So, ‘Torchwood.’ What a lot of old tosh.
Well, that’s a little harsh. Whilst half the episodes were fairly boring and mundane it did have some highs. ‘Random Shoes’ was a good clone of ‘Love and Monsters’ (from season two of the new Who) and I liked ‘Out of Time.’ ‘Countrycide’ was a nice wee ep that I thought was going to be ‘Bad Taste’ (but it wasn’t) and episodes like ‘They Keep Killing Suzie’ and ‘Combat’ were watchable if rather forgettable.
For those who are counting, that’s two good eps, one middling and two average eps, which makes five vaguely watchable stories in a run of thirteen.
‘Torchwoods’ greatest failure was in making Captain Jack Harkness really quite boring. In season one ‘Who’ he was charming, witty and, frankly, quite sexy; season one ‘Torchwood’ (they have a confirmed second season now) he is underused and when he does do is thing it seems to be more perfunctory and quote often something involving phonecalls or paperwork. Also, he’s not a very good boss; he doesn’t tell his underlings anything or real note and just goes round being emo over his lot. Hardly the stuff of legends.
The other characters hardly come off any better; Owen is only occasionally likeable, Toschiko ends up, in the latter part of the season, doing little more than saying her name in episodes, Gwen is, well, not a good candidate for a secret agent and Yannto, the most interesting of the bunch, had a dreadful episode devoted to him that, when you’re forced back to reflect upon it, ruins his charm entirely.
Also, for an adult show it really hasn’t done much with the dealing with themes and mores that Who couldn’t touch upon. ‘The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances’ was a lot darker than most of the stories we saw in ‘Torchwood.’
My litmus test for a series these days is ‘Do I need to own this on DVD?’ ‘Torchwood’ season one answers ‘No.’ Unless season two ends up being the best thing since the sonic screwdriver (and heavy on season one continuity) I can’t really see myself purchasing it any time soon.