Thursday, July 3, 2008

Welcome to Torchwood

I also went back and rewatched the first episode of Torchwood, "Everything Changes," after viewing the first two series of the television show. The series spins off from Doctor Who with the Doctor's companion Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) taking the lead role as the director of the Torchwood secret organization branch in Cardiff, Wales. Doctor Who established that a rift in time and space over the Welsh city, which also serves as the base for the filming of the television series, causes aliens to come through to Earth. Torchwood is made as a program for older viewers, with more explicit language and violence, as well as realistic depictions of adult relationships. While Doctor Who is designed for a family audience, Torchwood may not be suitable for younger viewers. Both Doctor Who and Torchwood have a lot of humor and has fun with science fiction conventions as well as aspects of everyday life.

The first episode introduces viewers to Police Constable Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), who like Rose Tyler in the first episode of the 2005 Doctor Who revival is just discovering the existence of aliens in her world. Russell T. Davies' script, like Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer which was one of the series' inspirations, has lots of unexpected moments and humor as well as shocking revelations. Gwen, like Buffy, meets an enigmatic man (Jack in Torchwood, Angel in Buffy) who she gradually finds out more about. Though Torchwood began in 2006, I first saw "Everything Changes" after viewing Doctor Who series three (2007), so I already knew some more about Jack's story than Gwen did in the episode. I saw the show more from Jack's point of view than Gwen's, since I had seen Doctor Who and knew its backstory. However, someone who was less familiar with the show's history or science fiction might identify more with Gwen who doesn't know what is going on until Jack explains the situation to her. Torchwood can be enjoyed on multiple levels and has lots of fun moments for Doctor Who fans as well as providing a great action adventure and mystery for people new to the series or genre.

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