OK, so we had this deal with The Hyattsville Boys. It was an agreement to trade our new addictions. If they agreed to watch at least the opening miniseries of Battlestar Galactica, then we would in turn start watching BBC’s Torchwood. And as it often happens, your friends know you too well. We’ve made it through season 1 of our respective shows and are starting up seasons 2.
Torchwood is a bit hard to classify. It’s like The X-Files by way of CSI, with some of the personal secrets drama of Lost thrown in, and a splash of the gentle ribbing humor of How I Met Your Mother.
The show’s premise is that a secret branch of the police (Torchwood) operates beyond the law to deal with alien encounters and other paranormal activity. And for once it’s not in London – the whole show takes place in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.
The team is comprised of:
- Captain Jack Harkness, seemingly invincible with a mysterious past he won’t discuss
- Gwen Cooper, the new kid on the block who is the soft heart of the team; she strives to maintain a life outside her work with boyfriend Rhys
- Owen Harper, the cheeky lothario who serves as the team doctor and medical expert
- Toshiko Sato, technical guru who is eager to please and suffers from serious self-esteem issues
- Ianto Jones, the morose base manager (or perhaps butler and housekeeper)
Beyond that, just think of a procedural drama about paranormal activity, and you’ve got the basic idea. But there is one crucial difference that sets this show apart – the sexuality! And I don’t just mean that sex pervades many an episode (it sure does), but the fact that sexuality in general is fluid. Everyone on the show ends up being bisexual, more or less. You’ll see the guys with girls, or guys, or girls AND guys…you get the idea. It really sets the traditional TV paradigm on its ear – what happens when everyone will sleep with everyone? Sexual tension abounds! What is perhaps most remarkable is how much a non-issue it really is; just as shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Lost have done with race.
Overall I’ve found the series to be quite enjoyable. It starts off strong in season 1, but starts to drag a bit towards the middle. Then it comes to a strong conclusion that leaves you wanting more! And so now we’re 2 episodes into the next season which has really got off to an exciting start. The characters have also become more fully fleshed out. Ianto in particular has gone from sad and mopey all the time to a sharp wit providing much needed comic relief.
So if you’re looking for something new to throw on your Netflix queue to pass the cold winter months, warm up with Torchwood! I think you’ll be glad that you did.