Torchwood: Children of Earth – Review & Discussion

Published 5 years ago by

torchwood 00 crop Torchwood: Children of Earth   Review & Discussion

This is a spoiler free discussion

The regular readers of Screen Rant have a pretty good feel for how I look at shows and many of you tend to agree with my opinions in my different reviews.  With that said…

In short, I’ve never been so moved or drawn into a show like this in my life.  In fear of sounding like one of those fawning critics looking for studio media exposure, I have to say that Torchwood: Children of Earth was gripping, compelling and shocking, all at once.  Oh yea, and incredibly entertaining.

Creator, lead writer and executive producer Russell T Davies brings a very good story to the viewers.  When he put this together he said “I wanted to tell a story in which civilization snaps, in which we turn on ourselves, in which nothing is safe.”

He hit the target dead on.

torchwood 02 Torchwood: Children of Earth   Review & Discussion

The children of Earth are used like tools.  All around the planet, each child stops in their tracks and then as one, they speak to the people of Earth, saying “We are coming.”

Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) return in Torchwood: Children of the Earth where we are brought into a story of global fear and earthly citizen distrust.  Of governments put in harrowing situations and dark deeds that need to be done.  Decisions are made that are morally questionable and yet undeniably necessary.  The emotional conflict created within the show remained with this viewer way beyond the closing credits.

The 5 days that the mini-series covers is a well developed and strong story that draws you in and continued getting stronger with each passing scene.

torchwood 04 Torchwood: Children of Earth   Review & Discussion

Day one is used to introduce many parts of the story, including the Torchwood team.  They weave together a lot of facts and history quickly and efficiently.  If you don’t know anything about Torchwood, it’s OK.  Details will be filled in for you throughout.

I kept waiting for the the tale to plateau out like most shows do as they get past the halfway point.  Then the characters can deal with what has happened.  But it didn’t.  It just kept getting better with every scene as the story developed and revelations are tossed at us throughout, right up until the end.  My damn adrenaline just wouldn’t quit.

The show hit on some themes I’ve never seen before in American television.  Or at least on any of the shows I’ve watched.  It came at us with dark themes, again, like I’ve never seen before.  I was impressed with how they presented some of the story facets.  During other times in the show, there are scenes that drew me completely in and I’ve never had such a strong emotional empathy for a story or the characters within it.

Schedule The Time

If you watch it on TV on BBC America, you won’t budge from your couch and you will probably think it’s cruel and unusual punishment to keep you waiting until the next episode.  If you DVR or buy the DVD / Blu-ray, plan to sit for the entire 5 hours because you won’t want to play one episode and then not put the other ones in.

torchwood 03 Torchwood: Children of Earth   Review & Discussion

Torchwood: Children of Earth will air on BBC America on Monday, July 20th, 9:00 to 10:15 pacific, 8:00 to 9:15 central.

Try to catch it if you haven’t already.  And commentors that may have seen it already, try to be cognizant of the readers who haven’t seen it yet!  Thanks!

TAGS: torchwood

45 Comments

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  1. I really enjoyed Harkness in his story arc on Dr. Who a few years ago. I gave Torchwood a shot based just on him but then started becoming about how many men can he make out with in a episode and I no longer found it enjoyable. Which is sad because the show was interesting up to that point. I don’t care that he is a bi-sexual character but it started becoming the focal point of the show instead of the sci-fi.

    Bruce, should I give this new version a whirl?

  2. Paul: Definitely! The first season was pretty good, the 2nd even better, touching on the amazing at times. Season 3 was BRILLIANT! Disturbing, dark, challenging, engrossing, and engaging. This was, simply put, excellent telly.

  3. All I can say is .. WOW! I love Torchwood anyway, but this really just made me fall in love with Jack, Gwen and the entire Torchwood deal all over again. I was on the edge of my seat at times, and definitely in tears at others. Overall.. I was totally entertained, and so glad I watched. =]

  4. Paul, these five episodes are more like an extended movie. They’re unlike anything Torchwood’s done before: no “monster of the week”, no mucking about, no jokey denouement. Harkness’s in-yer-face qualities have a few…twists to them, and in fact pretty much every role is superbly written – even the peripheral ones. Lovely chemistry between Gwen and her husband (who has a whole heap more to do in this).

    I was particularly impressed with Peter Capaldi as Frobisher. He’s previously been in the Doctor Who episode The Fires Of Pompeii, and was just mesmerising as the borderline psychotic, expletive-flinging spin doctor in the semi-improvised political comedy The Thick Of It (In The Loop was the movie spin-off). This was a performance from the other end of the spectrum: quiet and nuanced, but no less riveting.

    As I said on a previous thread, far and away the best Torchwood I’ve ever seen, and the first time it’s really come into its own for me as something other than a cosy little earthbound extension of the Doctor Who franchise. This had more in common with vintage character-driven, unsettling British SF like the Quatermass serials – particularly the 1979 collapse-of-civilisation one with John Mills.

    Russell T’s set the bar high and come up with the goods yet again.

  5. Oh yeah Paul, if it’s any indication, after every episode I felt compelled to watch it again immediately on BBC iPlayer. It is that good!

  6. Wow this sure is getting some positive buzz. Goes to show quality tv will always be well written drama not how much weight some fat guy can loose in a few months.
    After reading this review, I’ll just plan on buying the dvd in a few weeks. ;-)

  7. That last picture is a spoiler, might want to pull it in case any fans who haven’t seen the series yet stumble across this.

  8. PAUL,

    That’s touched on, but not exploited. Go for it. You won’t be disappointed. In fact, THE BIG DENTIST further extends what I have to say about the mini-series rather eloquently. (Well said DENTIST)

  9. Thanks, Bruce. I’m glad it wasn’t just powerful to a UK audience! Just out of interest, the Scottish and Irish accents are pretty well-known in America, but what do you make of the Welsh accent?! Hearing a friend of mine speak IN Welsh to one of her old friends a few weeks back was like hearing some kind of alien music – and I mean that in a good way…

  10. Kristi, good point actually.

  11. POSSIBLE SPOILER IN COMMENT:
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    DENTIST:

    I really had to focus on that “alien music” to make sense of the song!

    Guys – that last image is a trick image and is only a spoiler if you know what you’re looking at. Otherwise, NO, it is not.

    I really didn’t want to focus on it and address it, but it seems I must now that it’s being responded to!

    Sigh… tricky Bruce got too tricky for his own good?

    B

  12. I had forgotten about this project until your review, Bruce. Like Paul said, I hope they don’t get into the “bromance” because that would totally ruin it for me. I am away next week, so I am setting my DVR to record all the episodes so I can watch them in a marathon-like fashion.

  13. SPOILER Comment:
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    Hiya , OMG I LOVE JACK <333!
    gwen and jack are my favourtie out of everyone in it , i hate it at the end though when jacks grandson dies :( reallu sad !
    ILOVEJACKHEARTNESS !!
    OR SHOULD I SAY JOHN BARROWMAN :) X
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXILOVEYOU JOHN ! XXX
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    end SPOILER (The management)

  14. Not a personal attack, but did the commented using the nickname ‘Paul Young’ watch the same series as I did? Jack didn’t actally make out with anyone except Ianto Jones, and then in a slow, understated way. He talked a lot about his ‘back catalogue’ but usually in a joking way, like the one about the twin acrobats, so that nobody was sure he was kidding or not. The series never centred on his relationships. There are a lot of criticisms that could be made of Torchwood’s first two series, but that isn’t one of them.

  15. HAVE TO SAY THE SHOWS WERE ON UK TV TWO WEEKS AGO – I WAS NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO IT AT ALL – JOHN BARROWMAN IS REALLY OVER-EXPOSED HERE AND CAN BE A BIT OF A PAIN – BUT THIS SHOW HIT THE MARK BIG-TIME – MY WHOLE FAMILY WERE RIVETED TO THE TELLY AND EVRY EPISODE LEFT YOU ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT – AND LIKE SOMEONE ELSE SAID – IT DID NOT LOSE STEAM AND FIZZLE OUT! BETTER THAN MOST MOVIES – IT WAS SCARY – FUNNY – WITH GREAT ACTING – DID NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS BUT STORY!
    WELL DONE THE OL’BBC -

  16. This is the best Torchwood has ever been. Up until now it has just been a pale shadow of a spin-off of the much more interesting and entertaining Doctor Who. With this, especially episode 4, Torchwood has come into its own…and that’s too bad since I kind of doubt it will be back (you’ll know why when you see episode 5). The downside to this is the resolution in the final episode will be unsatisfactory for many (as it was for me) but intelligent people will realize it was worth it for the whole ride (whereas a large majority of internet trolls will whine about how it sucked simply because they didn’t like the ending). Still, anyone with half a brain will tell you this was the best of Torchwood and even approaching the brilliance of Doctor Who, although it doesn’t quite get there due to the resolution.

  17. Matt -

    Yet, it made perfect sense.

  18. John Barrownan may be over-exposed, but he isn’t a pain. He is a very charming, funny, generous and talented man. Anyway, the ending which the trolls are moaning about makes one thing obvious. Even if there is a series Four, Captain Jack isn’t in it. He’s gone, for good, barring one small already filmed bit of the Christmas Doctor Who. He’s going back to the stage, where he is happiest and where his talents are best used. So those of you who don’t like seeing him on TV all the time have what you want from now on. The least you can do is wish him well in his future career.

  19. Folks,
    PLEASE watch the spoilers in your comments.
    I’m trying to keep this fresh for the folks who haven’t seen it in the U.S. yet or who RECORD it.

    Thanks
    Bruce

  20. I read screen rants comments on this show and was so impressed by the level of enthusiasm for it, that I had to go out and see it for myself. You get to the point at my age that you figure that you are as jaded as is possible for any human being and have ‘seen it all’, but, wow!, this one blew my socks off. I enjoy The Doctor and watched a couple of eps of Torchwood, but had lost interest. This series however, was just over the top as far as story and acting.

    “Creator, lead writer and executive producer Russell T Davies brings a very good story to the viewers. When he put this together he said “I wanted to tell a story in which civilization snaps, in which we turn on ourselves, in which nothing is safe.”

    He hit the target dead on.”

    No freakin’ kidding and Bruce? You nailed this review dead-on as well. applause to you and russell davies but now I am even MORE jaded than I was before (and a little depressed about it). sigh…….

  21. Thanks Patrick, and yes, after seeing so much stuff, one has to dig to find the good sometimes. I came into this pretty neutral, now hoping, not wanting, thinking I’d just review it and get on.

    But noooooo, Davies has to rip my emotions right out of me and then stun me to the point of not wanting to watch anything else on TV for a few hours after wards, just so I don’t ruin the feeling this show drew out of me.

    Patrick, if you feel jaded, here’s something else for you to ponder: Alex O’Loughlin.

    I watched him in MOONLIGHT on CBS and then I later watched him as a guest on CRIMINAL MINDS and he changed up his delivery so much, I didn’t realize it was him.

    Check out the last entry at

    http://screenrant.com/weekly-tv-wrap-7th-2009-brusimm-7601/

    and the ensuing comments. maybe someone worth looking up for yourself.

    I feel like I could put this actor pretty close to the same class as this show. Which is a rarity for me to say.

    Thanks for chiming in PATRICK.

    -Bruce

  22. What? You just deleted the discussions because somebody mentioned something that happened on it? Good grief. Sorry for making a programme in another country and having the audacity to see it before the American audiences did.

  23. Well, the series begins in a few hours in America. So have fun. But stop criticising the series and the stars for what neither have actually done. Watch the episodes before commenting.

  24. British Torchwood Fan, the first words in Bruce’s review are “This is a spoiler free discussion”. I’m assuming you enjoyed the five episodes – think how you’d have felt if someone had told you how it ended before you’d even started watching it!

  25. I didn’t delete anything.

    I’ve gone in and added SPOILER warnings in their comments, but I have not deleted anything. That’s not what I do.

    So relax BRITISH TORCHWOOD FAN, I haven’t usurped free speech, but have been asking folks to respect those who haven’t seen it yet, or who may be looking to record for later viewing when they have the time to.

    I’m really trying to be mindful or our readers so they can experience it like I did, completely fresh minded with no expectations or wondering when something will occur knowing it will. Does that make sense? I hope so.

    Thanks for dropping by though. Good so see the visitors enjoying my article.

    Thanks for the chime in DENTIST.

  26. Reg;John Barrowman – he’s never off the bloody telly – almost every BBC Saturday night show…he’s on it! I just can’t stand him – but he was good in this show..I’ll give him that! Nuff said!!

  27. I’m the spoiler king:

    1. Spock is rejuvenated on the Genesis planet
    2. Darth Vader is Luke’s father
    3. Jeff Bridges used the typewriter and he did it
    4. Bruce Willis was already dead
    5. And the coupe de gras, NEO IS THE ONE!

    So there! 8) :-)

  28. Mr. John Kahless Taylor!

    If you insist on giving things away, we are going to ban you to the nether regions of spongebob.com!

    So much for my “time shifted” enjoyment of STAR WARS!

  29. Aye…and the ship sinks in Titanic!!!

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