December 21, 2007
I'm here to talk about my love/hate relationship with the sci-fi series Torchwood, but first I need to get something out in the open. It's no secret that I'm no fan of bangs. I don't know where I got ruined on them but, I suspect, if I were to be put under deep hypnosis, someone might hear me mutter something akin to Juliette Lewis. That being said, Torchwood has two big strikes against it from the outset. It is made by the folks who keep renting out my mother's basement to film episodes of Doctor Who and it has some big ass bangs.
Torchwood, the series, gets its name from the super-secret-we-answer-to-no-one alien hunting agency based in Cardiff, Wales. Being based in Cardiff is Torchwood's first eyebrow raising element. I mean really, how much of anything is based in Wales? Show me a map and I'm pretty sure you'd have to slide my finger over a few inches to hit the target. Also, it never gets old hearing the gap-toothed, bang afflicted, yet somehow adorable Gwen Cooper say "That's naught foony Ohwen!"
Torchwood is not Firefly, it's more like a high school production of some Firefly fan-fiction. Everyone is romantically involved with everyone, the set pieces range from Star Trek-esque colander as Alien Mind Melter to full-on CG pterodactyls, and it seems like family and friends are used for all the roles outside of the core five actors. So why did you bring up Firefly again? Well, the writing and dialogue is actually pretty decent, the dialogue more so than the plot.
The natural dialogue helps sell some of the more ridiculous sci-fi elements. One episode in particular finds the Torchwood staff in danger of being destroyed by an android that looks more at home serving food at Cafe FemBot than delivering inescapable death.
So should you check it out? Sure, why not? The first season just wrapped up on BBC America, and will be available on DVD in January 2008. While it's not the greatest sci-fi series, it's got some of that charm that made early Star Trek episodes so endearing, just with a little more Kirk on Spock action.