Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
4K UHD
International DVDs
In Theaters
Reviews by Studio
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Savant
Horror DVDs
The M.O.D. Squad
Art House
HD Talk
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum

Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

Columns




Torchwood: The Complete Second Season

BBC Worldwide // Unrated // July 28, 2009
List Price: $79.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by John Sinnott | posted July 26, 2009 | E-mail the Author

style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">The Series:style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">The first season of
Torchwood, a spin-off from Doctor Who,
was pretty hit or miss, with more shows that just didn't work than ones
that
did.  The main problem was the horrific
writing on several episodes and the idiotic plots. 
I didn't have much hope for season two, but
surprisingly the show takes a giant leap forward in terms of quality.style="">  The stories are now well thought out, the sex
isn't just thrown in for shock value the way it was in the first
season, and
the whole season holds together as a cohesive whole. 
If you gave up on show after season one I
wouldn't blame you, but you should give it another try. 


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">Series Background:


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">When PC Gwen Cooper
(Eve Myles) is taken off a murder
investigation at the order of the mysterious organization Torchwood,
she starts
looking into the just who and what they are. 
What she discovers is an organization that is "outside the
government, beyond the police."  They're charged with finding
alien
technology and exploring its uses along with handling any
extraterrestrial
baddies who might happen to show up.  The group consists of
computer
specialist Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), medical officer Dr. Owen Harper
(Burn
Gorman), and all around handyman Ianto Jones(Gareth David-Lloyd). 
They
are lead by Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a mysterious man
who can
not die.  Impressed that Gwen was able to not only track down and
infiltrate their headquarters but also that she's handy in an
investigation,
she's invited to join the group and now spends her days (and nights)
tracking
down aliens.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">In this season
Torchwood really found its voice, and I
attribute a lot of that to the fact that series creator Russell T.
Davies is no
longer writing the episodes.  The first
season spent a lot of time loudly proclaiming that it was okay to show
homosexual sex on TV, and whatever story they were telling be damned.style="">  This time around the homosexuality is still
present, yes, guys still kiss, but it's more natural and actually fits
in with
the stories.  That's a great improvement.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">The quality of the
stories this season is much, much
higher.  There are still a couple of
missteps, but in general the writers know what to do with the
characters and
what type of tales work the best. 
There's a lot more heart to this season, with several episodes
that
really tug at the heartstrings without going overboard. 
One such episode deals with a soldier from
1918, Tommy.  He was taken from a
hospital bed by the Torchwood of that era and frozen for the day that
he'd be
needed.  Every year he's thawed out and
revived for a single day and over the past few days that he's been
awake,
Toshiko has become quite fond of the doughboy. 
When a rift in time opens up however, Tommy is the only one who
can
close it, but that will mean going back to his own time. 
Not only that, but it's determined that he'll
be sent back to the front lines in France, suffer shell shock, and be
executed
for cowardice.  How can Toshiko convince
him to go back, knowing all of this?


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">It's frequently
mentioned that working for Torchwood is
extremely dangerous, and they not only mention that fact but illustrate
it this
season.  People get hurt and killed, even
sympathetic characters, in this season which really ratchets up the
tension and
suspense on the show.  Not only that, but
it creates a moral dilemma for Captain Jack. 
He can't die, which makes sending his friends into dangerous
situations
all the more difficult.  They're risking
everything while he's not risking anything at all.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">Bringing more emotional
depth to the characters, telling
tighter stories, and getting rid of the really stupid aspects that
plagued the
first season, this second season of Torchwood is a winner.


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">The Blu-ray Disc:style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">

All 13 episodes that comprise the second season come on four Blu-ray
discs.  These arrive in a nice book with one disc on each
page.  The
book is housed in an illustrated slipcase.



Audio:



The show comes with a DTS-HD 5.1 mix that is very good.  The
surrounds are
used to good effect throughout the show, not just during the action
scenes.  When they're in "the hub" the sound of falling water
can be heard from the rears, and in one episode people are leaving a
room when
music starts behind them.  Viewers can hear the music from the
back of the
room just as they turn around.  It's a simple effect but it works
wonderfully.  The infrequent battle scenes have a good amount of
bass and
while it won't give your subwoofer a work out like the latest w:st="on">Hollywood
action flick, the show has a good lower end.  The dialog is clear
and
clean and even though many people talk with British accents, it's never
hard to
understand what is being said.



Video:



The 1.78:1 VC-1 image is only encoded at 1080i, but the picture still
looks
good.  While it has more detail and finer lines than the DVD
version of
the series, there are still a couple of areas where the show (which was
recorded in HD) falls a bit.  The aerial shots of w:st="on">Cardiff at night
are unusually soft with the
lights being very diffuse.  The daytime images don't have this
problem so
it may have been intentional though I can't imagine why.  There is
some
digital noise in dark areas, but this is minor, and banding was a small
problem
in a few places. 



Aside
from those defects the image was clean and the level of detail was very
good.  The skin tones were accurate and the colors were nice and
solid.  While this isn't a reference level set, it still looks
fine.



Extras:



There's a good amount of bonus material included with this set, though
it is
lacking the cast and crew commentaries on every episode that were
included with
the first season.  Still, each show is accompanied by an episode
of
"Torchwood:  Declassified" a behind the scenes BBC program that
looks at each episodes that is a lot of fun. 
There are also deleted scenes to several episodes running
18-minutes all
told, and an outtake reel that runs about half that length.style="">  The final bonus item is a nice overview of
the main character:  The Life and Deaths
of Captain Jack".  This last piece is
narrated by Freema Agyeman (Martha Jones.)


style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Verdana;">

Final Thoughts:



I really didn't like the first season of Torchwood very much.style="">  It was too silly and the stories were very
sloppy.  Luckily it lasted though, and
this second season is quite strong.  The
stories are better, the characters are more fleshed out and real, and
the whole
show holds together nicely now.  There
are a couple of surprising twists in this season (that I haven't
revealed) that
make the show even more surprising than ever. 
If you wrote off the show after season one, go back and take
another
look.  Season two is quite good.style="">  A very strong recommendation.


Buy from Amazon.com

C O N T E N T

V I D E O

A U D I O

E X T R A S

R E P L A Y

A D V I C E
Recommended

E - M A I L
this review to a friend
Popular Reviews

Sponsored Links
Sponsored Links