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This review is from: Torchwood: Complete BBC Series 2  [DVD] (DVD)
It is with a truly heavy heart that I find myself writing this review.
I loved season 1.
It was unpredictable; it was fun and most of all it was nearly always truly original. Every episode was full to the brim with new ideas, inspired plotting and rich characterisation. (Even the much maligned "Cyberwoman" showed some initiative). It was intelligent science fiction for an older audience.
When season 2 was announced I was dutifully excited but experienced my first twinges of concern as I saw and read interviews with cast and crew that suggested Torchwood had been somehow overhauled. They kept using phrases like "matured", "sleeker", "fast-paced", "all-action" and regularly referred to a "new format" one that improved on the "flawed" series 1. Still, I ignored the alarm bells and pressed on.
I felt slightly let-down by episode 1 but was pretty sure that was just because my expectations were too high.
Settling in for the rest of the series I became gradually more deflated as episode followed episode.
Where was the new dynamic series with improved writing, coherent structure and better characterisation I'd been promised in all those sound-bite interviews and previews?
What had happened to Torchwood?
I slowly came to understand that the sense of adventure and fun I loved in season 1 had been stripped away as collateral damage while attempting to deliver wider appeal to a much larger demographic.
Several episodes in season 2 were still exceptional and kept the spirit of season 1 intact; "To the last man", "Something borrowed", "Adrift" and "Fragments", but others seemed like missed opportunities.
"From out of the rain" and "Adam" had so much potential yet none of this was realised in the finished product. Murderous, breath-stealing, circus freak-show people from an old film coming into our reality should have been a license to create something truly terrifying but totally failed to capitalise on its existing strengths.
As I watched "Adam" I loved the initial concept but the plot structure was handled in such a plodding and uninspired manner that I began to lament the lost possibilities for what could have been a truly great episode. They even had the "reveal" so ridiculously early on in the episode that it must have been to hand-hold viewers who might be confused.
I enjoyed the cameos by several British TV stalwarts not forgetting appearances by "Jim Robinson" and "Spike". I really enjoyed the glimpses of "Old Torchwood" and can see massive potential in following that direction. I still love the concept and characters and will definitely still tune in for season 3 (if there is one) but sadly I felt that, overall, this was Torchwood-Lite, dumbed-down and heavily diluted in some parts to pander to a wider audience. I'm not saying that, as a viewer, I'm any more important than the "wider audience" but I certainly found my enjoyment was lessened by so many compromises.