The Cosmic Hobo

Thoughts & reviews about the science fiction series Doctor Who.

Archive for the category “torchwood”

Torchwood Episode Review: Ghost Machine

“Ghost Machine”
Written by Helen Raynor, dir. by Colin Teague
Torchwood – Series 1 – Episode 3

Rating: B-

Being that I think Owen is by far the weakest member of the Torchwood team, this episode had an in-built problem in that it was heavily focused on that character. The Torchwood team discovers an alien device that allows the user to see memories of the past, which leads to Owen accidentally seeing the events leading to a young girl’s rape and murder nearly half a century ago. When he discovers that the killer was never found and was allowed to go free, he makes it a personal mission to track down the murderer and somehow bring him to justice, despite the rest of the team telling him it isn’t their business and they don’t have any real evidence.

Stories like this are good for characters because it actually makes them more likable. I still think Owen Harper is the least likable character on the show, but showing that he cared enough about the girl he had no previous knowledge of to look into her murder only in the interest of bringing her justice, it makes Owen slightly more likable. I also think it is strong characterization in that it makes sense that someone would react like that, considering that he witnessed something awful like that and had to go through the emotion of it; it would be a traumatic experience for anyone, and I have to say that if I was a super secret agent with the capability Owen has, I would do the same thing.

The episode has a few issues early on, as it takes a while for the action plot of the episode to get going. It has a much slower build that it ought to have, as there are a lot of moments in the first fifteen minutes or so of the episode that didn’t really have anything to do with what turned out to be the overall story. The Owen plot line doesn’t really even start at all until the second third of the story, and as a result of that, I think it could have been overall a better executed episode than it was.

That being said, I still think there was a lot more good about this episode than bad. It is nice to see a show that allows its supporting characters to occasionally take the center stage, and it is also good that they take characterization seriously. Adding depth to Owen was a definitely necessary thing that I was worried wouldn’t ever really happen, but I’m glad it did. I am still really deeply enjoying this series, three episodes in. Still waiting to get to the crap everyone has talked about.

Torchwood Episode Review: Day One

“Day One”
Written by Chris Chibnall, dir. by Brian Kelly
Torchwood – Series 1 – Episode 2

Rating: B

The idea of a story in which the alien menace quite literally fucks people to death seems like something straight out of the dark and scary world of adult fan fiction. When I read the synopsis of this episode before seeing it, I had to do a double take. As it turns out, though, that is exactly what it is: a parasitic alien species lands on Earth, takes over the body of a young woman, and is only able to sustain itself by getting the girl to sleep with men and feeding off the energy of the orgasm.

As strange as it sounds, I really liked this episode. It had a lot of good humor, and was certainly better than the second episode of New Who (the absolutely garbage “The End of the World.”) By this point, I have already decided that I like every character on the show except Owen Harper, who I eagerly await the death of. Captain Jack is an outstanding frontman for the show, and I think Torchwood has had a stronger start than the new series of Doctor Who did, which I think took until “Dalek” to get me interested and until “Father’s Day” to convince me it was capable of being excellent.

The overall directorial style that has been embraced by the creators of Torchwood is a breath of fresh air, and shows a much more grounded and mature approach. It is very cinematic in a way, and feels less like sci-fi show of the week and more like a noir-ish drama. As much as I adore Doctor Who overall (and occasionally New Who), I think this style is more my wheelhouse in terms of visuals and feel. I look forward to delving more deeply into Torchwood.

Torchwood Episode Review: Everything Changes

“Everything Changes”
Written by Russell T. Davies, dir. by Brian Kelly
Torchwood – Series 1 – Episode 1

Rating: B

Aside from the fact that the show featured Captain Jack Harkness and that Torchwood was sort-of-like-but-not-really UNIT, I didn’t know a damn thing about the show before watching it. In anticipation of the newest season, I thought it was about time I caught up on the three series that have already aired, so I have a bit more knowledge going into the new stuff.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed “Everything Changes.” I think Russell T. Davies and director Brian Kelly do a great job of making Torchwood a show of its own, not only in terms of story lines, but in overall feeling. There is a distinctly different mood to the stories than to Doctor Who, and I enjoy that it is a bit more edgy and adult oriented.

The story itself was solid, if not all that original. It sort of reminded me of the first episode of The X-Files in a way, in that someone who is completely ignorant of what is really going on is introduced to it by another character. It makes sense; introducing a character to Torchwood the organization within the context of the pilot episode is also the perfect way to introduce a viewer to the show. It helps to make Gwen Cooper a likable character right off the bat, as we can sympathize with her having no idea what is really going on.

Combining the strong plot with a few likable characters and some really good direction, I have to say that I’m excited about the show. It may have been a little on the slow side, but not so much that it detracted from my enjoyment. It helps to have a familiar face in John Barrowman as Captain Jack, who has always been one of the highlights of every Doctor Who episode he has appeared in. We often dream of a likable recurring character getting a spinoff. Luckily, in the case of Torchwood, this has actually come to pass. Looking forward to digging deeper into this series.

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