I know a lot of you are excited about the premiere of the first part of Torchwood: Children of Earth tonight on BBC America. I know some of you could care less. Both of you groups, feel free to move on. I’d like to talk to the nerds who have not gotten into either Torchwood or Doctor Who, who might have heard some good things about both, but weren’t sure whether to spend the time checking out CoE tonight — which is exactly where I was last week.
The gents over at BBC America saw my ignorance, and, after a little bit of polite name-calling, sent me over the entirety of Children of Earth to see. Short version: watch it. I had not seen a second of the new Who or Torchwood before I popped in CoE, and not only did I have no problem jumping into the franchise, I enjoyed it a hell of a lot. If you’re starved for some good sci-fi TV or just television in general, since we’re in the summer drought, Torchwood: Children of Earth is an oasis of entertainment.
I don’t want to do a full review, but even to talk about what I liked might contain some mild spoilers, just so you know. I’ve been trying to think of a way to describe Torchwood, and I think it’s a mix of X-Files and maybe Angel. It’s very character driven, like Buffy or Angel, and it keeps a real-world angle on things much like The X-Files. But unlike X-Files, where every case gets swept under the rug at the end of each episode, the shit the Torchwood crew deals with effects the entire planet. When the children of earth all stop simultaneously and yell “WE ARE COMING” — not coincidentally in English, by the way — no government can hush that insanity up. And so Children of Earth is strangely epic and intimate in a way that’s particular to British televsion. It’s like Independence Day if it wasn’t a big dumb action flick — it’s thoughtful and political and pretty damn dark, really.
Moreover, it’s incredibly well-paced, it’s excellently directed, has some great twists (one especially — I’m sure the folks who’ve seen it know what I’m talking about) and while I think the end isn’t that great, I very much enjoyed the ride getting there — enough so that I had to marathon all five installments late Saturday night to find out what happened. Plus I want to watch the first seasons of Torchwood and Doctor Who, just to see how they fit together, which I think it the grandest thing any franchise installment can do. So I recommend checking it out tonight at BBC America at 9-10:15 om EST. And please, love it or hate it, no spoilers in the comments. That’s not cool.