Torchwood: Season 1
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Torchwood: The Complete First Season (DVD)
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, 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.]]>
More than a spin-off of the Russell T. Davies incarnation of Doctor Who, the BBC series Torchwood is a wholly enjoyable blend of drama, science-fiction thrills, and mature subject matter that never fails to deliver its main purpose: to entertain on a weekly basis. John Barrowman, who captured the imagination of Who fans during the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant eras as 51st-century adventurer Capt. Jack Harkness, returns as the dashing, immortal time traveler; here, he's the head of Torchwood, a covert organization that investigates extraterrestrial and supernatural events on Earth without the help of the British government or United Nations. Eve Myles is a police constable who joins the team after discovering them in the middle of bringing a stabbing victim back to life (in the debut episode, "Everything Changes"), and she brings a decidedly human touch to the Torchwood team's tech-driven investigations. Among the mysteries encountered over the course of the 13-episode series: an alien gas that absorbs humans during sex ("Day One"); a half-human, half-Cyberman female with a connection to Torchwood support man Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) in "Cyberwoman"; a rash of cannibalistic murders ("Countrycide"); a very different kind of fairies than the ones of legend ("Small Worlds"); and most impressively of all, a skyscraper-sized demon that threatens to plunge the Torchwood team--and the world itself--into chaos ("End of Days," which features an off-screen cameo by a certain Time Lord). What separates Torchwood from the most modern television science fiction (save, say,
Heroes and Battlestar Galactica) is the frankly adult tone of the series: The violence is plentiful and occasionally graphic, and there are frequent bedroom couplings between the team members and supporting players. There's also a maturity to the relationships that exceeds the usual scope of sci-fi, most notably in the affecting "Captain Jack Harkness," which sends him back to the London Blitz, where he meets and falls in love with a handsome American pilot who happens to share his name. Their love affair, like the majority of Torchwood's "grown-up" storylines, is handled with taste and real emotion. Extras on the First Series are remarkably plentiful; six of the seven discs include entirely new behind-the-scenes featurettes that explore the main characters and their major story arcs, location shooting, the impressive SUV that the team drives, and the show's extensive special effects and alien creations. Barrowman also contributes a very funny "Captain's Log," which invites viewers to join him on one of the final shooting days of the series. The entire seventh disc is given over to Torchwood Declassified, the 13-part program which explored each episode on BBC Three and the BBC's Torchwood website. Commentaries are offered for all 13 episodes, with Davies, Barrowman, Myles, Burn Gorman (who plays Torchwood's medical officer, Owen Harper), David-Lloyd, producers Richard Stokes and Julie Gardner, and various episode writers, directors, and producers all lending their voices. A small battery of deleted scenes and outtakes, as well as previews for DVD releases of other BBC programs, including Doctor Who and MI-5, round out this impressive set. --Paul Gaita
Stills from Torchwood (click for larger image)
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Here in the USA (mid-USA anyway) Doctor Who has always been a show that I could recommend to families.. where the parents and Kids (and now my grandkids) can watch together and laugh at the old special effects and the jump at the new ones. I know of many Families who wouldn't be watching if Doctor Who had the crap of Torchwood going on!
I really don't even want people know that I watched Torchwood! But I must WARN others!
I bought it cause Capt. Jack was on Doctor Who. I thought it would be clean (sheeesh!)
When I got online and complained to someone in a WHO talk thread somewhere else...
They said it got "way better" in the "Children of the Earth" .. well ...
I guess.... "Way Better" is really subjective. It did get better ... but not "WAY" better.
I needed a bath after watching!
I DELETED the whole lot of "Torchwood" from my Online Video Library
I liked the fact that Gwen finally told her husband what she was doing and that he could share in the job!
That sharing cemented their relationship! I loved that part!
Else - Torchwood was trash! If they bring Torchwood back CLEAN .. I will be a fan. You betcha!
Story line was pretty good take out the TRASH (Sexual content (both hetro & homo) & language though.
A little less gore would be good too!
You can elude to raunchy withOUT really putting it in. I can fill in where there might be something with non-raunchy stuff. Kids wouldn't have the experience to do this. They would just see the story.
I have a great imagination. Yeppers I do! HA!
EDIT:: JULY 10, 2011
I just got done watching TORCHWOOD Season 4 Episode 1 "Miracle Day"
I gotta say I was really pleasantly surprised!!!
NO Explicit Sexual Content! Not too much swearing!! A little gore but it kind of fit cause you had to show people having really bad accidents that normally would have caused them to be killed instantly .... so it wasn't too much as to detract.
The characters were just trying to figure out what was happening on "Miracle Day" so things might change ....... time will tell.
OOOOHHHH I wonder what kind of bad alien is at the center of all this??? COOL!
Jack is originally from the 51st century, which is intended to explain his oversexed ways (i.e. he is very liberal in who he "SNOGS"& "SHAGS" ) His background is really complex, even before he meets the Doctor, but he is missing some of his memories from his time as a time-agent, during the "Parting of the Ways" the first season finale of Dr. Who his character becomes even more interesting, but I won't say more without spoiler warnings.
I know I've referenced Dr. Who, a lot, but WATCHING DR. WHO IS NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR ENJOYING TORCHWOOD, MERELY A BONUS. There is a level to Torchwood that is directed at DW fans, but it isn't obtrusive. The initial season of Torchwood begins introducing the viewer to its world through the eyes of Gwen, a low-rung Cardiff lady cop, eventually becomes part of a jaded almost amoral group that uses scavenged alien-tech to protect the world from future threats. The neophyte member eventually serves as catalysis to re-humanize the team. But the dynamic of the characters is one of abrasiveness, deceit, love and lust. The major players are far from perfect, by the end of the season, most of the team have done things both unexpected and at times alarming.
Most of the performances are great to watch, much Americanized, gritty acting. Gwen, played by Eve Myles, who oddly enough played a Victorian servant girl named Gwyneth who opens the closes the very rift Torchwood is build on in Dr. Who season 1. Gwen is an earthy attractive but not unrealistically so, as are most of the players, except Jack, of course, who is over-the-top silver-screen good looking, which is perfect for his over-the-top fearless-leader-with-a-mysterious-past archetype.
Torchwood is very stylish, lots of aerial shots of building in Cardiff, the Welsh city where the series is filmed and most of the action takes place. Its waterside features remind me of New Orleans. Another anchor location of the show in Cardiff is soooo appropriately the Roald Dahl Plaza (Carciff-born creator of Willy Wonka) it would naturally hold a time-space rift and the headquarters of a secret organization under the fountain where it can monitor extra-terrestrial traffic through the rift. Kind of a sexed up Men in Black, except no one wears black, well ok Iantos does, but he's more of a case manager type. The series music co-composed by Dr. Who's Murray Gold is both edgy and original. As is the special effects and make-up. In the pilot episode, the make-up on the Weevil, a reoccurring species, is so good that a long scene is shot in full-light with Gwen and another character studying the creature. That is how confident and bold the makers of Torchwood are! The series won a BEST DRAMA SERIES BAFTA (the British Academy of Film and Television Arts), besting Doctor Who season 2 in the category and first episodes gave BBC 3 its highest ratings ever. One series flaw is that Torchwood is meant to be very covert, but they also seem to be high profile "special ops," other than that amusing conflict, I love the series and think that many Americans who may have never watched any British TV before, will be hooked!
The episode guide that follows may have some MINOR SPOILERS, okay?
#1 "Everything Changes"
This is a good one, I give it 9 out of 10, it is one of the best series pilots I've seen. Unlike some series openers, it seems familiar with characters and where they are going, there's no early season one awkwardness here, INFACT, Eve Myles WON a "BEST-ACTRESS" BAFTA (Wales) for this one, John Barrowman got a nom...
South Wales coffee makin' cop Gwen Cooper is at the scene of a murder when Torchwood shows, Gwen snoops on the group and sees in a disturbing scene in which the victim is temporally resurrected, then questioned. She starts her own investigation to learn more, and ends up meeting an alien and literally going underground unsuccessfully disguised as a pizza-girl, joins up and then things get weird....
#2 Day One
This one is less good, but is all about the fact that Torchwood is an adult series and begins to set some boundaries. Even so, this one has a great pre-titles scene with Gwen & her boyfriend, and a great opening line...7 out of 10 for this one...
The title says it all...it is Gwen's first day on the job, and because of her obligatory noob screw up she unwittingly unleashes a hot-sex-addicted-alien....no REALLY...this one is about AN ALIEN WHO SHAGS HER WAY THROUGH THE EPISODE...it seems like a Captain Jack natural. There are some great moments and some great lude dialogue, like following the discovery of the alien's nature and the disintegrated remains of its first partner, Harkness remarks that the guy "came and went, at the same time." More lines like that and hot-girl-on-alien action...
#3 Ghost Machine
This one is spooky and provides some insights into the gruff team member Owen's character. Usually, so far, Owen, played by Burn Gorman, isn't the sort to get involved or outwardly show his real feelings, in the series thus far, he has deflected them and given Gwen and the others attitude to cover. This time, due to his unique interaction with the machine, he is very open and driven.... 8 out of 10 for this one...
The team retrieve an alien artifact that shows ghost images of the past, thus allowing Owen to witnesses a girl's murder some forty years before. He becomes obsessed with bring the murderer to justice, while Gwen tries to stop future projections from occurring as well.
This one may be too much for the Dr. Who fans, but you need not know the back-story to appreciate the story, but it helps to forgive the nature of the story that seems awkward when compared to the rest of the season. The Cybermen, humans converted from a parallel Earth, were all meant to be destroyed at another Torchwood base on this Earth, this is the exception. This time a half converted erotic-cyborg with more gruesome conversion effects and other creepiness, oh and Cyberwoman vs. the pterodactyl...did I mention they have a pterodactyl in the Torchwood HQ...7.5 out of 10 for this one...
Ianto, played by Gareth David-Lloyd who is sort of the teams Alfred the Butler, managing the Batcave, has hidden what's left of his girlfriend at Torchwood. His plans to get outside help end with the entire team at risk of finding themselves converted or worse!
#5 Small Worlds
This one is creepy, if a little predictable, take something inherently cute and friendly, like say fairies, and make them dangerous, powerful and a little homicidal, throw in a spooky little girl, an old girl friend of Jack's er... Dad...and you have a winning mix, 8.5 out of 10 for this one....
Jack's senior friend has discovered fairies in a nearby wood, while Torchwood uncovers a mysterious jail death and weird weather bursts. Jack sees a pattern connected to his mysterious past....
This one is grisly, edgy and very frightening, playing-out like a mainstream horror movie, a good one! This one isn't for the squeamish. ...9 out of 10 for Countrycide...
Deaths in the middle of nowhere split up the team, Gwen and Owen find themselves in another tight situation, a survivor hides from the killer, Tech-chick Tosh and Ianto race against the clock, and the team fight to stay off the menu.
#7 Greeks Bearing Gifts
This one isn't the best of the season, but it does give more development to Tosh's character...6.5 out of 10...
Tosh gets a strange pendant from a strange woman and she gains the strange ability to read minds. In the process learning way more than just casual thoughts, in order to make things right Tosh must get this woman into Torchwood H.Q.
#8 They keep killing Suzie
This is a great one...disturbing and well written, a fallen Torchwood member returns providing a unique opportunity to deal with the consequences of events in the pilot episode. A great exploration of Gwen and her place in Torchwood... I give it 9.5 out of 10...
The "Resurrection-Gauntlet" was classified as too dangerous to continue experimenting with, but a link to pre-pilot events, force the team to use the gauntlet on a deceased Torchwood member. The process goes wrong and events go from bad to worse
#9 Random Shoes
Another surprisingly good story, most of the regular team is sideline for much of this one as it's point of view is from a deceased peripheral character, like Dr. Who's B team stories (used for shooting two shows simultaneously ), it brilliantly features an outsider's view of the team, more outside than even Gwen's episode one intro...9 out of 10...the end is a bit sappy...
Eugene Jones learns that he has been the victim of a hit-and-run and is dead. He retracing his "steps" leading up to his death, including his interaction with the Torchwood team and what he believed was an alien artifact, while Gwen is the unwitting partner in the same investigation.
#10 Out of Time
This one is a weak one, "the fish out of water/ romance that can never be," great pre-title opening with the Team on hand as a temporally -displaced plane touches down on an airstrip, mostly-predictable and unnecessarily sappy...7 out of 10...
Three stangers from the early 50's are trapped in present-day Cardiff, after flying from the Rift. Torchwood helps each of the them deal with making a new life, one way or another and Owen gets serious with one.
This one is written by Noel Clarke a.k.a Mickey Smith, really. You've asked for it, you got it! The Weevil Fight Club! This one is pretty good, what it lacks in originality it makes up for in style and intensity...9 out of 10...
Weevils continue to come from the rift surfacing across Cardiff, but where are they disappearing to? Owen goes undercover to find out.
#12 Captain Jack Harkness
Warning this one is not for the homophobic; Jack is particularly randy in this one. There's loads of drama and amazing acting in this one, although a visually limited view of the WWII era, the character of Bilis Manger, mysterious time-walker, is fascinating to watch as he manipulates the staff in this episode and the next, played by Murray Melvin (who could play William Hartnell if they every need him). .. 9.5 out of 10
Jack and Tosh are transported to the 1940s, during the Blitz where they meet another Captain Jack Harkness and it isn't Jack. The rest of the team go in search of decades old clues Jack and Tosh may have left.
( Watch for the "Vote Saxon" posters in this one. A Dr. Who series 3 ref.)
#13 End of Days
Tightly following the events in the last episode, all hell breaks loose, literally as the mysterious Mr. Bilis plans for the Rift continue with it wide enough to release the deity he worships. This one has its roots in H.P. Lovecraft's work, ...10 out of 10...
People from thoughout history come through the rift into the present across the world. Jack learns he is the only thing standing between the world and the "Son the Beast". Jack is put in a position where he may have to sacrifice it all to save everyone. (This one connects directly to the final 3 episodes of Dr. Who season 3.)
Check out the Deadringer's spoof of the series on YOUTube.
And BBC America showing Series TWO in January, it has had such a good response in the States that it seems we're getting it "fresh" this time, synchronized with UK broadcast premiere.