I have an essay due in on Monday, so I got up all early (well, 7:30, but it's Saturday) and naturally I've spent my day industriously...revisiting my Janto feels, by listening to all the Torchwood audiobooks and dramas I have on my comp (I told myself it would help me focus, but I was lying and I knew I was lying, I'm far too easily lead...by myself).
Anyway, I thought I'd write a brief summary of them here, so for next time I'll know which ones to relisten to again, and which ones to skip. Bearing in mind, that a good/interesting storyline is secondary to Jantoness in my assessment of whether or not I liked it. And also, having listened to a lot in one go, some of them may have merged together a bit in my head... Should've taken notes as I went really. Warning: spoilers ahead.
The Sin Eaters 9/10
The metamorphosing pinprick guilt-eating giant undersea creature one.
Well, given it's Gareth reading, this one could have been an account of Roman fish farming, in Latin, and I'd still have given it a good rating. Because I <3 him. Also, he does the best Jack voice of the ones I've heard. And Janto-wise, this one's great. All Ianto's cocky playing around with the SUV is funny and adorable (kind of reminded me of Jez's "I am James Bond" in Peep Show for some reason). And they spend a lot of time together being couple-y (in an adventurey Torchwood way). There's also lots of good Gwen/Rhys moments. In terms of the actual story...eh. It's nothing terribly original, but it's enjoyable enough. The tone of the narration seemed to veer between ~LOTS OF PERIL~ to -not much peril- without much explanation in the story as to why, and some of the description's weren't very...descriptive. This was the only audiobook where I had a lot of troubling visualising some of it. But maybe I was overly distracted by GDL's voice. Hard to tell. Was fun though, and light on the angst.
Into the Shadows 9/10
The taxi driver sending people to hell one.
The first thing about this is, is how much I love Eve reading it. She emotes it so well, especially when the characters are sad or worried, which is handy because it's quite an angsty story really, and of the three people I've heard do the audio books on their own (her, Gareth and Kai) she's the only one who really acts it, the whole way through, not just reading it. Admittedly, she is less good at doing some of the voices/accents - but always in an endearing way (if someone's doing an accent, I either want it to be brilliant or hilariously bad tbh, no point in half-competence). She's genuinely perfect. Other good things about this one: Tosh and Owen are there! That made me very excited, because I wasn't expecting it. I also love all the supporting characters that were brought in, PC Andy is always good, Darren was a very sympathetic character, and to an extent so was Steve. The storyline held together well (although, the murderer having been abused as a child seemed a little bit...cliché), and I liked Ianto getting to be all Sherlock~ about the taxi driver being "invisible" (I assume Joseph Lidster did actually work on Sherlock, and the Moff didn't just pinch his idea). And the Jack and Ianto moments are very nice. Even if Jack does kill him.
Department X 8/10
The shadowy killing monster in the old department store one.
Kai's Ianto voice is occasionally, momentarily 100% spot-on - and the rest of the time it's still pretty good (a fair few times, I would've completely believed it was Gareth himself doing the voice). His Jack voice, less so...and for other characters, it's sometimes hard to tell whether the voice he's doing is meant to be a man or a lady until the narration tells you (and making one of the baddies be a "Canadian", and have several scenes speaking with Captain Jack was just cruelty on the author's part). The story itself, I quite enjoyed, though I felt a lot of the characters' motivations weren't fully explained - I wasn't sure why the staff in the department store would cover up the murders, or why Ms Valentine was so willing to go along with the plan. Nor was I sure why Jack didn't tell Gwen and Ianto the full story after it had become apparent that things were about to kick off. I mean, he left Ianto it a pretty dangerous position because of that, and I don't see why he needed to cover it up as "GR Owen is a missing person" when "he's an old friend of mine who did a deal with an alien he stole and now he's unknowingly killing people" would probably make Gwen and Ianto just as likely to help. Anyway. Despite that, I really enjoyed the interaction between Gwen and Lily, and between Gwen and Mr Price. Ianto trying to evade the mindcontrol by talking about the failings of the menswear department was funny too. And we also had Jack and Ianto having a fumble in the dressing rooms (and Ianto answering the phone with a muffled voice because he had "pins" in his mouth), Ianto taking Jack to try on clothes, Ianto trying to save Jack, and them on a date at the end. What more could you want?
Lost Souls 6/10
The CERN/LHC one.
I'd forgotten how much of this episode Martha spent being all "TOSH AND OWEN ARE DEAD, how do you feel about that?". Like, having that conversation once is perfectly reasonable, given it's the first time meeting since the funeral and everything, but by time three it gets a bit ridic. Also, I know Joseph Lidster said that he got scientist at CERN to check it all made sense, and everything, but the explanation in this one leaves me a bit "not sure". Also, Ianto-wise: he spends a lot of it unconscious. Has a couple of nice moments with the "my bike's got a bell", and Gwen being all "you love coffee, and Jack". But the fact I remembered those bits, and basically only those bits, after having not heard it for 4 years is because the rest is a bit...rubbish. That said, it did spawn one of my favourite Torchwood fics ever so it gets bonus points back for that. This Is No Place For The Ambassador For Wales To Have Sex by timetraveled, rating PG.
The PC Andy rescues a girl who fell through a fire, through the rift, into a canal one.
I do love PC Andy, so him getting a sizeable role in this is all that promotes it from being a "never listen to again" episode, to a "maybe listen to again, once you've forgotten how crap it is" one. The story is just so pointless - we know people have fallen through the rift without Jack insisting they be retconned, so he's suddenly set on it now. It seems a stupid way to work in another ~Gwen convinces Jack to do the right thing because she's so human~ moment, which I don't like at the best of times, but it's far more tolerable when it at least makes sense. The futuristic slang of Freda is pretty cringey too (and the clues to the future she comes from, don't really paint a coherent picture). There also seemed to be a slight tendency for scenes with 3+ people in, to end up as 2 of them having a lengthy conversation, and the others not speaking for ages - which makes for confusing radio. Vaguely redeemed by the bit where Jack takes Ianto on a motorcycle (...ride).
Golden Age 9/10
The Jack's ex living in the past in India one.
Highlight of this was definitely Jasmine Hyde. The Duchess is just such a fabulous character, more people need to make their entrances in a ballgown with a blunderbuss. I loved her interaction with Jack, and also that she was quite relateable even if she had gone 100% insane. She needs her own spin off, a whole show just for Torchwood India. I love that you can have exciting settings like Delhi on radio, which Torchwood could never afford for on the tellybox. I found the story in general to really engaging, and it's always nice to find out more about Jack's past. Also I like it when Ianto and Gwen get to be a little team. And when the Duchess offers Ianto lemonade. ...If there had been even a smidgen of Janto stuff, I'd have given this a 10, but given there's zero interaction between them and Jack describes Ianto to the Duchess as his "assistant", I fear I cannot.
The Dead Line 9/10
The old phones put people in a coma one.
Obviously Ianto's speech to a comatose Jack was heartbreaking, and Jack reassuring him at the end was beautiful, and it's sappy, but this was the most perfect moment for them ever, and I've always kind of hated the bit in series 2 episode 3 which other people say is romantic because it felt like Jack was saying a lot of nice stuff in that, but not really committing about whether it was about Ianto, but in this one Jack didn't say much at all, but it was only about Ianto, and it was sweet, and nice, and perfect, and squeeful. This ep also had lots of other good bits - Gwen and Rhys being a team, Jack's ex Stella was a really good character, Mr Tyler not being a typical bankmanager and having treated his staff really well. That said, as much as I enjoyed this ep, and I did, a lot, I still don't understand it. Maybe it was just because I was distracted by tragic Ianto, butI mean, how did the problem occur? They said the thunderstorm, but, still, how? And how did they fix it? I mean, they found a way, but what was it? I like a little science in my sci-fi, not just magic. (I might have a relisten this evening and come back to this to give it 10/10 if I understand it by then.)
The Devil and Miss Carew 3/10
The one where Martin Jarvis is a sentient being.
Okay, I am sorry, but this is just back to series 1 levels of awful sci-fi-ness. Suddenly Torchwood don't have their own generators anymore, even though that was the key part of cyberwoman? Feeding off negatives? We are only one step from being back at "If words caused the problem, maybe numbers will solve it?" "But the keyboard is broken!" "Maybe the membrane underneath will still be sensitive enough!" (that's not a direct quote of 1x08, which I won't do, because I don't want to have to rewatch that bit, because it literally pains me - I just play the bit where Ianto holds his torch suggestively over and over if I do watch that ep). But I also hate this ep because it's like, the whole theme is about loneliness and helplessness, and how you just have to...accept them or you'll die horribly anyway?? That's the moral I took from it anyway. The interaction between Gwen and Miss Carew was nice, especially at the end. But that was basically the only good thing. Oh, that and Jack and Ianto's cute lift-related banter.
The submarine one.
I love this ep for so many reasons. The snarky banter between Jack, Gwen and Ianto is just perfect, I love it when they have a fun team dynamic (and megalols at Jack making himself "Admiral Harkness"). I also thought the sciencey stuff made good sense, and was interesting basing it in the Marianas Trench - I like a good on-Earth mystery. Tbh,I got a bit lost about which submarine was working at which time or how each was broken, and who was in which one, or in the suits, and how did they all get across in time... Other than that, it was a good use of medium - on television they couldn't have blown up the Severn Bridge half as casually. It was nice to meet an ex who wasn't one of Jack's, and I was so worried Carly would end up like Lisa (well, not half cyber woman or with her brain transplanted into a pizza girl's body - just dead), so I loved that it had a happy ending (and that Carly hated Jack before she even knew about Jack/Ianto, that made me lol). And I loved Ianto's Turlough-moment when Carly talks about the water pressure popping their heads like grapes. (Carly: "Where's your sense of adventure?" Ianto: "On the ground, with your 'popped grape'.", cf. the Doctor: "Where's your sense of adventure?" Turlough: "Back in the TARDIS. In a box marked 'sense of adventure'.". Other things they have in common are nearly always wearing a suit, and having slept with the Doctor. The second one may only be true in my mind.)
While I'm quoting, another bit I loved because I felt it basically summed up all of Torchwood in one piece of dialogue is - Jack: "The hull is seven inches of steel, nothing can get through that." *ominous bashing noises* Ianto: "Er, well, he's denting the ship. With his fists." Jack: "I stand corrected. I think we should leave. Now!" Gwen: "No, no, no! Shouldn't we try to talk to it?". Oh Gwen.
The House of the Dead 10/10
The house of the dead one.
This episode is just...the goodbye Jack and Ianto always deserved. If Children of Earth pisses me off (and it does), this fixes it. It's perfect.
It's weird how when Gareth, Eve and Kai read the books, the baddies almost always end up with English accents...though admittedly in Kai and Eve's cases, it can sometimes be a little hard to tell what they're aiming for, accent-wise...
(It's like I'm addicted to the suffix "-wise" today, I've used it about 800 times in this post alone. Also, after listening to 6-ish hours of books read by Welsh people, my inner monologue has acquired a bit of a Welsh accent. Fun.)
Anyway, if anyone has listened to any of the other Torchwood audio things then could you advise me as to whether I would enjoy them? (Do any of them have even the slightest hint of Ianto/Owen in them? I mean, I ship Janto because it is on a plate, but Ianto/Owen were my OTP first, so I'd like to listen to something with a bit of them in.)