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on September 26, 2008
It's yet another season of "Torchwood", a "Doctor Who" for adults. Now in its 2nd season, we meet a team of professionals who battle aliens and try to protect us from all sorts of cosmic anomalies. Based in Cardiff - centrally located on a rift in time and space - "Torchwood" stands ready to do the job. With plenty of foul language and sexual...um...stuff, you never forget the seriousness of the situation, or the fact that the end of the world never means having to forego a good "snog".

"Torchwood" remains a pretty controversial show. Everything that made the 1st season both fun and frustrating are ramped up in S2.

But first, the ep.s themselves.
"Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang" (I wonder how many British shows have come and gone wishing to use that title.) Remember how S1 built up the anticipation to that same sex kiss in "Captain Jack Harkness"? Well, subtlety goes out the window in the first few minutes of the season opener, returning Jack from his adventure in the "Doctor Who" season 2 finale. Here, Jack introduces the team to his thrill-kill former colleague and not-so-former lover, Time-Agent Captain Jon Hart. What is Hart's agenda? And how much lip-lock will the team be forced to watch before Jack takes any action?

"Sleeper", an obvious idea nevertheless not given the treatment until now. The team must confront deep-cover terrorist insurgents from another planet. They look like ordinary people - husbands, wives, lovers, parents - but when the signal starts, they become indestructible agents of mass destruction.

"To the Last Man", a pretty good episode in which the team finds a breakdown in time barriers between the present and WWI era threaten the space-time continuum. Only an inhabitant of that period, sent back to his time from our own, can save the universe. Luckily, Torchwood has kept a WWI soldier on ice since 1918 for just such an occasion. TV shows (especially cop shows) are typically weak because they marginalize guest stars, but this ep. shows how Torchwood excels in integrating guest characters into its larger mythos.

"Meat". An episode that gives the vegans a chance (among many) to laugh at us carnivores. The team investigates a meatpacking operation profiting on the flesh of apparently alien source. The story itself is pretty thin, but as with many eps. the saving grace is the character interaction - chiefly involving Rhys, Gwen's annoying fiancée.

"Adam". Who's Adam? Nobody seems to think that Adam has been anything but a longtime and loyal teammate, so nobody seems to realize that he just insinuated himself into the group and their memories. At first helpful, the script reveals how darkly dangerous a man with memory-altering powers can be. A great episode that reveals more background on Capt. Jack and also informs how much they care about each other.

"Reset" what would sci-fi be without a dig at the medical establishment? This was actually a weak story punctuated by a great appearance from Alan Dale (known in the US for "Lost" and "Ugly Betty"), the debut in Torchwood of "Doctor Who" vet Martha Jones (which provides for much cheerily licentious dialog) and a thoroughly heartbreaking ending.

"Dead Man Walking" picks up where "Reset" left off. The facts of the story substantially nullifies the tragedy that ended "Reset" without damaging the other episode's dramatic payoff. (Can't say anything else w/o a substantial spoiler.) The episode is the midway to the conclusive "A Day in the Death". Again, spoilfree review guidelines prevent more specific description. Suffice it to say that this ep. is "Random Shoes" of the season, only better than that ep.

"Something Borrowed" has Gwen and Rhys finally tying the knot. Only, a late night duel-to-the-death with a shape-shifting alien carnivore leaves Gwen in a compromising position that threatens to ruin the wedding. Funny, scary and still very adult, this is easily one of the show's more entertaining eps.

"From Out of the Rain" has Cardiff menaced by "Night Travelers", performers of a ghostly circus that steals the breath of ordinary human beings. A decidedly creepy ep. with a disappointing payoff.

"Adrift" a horrible story. Gwen follows up on a large volume of missing-person cases possibly tied to The Rift. In bonding to many civilians in search of missing loved ones, Gwen's makes some pretty obvious and painful errors in judgment. Anybody who thought last season's episodes "Small Worlds" and "Out of Time" were pointless will probably feel the same way about "Adrift".

"Fragments" a great episode in which a crisis situation forces each of our heroes to separately delve into their past and recall how they joined Torchwood. Best part of the episode: Jack meets Torchwood's saucy Victorian era operatives. This ep. sets the stage for the season finale -"Exit Wounds". It's very difficult to discuss the finale w/o spoilers. Let's just say that it involves Captain Jon and Jack's lost brother, Gray, and basically ends with final heartbreak for the team. Unfortunately, it also follows too closely the 3rd season finale of Doctor Who, with the emotional confrontation between hero and villain.

Torchwood never fully becomes the adult version of Doctor Who. Too many ideas are developed without a payoff (the "Night Travellers" being an obvious example; the show eerily introduces them, then quickly discards them); also, the show falls into the trap of so quickly assuming its maturity based on sexual content & bad language, that it sometimes leaves fatally obvious signs of its lineage to "that other show", itself originally a kid's show. It takes more than a profusion of potty language and a healthy diet of "snogging", to elevate "Torchwood" to maturity - think of kids playing "dress-up" and you get the idea. The other flaw is in the premise, but it's a somewhat complicated flaw. Watching the show, it's hard to get past the idea that "Torchwood" is often more in need of help than capable of providing. Their position often makes them vulnerable to otherworldly threats - despite Captain Jack's weekly refrain, "Torchwood" is NOT ready.

But that premise actually the show's saving grace - the vulnerability of Jack, Ianto, Owen, Tosh and (especially) Gwen is the biggest reason for the show's appeal. The script works in well just how close these guys get to getting offed on a weekly basis, trading witty and well-timed banter even as half the cosmos wants them dead.

For the sake of the Cosmos, our lawyers insist on the following disclaimer: absolutely no DVD extras were viewed in the writing of this review (sheesh - we know we're controversial, but 20 unhelpful votes!?)
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on March 6, 2011
Wonderfully entertaining British TV series. Torchwood's main character, Captain Jack Harkness, got his start on an episode of Dr. Who, and the new series took off from there. If you ever wished that Dr. Who was grittier and sexier, this is the place to be.

Yes, Jack is bisexual, so if that disturbs you, then Torchwood is probably not the best viewing choice. The handling of sexuality in the series is matter-of-fact, and certainly a lot less graphic than, say, True Blood. Given some of the language and the dark tone of the stories, I wouldn't recommend this show to very young viewers; they would enjoy Dr. Who more anyway. I DO recommend the show to anyone looking for adult science fiction. Why is it that British television can handle this type of show so well compared to us?
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Season 2 of Torchwood was a definite step-up from the first season. The show is better written and organized. The first season was a bit too messy in terms of ending and putting together the episodes. The episodes and stories of this season 2 make more sense and a clear and consistent mythology has emerged. Many questions have been answered and even more have come about. The show also makes more tie-ins with Doctor Who.

The first season was all over the place, stretching and sending each character into a million and one places. They were testing the waters and finding out who each character was and how far he or she would go. Now, the show has found its soul (corny I know...). Each episode of this season was darker and edgier as each explored an aspect of each of the characters and the interactions between them. Each character is more consitently written and the show itself shows more consistency.

We learn more about the creation of Torchwood and how Jack came to be where he is now. We also get Freema Agyeman reprising her role of Martha Jones for a 3-episode arch. She is such a good character!

The show is definitely better, definitely worth watching.
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on November 15, 2013
I watched through all of Torchwood within a month so my perspective is a bit different from people who watched it as it aired. The season starts with the return of Captain Jack who has just survived the end of the world (again) unbeknownst to his team. We're introduced to a possible new adversary and throughout the season we learn more about the members of the Torchwood team. Maybe I simply didn't notice it in Season 1 but suddenly Ianto was funny this season, providing some of my favorite moments in the entire series. He unexpectedly becomes my favorite character. Still filled with special features, this is another wonderful box set. Season 2 is a bit better than season 1, less explicit language (not that it bothered me), plenty of twists and turns, and learning more about the characters was great. Despite knowing the fate of certain people, the end of the season was upsetting so beware of that. The end of season 2 works as a series finale much better than the end of Miracle Day which is the actual last installment. It's probably just as good of an ending as Children Of Earth provided, but maybe not as depressing.
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on February 26, 2016
I love Torchwood for so many different reasons. The main one being that the writers aren't afraid to push the envelope. My first exposure to Torchwood was with Children of Earth. I think I watched the entire series in one sitting. It was definitely one of these series where I found myself saying to myself "no, they won't do that", and then they do. While Children of Earth and the following series Miracle Day all follow one storyline, Season 1 and 2 are more individual stores each episode with character development built up during the series.

Season 2 focuses heavily on each character, their past as well as their future. Season 1 is left on with Jack missing and Season 2 starts with his return and the consequences as well as a returning time agent who becomes the antagonist of the season. While the first episode of Season 1 reveals how Gwen became part of Torchwood, Season 2 shows the stories of how Tosh, Ianto and Owen were recruited. Martha Jones makes a guest appearance in several episodes and there are heartbreaking changes in the Torchwood team.
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on December 1, 2014
I like sci/fy so Torchwood fits the bill. I like that their protagonist isn't always the same (like in Dr. Who) so it keeps the story fresh, and often times surprising - so good writers (kudos). Torchwood also addresses social issues very naturally - like you never know who Jack is going to find attractive - a male or female. Or who he might kiss - usually male (and not some pansy kiss - but a real passionate male/male french kiss), but makes it all very natural as part of the story as if a man and woman were kissing naturally as part of the story. There are other social themes like this, that are woven in as part of the story, so it all feels natural and very lifelike. I love the actors, their characters, the storyline. I'm not much of a TV watcher - I see it on Netflix or Amazon Prime - and watch when I'm back from international travel and need a few days to veg and rest. It was a great series for that.
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on April 1, 2016
The torchwood unit continues to keep us very entertained although it seems to be on a somewhat different path and significantly more dramatic events occur in this, the final season. I believe a few more seasons would have been very entertaining, If not for its cancellation
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on March 20, 2008
Honestly, the only reason I started watching the show was because I thought John Barrowman was hot lol. Even though I heard negative reviews about it, I decided to watch it and judge for myself. I was pleasantly surprised with the show. Granted season 1 wasn't perfect but it had a lot of great moments. It had a lot of hits and misses but it was highly entertaining for the most part.

Now season 2 is absolutely fantastic! Much better than season 1. The show's dynamic has changed noticeably and the characters have become much more likable and fun. The story lines are more mature and interesting. Everything has been taken to a new level and the result has been great!
I can't wait to get my hands on the Season 2 DVD. The first season DVD was loaded with special features and I'm hoping this one would be the same. Every episode had commentaries, it's own behind the scenes look and miniature interviews with the cast and crew. It also included many deleted scenes and bloopers. But honestly, I would buy the DVD even if it didn't come with any extra material because the episodes this season have been really good.
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on June 4, 2012
Love this series. Unlike later seasons, in which the story is resolved within the mini-series/season, the early seasons' episodes are each individual stories resolved within the episode, although there are relational details that flow between episodes. Love them either way. These are campy fun sci fi with great characters (Captain Jack & Gwen are always fabulous).
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on October 9, 2015
The first two seasons of Torchwood were outstanding. It was in fact, in this, the second series, we have John Marsters playing a wonderful foil to captain Jack as well as the loss of some beloved characters, a real tear jerker!
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