Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series
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Torchwood: The Complete Original UK Series
The BBC’s Torchwood is such a hit on U.S. television, breaking ratings records for BBC America and acclaimed by critics as “sci-fi with attitude” (Chicago Tribune) and “one of TV’s most entertainment of sci-fi romps” (USA Today), that it is being remade for U.S. cable network Starz. Timed to coincide with the premiere of the new series on Starz, BBC will bring together the complete, original UK series in this comprehensive box set. Separate from the government, outside the police, beyond the United Nations, Torchwood sets its own rules. Led by the enigmatic, ever watchful Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, Doctor Who, Central Park West), the Torchwood team delves into the unknown and fights the impossible. Everyone who works for Torchwood is young. Some say that’s because it’s a new science. Others say it’s because they die young.]]>
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1) The guy to the left of the center on the cover, the one in the greatcoat, he should be the one in front. His name is Captain Jack Harkness. He's the Doctor Who character that was given the spin-off Torchwood. Jack is the leader of the Torchwood team. It's his voice viewers hear in the opening for every episode of the Original Series. That voice over is absent from the miniseries Children of Earth included here. It's his actor John Barrowman who's billed first in each episode of every season of every series. Each season of the Original Series was ultimately about him, even the mini-series was ultimately about him. Jack is rightly featured at the front of his team on the packaging for both seasons of the Original Series. The packaging for the mini-series shares this set's misplacement of him.
2) This isn't just the complete Original Series. It's the Original Series bundled together with the Children of Earth mini-series. For those unfamiliar with both series, there are profound differences between them. Those differences exist both in the production team behind the camera and in the storytelling.
Behind the scenes the show-runner for the Original Series, Chris Chibnall, who wrote eight episodes of the Original Series, did not work on the mini-series. The two writers from the Original Series who did work on the mini-series were responsible for only one episode each during the Original Series twenty-six episode run. Neither earned the only Hugo nomination of any Torchwood series. That was earned by Catherine Tregenna who, in contrast to the writers on Children of Earth, wrote four episodes of the Original Series. The director who worked on Children of Earth did not work on the Original Series. There were directors who worked on several episodes of the Original Series. Andy Goddard and Ashley Way each directed six episodes of the Original Series. That's just the differences behind the camera.
The Original Series was about a team, just like Star Trek with its bridge crews, or Stargate with its mission teams. As this cover picture does show, there were five people on the team. It consisted of leader Captain Jack Harkness, doctor Owen Harper, the ladies on the team Toshiko Sato and Gwen Cooper, and the man that kept everything running smoothly Ianto Jones. They worked out of a base, again like other popular sci-fi series. It wasn't a spaceship. The Hub bore more of a resemblance to the Bat Cave than to Stargate Command. It was however instantly recognizable by any fan. The show had re-occurring monsters in the form of the Weevils and the Blowfish. There was a familiar vehicle the team traveled in, the Torchwood SUV. The show even had a mascot of sorts in a pterodactyl known to cast and fans as Myfanwy. Most of all the team was there to keep its eye on the Rift. Part Stargate wormhole and part Buffy the Vampire Slayer Hellmouth anything could come through anytime. The working titled for the pilot episode, which would come to be called "Everything Changes," was "Flotsam and Jetsam." That is the Original Series. Some people will tell you that the mini-series Children of Earth is much better than the Original Series. Others will tell you that it isn't Torchwood at all.
What I will tell you is that, at best, Children of Earth is only loosely connected to the Original series. In the series finale of the Original Series, the aptly titled "Exit Wounds," written by departing show-runner Chris Chibnall, two of the five person team were killed. The Original Series ended there. Children of Earth featured the surviving team members, but it featured little else from the Original Series. There was no sign of the Blowfish, Weevils, or Myfanwy. While the Rift was mentioned in passing, its absence from the mini-series was so profoundly felt by fans of the Original Series that producer Russell T. Davies has offered multiple explanations for its absence. The SUV was "lost" in the first episode to be promptly auctioned off by the BBC for 18,000 pounds. The Hub was destroyed and the sets that made it up were recycled on Doctor Who. Eagle eyed viewers of the Original series and Doctor Who's fifth season will spot a familiar dragon in the TARDIS. After the loss of the SUV and destruction of the Hub all that was left from the Original Series was the surviving team members and one of them was killed before the end. Whatever one may think of the quality of Children of Earth, it is a distinctly different series.
3) The BBC and producer Russell T. Davies would like to sell all of the Torchwood series, including Miracle Day, as seasons of the same series. They can do it legally outside of the US. Here they gave Starz the right to call Miracle Day a Starz Original. While they might like to pretend all of the series are one, it's a shallow pretense. Miracle Day is a Starz Original. The Original Series and Children of Earth are different in all the ways I've outlined and more. Some people prefer one series to another. No one should buy this set without learning what they prefer. I prefer the Original Series and say save time and money. Buy the season sets for seasons One and Two. You'll have "The Complete Original Series," and won't have rewarded the BBC and Russell T. Davies for their shallow attempt at selling you more.
TorchWood ranks right with the rest of the awesome Science Fiction Fantasy Television available to us today.
Great stories, good action, horror and rest, cant beat all that in one show!
Love the US version as well, Long Live TorchWood!!
I am now watching the series and I have been unable to watch three episodes because of the stoppages. I believe the disks, although super clear and crisp, were cheaply made. I loaned a friend of mine the set and he encountered the same problems while playing the set on his DVD player.
The actors in this show are truly wonderful. The women are talented and beautiful, and the male stars are very accomplished actors. One can tell that the sets for the Torchwood headquarters must have cost a fortune. It is well lit, really cool to look at, and it has just enough clutter to make it interesting.
The only part of the episodes I do not appreciate are the ones in which Captain Jack lip-locks other men. If I wanted to watch gay porno I would go and rent it. I am aware that this is just a television show, but I could never quite like Captain jack after his first homosexual encounter.
The writing for these episodes is superb. They writers and actors left me with the feeling that these things could really be happening. I would say that I enjoyed this show almost as much as Eureka and Warehouse 13. Of course, because I loved these two shows, they got cancelled.
I really wish the studios would stop labeling box sets with ambiguous titles. Which are destined to be incorrect and misleading at a later date. (Does the title imply that Season 4, or any yet to come, was _unoriginal_?)
I suspect when they get around to doing a set that includes the Miracle Day season, that will be the "Even More Complete Series". :)
Series one and two are the best and Children of Earth (series three) is really terrible and a complete departure from what came before. I recommend you just buying the first 2 series and not this or Children of Earth.
I would give series one 3 stars, series two 4 stars and CoE 1 star.