Thursday, January 31, 2008

Interview, Gallifrey, and BBCA

Some quick announcements, in between questions and deadlines and things:

I've done my first ever podcast interview, for the geek-ninjas over at Geek Syndicate. We discussed all things telly/filmy/timey-wimey, Torchwood, Doctor Who, my other writing work, and yet somehow I *still* managed to mention Hitler. Anyway, I had loads of fun doing it, so check it out. It's online here from 5pm today, you can download it and listen to it at your leisure. Edit: You want podcast 66, or just click here.

And I am doing my first ever convention, as a guest - Gallifrey One, a Doctor Who and science fiction convention with panels, videos, and all sorts, in L.A. next month. L.A. in America. I know.

I'm very excited about this, for all the obvious reasons, but also for some of the guests that I'll get to meet - among others, there'll be Paul Cornell, The Moff, Rob Shearman, Sylvester blimmin McCoy, and Sophie blimmin Aldred, for God's sake. I'll get to meet the 7th Doctor! And Ace!

(wees pants a little bit)

Anyway, if you're in the vicinity, come and see me talk nonsense. I'm on lots of panels, and will be doing a live commentary on my Torchwood episode, Sleeper, which should be fun.

And finally, my TW episode hits BBC America this Saturday, at 9pm. It's repeated several times over the following weeks, too, so watch it. If you have that channel, of course. It's also on HD-Net on the 18th Feb, uncut and in HD.

Edit: Oh, and my Wikipedia page has been updated, bigstyle - I look like a proper writer and everything. It's got *sections*. Blimey.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Torchwood, reaction and things

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.

Linkage:

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!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Torchwood episode, tonight

Tonight's the night, my Torchwood episode "Sleeper" will be unleashed on an unsuspecting nation, or at least the percentage of the nation who have chosen to watch. I will be getting massively drunk, and obsessively scouring the net for reviews, as you do. Got a few people coming for drinks and crisps, so we can all watch it live on the telly. If *anyone* fails to laugh/gasp in the correct 117 places that I have marked on a timing script, they will be stabbed in the eyes with sporks.

So here's some last minute links and things - I'm sure I'll bombard you with more after today:

Torchwood Declassified will be on tomorrow at 7.50pm, after the pre-watershed edit of Sleeper at 7pm. I'm interviewed in TD, haven't seen it yet, but hopefully I don't come across as mad and starey.

The BBC iPlayer - watch the episode on your computer once it has finished, and/or watch Torchwood Declassified if you missed that too.

On the official BBC Torchwood site, after my episode finishes tonight, there'll be a video interview with me, and a "writer's corner" text interview. Sorry to people outside the UK, I don't think this will be viewable - but will update if I hear any different.

Great preview (but quite spoilery) in the Times here, which is a nice surprise.

Now. My work is done. The episode is ready. Have at it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Torchwood - Sleeper trailer, pics, and early reviews

Official trailer for Sleeper:

[Edit: Oops! It's been taken down, because the MAN wants to stop the TRUTH from getting out - the video was just too dangerous to be seen. So you're lucky you're not looking at it right now, otherwise your mind would be blown by the TRUTH BOMBS that the trailer would be dropping. Er, trailer's gone, sorry, hopefully there'll be an official one I can link to soon.]

Booga-booga-booga! Spooky goings-on! Thanks to Salina for finding the link.

Some more Torchywoody links for your naughty pleasure:

BBC Wallpaper images from Sleeper (UK only, but go here if you're outside the UK for a text only version - thanks to Sebastian for the link)

Looking at the above images, if you click this one here (or this one if you're outside the UK), and look at the chair in the background - that's where I managed to sit at one point while on set, eating a sandwich, completely failing to realise I was right in the middle of the shot. They moved me before the cameras rolled.

A Grauniad review of episode 1, and a surprisingly positive look ahead to my episode - I say surprisingly, because of the few sniffy reviews Severance got, the Grauniad one was the sniffiest of all. So I was expecting more... sniffiness? Sorry, it gets complicated when you start making up word variations. I realise that each reviewer has a different opinion on everything, but still. This bloke was really nice about it, so I forgive you, Grauniad. I forgive you! We can be best friends forever!

Also in the Grauniad's free Guide supplement this week (thanks to James Henry for spotting it first), there's a really cool writeup for Sleeper, which is extremely positive and nice. It even mentions me by name, along with a shout out for Severance. Thanks again, Grauniad! I love you! I fancy you! Phwoarrr, Grauniad!

The Radio Times review is here (thanks to Matt from the comments for spotting it) - I still can't figure out if the reviewer liked it or not, but it's a pick of the day, so I've decided it's a score in the positive column. Even if he didn't like it, he still makes it sound cool: "...what begins as an intense and claustrophobic mystery ends with violent pandemonium." Hey, I'd watch that.

There's some big, sexy announcements coming soon, so hang on to your socks. If you are not wearing socks, hang on to your mum's socks. If she's not wearing any, then God help us all...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Torchwood S2 arrives, with previews and trailers

Well, the first episode has well and truly landed - landed, punched you, then snogged your face off. Hope it took you there, and that many pants were soiled at various moments (I know mine were). I hate to keep gushing on, but I think it's bloody fab, and just bucketloads of fun.

My episode is next week, and if you run - run! - to your nearest newsagent, you can see some preview pics of it in SFX, in their massive Torchwood feature starting on page 48 (and Chris Chibnall refers to my "choice phrase" on page 54...) This week's Heat has a lovely review too, the 19th-25th Jan issue, in the telly bit on page 111 (thanks to the mighty Jason Arnopp, although he made me do terrible, terrible things for that good review - I can never look at a pomegranate again). And it's also mentioned (the episode, not the pomegranate) in the current issue of the Radio Times on page 88, who have it as one of their choices of the day, although they are slightly concerned about the descent into "schlock". So if you have a schlock allergy, you might want to shut your eyes now and again. They also use the superb phrase "violent pandemonium" (even though they don't think it's a good thing). Which, as far as I'm concerned, is a solid gold recommendation. Torchwood! With added schlock, and scenes of violent pandemonium! Fun for all the family! It's lovely to be in the RT though, and to see my very own listing on page 90, with my name on the episode and everything. Nice.

If you're nowhere near a shop, and want an immediate info kick, there's a brief but really nice (spoilery) Digital Spy preview here.

There was a "coming soon" trailer at the end of last night's episode, so hopefully that's got you all intrigued, and stuff. What? Your TV exploded before you could see it? Not to worry, YouTube is on the case. (new link, now viewable outside UK) It's the long trailer we saw at the press screening. There's lots of bonkers and freaky stuff coming up, so keep your eyeballs glued to your TV screens.

Obviously don't *actually* glue your eyeballs to the screen. You won't see the screen properly, will go blind, and probably damage the telly. Never, ever do anything I say. But watch the show.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Torchwood approacheth

We are mere hours - hours! - away from the new series of Torchwood tomorrow, so here’s a quick rundown of the schedules:

The new episodes are on Wednesday nights, BBC2, 9pm. The pre-watershed repeats are the next day, Thursday, at 7pm on BBC2. Torchwood Declassified is on right after the pre-watershed version, at 7.50pm. *Except* this week – the pre-watershed and Declassified aren't on until next Wednesday at 7pm and 7.50pm, because of extreme knitting (or whatever sporting event is currently on). The Wednesday 9pm originals are repeated the same night at 11.30pm on BBC3.

If I have managed to totally confuse the issue, then here’s a simple list of the first three episodes and times:

Episode 1: Wednesday 16th, 9pm, BBC2.
Episode 1: Wednesday 16th, 11.30pm, BBC3.
Episode 1 (pre-watershed version): Wednesday 23rd, 7pm BBC2.
Torchwood Declassified 1: Wednesday 23rd, 7.50pm, BBC2.

Episode 2: Wednesday 23rd, 9pm BBC2.
Episode 2: Wednesday 23rd, 11.30pm, BBC3.
Episode 2 (pre-watershed version): Thursday 24th, 7pm BBC2.
Torchwood Declassified 2: Thursday 24th, 7.50pm, BBC2.

Episode 3: Wednesday 30th, 9pm BBC2.
Episode 3: Wednesday 30th, 11.30pm, BBC3.
Episode 3 (pre-watershed version): Thursday 31st, 7pm BBC2.
Torchwood Declassified 3: Thursday 31st, 7.50pm, BBC2.

Episode 2 is my one, it’s called Sleeper. For people worried about the pre-watershed versions, that we’ve watered it down or something, don't worry. We didn't even know about it while we were writing. All they're doing is editing a version which is suitable to watch before the watershed, which means no swearing or excessive blood/gore. And that's it. For example, if someone gets shot in the head and there's a blood splash, they'll just trim or remove the blood splash - but the person still gets shot in the head, so it's not making it "kiddie-friendly" or anything. It just means it can be shown before 9pm.

I haven't seen the pre-watershed version of mine yet, but I can't imagine it being that much different. Except for one particular word, which will definitely need to be snipped out. See if you can figure out which one that is, when you watch. I'm still amazed that it stayed in, and I think it may even be the first occurrence of it on TV. It was everyone's favourite line in the readthrough and script meetings, too. And no, I don't mean the C-word, it's sort of a swearword combo. But you'll have to watch the 9pm version to hear it. Yes, I'm very proud...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More Torchwood trailer preview thingies

Trailer-tastic Torchwood links and news items, step right up, get em while they're hot - well, lukewarm, cause everybody else found them ages ago, and I'm a slow-blog-updating jive turkey. Anyway, if you're still reading this, here they are:

Opening sequence of the first episode of season 2 - spoilery, and slightly edited down a bit

A behind the scenes clip featuring the cast being thoroughly silly

A (spoilery) large photo of more hot man on man action! Put them on your desktop! Phwoarrr! There's another video preview online for the bar scene with Jack and John (featured in the photo above), but I recommend that you don't watch it there - it's sooo much better in the episode, the build up is much more fun. And you're going to want to see it properly, in crystal clear quality. Yes.

Also, for our American chums, it seems that in addition to the edited-for-time episodes on BBC America, a channel called HDNet will be showing HD versions from Monday 11th February. As far as I know, these versions are unedited, uncut, un-anything, but I can't be sure. UK viewers can see the HD version on BBC HD at the same time as the normal ones. Naturally I will be shrieking any updates to you on this blog, as soon as I hear them. Or, more likely, several days after everyone else has heard them.

Hoping to have more news soon, on these and other things, including some FAQ's. Less than a week to go until season 2 starts, then 2 weeks until my episode, so get your special telly-watching pants cleaned and ready, no excuses. You don't have special pants to watch telly in?? Get some!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Doctor Who + Torchwood trailers, and TW start date

OMG! It's 2008! OMG! WTF? ETC!

Welcome back, hope you all experienced a proper Christmas, and had your stomachs pumped once or twice, or at the very least punched an elderly relative. Cause that's what it's all about, really. We ate too much, drank too much, didn't leave the house for a full week, and went slightly insane. Which is also what Christmas is all about.

Doctor Who and Torchwood news ahoy: If you caught the Doctor Who Christmas spectacular, then you will have seen two trailers at the end, one for Doctor Who series 4, one for Torchwood series 2. But Jimbo, I hear you cry, I am a FOOL, and managed to miss all of the above! Fear not, you big monkey, because the DWs4 trailer can be found here - OMG! Giant wasps! Agatha Christie! Sontarans! UNIT! Pompeii! Explosions! Running! Corridors! Shootybangbang! - while the TWs2 trailer (which is much shorter and doesn't show very much) can be viewed here - OMG! Aliens! Gadgets! Sexy people! Some weird smoke thing! James Marsters! Janet! Poodle! Martha! Explosions! Slow motion strutting!

You can also see a longer, one minute trailer for Torchwood here (edit: link now works), which shows many more exciting things, including hot man on man action, and a blowfish. Yes, I said a blowfish. Go and see.

So, on to the big big news, which is that Torchwood series 2 officially starts on Wednesday the 16th January, at 9pm. My episode, which many people are already referring to as "episode 2" will be on the following week, 23rd January, also Wednesday at 9pm. The following night there's a pre-watershed repeat at 7pm, with some gore and swearing snipped out, and after that at 7.50pm is Torchwood Declassified, a behind the scenes show.

For those of you who live in the USA, TW starts on BBC America on the 26th January, at 9pm. My episode will be the following week, on Saturday 2nd Feb. The BBC America showings will be slightly edited though, to fit in adverts, so be aware that you're missing quite literally minutes of high quality entertainment. That's the excuse I'll be using if you don't like my episode, anyway. For UK viewers, I will blame sunspots.

If you don't usually watch the show, give it a chance, the first episode is kickass, and I'm incredibly proud of my one. Haven't seen the other eps yet, but from everything I've seen so far, it's going to rock hard. In fact, on a scale of 1 to Rock, Rock being the highest, I'd have to give it a solid Rock out of Rock. So check it out, or I'll come round your house and beat you up.*

*Of course I will not come round your house and beat you up if you don't watch the show, the BBC simply wouldn't allow it. They have special teams of people to do that.