Dedicated television viewers know that there will always be shows that everyone wants you to watch, either it’s a cult show, a show that ended way before it’s time, or seems to grab everyone’s attention but yours. However many viewers find themselves stumbling upon these shows either years later or late into a shows run. I’ve compiled a list of ten shows, published once a week, that have become classics or are on their way to doing so and have recently been discovered by this writer.
Created by Russell T. Davies
Original Run 2006-2011
BBC, Starz HD
I came to Torchwood at the end of its second season and when I was in some serious Doctor Who withdrawals. What I stumbled upon was a show that was deftly written, sexy, bloody and extremely well acted.
A spin off of Doctor Who, Torchwood follows Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and his team of specialty agents Gwen (Eve Myles), Toshiko (Naoko Mori), Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd), and Dr. Owen Harper (Burn Gorman) as they search for and destroy all of the things that the government either doesn’t understand or even realize exists. Torchwood Institute had it’s origins outlined in the Doctor Who episode “Tooth and Claw”. Essentially they are viewed as a “special ops” group that acts outside of the government and law.
Being a massive Doctor Who fan I was excited to see Jack again. Since his appearance in Christopher Eccelston’s first and only season as the Doctor, Barrowman allowed Jack to be a refreshing and rich character. It never seemed to matter how much you saw him, he was so endlessly entertaining and original. Not only was he literally immortal but he was an equal opportunity lover. Men, women, aliens, it didn’t matter; Jack always found someone and it always managed to be a meaningful relationship that stayed with him. As the series progresses his flirtation and later love affair with Ianto is one of the most devastating, consuming and great loves ever filmed for television. Jack was a frequently pained character, a true man out of time who keeps living even after everything he loves dies out.
Torchwood not only benefited from the performance of Barrowman but the wonderful actors who rounded out the cast. Gorman, Myles, Mori and David-Lloyd are all perfectly matched to their characters and each other.
While Torchwood is a spin-off of Doctor Who you couldn’t find two shows more different. While there is a certain darkness in Doctor Who (particularly in newer episodes) there is a sadness that permeates deep with Jack. Torchwood often takes that sadness and creates its own world.
Despite its spin off status Torchwood frequently stands on its own as an absolutely thrilling show that is darkly funny, romantic, bloody and riveting. Turns out it isn’t all that different than Jack himself.