We’ve just finished watching the first season of Torchwood on DVD, which is kinda cheating, since TV viewers are only up to Episode 10. As Dr Who fans, we were suckers for the series from the outset, but I was also struck by the strong guiding philosophy that went through it – almost every episode has some implicit reference to existentialism, the philosophy that suggests that we shouldn’t look for meaning elsewhere, but create it in our own lives. (It struck me that with his bisexuality, atheism and existentialism, Sartre is could well be Torchwood’sÂ patron saint.)
But then in the final episode, it all seems to undermine itself, with theÂ strongest Christian message I’ve seen since the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Tres bizarre.
If you consider e.g. Kierkegaard an existentialist, perhaps the definition should be broadened to the idea that meaning is extra-rational, meaning one can “find” it rather than necessarily “making” it for oneself (especially in the tabula rasa, ex nihilo sense Sartre seems to believe in). Do you think the series allows for that sort possibly “existentialist-Christian” interpretation?
Leon, I think we’ve reached the outer limits of my understanding of existentialism (indeed, before reading the wikipedia entry, I’d always assumed that existentialism implied atheism). But I’d be fascinated to hear views of Torchwood fans who are more philisophically dextrous than me.