Why aren’t you watching Torchwood? Because it’s buried at the bottom of your cable dial on BBC America, most likely. But whether you simply didn’t know it exists or because you dismissed it as a lame, Doctor Who spin-off: reconsider. In a post-Battlestar Galactica world it just may be the best science fiction on television. It’s everything shows like Fringe wish they could be, but can’t under America’s restrictive environment of censorship.
The premise is familiar. A team of professionals work for an organization which investigates alien activity on Earth. Their goal is to protect and prepare. You never know when some half-crazed, energy-based psycho from outer space might decide she’d like to dine on Earthings by using sexual orgasms to suck people dry. From the premise you’re probably ready to dismiss it as CIS meets the X-Files, but Torchwood is so much more than it’s find the paranormal clues premise. You’ve never seen anything on network television like this.
It stars a bi-sexual immortal who dresses like a dashing, off duty Civil War cavalry officer. It tackles any and all issues with unflinching zeal and when called for isn’t afraid to drench them in sex just for the hell of it. The show’s female cast members for instance, regularly find themselves lured into lesbian make-out sessions, yet somehow it’s never gratuitous. How can so much lesbian fucking actually work within the context of a great plot? It just does. It works when a hot lesbian alien and Torchwood’s awkward, straight female computer geek fall totally in love.
Most importantly every episode has consequences and impact. Torchwood cuts right to the heart of even the most bizarre and terrifying circumstances. A lesbian mind-reader who rips out hearts is someone you can, surprisingly, identify with. When people die, it hurts. When the cast gets in trouble, the danger feels real because you never know when one of them might end up really and truly dead. There are victims. There is pain. There is no magic button at the end of every hour which someone pushes to put it all back to normal. Every moment has meaning, emotion, and tears are not uncommon. It’s science fiction for adults. How much of that’s left?
It’s sleek, it’s sexy, and it’s unlike anything else you’re wasting time with. Do yourself a favor and try out Torchwood. You’re missing the best science fiction left on television.