiss made me tingle in long forgotten places

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Yes Scott, those episodes always feel a bit like Christmas!

Unless one of the Doctors is Colin Baker. Then it's like a costume party in hell.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Jack-on-Jack was quite a moment!

As Russell T. Davies says in the featurette, "Who is the only person Jack could ever fall in love with? Himself!"

The Vicar of VHS said...

Well, I've definitely got a lot of homework now! I do want to see more of the monster/horror episodes, as that's really my area of interest.

I sampled a little more this weekend, watching "The Leisure Hive" on Netflix instant. It was definitely more my speed than "The Aztecs," as fun as that was, and Tom Baker was a ton of fun, as was Romana. And the amazing K-9 asplosion at the beginning was a real shocker.

Thanks for all your help on this, everyone. I'll keep pressing on, and let you know how my education progresses. :)

The Vicar of VHS said...

Hey, I just discovered this and thought that the commenters on this thread might be interested: a fan-made Dr. Who online comic book that has been getting good reviews. Probably it'll mean a lot more to you guys than to me right now, but check it out:

The Ten Doctors.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come now, Muff, I give Colin credit for wearing that get-up and working it. That's professionalism. Or madness. Whatever.

Vic: thanks for the link, I'll be checking it out. If Tom Baker is your thing (and really, whose isn't he), check out the Key to Time series. It was a whole season (I think) of the Doctor locating the pieces to the ultra-powerful Key to Time. The Keeper of Traken, in particular gave me the jibblies when I was a kid.

Scott said...

Ooh, ooh! And the Brain of Morbius had great creepy/goofy monster in it too!

Wow. I am a nerd.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Thanks for the link! I'll definitely check it out.

As for the K9 explosion...sorry, but there's an anecdote there as well.

"The Leisure Hive" was the first episode that John-Nathan Turner made as the producer, and he had a very different direction he wanted to move the show in. Among other things, he hated two elements that many of the fans loved: the sonic screwdriver...and K-9.

He felt that these elements made it too easy for the Doctor to get out of trouble, but most importantly K-9 was difficult to operate and actually caused interference in the video cameras. So really, EVERYBODY hated K-9 except some very loyal fans.

So until K-9 could be properly phased out, J-NT had the writers come up with ways of putting him out of commission in the first few minutes, and the "go fetch" moment at the beginning of "The Leisure Hive" was the first salvo.

The next two seasons see K-9 repeatedly -- and almost maliciously -- break, get dismembered, or just be left behind. Poor thing.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Apparently Colin hated the clothes as much as the fans did, so yes, I'll give him "trooper" credit for that.

But I still think he was godawful. Put him next to Nicola Bryant and there isn't even a WORD for the awfulness.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I'm with you, Scott..."Frankenstein" -- err, I mean "Brain of Morbius" -- has one of the ugliest, freakiest Doctor Who monsters in it.

Sadly not on DVD yet, though.

Scott said...

I love the Doctor and Peri. I don't care if it labels me in poor taste. Colin's Doc was just so different than the previous 5 that I really enjoyed it.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

We can agree on one thing about Colin Baker...he WAS different from the others! :)