Torchwood—Season 1

torchwood season 1 dvd boxset review episode guide list
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Nice actors in a fun series

Some real good stories are matched with some poor stories as the series tries to find its feet

torchwood season 1 title card review episode guide

Here to investigate the weird

Torchwood is a mysterious covert government organization…which is even more powerful than the government.  When Officer Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) crosses path with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and his Torchwood crew of Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), Toshiko (Naoko Mori), Suzie Costello (Indira Varma), and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd), she’s pulled into their dangerous world of mystery and finds herself as a member when there is suddenly an opening.  Gwen will face aliens and death as the Rift in Cardiff spits out more and more dangerous enemies, but the biggest danger for the crew of Torchwood could be each other.

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R-Rated Doctor Who means alien sex

Torchwood—Season 1 is a science-fiction investigation series which aired from October 22, 2006 to January 1 2007 on BBC Three.  The series spun off the popular 2005 relaunch of Doctor Who where Jack Harkness was previously featured.  The series was targeted to adults and was met with mostly positive reviews.

I enjoy Torchwood.  I also find it amusing how Doctor Who has set-up multiple levels of “Who” for all ages.  While Doctor Who is almost all-ages, The Sarah Jane Adventures are primarily for young adults and tweens.  Torchwood is supposed to be the adult version of Doctor Who and is filled with sex, violence, and adult language.  Despite this, it still feels a little like a show for teens.  It is almost like how Baywatch spit out Baywatch Nights…but a good thing.  The show works a lot like X-Files with a creature of the week for the most part.  The episodes are hugely varying from typical sci-fi themes but also horror themes like in the case of “Countrycide” (which resembles memorable X-Files episode “Home”).  This provides a lot of variety for the show but also creates a problem.

torchwood season 1 episode 11 combat owen weevil fight burn gorman

One rule of Weevil Club…don’t talk about Weevil Club

There are some interesting themes developing in the show especially involving the afterlife.  Jack can’t die and the themes of life and death shift heavily on the series leaning to a rather Aetheist view which is more unusual in American television than overseas.  The show really starts to dive in to time travel and Jack’s past near the end of the series, but the season decides to keep Jack enough of an enigma to keep the show interesting.

The bad part about Torchwood is that it is horribly unbalanced (this season in particular).  The characters are finding their footing and so it feels like they are sometimes out of character and put in really weird situations that do not fit the characters later on.  There are fun episodes and nice episodes like “Out of Time” and “Captain Jack Harkness” with clunkers like the Fight Club inspired “Combat” (written by Doctor Who alum Noel “Mickey Smith” Clarke) sandwiched between them.  It is a bit frustrating as a viewer to get stuck with a boring hour of so-so Doctor Who knock-off, but the show can still be fun (and it is better on rewatch with the characters more established due to later episodes).  The show which tries to be more serious suffers from having things like the giant demon at the end which looks like it escaped from the Shadow of the Colossus video game and cannot be taken too seriously…something it is trying desperately to be.

torchwood season 1 episode 13 end of days abaddon demon

I loved this video game!

If you don’t watch Doctor Who, you probably won’t like Torchwood.  To watch Torchwood, you pretty much have to watch Doctor Who.  If you do watch Doctor Who, you might like Torchwood.  It is not a guarantee.  The tones of the shows are similar, but the feel of the shows are completely different.  It doesn’t have the same sense of adventure as Doctor Who, but it does fill the niche for those who like science-fiction and like procedural shows.  Torchwood is still a fun ride with a different spirt (and this season ends with a Doctor Who cliffhanger…not seen here but in Doctor Who—Season 3).  Get in your black SUV, grab your Blu-Tooth headset, and enjoy Torchwood.

Torchwood—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:

torchwood season 1 episode 1 everything changes gwen cooper eve myles

“Everything Changes”

1.1       Everything Changes Airdate:  10/22/06

Officer Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) witnesses a group called Torchwood take over a crime scene and use a strange glove to resurrect a murder victim.  As Gwen investigates Torchwood, and its leader Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), she uncovers a secret organization even more powerful than the government.  There is a traitor in Torchwood, and Gwen might be just what Jack needs to find out who.

torchwood season 1 episode 2 day one sara lloyd gregory

“Day One”

1.2       Day One Airdate:  10/22/06

Gwen starts her job at Torchwood, and accidentally unleashes an alien on Cardiff from a crashed meteor.  The alien finds a host in a girl named Carys Fletcher (Sara Lloyd Gregory) and seeks out more contact of the physical kind.  As Gwen tries to save Carys, she discovers that Jack, Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori) and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) have become so isolated in Torchwood that they miss the human aspect of their cases…and humanity needs help!  The mystery behind Captain Jack Harkness grows as the agents of Torchwood question where Jack is from.

torchwood season 1 episode 3 ghost machine owen burn gorman

“Ghost Machine”

1.3       Ghost Machine Airdate:  10/29/06

Gwen finds an alien machine which allows people to glance into the past.  When Owen witnesses a murder from the sixties, he goes after the murderer Ed Morgan (Gareth Thomas).  Meanwhile Bernie Harris (Ben McKay) who owned the machine before reveals that the machine has the ability to tell the future…and Gwen’s view of the future shows Owen as a murderer.

torchwood season 1 episode 4 cyberwoman lisa iato gareth david lloyd caroline chikezie


1.4       Cyberwoman Airdate:  11/05/06

Ianto has been keeping a secret in Torchwood that might destroy everyone.  When Jack, Toshiko, Owen, and Gwen discover that Ianto’s former love Lisa (Caroline Chikezie) is a partially transformed Cyberman, a lockdown at Torchwood means no one may escape the wrath of the Cybermen.

torchwood season 1 episode 5 small worlds faeries

“Small Worlds”

1.5       Small Worlds Airdate:  11/12/06

A little girl named Jasmine (Lara Phillipart) is followed by an unseen force and the force turns deadly.  Gwen learns a secret of Jack’s past when she meets a woman named Estelle (Eve Pearce) who knew Jack’s father when they were young.  The investigation into Jasmine reveals that ancient stories of England might not be stories at all…and faeries need their Chosen One.

torchwood season 1 episode 6 countrycide cannibals corpse


1.6       Countrycide Airdate:  11/19/06

Torchwood investigates a series of disappearances along a stretch of country road but become stranded themselves when someone steals their vehicle.  Trapped in an abandoned town, Owen, Ianto, Toshiko, Jack, and Gwen are hunted by an unseen force.  Gwen and Owen make a big jump that could destroy their lives.

torchwood season 1 episode 7 greeks bearing gifts alien naoko mori

“Greeks Bearing Gifts”

1.7       Greeks Bearing Gifts Airdate:  11/26/06

The discovery of a body and an ancient alien artifact leads to Toshiko being contacted by a woman named Mary (Daniela Denby-Ashe).  Given a pendant that allows her to see the most intimate thoughts of people, Toshiko finds Mary is helping her open up in ways she never expected…but when she starts to learn of the dangers of knowing the thoughts of others, Toshiko questions Mary’s ultimate goal.

torchwood season 1 episode 8 they keep killing suzie costello indira varma

“They Keep Killing Suzie”

1.8       They Keep Killing Suzie Airdate:  12/03/06

A series of murders leads police to Torchwood, and Jack realizes that the Resurrection Gauntlet must be used again find the connection.  When Gwen is forced to use the Resurrection Gauntlet on former Torchwood agent and murderer Suzie Costello (Indira Varma), Suzie remains alive.  Now Suzie is getting stronger and Gwen is getting weaker…and only Torchwood can save her.

torchwood season 1 episode 9 random shoes eugene jones paul chequer

“Random Shoes”

1.9       Random Shoes Airdate:  12/10/06

Torchwood is called in on the death of Eugene Jones (Paul Chequer) on the side of the highway in an apparent hit-and-run.  What Torchwood doesn’t know is that Eugene is still with them and encouraging Gwen to keep looking for answers.  Sensing Eugene, Gwen learns about a Dogon Sixth Eye and a possible murder cover-up as Eugene searches for the purpose of his remaining on Earth.

torchwood season 1 episode 10 out of time olivia hallinan mark lewis jones louise delamere

“Out of Time”

1.10     Out of Time Airdate:  12/17/06

A plane called Sky Gypsy lands in Cardiff, and its passengers Emma-Louise Cowell (Olivia Hallinan), John Ellis (Mark Lewis Jones), and its pilot Diane Holmes (Louise Delamere) learn that they have become lost in time from 1953.  With Torchwood’s help, Diane, Emma, and John try to adjust to life in the future and reconcile their past.  For Emma it means a life on her own, for John it is saying goodbye to his family, and for Diane it leads to a relationship with Owen.

torchwood season 1 episode 11 combat weevil fight club


1.11     Combat Airdate:  12/24/06

Owen finds himself struggling with losing Diane, and Gwen debates telling Rhys about her relationship with Owen.  When Jack and Gwen witness the kidnapping of a Weevil, and a series of Weevil attacks begin to pop-up at hospitals, Torchwood sets out to investigate.  The trail leads to a real estate broker named Mark Lynch (Alex Hassell), and Owen uncovers the truth about what is happening with the Weevils.

torchwood season 1 episode 12 captain jack harkness john barrowman naoko mori matt rippy murray-melvin

“Captain Jack Harkness”

1.12     Captain Jack Harkness Airdate:  01/01/07

Reports of ghostly noises leads Jack and Toshiko to investigate an old World War II dance hall.  When Jack and Toshiko get trapped in the past, Toshiko learns Jack is hiding the truth about his past when they meet military man named Captain Jack Harkness (Matt Rippy).  As Owen, Gwen, and Ianto work to return Toshiko and Jack to the present, Owen realizes that the Rift might have to be opened.

torchwood season 1 episode 13 end of days jack vs rift demon

“End of Days”

1.13     End of Days Airdate:  01/01/07

The Rift has been opened and time anomalies that are threatening the world are popping up all over.  When the strange caretaker (Murray Melvin) of the dance hall appears to Gwen with a warning, Gwen realizes with the rest of Torchwood that the Rift must be reopened against Jack’s warning…when Torchwood stages a coup against Jack, what comes out of the Rift could be much worse.

Related Links:

Torchwood—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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