2021, Torchwood, and Horror

Picture of a person walking in the dark along railroad tracks toward the light

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I knew that 2021 was not magically going to be better just because the calendar turned over. Still, I hoped that we’d have a bit of a breather. A time where things didn’t get worse.

Yeah. So much for that.

The attack on the US Capitol building was a horrific start to the year.

Plus, the COVID-19 patient surge in Southern California is creating a medical crisis that’s veering terrifyingly close to the plot of Torchwood, Series 3, Miracle Day.

If you're not familiar with Torchwood, it was a dark spinoff from the British television series Doctor Who. I started watching at Series 3 because that’s what my library had available. 

While I love Doctor Who, I couldn’t finish that season of Torchwood. It was too brutal for me. The plotline about the government’s horrific decision regarding a nationwide shortage of hospital beds, and the way that decision impacted the main characters, frightened me so deeply that I refused to watch another episode of Torchwood.

I need television that leaves me with a feeling of hope, not despair and the fear that the plot could come true. 

That’s the thing about thrillers. The events need to be terrifyingly realistic in order to keep the audience on edge, but the reader or viewer should be left with a satisfying sense of hope. If the story doesn’t end on a hopeful note, I consider that to be horror.

I read and watch thrillers. I don’t read or watch horror.

Series 3 of Torchwood sank so deeply into brutal hopelessness it became a horror story. That’s when I bailed.

Unfortunately, what’s happening with the hospital bed shortage in Southern California reminds me eerily of that plotline. Since I can’t turn off reality, all I can do is hope that the government doesn’t react as the government did in Torchwood

2020 was bad enough. We don’t need 2021 to turn into a full-blown horror story.

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