After waiting to watch the UK cut, one that is apparently extended for some scenes and slightly cut for others in contrasted to the Starz cut, I thought I’ll offer up some thoughts on their first episode…
I’m not the biggest Whovian around, nor one who has actually seen every episode of Torchwood but after being impressed by the miniseries last year and my enthusiasm raised by Doctor Who since Moffat has taken over, I was ready to enter the one place where I feel Davies shines brightly – and how bright it did shine. The episode had to do a ton of footwork to get us caught up: the new case, the new characters and most importantly, get the gang back together, and for the most part; it succeeded.
Opening a new case, and making it feel organic to the world while explaining the who, what’s and where’s of nobody dying were accomplished surprisingly well, and albeit the pacing felt off at the beginning. The scene where Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) asks for the head to be separated really excels at how much more fun it is to see a scene like that than it is to be told. Even if we’re getting told by several swiftly cut walk-n-talk phone call sequences. It’s always dangerous to open a new series without the main character not being front and centre, so although there was a slow start, Harkness’ entrance truly made up for it.
The new cast haven’t sold me just yet, and they didn’t really work as anything other than plot machinations at this stage. They all have enough potential, charm and look attractive enough that I won’t complain about having Alexa Havins on my screen for 55 minutes a week being awesome. Not complaining about Bill Pullman as extremely charismatic murderer either.
I’m under the impression at some of the early Gwen scenes may have been missing from the US version, and I think that’s both good and bad. As with a lot of the early stuff, there was a lot of exposition and sometimes jumping away to quaint little comic-relief Wales felt off. Gwen never left an impression on me in Children of the Earth but I adore her here, and the beginning gave her enough time to establish what her life has been like since Torchwood went under and thankfully, she was perfectly happy without it (I love Amy’s need for the excitement in Who, but it would have been silly for Gwen). That said, watching her get her gun on was unbelievably cool and it allowed the show to jump ship to America instantaneously. This is not the little BBC show it once was.