Torchwood: The Complete First Season

Torchwood: The Complete First Season
Excuse the allegory, but if Doctor Who was the older, sensible, more mature brother, Torchwood would be the younger, rebellious, recreational drug and weird sex experimenting sibling. Created by Russell T. Davies (the man who resurrected the good Doctor from years of inactivity), Torchwood is a BBC spin-off carried on the shoulders of fearless Time Agent Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), the occasional swashbuckling ally on Britain’s most popular sci-fi series. Set in modern day Cardiff (yes, the characters even question it), where a rift in time sits open to many different dimensions, the show sets its sights on Officer Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), an inquisitive cop who wanders into the enigmatic world of Torchwood. As we learn, Torchwood is a covert extraterrestrial and supernatural investigative unit founded by Queen Victoria that’s above the government, MI6, the CIA and the UN — you name it, they supersede it. Led by Captain Jack, the five-person team devote their lives to Torchwood, tracking down aliens and their dangerous devices in the humble Welsh metropolis. As Jack says, "The 21st century is when it all changes,” and Davies puts that line to work, breaking from Doctor Who’s clean family scares for something "sexy, dark and dangerous.” And there’s plenty of sex and somewhat brutal violence, not to mention coarse language, elevating it to near HBO terrain. Episode two ("Day One”) goes all out, with a sex addicted E.T. using a young woman’s body to run amok and screw men, collecting their orgasms and leaving them dead in a pile of dust. While sometimes the drama and score approach absurd levels of tension, for the most part Torchwood is oodles of fun, using the same mix of sci-fi, action, adventure and comedy as Doctor Who, while taking it to another level. It’s great to see such a strong and likeable recurring character as Jack get his own vehicle, considering he’s one of the only openly gay action characters on television, let alone the brawny and fearless lead character (credit to Davies). The exhausting 14 featurettes provide everything you need to know about the series, pointing out all of the connections to Doctor Who, like the severed hand of the Doctor (a keepsake from 2005’s "The Christmas Invasion”), as well as the Cardiff connection and the rift, dating back to that timeless series’ first season episode "Boom Town.” Most interesting, though, is discovering that Torchwood was imagined by Davies before he took the Doctor’s reins three years ago, which shows the great imagination of British television’s greatest writer. (BBC/Warner)