Suffering from post-Doctor Who withdrawals after watching the most recent episode, I decided to give Torchwood a try hoping that it would help. Warning that this post may contain spoilers.
Torchwood is a spin-off series from the 2005 reboot of Doctor Who. It was created by Russell T. Davies, with episodes written by Russell T. Davies, Chris Chibnall, Helen Raynor, Peter J. Hammond, Toby Whithouse, Paul Tomalin, Dan McCulloch, Jaquetta May, Catherine Tregenna and Noel Clarke, and directed by Brian Kelly, Colin Teague, James Strong, Alice Troughton, Andy Goddard, and Ashely Way. It was released in 2006.
While Doctor Who is a family-friendly TV show, suitable for people of all ages, Torchwood is definitely designed for an older audience. It’s much more mature and hardcore. Where Doctor Who avoids or only hints about swearing and sex, Torchwood tends to show it bluntly. It’s a show obviously designed for adults, something I wasn’t aware of when I started watching it but soon found out.
The characters are just average. It’s not because of the acting, which is consistently good throughout the whole season, but rather just who the characters are. They’re just not likeable, with the exception of Captain Jack. The cast includes John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper) and Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato).
This whole season there seemed to be the background theme of ‘Who is Captain Jack Harkness?’ which is supposed to add a sense of
mystery to the show, and make people want to keep watching it to find out. The one problem with this is that the vast majority of viewers watching Torchwood also watch Doctor Who (in fact, I doubt that anyone would watch Torchwood before watching Doctor Who). This means we already know who Captain Jack is. We know why he can’t die, and we have a general idea of who he is and was even before meeting the Doctor (although I do know more than viewers at the time of release would have). This made me just want people to find out about him quickly, see how they react to it, and then continue on with the show. In fact, it’s not until almost the end of the season that we discover there’s much more to him than even we know. Unfortunately, it’s too little too late for the majority of the first season.
Another downfall of the show is that it isn’t Doctor Who. Ok, that’s a little harsh, but the main reason I starting watching Torchwood was to cope with Doctor Who withdrawals, and I was disappointed to discover that the Doctor was only even hinted at twice in the whole season, once in the first episode and once in the final. There are mentions of Torchwood 4 and the members of it in Doctor Who, so why couldn’t it work vice versa? Torchwood just doesn’t have the adventure and wonder of Doctor Who. It is more down-to-earth and based on everyday life. I realise that this is a review of the first season of Torchwood and not a comparison of Torchwood and Doctor Who, but I feel like the comparison is necessary, and many viewers will also be doing the same thing. Despite this, what I learned while watching this show is that it isn’t Doctor Who for adults. It’s a completely different show with a single character in common. This is how I will try to treat the rest of it.
So that probably sounds like a lot of negatives, but that’s just because I was really fussy with this show. In reality, it’s actually a pretty good show. The storyline is unpredictable and always keeps you on edge, which is a big plus. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. In addition, it’s very interesting and entertaining. I also like that the opening credits are short and sharp, it’s difficult to create credits that you don’t want to skip through, but with credits as short as these it’s not even an issue. Despite the length, it also kind of sets the mood. Most episodes start off with some storyline before the credits and I wait in anticipation for the Torchwood title card to appear afterwards. It just make it fit.
The music is really good as well, composed by Ben Foster and Murray Gold. It really works with the show and does was the music is meant to do. I just really like it, it’s good music which is instantly recognisable and is immediately affiliated with the show when heard. The theme song for Torchwood is here:
Favourite character/actor: Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman)
Least favourite character/actor: Owen Harper (Burn Gorman)
Favourite scene/episode: End of Days
Least favourite scene/episode: Combat
Rating; 3/5 stars