14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Absolutely fantastic, July 27 2008
I'm not much of a fan of TV in general, but there are a few series here and there that really stand out for their intelligence, innovation and quality... and Torchwood is a standout even among those.
While season one didn't quite hit the same level as season two eventually did, it was still stunningly good -- far more interesting, entertaining and mature than the vast majority of other shows. Torchwood even at its worst is better than most other shows at their best.
The acting is consistently excellent, and the characters all intriguingly complex, flawed people, who are not overidealized but shown as being capable of both heroism and terrible mistakes. Above all, they're very, very human. It does take a while for some of them to fully develop over the course of the series, though, so don't expect to feel like you fully know everyone after just the first few episodes (or even by the end of the first season, for that matter).
However, it's definitely not for everyone's tastes - Torchwood does not shy away from dealing with dark and/or controversial themes, and the conservative or easily offended should probably stay far away. In particular, those who are expecting it to be similar in style and tone to Doctor Who may be in for a bit of a shock. Even the character they have in common has gone through a lot of changes between his parting of ways with the Doctor at the end of DW season one, and the beginning of this series (for reasons that are eventually made clear in season 3 of DW) - Captain Jack as he appears here is a lot more serious and driven, and less playfully hedonistic than we originally saw him, though there are certainly still flashes of that.
But many of the same things that upset some viewers - like the strong presence of LGBT themes and characters, sudden shifts in style or content just when you think you've got the series pinned down, exploration of moral ambiguities, and the occasional shock of having "good" characters do very bad things - are what make the series so unique and compelling for those of us who find most television banal.
The only real flaw I've found in Torchwood is that it sometimes seems to focus on character development and emotional impact to the point where logic suffers. There are things that seem to happen for no other reason than that they provide an opportunity for intense and emotionally affecting scenes, and don't really stand up to logical scrutiny afterwards. But on the whole that seems like a minor failing in a series that's otherwise so powerful.
All in all, highly recommended for anyone who wants a change from the usual TV fare, and isn't afraid of being shaken out of their comfort zone.