Torchwood: Series One

Torchwood, copyright BBCTorchwood was announced to the world in late-2005 as a spin-off from Doctor Who, only to stumble, blinking, into the neon-lit streets of Cardiff barely a year later.

It was conceived as an “adult” take on the Whoniverse, starring Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

I recently finished re-watching the odd episode on BBC Three, a prelude to the start of series two in January over on BBC Two.

The first episode introduces new recruit Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) to Torchwood, an elite group of alien hunters working based beneath Cardiff city centre, under the radar of the British Government.

Extraterrestrials are fought while the members of Team Torchwood battle their own morals and relationship problems over 13 episodes.

Sadly, the perceived need to justify its post-watershed slot means that what at times seems to be a treatise on what it means to be a thirtysomething in noughties Britain, (how do you maintain a healthy work-life balance while fighting aliens for a living?) is often lost in a mire of soft-core titillation and half-baked plots.

In its defence, episodes such as ‘Out of Time’ and ‘They Keep Killing Suzie’ do punch above their weight, while the performance of John Barrowman is nearly always note perfect.

Recent series two previews have been positive. Here’s hoping they keep up the good work while we wait for Doctor Who series four…

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