In a secret base underneath Cardiff work the men and women of Torchwood, a beyond-the-government organization investigating alien life-forms and other supernatural forces. A huge hit in the UK, the BBC program is a spin-off of “Doctor Who,” and its first 13 episodes are now on a seven-disc set.
Cocksure Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) leads Torchwood, whose newest member is disbelieving cop Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles). Among their debut-season missions: executing a half-human female cyborg (who ends up fighting Torchwood’s resident pet pterodactyl); ridding a town of evil, bloodthirsty fairies; and stopping a “Species”-like alien who proves to be one horny little devil.
It’d be too easy to dub the show a British “X-Files.” While it certainly has the mix of sci-fi, horror and mystery down pat, “Torchwood” also benefits from the BBC’s lax attitude when it comes to sex and gore, making the series pleasantly adult, while still good-humored.
Brit series normally don’t sit well with my American-ized tastes, but “Torchwood” is amazingly addictive. Barrowman is a Tom Cruise look-alike “ equal charm, zero crazy “ and the show enjoys feature-film-quality production values. The DVDs are healthy, overflowing with “Declassified” featurettes on each episode.