Torchwood (Season 1) TV Show Review

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

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4 thoughts on “Torchwood (Season 1) TV Show Review

  1. Interesting review! I have to disagree with some of your points though! I thought that although not all of the characters were likeable, they were very strong characters nonetheless. For example, although Owen is an annoying and unlikeable character, he contributes a lot to the story and his narcissistic attitude makes him far more interesting to watch! Each of the characters has a distinct flaw, which makes the characters seem far more real – they are not all perfect, they are not even all particularly likeable, but they are real people. And how could you not love Ianto? And Rhys? And well, Jack is Jack!

    Yes, it’s not Doctor Who, but it is still a pretty good show. I know that there aren’t too many references to Doctor Who in the first season, but as the show progresses, there are more and more references to DW. I just love the unpredictable storyline and the complex relationships between the characters! Keep watching, the show gets better, I promise. That’s just my opinion though! It’s nice to see somebody with a different view on the show now and again! 🙂

  2. mandarox says:

    Yeah, true. Although, in the later seasons I did start to like Ianto and Rhys more, it was just that first season I didn’t really feel much of a connection. Thanks for your opinion, and don’t worry, I’ve already finished all of the seasons, and I think they do get better 🙂

  3. beckyday6 says:

    Hmmm sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy it too much, it’s terrible waiting for your favourite shows to come back and trying to find something to fill the void.
    I watched a few episodes of this a while back because I heard James Marsters was going to be in it (who played Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, my all time favourite show 😛 ) because I had a serious celeb crush on him, but then in Torchwood he was gay, which kinda weirded me out (because hello, he was MY man! Lol) and so I stopped watching it. But yeah…I didn’t think too much of it either…

    Great review. 🙂

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