Just watched the second season episode of Torchwood called Adam. (Yeah, I’m quite behind on Television). That was most definitely not a Doctor Who episode. The writers seem to be doing a good job of building up the sense that Torchwood = loss. Characters have to give up a lot of themselves to live in the world they do. They resolve conflict, save the world while looking good doing it, but they pay a dark and heavy price.
At the center of the conflict is our Point of View character, Gwen Cooper. Her relationship with her boyfriend (first season) / fiancé (second season) is the crux of her character. Rhys is Gwen’s anchor to the world outside Torchwood’s bizarre investigations.
I don’t have to tell you that I’m buying it, as obviously I’m into the second season. Still, the sheer darkness of the story world had me wince a few times last night. One thing I’m enjoying about these BBC shows is the short seasons. There isn’t a lot of room for fluff or irrelevant story, though I do find it a bit light on the character development angle. While it’s comparable to other monster of the week shows, I think Torchwood so far has shown a bit more willingness to risk characters’ lives and vary from formula. This definitely isn’t Doctor Who, and it isn’t Buffy, though both of those series are clearly strong influences.
The BBC is about to air Season Three. By the time we get it over here I should be all caught up and quite ready for more.