I am a massive Doctor Who fan, but Torchwood was more of a revelation for me and has had more of an impact on my tastes and my own writing. Torchwood came out just as I was old enough to actually watch TV aimed at adults rather than at family audiences. It was the first nitty-gritty tv show that I saw and because I absolutely love the character of Jack Harkness it was an immediate favourite of mine.
The first series is a great example that British television aimed at adults is capable of producing, especially with a female lead. A lot of people might argue that Jack is the lead, but no for me he’s the established character that made me want to watch in the first place, but Gwen is the protagonist, at least at first because she is the audience’s way into the world of Torchwood. She’s the one who can legitimately ask the question “What the hell is going on?” in order to drive the plot forward and she is a great lead.
She is full of doubt, she makes mistakes, she knows what he job is and what she’s good at. She is a deeply conflicted character and I fell in love with her from the moment she went back to Torchwood near the end of the first episode, even after she had been drugged to forget what she saw because her gut was telling her something was up and to not let it go. She is the one who is introduced to the cast of wildly different characters that comprise of Torchwood; Ianto, Owen and Toshiko, each of them who had their own personalities, weren’t perfect themselves and were stumbling along like she is in trying to cope with the danger that Torchwood asks them face.
The show is awesome, and one of the reasons is because the show’s producers didn’t hold back; they show the world in all of its darkness and grim reality. They tackle death head on, they don’t hide the sex behind a closed door and they show how young and old can be affected by the reality of the world. A lot of the story arc is based around the mysteries of who Captain Jack Harkness is and why he seemingly can’t die, but that is not what is answered; fine he might be mysterious but he is someone who can be relied on to be there. Until he isn’t when he vanishes at the very end and leave them all in doubt of everything they think they know.
The first series is overall utterly brilliant, and I love watching it all but there are a first episodes I always look forward to seeing again when I’m doing a binge.
Cyberwoman is the first of the episodes that begins to draw away from Gwen and begins to explore the lives of the other characters. A twist on a classic Doctor Who enemy makes you see the horror of those who are upgraded but also the aftermath for those left behind.
Countrycide is a classic horror story set rural Wales. It is brilliantly executed and fantastically sinister.
Random Shoes is akin to the Doctor lite episodes and centres around Eugene. It’s not particularly scary or even adult themed, but it is brilliantly acted and carried a heartfelt message, don’t wait for life to begin, just start living now.
Captain Jack Harkness (name of the episode) is a time travel episode and it transports Toshiko and Jack to 1941. The staging is beautiful, the interaction between the present and the past is elegantly haunting, and well that kiss is just beautiful to watch.