Hmmm. Okay. More or less exactly what I’d have predicted (indeed the pilot may as well have been written by Scripting Robot #27) only less likeable. With the exception of
RoseGwen the characters are uniformly amoral, or at the very least driven by self-interest. This incarnation of Torchwood is not as different from past incarnations as we might have assumed. Also the supporting characters are mainly defined by a single characteristic: so the womanising one (who was essentially date-raping women in the pilot, making it tough to find him likeable) is just a womaniser, and that’s it. The organised one is just organised. No doubt they’ll develop personalities down the line. Or not.
The plots are derivative, the scripting functional, and the whole thing is basically entertaining without being particularly absorbing or clever. Although pitched as a sophisticated adult drama the show feels more like typical BBC SF with sex and swearing grafted on. The second episode reminded me forcibly of Angel’s second episode, Lonely Hearts, in which a demon was possessing people and swapping bodies through sex. Like Angel there’s also a lot of talk in Torchwood about the central characters having lost their empathy; their essential human connection. This is an interesting theme if properly explored, but at present the characters are often rendered aloof without any compensatory sense of intrigue or charm. The Angel episode was famously rewritten when the direction of the show moved in a less dark, adult direction, and it’ll be interesting to see which elements prove to be core to Torchwood, and which mere window-dressing.
I did find the show entertaining, but for me to truly warm up to it they’ll need fresher plots and better characterisation for everyone except Gwen and Jack. We’ll see how it goes.