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4.3 out of 5 stars124
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2008
It's odd but I sometimes feel like I'm the only person who thought Season 2 of Torchwood was a big disappointment. It was an often shameful dilution of something really original and quite remarkable

I've just re-watched this Season 1 boxset (blu-ray version) and it really is truly astounding with only a couple of weak stories.
Episodes like "They keep killing Suzie", "Random Shoes" and "Out of Time" are still some of the best TV drama I've seen for years and perhaps will ever see again but I could wax-lyrical about aspects of most episodes to be honest.
This series is beautifully and intelligently scripted with uniformly excellent performances throughout.

Grim and unrelenting at times but remarkably honest and totally unafraid to explore real themes that lesser dramas don't seem to have the courage or emotional intelligence to tackle. Such candour is a breath of fresh air in an increasingly stale and cotton-wool-packaged TV world.
Sadly Season 2 lost most of the ground Torchwood gained with Season 1 which makes this all the more special.

The HD picture quality is obviously consistently high and utterly, absolutely, astonishing at times. The extras are comprehensive and include all the "Declassifieds" plus short features and deleted scenes for every episode. There is also a basic but effective use of the pop-up menu system which is always nice to see.

I once again found myself moved to tears by several episodes and awestruck at the sheer level of honest insight into the human condition.
Which leaves me wondering.......why does Season 1 get such bad press?
Even the dullard's, oft-trotted-out complaint about too much sex and swearing really doesn't hold water; it's nowhere near as overt or gratuitous as these people suggest or possibly remember. I suggest that it was in fact all mindless bandwagon jumping by those who didn't know what to make of the series. Torchwood impudently dared to be different and attempted to actually challenge them as more than just passive viewers. That never goes down well with some people especially a somewhat traditional, set-in-their-ways, TV Sci-Fi audience.

Give it another look.
This is cutting-edge, high-definition, pre-season2-dumbing-down, truly-adult entertainment, written for thinking grown-ups who can handle real themes but still like a bit of sci-fi on the side.
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on 22 October 2007
The greatest thing about the new-Who series is that it focused on an aspect of Doctor Who that had never really been addressed before, the worlds that the Doctor leaves behind him, the influence he has on the world and how he changes it for the better, or for the worse. Examples of this include the new series episodes: Bad Wolf, Love and Monsters, Blink, Army of Ghosts and (to a lesser extent) the Year Five Billion trilogy. It makes us look back on what might of become of some of the characters from the earlier stories in the franchise, like the humans in 'Dalek Invasion of the Earth'. In the case of Torchwood we get to see the things that lurked in the shadows of Kaldor city, or that were just out of site when Nerva mad a full orbit. Specifically we see the world that the Doctor created when he offended the wrong monarch and dropped off the right, brilliant toothed action hero.

The world of Torchwood is one when we get to see what the camera pans away from in the regular Doctor Who series, mixed with a terriffic cast of actors that have you believing every second of the programme. John Barrowman in particular is a firecracker in a great coat, with a flawless charm and a hilariously liberal attitude. You can't help but love him. That came out wrong...

The magnificent casting, coupled with a no-holds-barred sexual tangent make for great viewing and really treat the long-term Who fans with getting to see things that they'd always wished Leela would do when they were fifteen...

Despite these strong sexy and violent elements in the programme, it doesn't stop it from providing heartfelt storylines like Out of Time and Random Shoes. Nor do you lose out with psychological thrillers like Small Worlds, in which you feel the whole fabric of your world shaken just a bit...

All in all, Torchwood makes for excellent television viewing. The first series is a tribute the phenomenal effort of Russel T. Davies in the ongoing New-Who franchise. As always, can wait for more.
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on 25 June 2010
The single best series (apart from Dr Who) on TV today! This is series one of Russell T Davies's "baby". Torchwood is a science-fiction X-files type show mixed in with a bit of camp/ gay/ soap opera RTD madness. And what makes this show oh so special is the deepness of it - if look behind the aliens, sex and swearing - the series deals with the meaning of life and the importance of human life on Earth making us think how unimportant we might really be. This is where Torchwood really contrasts with Dr Who - which makes you proud to be human - Torchwood shows up the darkest sides of the human race.

If you enjoy Torchwood 1 then I strongly suggest you try Torchwood: Complete BBC Series 2 Box Set (2008) [DVD] [2007] which is just as good if not even funnier, and then Torchwood - Children of Earth [DVD] [2009] which is simply amazing.... Then of course roll on 2011 for TORCHWOOD SERIES FOUR!!!!
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The 21st century is when it all happens and Captain Jack Harkness and his team are arming the human race for the future. At first I wasn't expecting much from Torchwood, as a life time Doctor Who fan, I felt that any spin off would be substandard. And as I expected I didn't really like the first two episodes of Torchwood but I stuck it out and before I knew what happened, I was hooked and left wanting to watch more. Torchwood has a certain quality about it, which I found addictive. Maybe because it essentially Doctor Who for adults (i.e. more scare, sex, and swears.) Despite some of the episodes being a bit disappointing (such as `Random Shoes') and slightly unbelievably (a dinosaur verses a cyberwoman?) the program generally delivers on a silver platter and each story is powerful and involving. The acting from the lead characters is nothing less than astounding. Especially from John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Gareth David Llyod (Ianto Jones). Also the special effects and props have been done to a high standard. Torchwood is full of emotion and everything considered I feel that it is a great program and a great sci-fi show fit for the 21st century. I eagerly await series 2.
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on 6 February 2010
This is quite an exciting series, the stories are interesting and the acting is superb with each member giving stellar, quite intense, performances.

But this is a very adult series with some strong violence, gore and strong sex references. I certainly wouldn't let anyone under the age of 15 watch it.
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on 3 July 2008
I came late and backwards to Torchwood; I watched the first episode before I'd ever watched any of the relaunch Doctor Who episodes. I quite liked it but mainly I wanted to watch what they'd done to Doctor Who. The revamped Who was so great that it kept me busy until I saw all of it, then I went back to watch Torchwood.

It's a great idea for a series but unfortunately, the writing remains very inconsistent. To my mind, the show is at its weakest when there's a lot of running around after scaly-skinned beasties, and at its best when it stops to think a bit. The series finale, for example, is a disaster - overblown, humourless and silly, it's redeemed only by some subtle acting, mostly from John Barrowman and Eve Myles. However, only a few episodes earlier there was the wonderful 'Out of Time' episode, a quiet and rather sad tale which began at a point where most shows would have ended the story and which dared to be about people rather than about monsters. Elsewhere, the grim farce of 'Countrycide' is a witty homage to slasher movies, just as 'Combat' is an unimaginative and unconvincing rip-off of 'Fight Club'. But there's a refreshingly 21st century openness about sexuality. Captain Jack will flirt with anything that exhibits sentience, and when he finally gets to have a big old snog (with a WW2 airman as chiselled as himself) it's a moment of old-school romance. Elsewhere, both Eve Myles and Naoko Mori's characters find themselves curiously aroused at different times by persons of the same sex. It's a long way from the chaste (but increasingly lovelorn) world of the Doctor.

The acting is as mixed as the writing. John Barrowman is effortlessly charming, but perhaps because his Doctor Who episodes were better written and better script-edited, he's a more convincing hero in Doctor Who than he is in this. Here, the writing sometimes fails him, so that when he's supposed to come across as a leader of men, he seems more like a louche playboy who is a bit exasperated by the whole situation. It's hard to tell whether Burn Gorman is a bad actor, or Owen Harper is a badly-written character, but I suspect it's a bit of both; in any case, the actor relies way too much on narrowing his eyes and trying to look well 'ard. Gareth David-Lloyd is quietly efficient as the support guy Ianto until he has to carry a whole episode - then he goes way over the top. For my money, the best male actor in the show is actually Kai Owen as Gwen's long-suffering but basically chipper boyfriend Rhys. He manages to suggest both ordinariness and a basic sense of his own worth and dignity, a tricky thing to pull off.

The women are on the whole better than the men. Eve Myles is both gorgeous and a really fine actor; Naoko Mori squeezes every drop out of the sometimes exposition-heavy role of Toshiko; it's a bit of a shame that Indira Varma was only used in two episodes, as Suzie was in some ways the most interesting character in the show, just as Varma is in some ways the best actress. (Her performance as the resurrected Suzie is truly chilling.)

My wife and I watched Torchwood over the course of a summer holiday, and we could never be sure in advance if an episode was going to be completely brilliant and original or merely an efficient but generic bit of forgettable sci-fi nonsense. Buy the box set at your peril; it's not as good as Doctor Who, but Doctor Who is (mostly) so very, very good these days that Torchwood still manages to be remarkably fine for a spin-off. Still, the show is frustratingly inconsistent. I do think they could have come up with a better series finale than a CGI demon stomping around Cardiff zapping people.

One last thing - kudos to the creators for setting this thing in Cardiff at all, and making the place seem fascinating, haunted and sexy.
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on 7 April 2010
Being a fan of Doctor Who meant I just HAD to watch Torchwood, and almost straight away, I fell in love with it. Great and highly original sci-fi plots of the kind Doctor Who just won't broadcast, with great writing and great acting make this one of the best science fiction programmes of the decade.

I won't go into the plot details but Torchwood revolves around a organisation called Torchwood, who have the job of protecting Earth against alien invaders and utilizing alien technology for Earth's protection. The team consists of a small number of unique characters, from local police-officer Gwen, to misunderstood secretary and tea boy Ianto, and from self proclaimed "Ladies' Man" Owen to introspective Toshiko. The characters are loveable, and totally command the viewers' attention from the moment episode one starts.

The episodes themselves contain some highly original plots. There's one episode about a "sex gas" monster which is downright silly, and at the other end of the spectrum there's a gritty episode which sees the team stranded in the Welsh hills with a group of local human cannibals.

Torchwood comprises of diverse stories, a little bit of alcohol, sex, drugs, and pretty much everything that Doctor Who doesn't have. It's well worth a watch; you won't be disappointed.

Also in the DVD set is the series of short behind-the-scenes episodes (one per episode of the main series). These are also enjoyable to watch, and well worth the price of the boxset.
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on 30 June 2015
When I first saw this series on TV back in 2006, I was disappointed and swore I would never need a copy of it. However, I have now bought this and changed my mind. It was the initial episodes by a pre-Broadchurch Chris Chibnall that had coloured my perception of the series as a whole - the episode about a sex-starved alien and the one about a cyberwoman seemed like an undergraduate exercise in nudge-nudge SciFi writing. However, later stuff by Chris (especially in series 2) were much better. There are, in fact, a few very good episodes in Series 1 (including one by the reliable PJ Hammond) that really reward viewing.
Torchwood, set up, to save us from aliens, by Queen Victoria (see Doctor Who Series 2 "Tooth and Claw"), mutates through its 4 seasons (and mutates further in other episodes of Doctor Who - you did know that "Torchwood" and "Doctor Who" are anagrams?) and reaches a peak in the 3rd season. Series 1 is the simpler, crowd pleasing start of it all. The extras are documentaries made at the time and are pretty forgettable.
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on 14 April 2015
I had this boxed set sitting around for over a year until I got around to watching it, and I had pretty low expectations but I was pleasantly surprised. The show desperately wants to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which explains the mostly "it's magic" scenarios and the way everybody behaves like they're in senior high. (The Scoobies are actually a bit more professional than this bunch, in fact.) But despite that and the relentless Mary-Sueing of Captain Jack, there are some original and varied plots, snappy dialogue, and good performances, especially from Eve Myles and Burn Gorman. The only really awful bit is the last half of the finale episode, which abandons a suspenseful time travel storyline to tack on a danger from the Hellmouth - I mean Rift - that seems to have been cooked up to cover a cancelled segue into season 2. Intriguing plot seeds are abandoned and the resolution is a masterclass in how not to tell a great SF story. But luckily there was enough good stuff before that to justify taking a look at later Torchwood seasons.
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on 27 June 2010
I don't get to watch UK local TV....I live abroad. A friend, visiting wondered why I hadn't bought any 'Torchwood' DVDs. She's a big fan; as my cousin plays the part of PC Andy she was quite angry with me! So, the first series has been a revelation, very well acted (Tom as PC Andy has featured only twice) and | shall soon be buying the next two or more series.
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