Touch Wood: Apocryphal Adventure
a fannish love-in of Torchwood S3 by cupidsbow
You thought the lack of canon would stop me from live-blogging, didn't you? Ha. YOU FOOLS! There is plenty of semi-canonical material I haven't looked at yet, and now is the perfect time to start.
I said I'm blogging every day until the season ends, and by god, that's what I'm going to do! :)
Today's Episode: The Torchwood Interactive Game
Review: As there's no new canon today, I have gone and looked at old pseudo-canon I had been saving up for a rainy day -- the interactive game on the Beeb website. It contains several "missions" which require you to go off and find clues and then give the correct answer. Each mission starts off with a short video briefing from Ianto, looking, it must be said, like someone rammed a stick up his arse. I've never seen him look less comfortable -- weird. Anyway, this is a very enjoyable way to while away a few
From: Jones, Ianto
Subject: Re: Hotel
Date: Wednesday 27th February 2008
Funny, I was just thinking 'Why don't those two get a room'...
Only kidding. In fact, it's already done. You underestimate me, as ever. Incidentally, I think you could probably do with some R&R yourself. Let me know if you'd like my hands to work their magic, or if you'd just like a massage.
> Could you call Martha's hotel and book her in for a couple extra
> nights? I have a feeling we're going to need her a little longer, don't
And from a handbook, hilariously titled, "Mum's the Word!" A Guide to Keeping Official Secrets (TW Print Co (c) Torchwood Stationery Office 1979):
Congratulations! You’ve got a new job helping to protect our planet from alien aggressors. It’s exciting and you probably just can’t wait to tell you friends and family. But wait!
It is essential that no civilians know the details of your work, or that it concerns alien life. That includes all family members, even spouses. From day one you will have to hold back much of the truth about what you do.
WHAT DO I TELL THEM?
We usually recommend that you claim to be working for a counter-terrorist department, and that the details of this are likewise largely classified. To help you make this convincing, our Fiction department is continually generating details of fabricated counter-terrorist operations. Let them know if you would like to receive their weekly newsletter. Should you need a more elaborate cover story for a specific situation, they will be happy to help. You can also ask your immediate superior about our Truth Management workshops, where you can learn to be more effective in misinformation.
The verdict: I was underwhelmed at first glance, mainly due to Ianto being so wooden, but it gets better the more you poke around. It's definitely worth a look.
Extras: The Hub has long fascinated me. It's so quirky and filled with all sorts of weird tech and interesting nooks and crannies. There's not nearly enough fic about the weirdnesses of the Hub. However, there are some lovely visual resources to give you an idea of what I'm talking about:
- A Visual Guide to the Hub
Everything you ever wanted to know about the layout of the Hub and where things are in relation to each other. It's hard to get a sense of the dimensions and spaces from the show, but this will make everything clear.
- 12 Oddities... (mirrored here if you’re interested in the commentary) by fajrdrako.
This shows some of the weirdness I was talking about, like holes in the walls, murals, Jack's office and so on. Fascinating -- I didn't spot some of these. I shall have to re-watch.
Fannish Stuff: Today, I bring you both fic recs and the usual songvids. The focus is twofold: first, many of these recs showcase the Hub, to tie into the visuals above; and second, these are all fanworks that I first saw or read before I'd seen canon. Boy, did that give me an interesting idea of the show!
- TW Jack/Hub, 'If We Haven't Got Nightingales, Glenn Miller Will Suffice' by sam_storyteller
To match up with the visual guides above, this is my favourite story about the secret nature of the Hub.
- TW Ianto/Jack 'Sleeping My Way To The Top' by sam_storyteller
Sam has a reputation as one of the best writers in the fandom for a reason, so it's no wonder several of the stories I read early on were by him. They tend to feature Ianto heavily too.
- TW Jack/Ianto, 'Won't You Come Home To Me' by sam_storyteller
I could keep reccing Sam all day, but I'll leave it at these three. You can find the rest yourselves -- they are so worth it. But I think these make the point pretty well that the fanon is a whole different world to canon!
- TW Jack/Ianto, 'Get Loved, Make More, Try to Stay Alive' by dsudis
The epic time travel romance to date in this fandom.
- TW Jack/Ianto, 'Try Your Best (Think About It Later)' by out-there
An AU, in which Jack saves Ianto's life. With his cock. Hahaha.
- TW No Pairing, 'Potentiality' by bjewelled
A story all about Ianto, as he goes off for field training with UNIT.
- TW Jack/Ianto, 'Lost and Found' by Kaneko
I first fell in love with Kaneko's work in Stargate: Atlantis, and this is just as good -- showing the general weirdness in the Hub and making it both hilarious and touching.
- TW Jack/Ianto, 'What Lies Within' by xtricks
And I'm finishing off with this one, because it's notorious in the fandom as the one in which Jack's reputation is really and truly earned. (Do read the warning on the first ep, okay.)
TW Jack/Ianto, 'Set the Fire to the Third Bar' by sol-se (songvid)
This is the very first glimpse I had of Torchwood, and given how early it was made it stands up really well. Sol-se captures the yearning felt by both Jack and Ianto, albeit for different things, that underpins their characters in season one. It really does make it look like the Jack and Ianto show, though.
WHO-TW Various Pairings, 'Papa Don't Preach' by fan_eunice and greensilver (songvid)
And this? Is probably the most widely seen Torchwood vid ever, because it is infamous. You see, through the magic of editing, Jack gets knocked up and then... well, that would be telling. Watch it and see! Hahahaha.
Cathy Says: So, you've now browsed some of the fanworks I read or watched before seeing canon. Given that, it's not surprising that the Torchwood I envisaged was, shall we say, quite a bit different to the Torchwood of canon. For a start, Ianto Jones was a major character...
I had theories about all sorts of things, like the rose petals (I'd seen them in songvids). They were from an alien plant that just looked like a rose and had deep significance, possibly created by the Doctor to celebrate Rose Tyler (I hadn't seen that season of Who, either, so knew something had happened to her, but not what) -- they were timey-wimey rose petals from the future!
Also, Jack was very competent in my 'verse, as were the rest of the team, who talked in nothing but snark, a bit like a geek version of ER. "Tosh! Shut down the subetheric resonator, stat!" Jack and Ianto were the main characters, and Ianto's dialogue was mostly zingers, as he served coffee or zapped aliens in the face.
Speaking of which, Jack's office was kind of an eyrie in which Ianto spent a lot of time serving coffee; I was sadly disappointed by canon in that regard. Ianto serves way less coffee than I'd expected, and with far less gratuitous semi-nudity. (I may have developed a fixation with the idea of Ianto removing his tie seductively, okay! You would have too if you'd read those stories cold.)
There were gadgets all through Jack's office which did mysterious things, like incubate baby Jack clones, or create space-time rips when inadvertently dropped into half-full coffee cups (while Jack and Ianto had sex on the desk). And Ianto was always accidentally touching the gadgets while he cleaned up the Hub and weird things happened to him. He'd end up pregnant or with superpowers, and then he'd go make coffee.
The team in my 'verse was made up of these sexy, competent bit part characters, who snarked a lot and had orgies due to sex pollen. Tosh and Owen were awesome and saved the day with neat tech and/or medical intervention right before Ianto died a horrible, painful, mutated death, gasping out his love in Jack's manly arms.
Most of the show happened in the Hub, and the Doctor dropped in a lot while the team were trying to save Ianto from the gadget of the week. I couldn't quite figure out how the Jack of Who related to the Jack of TW, but I figured he popped out to timetravel fairly often, and shag aliens, in between shagging Ianto over the coffee, usually with some light bdsm or erotic asphyxiation. Then, after the sex, Jack would angst about his timetravel secrets and how to tell Ianto the awful truth.
Martha was a regular team member, and Gwen was a bitch who only turned up to get things wrong (poor Gwen! She gets short shrift in fanon). PC Andy was a regular, too. It was rather like... The Office with aliens. And x-rated orgies.
You can imagine my surprise when I finally saw the actual show.
I kinda love that I came to the fandom sideways like that; it meant I got to fall in love twice: once with the show I constructed in my head from fanon, and then the real thing.
What was your first impression of the show? Did you have any completely wrong conceptions?