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> Torchwood: TV FLASHBACK
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Klampus
post Jun 9 2015, 05:56 PM
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TORCHWOOD



(featuring spoilers of course, ya been warned)

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.

'Torchwood' was a spin-off TV series to the hugely popular, and still ongoing, 'Doctor Who' that aired between 2006-2011. It was created by Russell T Davies, the man in charge of bringing back 'Doctor Who' in 2005 and starred Captain Jack Harkness as the leader of a group of alien hunters. Captain Jack had first made his appearance in the episode 9 ('The Empty Child') of the 2005 series of Doctor Who before departing in the finale. He would go on to make further one-off appearances in the 2007 and 2008 series. The Torchwood Institute had also been referenced throughout the 2006 series of Doctor Who, leading up to an explosive finale that centred around the institute.

In the 'Torchwood' series, Captain Jack lead a much smaller team based in Cardiff, operating after the 2006 series events, that defended Earth from aliens and villains who, in the first two series, mainly came from a time rift that was first explored in the 2005 series of Doctor Who. The team consisted of Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato and Ianto Jones. The series was intended for a more adult audience and therefore took a more darker tone, the first series perhaps saw the adult tone most explicitly but the darker tone is something that is heavily seen throughout. The series has a possibly unique feat of airing each series on a different channel with the first series originally airing on BBC Three, the second on BBC Two, the third on BBC One and whilst the fourth also aired on BBC One, it premièred on the US channel Starz first.



The first series saw a glimpse into another initial team member, Suzi Costello before she shockingly died in the first episode but she would go on to appear later in the series. We also saw sex monsters, cannibalism, a cyberwoman, a main cast member venturing into a lesbian relationship, fightclubs and many explorations into dealing with death and loss. It also introduced us to Weevils, a monster that would feature throughout the first two series. In the series finale, viewers also learned more of Captain Jack's background and the fact that Captain Jack is not even his name!



Series 2 saw Martha Jones feature in a special trilogy of episodes exploring the living death of main character Owen. The series also featured more explorations into Captain Jack's past with our first glimpse of another time agent in the first episode as well as seeing Captain's Jack's brother, later on. It followed the same format as the first series by having 12 mainly separate adventures as well as a two part finale. The devastating series finale, where we saw how each team member joined the team, brought about the deaths of two of the main cast members.



A change of format would arrive with the series' debut on BBC One as the third series brought five episodes telling a single story that would be aired in one week. 'Children of Earth' mixed in elements of a political thriller alongside the sci-fi nature of the series. Ianto was involved in a more central role and we explored his family life, as well as finding out Captain Jack also has a family on Earth! The series heavily focused on the possibilities of how a Government would react to an alien invasion and it took a VERY dark view of this. Nothing can get darker than the government deciding which children should be sent off to be used as drugs for aliens. It saw the Torchwood hub destroyed, ultimately meaning the end of the team following Ianto's death. 'Children of Earth' was a huge critical and rating success.



For the fourth series, BBC One joined up with the US channel Starz to produce a 10 part story titled 'Miracle Day'. The premise, that no one in the world was able to die is reminiscent of Captain Jack's own immortality. The series saw Jack and Gwen flown over to the US and Rex and Esther unofficially joining the team. The series, once again, was able to explore the reactions to such a threat ever occurring. It also didn't feature an alien threat as such, rather the enemy were a sort of cult.

'Torchwood' was able to be independent and a huge success outside of it's parent show as shown by the 'upgrading' of channels with each series. However, it appears unlikely that the show will be returning to TV screens with Russell focusing on other projects. The series is currently being (half) resurrected through audio drama, with the first release being in September.

What are your memories of the show? Remember for TV shows that pre-date 2000, visit the Retro Lounge!

Previous Flashbacks:

The Catherine Tate Show
Rock School
Come Fly With Me
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Klampus
post Jun 9 2015, 05:58 PM
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Will be airing my full thoughts later (I tried to be as neutral as possible in the opening post!) but I just have to say I love this series and 'Children of Earth' is perhaps one of the best pieces of television I've seen.

I like to pretend 'Miracle Day' never happened though. sad.gif
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JosephCarey
post Jun 9 2015, 06:22 PM
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Yass, so glad I can discuss this somewhere wub.gif I'm currently partway through rewatching each Torchwood episode, am now two episodes into Miracle Day.

Most episodes in series 1, I'd only seen once (and not even when they first aired as I was too young laugh.gif), so watching them recently felt like the first time. I enjoyed it a hell of a lot more than I previously did, maybe cause I actually understand it now but even so. My favourite episodes were Cyberwoman (terrifying yet actually quite sad), Countrycide (chilling) and the two-part finale.

I remember for series 2, they aired pre-watershed editions of the episode with swearing/gory scenes cut out, so I watched them the first time they aired laugh.gif The series as a whole was less good for me but still of a really high quality. A Day in the Death was the only real low point I thought, really quite boring and I've thought that each time I've watched it. Something Borrowed has remained a huge highlight for me throughout the years, whereas I've only just started to appreciate Adrift on my recent watch of it, a huge dilemma for Gwen and one that didn't really pay off - a mother seeing that her missing son has aged 40 years and has notable scars, not forgetting that he's gone mad, due to being transported through the rift? A tragic story told so well. The finale is of course a highlight too and I sobbed my eyes out when I saw Tosh and Owen's deaths the first time.

Children of Earth...where do I start??? I appreciate it more and more with each watch, and I loved it the first time. I love the way it's one story told over a week, it kept it short enough to keep your interest but long enough to tell the story properly rather than a 45 minute episode. The entire cast gave incredible performances, the main cast as always but hats off to Peter Capaldi - the scene where he shoots his wife and kids and then himself is harrowing yet so beautifully written, you can tell he's a good man having to resort to desperate measures so that his kids don't have to be given as drugs to aliens. And of course, the way Steven was used to save the world was beautifully written yet again quite difficult to watch, and that's what's so good about Torchwood, they could tackle issues that Doctor Who couldn't for obvious reasons. A spectacular piece of television, possibly the best I've seen??

Miracle Day was naturally a comedown from Children of Earth, but then I think anything would've been. It's a good idea that wasn't executed as well as it should've been. I don't think it was BAD at all but it was all over the place and beyond drawn out - we learnt nothing about the "enemy" until the finale drama.gif I liked the supporting cast though, Esther especially, such a shame she died at the end sad.gif

In terms of the characters, Gwen has always been my favourite and it's always felt like HER story to me, despite Jack being the "main" character as such. We see Gwen joining Torchwood, getting married, and then leaving Torchwood behind and becoming a mother, and it's a lovely story I think and you can see how far she's progressed from series 1 to series 4. Toshiko was adorable, such a misunderstood character for the most part. Owen was a bit of a twat but a really interesting character, especially when he died the first time.

tl;dr - Torchwood was f***ing amazing.
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Klampus
post Jun 9 2015, 06:44 PM
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I agree that it does feel a lot more like Gwen's series, especially with the large focus on her and Rhys whereas you don't really see the other member's families aside from Jack's brother in a couple of Series 2 episodes and of course Ianto and Jack's family in 'Children of Earth'. I suppose it's like the first series of Doctor Who where Rose is definitely the main character rather than the Doctor.

That scene you point out in 'Children of Earth' is definitely so on point, harrowing to watch but it shows so much about the character as well as the reality of the government's decision.
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JosephCarey
post Jun 9 2015, 06:48 PM
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I'm glad there was a lot of focus on Gwen though actually, you could really see the progression in her character from a fairly naive police officer to a woman who shoots from her gun with one arm while holding a baby in the other kink.gif
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Severin
post Jun 9 2015, 08:01 PM
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Series 1 & 2 were diverting and decent enough fare if unspectacular. The characters were well thought out and the show's strong point. It did come across a bit to infatuated with Jack's sexuality at times and occasionally to the show's detriment.

Series 3 IS a classic piece of Brit Sci-fi and pretty much perfect.

Series 4 killed the show.
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Winter Wombatlan...
post Jun 9 2015, 08:49 PM
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I haven't seen the first two series as I was a bit late to get into it after Doctor Who, but Children of Earth was stupendous television - one of the most gripping, intense tv shows I've seen in recent years, it seemed very real and somewhat apt as an event as well even though it was sci-fi. You'd kinda believe that it could actually turn out like this.

I so wanted Miracle Day to be as good, but it missed the mark completely. FAR too long as well, felt like it just lingered on purpose.


This post has been edited by Chez Wombat: Jun 9 2015, 08:50 PM
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April
post Jun 9 2015, 09:36 PM
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The first three series were all brilliant in different ways. The setup of Series 1 & 2 worked very well and had some amazing individual episodes. However, I felt the lacked an overall story arc.

Series 3 was just 11/10 amazing. It worked well having the show over 5 days and everything was brilliantly done.

Series 4 was dire. I blame the Americans.
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JosephCarey
post Jun 9 2015, 09:38 PM
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I think if Miracle Day followed series 2, it might have been better received, but following Children of Earth was always gonna be tough and we KNEW they were capable of better. As I said, the idea was there but it was executed mostly in the wrong way sad.gif
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April
post Jun 9 2015, 09:40 PM
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I don't think it helped that most of the original cast had been killed off by Series 4 too. The American replacements were poor.
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JosephCarey
post Jun 9 2015, 09:43 PM
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That's true drama.gif Esther was great I think but Rex wasn't really very easy to warm to. Whilst I think the exit scenes for Owen, Tosh and Ianto are among the best scenes the show has produced, I do wish they'd been kept on sad.gif
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Klampus
post Jun 9 2015, 09:47 PM
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'Miracle Day' felt like a mix of creating a new show but keeping the Torchwood brand which didn't mix too well in the end. The Starz involvement probably hindered the show as they would be wanting it to be a series where viewers need no prior knowledge of the show which doesn't really work with a character like Captain Jack. The lack of monster at all and indeed the lack of villain for the majority of the series meant there was no real aim. There were too many pacing issues with storylines looking like they were important but actually going nowhere (I still don't get why they included the Oswald Danes storyline other than to show how bad having everyone live was).
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post Jun 9 2015, 10:16 PM
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The series 2 finale is one of my favourite episodes ever. The deaths DESTROYED me. Another highlight is Series 1 Episode 6 'Countrycide', I freaking loved the horror element in that. And of course the entire series 3 is a masterpiece. Series 4 was fine, a bit slow but I loved the story.

I can't believe they haven't brought it back. I'd be ok with a handful of episodes every couple of years.
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JosephCarey
post Jun 9 2015, 10:29 PM
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The Oswald Danes storyline really did end up being fairly pointless drama.gif I'd rather they focused that time on something much more relevant, like the people/organisation behind the miracle. Bill Pullman was fantastic though and played Danes so well!
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Calum
post Jun 9 2015, 10:39 PM
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I really didn't like Miracle Day at first, stopped watching after the second episode because I just couldn't get into it, but then I waited for the DVD to come and then I loved it when I watched all of it at once. It's quite a compelling story, and the last episode never fails to get me all emotional. Could not abide by Rex at all though, one of the most irritating characters. drama.gif

Children of Earth is by far and away Torchwood's peak though, so many dramatic moments, emotional ones, everything about it just worked so very well. One of the finest pieces of British television, IMO. All of the characters were fleshed out extremely well, used to their full potential, and none of the episodes had any filler in them whatsoever. 'Day Five' when Jack sacrifices Stephen still gives me goosebumps. cry.gif

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house.martin
post Jul 15 2015, 01:34 PM
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I was just gonna say the I thought series 1 was simply brilliant, a must see.
Series 2 was decent.
Series 3 was ok.
and series 4, put it this way, I didn't persevere watching after I think the 2nd episode.
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ionderella
post Jul 15 2015, 01:40 PM
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What a show! Never lost an OUNCE of its quality and kept getting better and better. I agree with the opinion that Season 3 is incredible. In fact I'll need to rewatch this v soon.
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lewistgreen
post Jul 30 2015, 12:52 PM
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This was (and still is) a fantastic show!
I haven't seen any of the episodes since they first aired so I would love to sit down and watch them all again.
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NellyEverySundae
post Jul 30 2015, 01:00 PM
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I LOVED the first season. I actually found each episode incredibly well written. I have to say out of every episode, Countrycide will still stay my favourite. It was the first time I actually felt truly terrified by a show!

I never really warmed to Owen. When he died, I was more upset about Tosh's death than his. He seemed very sociopathic.

Miracle Day had the most intriguing premise but ultimately there were episodes which didn't need to exist and the story started to drag on a lot. I didn't ever 'get' the whole Oswald Danes story as such.
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SGrey
post Jul 30 2015, 02:38 PM
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QUOTE(Nelly. S @ Jul 30 2015, 02:00 PM) *
I LOVED the first season. I actually found each episode incredibly well written. I have to say out of every episode, Countrycide will still stay my favourite. It was the first time I actually felt truly terrified by a show!

I never really warmed to Owen. When he died, I was more upset about Tosh's death than his. He seemed very sociopathic.

Miracle Day had the most intriguing premise but ultimately there were episodes which didn't need to exist and the story started to drag on a lot. I didn't ever 'get' the whole Oswald Danes story as such.


I loved Tosh wub.gif

Neither did I with Miracle Day but absolutely loved the concept and it is strange to think it could become a reality one day in the near future what with medical advances!
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