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arsenal_fan reviews
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March 2007
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arsenal_fan [userpic]
TV Review: Torchwood 1x01

PC Gwen Cooper becomes obsessed with a special ops team known only as Torchwood led by a mysterious man named Captain Jack Harkness.

I was impressed by how this spin off kicked off. It hit all the right notes in the acting, the directing and the area that the story is heading. I was pleased with the way that Russell T Davies is finding a balance between what we know from the latest two seasons of Doctor Who with enough new material to forge an independent mythology and feel for Torchwood.

I can see Gwen Cooper as becoming the moral voice at Torchwood considering how cavalier the rest of the team are about taking simple items of alien technology and of course this was shown to be a serious problem in the case of Suzie Costello who was corrupted by the power of the alien glove. I felt that her suicide was a good way to set the tone of this series and show that it is much grittier and darker than Doctor Who. But it is good to see that despite this added darkness and edginess that the humour that we are so used to in Doctor Who is still coming through in this series. It is a trademark of Russel T Davies' writing, mixing light hearted comedy with serious drama.

There are also a fair number of possible long term plot threads that seem to be opening up. I see that as another of Russel T Davies' trademarks when it comes to how he has run Doctor Who over the last two years as opposed to how it was run in the past. Instead of serialised stories, Doctor Who was given a 'monster of the week' type format but with the long term plot threads running through. In respect to this episode, Captain Jack mentioned that 'the 21st century was when it all changes, and we've got to be ready' which is obviously going to be major aspect of the series.
I can also see the Weevils becoming a larger part of this series and possibly linked to the thing that they've got to be ready for. Jack said that they've been coming to the surface more and more often of late.
There is also the big question of how he got off the Game Station at the end of the season 1 finale of Doctor Who and why he has been made seemingly indestructible. I enjoyed the passing comment he made about looking for the 'right kind of Doctor'. I know that John Barrowman is scheduled to appear in at least one episode of the third season of Doctor Who and I feel that these questions could be answered in Doctor Who.

I am encouraged by the way this opening episode was presented as it would have been so easy to spend the whole episode clunkily introducing all of the new different characters but it was done in a very organic way and allowed the episode to focus more on the mythology of the series. From a British point of view, this series also makes me proud that Britain is now producing two science fiction shows that are on par with the sci-fi shows that come from across 'the pond' in production values, writing and acting.

Acting: 2/2
Writing: 2/2
Directing: 2/2
Techinique: 3/4

Overall Rating: 9/10

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