Wednesday, February 9, 2011

TV Series Review: Torchwood (season one)

Sorry this is late guys, I had about half of this written up yesterday and then my evening was way more busy than I expected and was nodding off when I tried to write the rest. So just as a heads up, I might have to switch to an every other day update schedule but I'm going to try to keep the reviews daily as long as I can. 
So, Torchwood! Appropriately enough I watched this with the same friends who introduced me to Doctor Who last year (TW is a spin-off from DW). Also a bit funny since RTD was the show runner for both series and his style of writing/directing is really distinctive. Although, like the first few seasons of the new DW series, this season was a bit rocky.

Summary: With the number of aliens coming to Earth each year, and the trouble of keeping them hidden from the general public, it's no surprise that many countries have created their own response teams. Torchwood 3 is located by a giant space-time rift in Cardiff Wales and are soon joined by the plucky Gwen Cooper in their quest to keep the city alien free.

The Good: Some of the episodes were pretty interesting, ie, ended up being quite different than I expected. The fairy episode and the one with the monster in the middle of nowhere had some interesting twists at the end and the time travel one turned out a bit different than I expected. Really liked the 1940s episode for the setting and the characters were actually clever in this one. Yes there was still angst but they seemed more focused on solving the problem this time around, might look it up to see if that one had a different episode writer or such.
The Bad: Like I said above, some episodes were hits and some were misses. Torchwood was created to carter to the older Doctor Who audience so it's also "edgier" which, as far as I can tell, means that everyone angsts more and tries to solve every problem using sex (spoiler alert, usually doesn't help). So the characters by and large are rather annoying (maybe I would talk with them at a party but I really wouldn't want to deal with them more than once or twice), the season didn't have an overarching theme/villain/motif (which is what I liked about RTD era DW) and the ending was abrupt. Yes I know it crosses over at that point but frankly, if I wasn't interested in seeing DW and saw that season ending I would've been really annoyed.

The Music: I heard the opening theme plenty of times while watching this (mainly because the DVD player was being finicky and it took forever to get the DVDs to play) so it's a good thing that I actually like it. Just a short bit of music with a fast tempo that isn't used as prominently in the series as it does on the DVD menu but it would probably make a cool ringtone. Other than that, music really is something I notice more on the re-watch of a series than the first time but I like the period music in the WWII episode.

The Visuals: The CGI is a bit worse than DW (so that is to say, lower end of average) and, as the image above suggests, visually it's pretty dark in a lot of places, I think my friends had the tv brightness turned way up to see it. The settings worked however, some very nice clothing for the 1940s episode and none of the sets looked overused to me. So, it's not the most visually interesting show out there but it works, rather average I suppose.

So, this was kinda a week season actually. There were some things I liked but if I hadn't been watching with friends I might've actually dropped the show. As it stands, still planning to watch season two with them, since both of them had the same problems with the season I did and said they liked the second one better, and if that goes well I'll watch Children of Earth and wait for season four, Immortality Day.