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Captain Jack Harkness, the former Time Agent and con man from the 51st century last seen traveling with the Doctor, ventures to early 21st century Cardiff. There, he becomes a member of Torchwood Institute, a renegade criminal investigation group founded by Queen Victoria to battle hostile extraterrestrial and supernatural threats. Written by
Prior to becoming involved in the revival of Doctor Who (2005), Russell T. Davies had conceived of this series as a concept about an alien-fighting team called "Excalibur". After DW became a success, Davies decided to rework the idea as a spin-off, and he latched on to the codeword "Torchwood" for the core organisation. See more »
Captain Jack Harkness:
[voiceover during second season opening]
Torchwood: outside the government, beyond the police. Fighting for the future on behalf of the human race. The 21st Century is when everything changes -- and Torchwood is ready.
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Better than these reviews would lead you to believe
There seems to be an awful lot of negative comment about Torchwood on these pages and there is definitely a certain 'its not like Doctor Who' element. I love the re-vamped Dr Who, and I was a fan as a child, I grew up with Jon Pertwee as the Doctor and to me he was always the definitive incumbent, until being eclipsed by both the modern incarnations. No, Torchwood is not like Doctor Who, it's a different series; I feel that the characters are very well drawn. They are a team of typical people, they do not have the solutions to all the problems they face, they get scared, they argue, they make mistakes. As far as I see it they behave exactly how most normal people would if recruited and working in a tightly knit team under stressful conditions. There is of course the Russell Davies trademark BLG sexual behaviour, but it is portrayed in a refreshing manner and very much it keeping with the general vibe of the show.
What many of the reviewers seem to miss is the fact that the show is as much about the characters as the aliens, the scripts with a couple of exceptions have been excellent, exploring human relationships and attitudes from a range of perspectives, but most importantly they have been rip-roaring entertainment.
The acting is strong, Barrowman being particularly good, but they all acquit themselves well. The casting is excellent, rather than a stable of beautiful people, they have chosen actors that look, and thanks to good writing, behave, like real people.
A couple of points;
John Barrowman's American accent isn't fake; he lived there from the age of eight.
A lot of comments regarding how derivative the series is; I suspect that Bram Stoker might consider Buffy to be more than a little derivative of his work, but none the less entertaining for it.
This is an excellent series, watch more than one episode before reviewing and please try to approach it with out a particular expectation.
In summary, it is brilliant entertainment.
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