Well, blimey. It's been a mad few days. Having an episode shown on TV is, in many ways, better than having a movie out. Partly because it already has a built in audience, partly because you know that people will watch it on a certain date and time. When it started at 9pm, I got a weird tingle, and thought "loads and loads and loads of people are sitting watching this *right now* at this very moment, and will be reacting to it at the same time. OMG." Had some friends round to watch, while we all shovelled down booze and crisps. Everyone in the room cheered when my name came up, it was brilliant fun.
I promised not to look at any forums or reviews until the next day, and I kept my word. Reviews are funny, it's difficult not to get worried about them. I knew I'd done a good job, that the story worked and I felt great about it, but suddenly it occurred to me: like any episode of any show, some people would love it, some would hate it. And that's terrifying, because I have no control over it. Once I stop typing and the thing gets made, it has to stand on its own two feet.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Jimbo, you're thinking, will you hold me? Will you do that thing with the loofah and the marmalade? Sure baby, later. But you're also thinking: It's impossible to create something universally loved, absolutely everything has people who despise it, so how can you possibly take it seriously if someone doesn't like your work? Reviews are all a matter of opinion, we're all different, and blah blah blah. The answer is: I'm a fucking writer. Most of us desperately crave love, unconditional love, from *everyone*. Give us a billion good reviews and one slightly sniffy comment, and we'll obsess about the sniffy one for months. We'll have that bastard *memorised*. I can still quote you the bad reviews Severance got, word for word. I can't for the life of me remember a single phrase from a good one.
I don't know how other people deal with it. Some ignore *all* reviews, good or bad. Some only read one type. Thing is, I know there will be bad reviews for everything. Some of my favourite movies and TV shows have got awful reviews. Some of my friends hate things I love, and vice versa. It's all just an opinion. So I have to cling on to that thought. Writing's the only thing I'm good at, and it's impossible not to take it personally when someone slags it off. So I just need to focus on what I did. I worked really hard on it, did my very best, and am incredibly proud of it. And that's all that matters.
But still. It's nice to be liked... So when I finally went online, I was amazed and delighted to see some absolutely lovely reviews. Some people didn't like it, which is fair enough, but most people seem to really enjoy it. I had loads of emails, blog comments and messages about it (all of which I'm slowly replying to, honest, sorry if I haven't got to you yet, or forgotten to reply in the confusion). Thank you all SO much for those, I'm really humbled and grateful for all of them. The blog comments on the previous post in particular are just gobsmackingly brilliant - I am now making filthy, monkey love to all of you in my mind. Any questions asked will be answered soon, in another post.
Last night, I even braved the Outpost Gallifrey forum. Yes, I confess, I went in and lurked and read every single comment, every single post in the Sleeper thread, and several million others in the Torchwood section. Not that it's a scary place, it's just that if they don't like something, they will say so *very* clearly. And I knew that if they hated my ep, I'd know about it pretty fast. Thankfully, they've mostly been really lovely, and squeed their brains out. My ego has been well and truly stroked. And if you're reading this, lovely OG people: you rock. Each and every one of you. Sorry about the baby, but you should have seen the version I had originally - it was *much* worse. I'm a monster...
Looking at various other web reviews, a few of the same questions kept cropping up, so I'll quickly address the ones that I want to clear up: (1) the city co-ordinator would have been rushed to a bunker as soon as the fence was breached at the warhead site (which is why he had to be taken out first) (2) the cells are everywhere, the TW team just discovered the local Cardiff one and prodded it into activating, (3) Ianto was using dark humour in the chair scene to keep reminding/guilt-tripping Jack that this was a really, really bad idea and something they shouldn't be doing, not because he was making fun of the situation, and (4) they couldn't call Jack on the CB because he didn't have one in the car yet, he had to get one.
Watched the pre-watershed version on Thursday, and was pleasantly surprised - it's not that different. Blood trims, two deaths completely erased, and several scenes shortened - but it's still pretty hardcore. And they left in the baby scene, slightly trimmed, but it's still there. I'm impressed.
And the swearword, as you'll probably have spotted, was: fuckflaps. Yes, a TV broadcast first, I believe. I am a trend setter. I set the trends. Others follow.
3.4 million people watched the episode at 9pm, which is very good indeed. The Appreciation Index (?), or measure of how much people liked it (the BBC implants chips in the brain of every person in the country, to track viewing data), was 85. Apparently that is in the "excellent" category. I'm very happy about that, but don't ask me to explain it, I'm convinced the brain chip thing is true.
The extremely positive Digital Spy review is here
You can watch the show again (and Torchwood Declassified, which features me for about 3 whole seconds, thankfully) until next week, on the Beeb's iPlayer. Click on Wednesday 23rd to see Sleeper, and Thursday 24th to see the Declassified for it.
My Writer's Corner interview is up here on the Torchwood website (sorry, UK only for some reason).
And my video interview is also on the site, here (click on the third pic underneath the main video bit, "Up Close with James Moran"). I'm at an odd angle and my hair looks very weird, but I managed to talk properly so that's okay. There are also segments on some of the special effects, John Barrowman's video diary, and a tour of the studios and the Hub. Again, sorry, it's UK only, for some reason.
And now I'm going back into hiding for a few days, got a pretty full on deadline this week, and I'm behind on something else, so blogging may be even more sporadic. Now the episode has been on, I can answer the questions that have been coming in, so expect posts of that nature soon. And two exciting announcements, but I won't say what they are yet. Ooh! He teases! He excites!