April 9th, 2007



A friend at the World Horror Convention lent me the first season DVDs of Torchwood, the Doctor Who spinoff featuring Captain Jack Harkness and Lucius Vorenus' wife from Rome. I've only seen the first five episodes so far, but I'm already hooked. It's really every fanboy's wet dream, The X-Files meets Doctor Who by way of Cardiff. Okay, maybe that last bit isn't part of the dream.

Captain Jack and his team go around investigating, confining and, most importantly, covering up alien activity. There's a lot of melodrama, some of which is forced (almost every episode features a team member screwing up somehow and then crying and then swearing to put things right), but the stories are strong. Most stand on their own, though some are tangentially related to Doctor Who (in one episode, Jack references the Mara from the old "Kinda" and "Snakedance" serials) and some are even direct sequels to Who episodes (the team finds one last Cyberman left over from the big battle at the end of Who's second season).

But where Doctor Who is a family show, albeit one that can get rather dark at times, Torchwood is geared more toward adult viewers. The characters swear (one looks at the Cyberman approaching menacingly and mutters, "Shit"), there's simulated sex, and quite a lot of boy-boy kissing (though to be fair, there's also a little girl-girl and boy-girl on occasion). The patented Russell T. Davies formula is showing, too, with the first episode following almost the exact same structure as "Rose", the first episode of the new Who, and also that little bit of information seeping through each episode about Jack's past in the same way Rose slowly learned who the Doctor is. Since I'm almost halfway through the season, I'm also expecting the Big Bad to be revealed soon, then disappear for a while, then show up again at the finale.

Highly recommended if you enjoy the new Who. The good news is that word on the street has it BBC America will be showing Torchwood in the near future. Go watch Captain Jack fight evil while snogging everyone he can!