DVD Review: Torchwood - The Complete First Season
By Jeff Swindoll Jan 23, 2008, 16:48 GMT
Separate from the government, outside the police, beyond the United Nations, Torchwood sets its own rules. Led by the enigmatic, ever watchful Captain Jack Harkness, the Torchwood team delves into the unknown and fights the impossible. Everyone who works for Torchwood is young. Some say thatâ€™s because itâ€™s a new science. Others say it\'s because they die young. ...more
Captain Jack will get you high tonight with his adventures in the 21st century – when everything changes. John Barrowman and company make a compelling series in this spin off from the popular Doctor Who reboot from Russell T. Davies.
Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) is on the local police force when and is intrigued when a special group comes upon a crime scene that she’s working. She’s even more intrigued when she sees that the group has a glove that brings the corpse back to life and the group question the deceased.
The group is covert alien investigation agency called Torchwood (those watching the Doctor Who series will be well familiar with it since it was teased the whole second season ad naseum). Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), another character familiar to Doctor Who audiences, is the leader of this branch of the group.
The rest of the group consists of medical officer Dr. Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), computer specialist Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), artifacts specialist Suzie Costello (Indira Varma), and doorman/support man Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd). Gwen eventually joins up with Torchwood and has to keep its identity secret from her boyfriend Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) as they investigate the alien threats that they must also keep secret from the general population of the planet.
Everything Changes - When WPC Gwen Cooper witnesses the resurrection of a murder victim, it begins her journey into a dangerous underworld of savage monsters and alien hunters. Her chance encounter with the enigmatic Captain Jack Harkness and the Torchwood team will change her life forever.
Day One - An alien addicted to sex is let loose on Cardiff’s nightlife, leaving a trail of gruesome deaths in its wake. Captain Jack and Torchwood must track down the creature’s new host and in doing so; confront a violent new form of love in the 21st Century.
Ghost Machine - When Gwen retrieves an alien object from a fleeing hoodlum; she’s haunted by a vision of a lonely young boy. As the team track down the object’s owner, the elusive Bernie Harris, Owen experiences an even more terrifying vision and a long buried crime resurfaces.
Cyberwoman - In the basement of the Torchwood building, Ianto Jones hides a terrible secret. As a Japanese doctor attempts to rescue the soul of a half-Cybernised woman, a quiet day in Torchwood quickly becomes a living nightmare. Has Ianto unleashed a force that will destroy his colleagues?
Small Worlds - Supernatural forces stalk the suburbs of Cardiff: but are they friendly or malevolent? And what do they want with the seemingly normal Pierce family? As nightmares of his past haunt Jack, can Jack’s old friend Estelle Cole help him prevent the tragedy brewing in a suburban household?
Countrycide - Concerned that the space-time rift is spreading; Torchwood investigates a series of gruesome deaths in the village of Brynblaidd. What sort of creature could cause such shocking injuries? Stranded without communications or equipment, and isolated from one another, the team confronts a terrifying enemy.
Greeks Bearing Gifts - Toshiko is given an alien pendant which enables her to hear other people’s thoughts. As the rest of the Torchwood team puzzle over a centuries-old skeleton, the pendant forces Toshiko to question her commitment to Torchwood: is her newfound ability a blessing or a curse?
They Keep Killing Suzie - Torchwood is linked to a series of brutal murders around the city. As Jack and the team investigate further, it becomes clear somebody wants their attention. What is Pilgrim? And how is it connected to a figure from Torchwood’s past? The resurrection days are far from over.
Random Shoes - When Eugene wakes to find himself (a) dead and (b) invisible to the rest of the world; he knows something has gone rather wrong. Eugene knows there is one person he can rely on to discover the truth behind his death: Gwen Cooper.
Out of Time - When a plane from 1953 makes an unexpected landing in present-day Cardiff, its three passengers are shocked to learn that they can never go back to their own time. Torchwood helps them to settle in contemporary society, but this simple task has painful emotional consequences.
Combat - Savage aliens are being kidnapped from the streets of Cardiff and Torchwood wants to know why. Owen is sent undercover to find out who is behind it and soon befriends the charismatic Mark Lynch (Alex Hassell). Beneath the veneer of normal city life, Owen discovers a shocking subculture. Can he avoid being sucked in?
Captain Jack Harkness - While investigating reports of ghostly music, Jack and Toshiko find themselves stranded in a packed dance hall – in 1941. As Gwen, Owen and Ianto work to rescue their colleagues, Jack and Toshiko meet a handsome young American squadron leader by the name of… Captain Jack Harkness.
End of Days - The rift has been opened, and time is splintering all over the world. As events spiral out of control, the Torchwood team members are faced with fragments of their pasts – and terrifying visions of their futures. Can Captain Jack save the world?
Torchwood is Russell T. Davies’ series that airs late night on the BBC. In it he can do all the more adult themes that he really can’t do on Doctor Who since its still deemed closer to a kids show than Torchwood (although there’s still a hint or two in Who).
Torchwood is a good show and fans of the good Captain will certainly be pleased. Though be aware that the Captain is a definite omni-sexual willing to diddle any man, woman, or alien that suits his fancy (and fancy suiting is probably not a requirement), so it might be something that the kids shouldn’t see.
I suppose it might also be growing pains in that the big revelation that’s hinted at in the final episodes felt a bit forced, but it was the interesting characters and storylines that kept me interested (even if the big finale felt a little forced).
The Dr. Who connection continues as the final episode of Torchwood moves right into Capt’n Jack’s reappearance on the good Doctor’s show.
Torchwood is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions.
Special features include commentaries by cast and crewmembers on very one of the thirteen episodes spread across six discs. Disc one contains the 14-minute “Welcome to Torchwood” and 15 minute “Torchwood on the Scene” which covers the making of the show.
The “Torchwood: Out of this World” sections contains short featurettes about specific items in certain episodes. The 5 minute “Weevil” and 5 minute “Sex Gas” on disc one. Finally there are 11 minutes of deleted scenes. Disc two has 3 “Out of this World” episodes – Ghost Machine (5 minutes), Cyberwoman (4 minutes), and Fairies (5 minutes). Disc three contains the 15-minute “Sex, Violence, Blood and Gore.”
The “Team and Their Troubles” sections have short featurettes on the team – the 5 minute “Ianto and Evan” and 5 minute “Toshiko and Mary” on this disc. Disc four has the 9-minute “Torchwood on the Road” which goes into the other character on the show – the Torchwood SUV (Torchwoodmobile??). “The Team and their Troubles” delves into “Owen and Suzie” (5 minutes) and “Gwen and Eugene” (6 minutes).
Finally there are 6 minutes of deleted scenes. Disc five starts off with another set called “Torchwood: Moments in the Making” that highlights bits of certain episodes – the 5 minute “Wing and a Prayer” and the 5 minute “Fight Night.” The 10-minute “Captain’s Log” is a video diary by John Barrowman.
Disc six has the “Moments in the Making” “Officer and an Gentleman” (5 minutes) and “Bombing the Base” (5 minutes). The 10 minute “Torchwood: On Time,” 14 minutes of deleted scenes, and 5 minutes of outtakes round out this disc. The seventh disc is entirely devoted to “Torchwood: Declassified” which are 80 minutes of making of specials.
Torchwood is a compelling show, but does suffer from some growing pains in its first season. I thought they were a bit minor and eagerly look forward to season two however. Though I’d have to say that it doesn’t overshadow Doctor Who, but it’s still a good sci-fi adventure.