Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
I have a couple of issues with the cover. It’s shocking, I know. First, the people don’t look like themselves. I have looked at Jack, Gwen, and Ianto for a couple of years now and this glossy weird picture just creeps me out a bit. Next the silhouetted children in the background could be haunting, but it gets lost competing with the plastic stars slapped in the foreground.
- Torchwood Declassified A Look Behind The Scenes With The Cast & Crew – The only extra in the set which is a bit of a shame is the program that aired on BBC1 before the show, it’s a 30 minute behind the scenes look with a few spoilers. I would take a look after you have seen the miniseries, as there are some shocking revelations here.
The Series: 8/10
I”m a fan of Torchwood. OK, a little history would be helpful. I am American. I never did watch Dr. Who until a few years ago when my British husband, Ascully, introduced me to the time traveling dude. After getting hooked on that show they brought out Torchwood and I was skeptical. I was very skeptical. I don’t like spin off shows. They are usually just a bid for the producers of the original show to make more cash and not offer up much quality. This time my skepticism was not fulfilled. Torchwood, from the first episode, got my attention and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Now, on to the latest installment of the series. Children of Earth features our now rag tag team of alien fighting do-gooders, Jack, Gwen, and Ianto. I won’t give away the details of why or how we got to this point in the organization’s history. You need to watch the beginning of the show to catch up.
Children start synchronizing. Yes, at the same time all around the world all the children speak in synchronized oddness. That’s just the beginning. There is one older man who also falls under the same strange spell, so we have to find out the whole story. Before we get to pursue the weird chidren thing it seems Torchwood is being hunted down, they even try to kill Jack….yea, Jack. Like I mentioned before to catch up with the whole history of these characters you need to watch from the beginning, but I’ll say this, Jack isn’t easy to kill.
So, the children are saying strange things, Torchwood is being hunted, things are looking grim for our friends. The thing is this mini-series of the show isn’t focused just on the crew or the drama of the alien invader, it’s also focused on the bureaucracy of government. The ineptness of people in charge in the face of truly doing what’s best for the citizenry of their country. The idea that these people are so institutionalized that they have lost their humanity, their compassion, and become slaves to keeping their butts out of trouble and making sure their pensions are safe.
The action is always top notch. BBC knows how to do a quality TV show, that’s for sure. The special effects are often subtle, like an alien kept in a glass box obscured by a fog. You can barely see the beast and yet it’s much more intimidating then if they were out in the open. There are explosions, large blocks of cement encasing a human body falling from a high place…etc. It’s a lot of action and adventure packed onto the small screen, that’s for sure.
The characters are more fleshed out, Gwen and her man Rhys build on their marriage from last season. Jack and Ianto are challenged to find out more about their relationship and how they feel about each other. It’s just one of those shows that blends it all together with class.
I won’t say it’s perfect. I felt a bit lectured by the ideas of the story. I won’t go into details so I won’t reveal the heart of the plot, but it feels like there is a big agenda laid out on a plate for us to pick around on and make some decisions about ourselves as a culture (British or American). That’s ok, that’s what I like about Dr. Who and Torchwood, they have a mind of their own and make me think occasionally about things. Yes, even Science Fiction gives me something to think about in life. :) I had my moments of “wow this is awesome”. And then I had moments of thinking, “hmmm”. So, it can’t get the highest score. I think I”m tainted by the rest of the show, having experienced the whole of it makes this chapter as dynamic, but less satisfying in a way.
On the whole I think there have been single episodes of Torchwood that I enjoyed more in the story arena, but for a 5 part series it’s an awesome transition for our beloved protectors on the rift in Cardiff.
Audio & Video: 8/10
Torchwood is filmed in HD from the get go so this DVD release actually looks very nice (HD junkies note there is also a Blu-Ray version). The audio is also Dolby Digital 5.1 which makes the blood curdling screams of the 456 that more terrifying. Children Of Earth is a compelling story even if you are not a fan of the Russell T Davies universes, I really hope there is more to come.
If you are a fan of Torchwood, you will watch this regardless of the price. You can get it on DVD for about 15 bucks this week online. You can get it on Blu-Ray for about $30. If you like the show but you don’t need it to be on your shelf, it’s still an awesome rental!! 5 hours of fun and fanciful British TV, you can’t go wrong:)
Overall Score 8/10