Have you seen the show Torchwood on BBC America? It started as a spin-off of the revamped Dr. Who series last year and is almost at the end of season 2. I’ve only seen a few episodes of this season, but what I’ve seen has made me want to get and watch season 1 on DVD.
The writing and stories have been outstanding. And though it took be a bit to get used to the idea of a bisexual main character (Captain Jack Harkness, played to the teeth by John Barrowman), I’ve adjusted and look forward each week to the creative aspects of the next episode. So to the BBC, I say that I’m now hooked — great work!
But the episode that really got me hooked (not that I wasn’t hooked an episode or so before it) was Adrift. Gwen (one of the Torchwood team) helps a local policeman try and track down a teenager that disappeared. And it leads to a startling discovery about a side of Torchwood Gwen (and the rest of us) hadn’t seen.
Torchwood deals with these “rifts” that appear and drop off people, aliens, or things, on Earth. We’re obviously not ready to deal with the concept that we’re not alone in the universe (don’t get me started), so the Torchwood gang goes about cleaning up the messes, making people forget, and generally doing the Men In Black kind of thing without Will Smith making wisecracks.
What’s interesting to me is that Torchwood deals with what I think of as the “dark side” of Dr. Who. These rifts appear and drop stuff off and they deal with the repercussions, some of which are obvious and others aren’t so obvious — Adrift deals with one of these not so obvious repercussions. And then it goes further by showing what happens when you actually tell someone what happened and remove the spark of hope.
And on the other side, it deals with the fragile nature of the mind. If someone sees the destruction of a world and the final, frenzied abandonment of the people from that world — how do you deal with the dying of an entire world? An entire solar system? A universe? And how does that forever change you? There are some things that we as human beings shouldn’t ever see. If you look at the results of Katrina, of the Iraq war, of 9/11, it’s easy to see this in real life. But by exploring this in a “science fiction” show, you get to look at it from an angle that you don’t get to see.
What do you guys think of Torchwood? I can’t get into Dr. Who — too many images in my head of walking trashcans covered in tin foil from my childhood — but Torchwood taps into the darker side of sci-fi that bears exploring further. I look forward to seeing what came before this season and what comes after season 2 (the season finale is airing, at least in my time zone, next Saturday night here on DirecTV on BBC America).
Until next time…