I had high hopes for the "Torchwood" TV series. A spin-off featuring Captain Jack Harkness, a character who shone so brightly during the first season of the revived Doctor Who? A crime/mystery drama with ramped-up sex and violence? Lots of actors and actresses with those exotic Welsh accents?
Sadly Torchwood arrives with a millstone already around its neck; not only is it suffering from conflicting aims of being both SIMILAR to Doctor Who (to keep the fans) but still very DIFFERENT from Doctor Who (to appease those of us looking for something a bit grittier)...it's also suffering from the continued presence of Russell T. Davies. The man's brilliant, but let's just say that somebody needs to put a leash on him. And on David Tenant too, incidentally.
Anyway, I watched the first two episodes of "Torchwood" and was bitterly disappointed. John Barrowman just isn't a strong enough actor to carry Captain Jack beyond brave/hunky/funny sidekick. The "Torchwood" base of operations looks too much like a Scooby Doo hideout (c'mon guys, a GIANT FAKE-LOOKING GEAR for a doorway?). The sex-and-violence seems awkwardly inserted, as though we were watching a children's script re-written so that everybody has at least one bisexual encounter an episode...just 'cause! It DOES look like a children's program, and tends to be even more childish that anything in the first season of the new Who.
But tonight I decided to give the third episode a try. And while it's still sloppy and amateur, and while I still cringe hearing Captain Jack wax philosophical, I have to say it's beginning to draw me in. Maybe this is the blessing/curse of a Russell T. Davies project: you need to watch at least three episodes before you realize you're actually starting to CARE. I thought Eccleston was a goof until "Dalek."
What's more, this episode has the first Torchwood scene that's managed to genuinely surprise and shock me, and which shows that Eve Myles can really act when she's given a proper scene to act IN. Oh, the blood.
So if anybody out there turned off after the second episode (and I know at least one person who turned off halfway through the FIRST), I encourage you to at least stick it out for a few more. Maybe they'll end up sucking horribly, but I see glimmers of potential genius in the background...