Torchwood-Series 1-Part 1 (2006)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 31-Jul-2007

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Menu Animation & Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-5 featurettes - Torchwood Out of this World
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 243:22
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (23:30)
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andy Goddard
Brian Kelly
James Strong
Colin Teague
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring John Barrowman
Eve Myles
Case Amaray-Opaque-Dual
RPI ? Music Murray Gold


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

   

"The 21st century is when everything changes, you've got to be ready" Captain Jack Harkness

    First, a short spray about our local television networks. Once again a great new television series has been mistreated, publicised badly by the network that bought it and shuffled around from bad timeslots to worse ones. This is a great new series which deserved better treatment by Channel Ten because lord knows they don't have much else worth watching. There, I feel better now.

    This series is a spin-off from the new Doctor Who featuring as its main character Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), a character who was introduced late in Series 1 of the new Doctor Who. Here the character has been fleshed out somewhat and is more serious and complex. The whole show is quite a bit more serious and darker than Doctor Who, being much more focused on an adult audience. Where Doctor Who focuses on humour and science-fiction with a little bit of creepiness thrown in, this series ratchets up the sex, violence and horror themes. It's certainly not a show you can let your young kids watch, like you might do with Doctor Who.

    The basic concept also follows on from something introduced in Doctor Who, the secret agency of Torchwood. Torchwood was set up in Doctor Who as an agency to battle the alien threat to Earth including The Doctor himself. The series is set in Cardiff, Wales in the present day where Torchwood 3 (that is, the third office) has its headquarters located underneath a major public landmark. The office (known as 'The Hub') is run by Captain Jack Harkness and his team which includes: Suzie Costello (Indira Varma) his second-in-command; Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), their rather naughty medic; Toshiko Sato (Naoki Mori) the technical expert; and Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd), the receptionist, driver, archivist and many other things besides. Captain Jack, who is American, is very mysterious, does not seem to exist in any official records and seems to be much older than he looks. His mysteries are slowly revealed as the series progresses both to the audience and to his team. Cardiff it would seem incorporates a rift in space and time which allows aliens easier access to Earth. Accordingly, the team have their hands busy dealing with the alien threats that come their way and trying to turn them to Earth's advantage by capturing and determining uses of alien technology.

    This first DVD release of the series includes five episodes spread over two discs. A second set will be released in September featuring more of the series.

    The five episodes included here are:

  1. Everything Changes (51:09) - A young female police officer, Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), is assigned to work the murder scene of a young thug. She arrives just as the forensic team are leaving without finishing their work. They are replaced on scene by the Torchwood team who seem to have ultimate authority in terms of ordering around the police. Gwen sneaks away to a vantage point and watches as the Torchwood crew resurrect the murder victim using a strange metal glove. They manage to keep him alive for 2 minutes to ask him some questions, such as who killed him. They leave as quickly as they came and Gwen follows. She follows them to the Wales Millennium Centre and sees them seemingly disappear into thin air. She decides to investigate and soon finds herself in more trouble than she bargained for. Excellent start to the series.
  2. Day One (47:49) - Gwen joins the team fulltime and they immediately need to face the attack of a sex-crazed alien life form which derives its energy from orgasms. Gwen and Owen get a little closer to this case than they probably should. This episode makes some interesting comments on the sexualisation of society. Another great episode.
  3. Ghost Machine (48:25) - The team are chasing someone with an alien signal. Gwen catches up to him but he escapes leaving only his jacket. They find a machine in the pocket which when the button is pressed in certain locations reveals echoes of previous happenings on that spot. Probably the best episode in this set.
  4. Cyberwoman (49:12) - Ianto is hiding a secret in the basement of The Hub. He rescued a woman during The Battle of Canary Wharf (from Doctor Who) who had been partially 'upgraded' to a Cyberman. As she was his girlfriend he wants to return her to being a human being and so brings in a cybernetics expert without informing the rest of the team. This leads to dire consequences. Another excellent episode. Obviously, some of the designers on this show have unclean thoughts about female Cybermen!
  5. Small Worlds (46:47) - This episode leans more to the horror side of things and is to my mind the weakest episode on this set (not that it is bad). An old woman who is an old friend of Jack's family finds some creatures in the woods which she believes are fairies. In the same neighbourhood, a solitary young girl gets protection from a strange presence when a paedophile tries to kidnap her. The team have to investigate as strange things are happening.

    This is an excellent new series and at least the equal of the new Doctor Who, if not better for an adult audience. The characters here are multi-dimensional and the series is very well written. The cast are enigmatic and interesting and the storylines run the gamut of science-fiction, thriller, mystery and horror themes. Additionally, there are good dashes of humour and some popular culture references. The CGI and costume designs for the aliens are generally very well done although there was one spot in the final episode where the actors and the CGI didn't quite gel properly. This show would certainly be enjoyed by adult fans of Doctor Who who don't mind a bit of extra sex, violence and horror. Highly Recommended.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise and just some occasional light graininess. The shadow detail was generally excellent. The bitrate used was quite high throughout.

    The colour was rich and vibrant however like Doctor Who did exhibit some mild light colour bleeding.

    From an artefacts perspective, there was some very minor aliasing but it was rare.

    There are subtitles in English. They are clear, easy to read and virtually exact to the spoken word, if a little small.

    The layer changes occur at 23:30 in episode 1 and 27:45 in Episode 4. Both were quite obvious.
    

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good but annoyingly significantly different to what is advertised on the cover.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. Considering that the case advertises Dolby Digital 5.1 EX and DTS 6.1 ES  this is a bit disappointing.

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync. Unfortunately, some lines of dialogue were overwhelmed by the rest of the soundtrack.

    The score of this series is by Murray Gold and Ben Foster. Like Doctor Who the music is excellent, with a very catchy theme tune and lots of great incidental music featuring some different and 'alien-like' instrumentation.

    The surround speakers were used quite a lot when this series was played using Dolby ProLogic II. There was lots of atmosphere such as wind noise and ethereal singing in Episode 5. Considering this is only a 2.0 track the surrounds are surprisingly well used.

     The subwoofer is also used quite often adding bass to the music and tension sounds.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The extras are presented in 16x9 enhanced widescreen.

Menu

    The menu design is great with an introduction, lots of the theme music and a nice and functional design motif.

Disc 1

Welcome to Torchwood (14:30)

    A fairly standard promotional-style making-of featurette which covers the concept and tone of the series, some footage of production meetings, the shooting approach, the characters and sets along with coverage of the launch and critical reaction. Worth a look.

Torchwood on the Scene (15:41)

    This featurette records the first cast read through of the script for Episode One, interspersing it with scenes from the show. Some dialogue which did not make the final cut is also included. It also covers sets, locations, lighting and issues with shooting.

Torchwood - Out of This World

    This section includes two featurettes about the aliens included in the two episodes on this disc. They are:

Deleted Scenes (11:06)

    Some deleted and extended scenes from all five episodes. Nothing terribly interesting unfortunately.

Disc 2

Torchwood - Out of This World

    This section includes three featurettes about the aliens included in the three episodes on this disc. They are:

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 2 version of the set seems to be identical and it has not been released in Region 1.

Summary

    A great new adult series which has been spun off from Doctor Who.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good but disappointingly different to what is advertised on the cover.

    The set has a good selection of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Mistreatment by Channel 10 - and Audio Quality - REPLY POSTED
Doctor Who and Torchwood -
Mistreatment continued - Shane C (read my bio, you will)
We've said it before, and we'll say it again... -
Boxset coming out (eventually) - REPLY POSTED