SEASON ONE: EPISODE 1: “Everything Changes”

A brutal murder leads WPC Gwen Cooper to Torchwood, a journey that will change her life forever.

This is definitely Gwen Cooper’s episode, all the way. Essentially it’s the story of an ordinary police officer who accidently stumbles into the world of Torchwood, and by the end of the episode proves she has the right stuff to join the team. I watched this episode with an eye toward how well it stands on its own: quite nicely, I think. Although technically a spin-off of Doctor Who, I think of it as more of a “parallel” series, such as CBS’s various CSI shows. That is, they occupy the same universe and may occasionally cross over, but remain independent of each other.

That’s not to say the Doctor Who references aren’t there, merely that they’re not integral to the enjoyment of the show. For example, the Doctor’s hand (from “The Christmas Invasion”) is seen in the Torchwood headquarters, but it’s no more necessary to know the story behind it in order to follow the story at hand (no pun intended) than it is to know the history of a trophy seen in the background of the Batcave to enjoy a Batman story. The story differentiates four different versions of Torchwood, and unless I haven’t been paying close enough attention to Doctor Who (always a possibility), more than one of these versions have yet to be fully explained.

While still told from Gwen Cooper’s point of view, about midway through the first episode the spotlight of attention is thrown on Jack Harkness, a character with a mysterious two-year gap in his history which I look forward to seeing revealed. Gwen learns the secret of his longevity in this episode, but apparently his teammates remain unaware at this point. The next episode is titled “Day One,” which makes me glad “Everything Changes” isn’t listed as “episode zero.”

Perhaps I read too many comics books.

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I don't think you missed anything as regards any explanation of Torchwood in Doctor Who. We get the origin in "Tooth and Claw" and first see it in "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday".
According to Capatin Jack, Torchwood One in London was destroyed in the Battle of Canary Wharf; Torchwood Two is an office in Glasgow, run by someone described as a "very strange man"; and Torchwood Four is missing, but "we'll find it one day."

There are a few other oblique references to Doctor Who episodes, but they're just icing.
Yeah, the only one of those that we saw in the parent show was Torchwood One.

And for the record, I've never been to Glasgow. ;)
There was only one episode, in the first two series, of Torchwood I really enjoyed...I'll wait until you're done to say which one. The show was a very rare Russell T. Davies misfire for me (as I've loved Casanova, Bob & Rose, and The Second Coming). Now, I liked "Children of Earth" (the third Torchwood series...only five episodes) a lot...but Holly found it too emotionally punishing and will never watch it again.

For most of the series, I found the members of Torchwood too unlikable. That works OK for a movie with a GREAT story...but as a TV series? Not so much.
Really! I'm curious to learn which one. (When I'm caught up, I may try to guess.) So far (after one episode), I think it's good, not great... but it sometimes takes me a while to warm up to a new show. Regarding the characters, I like Gwen already and have liked Captain Jack from his appearances on Doctor Who. Although we have seen "Children of Earth" (and the "crossover" from the Doctor Who series four finale), the other characters are so far just cyphers to me. I know what you mean about unlikeable characters: that was my problem with Dollhouse throughout most of the first season.
Yeah...Dollhouse was Joss Whedon's Torchwood...except I persisted and watched every Torchwood episode...I gave up on Dollhouse after three episodes...
While I have - it's actually a very sly nod to Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, in the description.

The Baron said:
Yeah, the only one of those that we saw in the parent show was Torchwood One.

And for the record, I've never been to Glasgow. ;)
Mike Williams said:
While I have - it's actually a very sly nod to Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, in the description.

The Baron said:
Yeah, the only one of those that we saw in the parent show was Torchwood One.

And for the record, I've never been to Glasgow. ;)

I'd forgotten that line until Jeff mentioned it ... but that's pretty much what I thought as well.

"Emotionally punishing" is a pretty good way to describe "Children of Earth." I thought it was riveting television, but I have no desire to ever re-watch it.
Doctor Hmmm? said:
Mike Williams said:
While I have - it's actually a very sly nod to Sylvester McCoy, the seventh Doctor, in the description.

The Baron said:
Yeah, the only one of those that we saw in the parent show was Torchwood One.

And for the record, I've never been to Glasgow. ;)

I'd forgotten that line until Jeff mentioned it ... but that's pretty much what I thought as well.

"Emotionally punishing" is a pretty good way to describe "Children of Earth." I thought it was riveting television, but I have no desire to ever re-watch it.

Steady on guys.

CoE just started last week in Australia and I am well-hooked. Watch out for spoilers. They are showing it over 5 weeks, but I can already see that it would work better over 5 nights. Its really intense.

RTD wrote it, and I'd have to praise him for it, but it might be interesting to track in Jeff's thread here which stories are from the pen of RTD, and which not. He handles Torchwood really well in CoE, so I'd be interested to see how much of the less liked elements of the early series are down to him.
Five WEEKS? Are they trying to kill you, Figs?
Cavalier said:
Five WEEKS? Are they trying to kill you, Figs?

You said it!

Fair play to RTD for coming up with something that just had to be viewed back-to-back. That's original TV, but those ABC programmers are Goons. It's like painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa, man!
SEASON ONE: EPISODE 2: “Day One”

Torchwood must stop a sex-addicted alien as it leaves a trail of gruesome deaths in its wake.

With the second episode, a voiceover is added to the opening credits to better explain the premise of the show. The 21st century is when “Everything Changes,” and although that reflects a bit of dialogue spoken by Captain Jack in episode one, I think the title of the first episode could apply equally as well to Gwen Cooper. But the title of the second episode definitely refers to her as it details her first and subsequent days on the team (while simultaneously reminding me why I haven’t changed jobs for the last ten years).

Torchwood 1 (from the Doctor Who episodes “Tooth & Claw,” “Army of Ghosts” and “Doomsday”) was pretty ruthless. The Doctor was loath to trust Jack in the series four finale until he explained he “rebuilt Torchwood from the ground up” (or words to that effect). This new “Torchwood 3” looks it, too. It’s much smaller scale and not nearly as “official-looking.” But someone please explain to me the “sly nod to Sylvester McCoy” Torchwood 2 represents.

It’s pretty safe to say I won’t be recommending Torchwood to my co-worker to watch with her eight year-old, or even to my other co-worker to watch with her 14 year-old!

Two quick questions: How many seasons was Torchwood on the air, and how many are available on DVD? (I think the answers are three and two, respectively, but can someone please confirm?)

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