Although I've watched the new Doctor
Who series before, I unfortunately missed the bandwagon when it
was first aired in Australia and have been slowly catching via
re-runs and DVD collections. It's a thoroughly entertaining series
and definitely fleshes out the character Doctor Who with a
21st century spin.
However, the current Doctor Who series as with the original is
enjoyed by all ages, however interestingly enough, a spin-off series
from the same universe was created, called Torchwood. Unlike
Doctor Who with its over the top plots and stories that can be
watched by all ages, Torchwood was a darker series and was
aimed at the adult market. This parallel is similar to when the
excellent TV series Angel spun out of Buffy the Vampire
Slayer which was a more aloof and fun series, as opposed to the
darker and more adult content of Angel.
With parallels aside, Torchwood is a cleverly written modern
science fiction series that revolves around an elite team from the
Torchwood Institute in Britain. Similar to the Urban myths of Area
51 and men in black, Torchwood are also responsible for
investigating paranormal and scientific anomalies.
With a team comprised of strange personalities and even stranger
backgrounds, Torchwood is lead by Captain Jack Harkness (John
Barrowman), an immortal who has a shrouded past. Joining Jack are
Dr. Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), technophile Toshiko Sato (Naoko
Mori), support officer Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) and new
recruit Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles).
With such a diverse personality and range of backgrounds, the
Torchwood team often come head to head with some of the
investigations that they face. Of course, Torchwood would not
succeed without the diverse acting skills of all involved and
although the special effects are somewhat limited to Doctor Who
caliber, they are classic BBC special effects that range from
impressive to laughable, however this should not distract from the
engaging story telling.
At times, Torchwood is almost a social commentary of the
world and just when things start becoming a little dry, the viewer
is thrown a curve ball that once again sparks their interest. The
universe of Torchwood is quite dark, especially how they resolve a
variety of conflicts that they encounter, often causing rifts among
the first series progresses, so do the histories of each character
and this is the gem of Torchwood as each episodes gives
another glimpse into the characters of this intriguing organisation
who don't officially exist. At times the series features those
science fiction clichés, however these moments are quite few due to
the well written plots. However, as per usual, season one finishes
with a cliff hanger moment and there were only a few episodes in the
series that were a little ho hum.
As the series is filmed in high definition, the transfer to Blu-ray
is quite good for a TV series with sharp picture quality, vibrant
colours and generally strong blacks. To compliment the decent video
quality, the series features a DTS HD 5.1 mix that boasts crystal
clear dialogue and good levels of sound. Even though it cannot be
compared to modern movie Blu-ray transfers, the BBC should be
commended on their effort for Torchwood the Complete First Season.
When it comes to extras, the Blu-ray is littered with goodies from
a plethora of audio commentaries for the episodes that features
those on screen and behind. Thankfully they go into some in-depth
detail of the production of the series, including a few issues and
humourous moments behind the scenes which is always fun.
There are also some standard definition featurettes that include
production featurettes, "Torchwood Declassified", Deleted Scenes and
the entertaining "The Captain's Log video diary". Definitely a fun
journey for those fans of the series and helps with almost
everything you wanted to know about the universe of Torchwood.
At the end, Torchwood the Complete First Season is definitely
a must have Blu-ray for fans of the series or for those who may have
missed the series the first time around and are looking for a
well-written science fiction series. Sure, some of the special
effects may be a little embarrassing, not as bad as Doctor Who but
the star of Torchwood are the characters and of course that the
stories have been written for an older market. With a plethora of
special features, Torchwood the Complete First Season will
keep you entertained for a lengthy amount of time.
Greeks Bearing Gifts
They Keep Killing Suzie
Out of Time
Captain Jack Harkness
End of Days
The Captain's Log video diary