Torchwood-Complete First Series (2006)

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Released 6-Feb-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-All episodes
Featurette-Making Of-Lots & Lots of them!
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 634:30 (Case: 630)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL
Multi Disc Set (7)
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
Burn Gorman
Gareth David-Lloyd
Case Slip Case
RPI $109.95 Music Ben Foster
Murray Gold


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary 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 for the Hearing Impaired 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

    This box set collects all 13 episodes of Series One of Torchwood which have been previously released on three two-disc sets, however, the discs included here are significantly different to those in the previous sets as there is different audio along with additional extras. This set also includes a seventh disc which was not included in the other sets and is packaged quite differently to any previous box set I have seen. Inside a cardboard sleeve, are seven thin red transparent hard plastic trays each storing one DVD. The seven trays are then hinged together in a book-like block. It seems quite good to me and is certainly easier to handle than a fold-out cardboard sleeve.

    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 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 (i.e. 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; Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) his 2IC, the newest member of the team, 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. Ianto becomes more of a full blown member of the team in these episodes. Captain Jack, who seems to be American, is very mysterious and 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 full dealing with the aliens threats that come their way and trying to turn those to Earth's advantage by capturing and determining uses of alien technology.

    The episodes are as follows:

  1. Everything Changes (51:09) - A young female police officer, Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) is assigned to work a 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 on 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.
  6. Countrycide (46:53) - This is the horror themed episode which involves the disappearance of people driving through remote countryside. As it might be alien related the team investigate despite Owen's reluctance to go into the country. This episode includes a number important events for members of the team. Some viewers may be put off by this episode which is rated MA15+, whereas most of the series is M.
  7. Greeks Bearing Gifts (49:39) - Torchwood are called in to investigate a very old body. A woman who seems to know Toshiko approaches her and gives her a bracelet which allows her to hear other's thoughts. They form a relationship which finds Toshiko somewhat surprised at herself. Really good episode.
  8. They Keep Killing Suzie (52:44) - Three people have been murdered horribly in suburbia. A couple found dead in their bedroom have the word Torchwood smeared on the wall in their own blood. Gwen wants to bring the resurrection glove from Episode 1 out of storage o find out what is going on. Strangely this case seems to be linked to Suzie who was killed in Episode 1. This is quite a creepy episode which is one of the best of the series so far.
  9. Random Shoes (49:16) - A young man who has been trying to get Gwen's attention for months winds up dead, run over on a country road. His name is Eugene Jones and when the team arrive to investigate his ghost starts following Gwen as she investigates a case which at first glance doesn't seem to be in Torchwood's area of expertise. This is a quieter and more personal, Gwen focused episode Good but not great.
  10. Out of Time (49:46) - This is another interesting change of pace for the series which once again shows this series' lack of an obvious formula (which is a good thing!). A plane lands at Cardiff which took off in 1953. The passengers include a middle aged man and a teenage girl along with a female pilot. The team need to look after them, helping them to come to terms with the modern world, but things soon become complex as their relationships deepen. We learn more about Capt. Jack.
  11. Combat (47:52) - Weevil's are disappearing off the streets and the team witness one being kidnapped by men in a van. They soon realise that something less than savoury is happening to them. The plot of the episode is quite reminiscent of (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Fight Club .
  12. Captain Jack Harkness (48:14) - Complaints have been received that 40s dance music is emanating from a derelict Cardiff dance hall. Jack & Toshiko investigate but soon find themselves trapped in 1941. A great episode where we find out a lot more about Captain Jack.
  13. End of Days (46:44) - Continues episode 12 and wraps in a few previous story lines. There are lots of strange occurrences all over the world which seem to point back to Cardiff. The team thinks it may be the end of the world.

    This is an excellent new series at least the equal of the new Doctor Who, if not better for an adult audience. The characters here are multi-dimensional and develop significantly over the series. This is one example of the excellent writing in this series. The cast are enigmatic and interesting and the story lines run the gamut of science-fiction, thriller, mystery and horror themes. Additionally, there are good dashes of humour. This show would certainly be enjoyed by adult fans of Doctor Who who don't mind a bit of extra sex, violence and horror themes. Highly Recommended.

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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 were not obvious and may be between episodes.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good and an improvement over the previously issued two disc sets.

    This DVD contains an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 448 Kb/s. The original sets included Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtracks which were pretty good, however the 5.1 is a step up with clearer definition of the surround sound and better mixed dialogue (although some lines are still a bit hard to make out).

    Dialogue was mostly clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

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

    The surround speakers were used quite a lot for immersive atmosphere but very little for specific surround effects..

     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. Extras which were NOT included in the previously released sets are marked ** NEW **

Menu

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

Commentaries **NEW**

    All episodes have commentaries, which are mostly of high quality usually featuring lots of trivia, self deprecating humour and lively conversation. They are as follows:-

  1. Julie Gardener (Prod), Russell T Davis (Writer/Producer) & Brian Kelly (Dir)
  2. Richard Stokes (Prod), Chris Chibnall (Writer) & Eve Myles (Gwen)
  3. Colin Teague (Dir), Burn Gorman (Owen) & Helen Raynor (Writer)
  4. James Strong (Dir), Chris Chibnall (Writer) & Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto)
  5. Alice Troughton (Dir), Ben Foster (Composer) & Eve Myles (Gwen)
  6. Chris Chibnall (Writer), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto) & Andy Goddard (Dir)
  7. Richard Stokes (Prod), Colin Teague (Dir) & Toby Whitehouse (Writer)
  8. James Strong (Dir), Chris Chibnall (Writer) & Brian Minchin (Editor)
  9. Richard Stokes (Prod), James Erskine & Paul Checker (Eugene)
  10. Eve Myles (Gwen), Ben Foster (Composer)  & Alice Troughton (Dir)
  11. Chris Chibnall (Writer), Burn Gorman (Owen) & Andy Goddard (Dir)
  12. Richard Stokes (Prod), Ashley Way (Dir) & John Barrowman (Captain Jack)
  13. Richard Stokes (Prod), Ashley Way (Dir) & John Barrowman (Captain Jack)

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:

Disc 3

Torchwood - Sex, Violence, Blood & Gore (15:42)

    A featurette focusing on the adult rating and timeslot and what that allows the producers to do which they cannot with Doctor Who. Worth a look.

Torchwood - The Team & Their Troubles

    This section includes two featurettes which are essentially short making-ofs for each episode on the disc. They are:

Deleted Scenes (11:06)

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

Disc 4

Torchwood - On The Road (9:09)

    A featurette focusing on Torchwood vehicle which they refer to as an SUV but is obviously a Range Rover. Covers what they have added on to it and problems with filming in it.

Torchwood - The Team & Their Troubles

    This section includes two featurettes which are essentially short making-ofs for each episode on the disc. They are:

Deleted Scenes (6:51)

    Some deleted and extended scenes from all four episodes. Not spectacular.

Disc 5

Torchwood - Moments in the Making

    This section includes two featurettes which are essentially short making-ofs for each episode on the disc, focused on one scene each. They are:

The Captain's Log (10:26)

    A featurette including video diary footage of John Barrowman along with interviews about him with other cast & crew. OK.

Disc 6

Torchwood - Moments in the Making

    This section includes two featurettes which are essentially short making-ofs for each episode on the disc, focused on one scene each. They are:

Torchwood : On Time (10:11)

    A featurette about how they created the 1930s dance hall location.

Outtakes (5:37)

    A surprisingly funny set of outtakes which are full of laughs.

Disc 7

Torchwood Declassified - The Complete Series (140:14) **NEW**

    A set of 14 featurettes about the first series of Torchwood. The first one covers the background of the story, concept of the show and the characters. The other 13 are making of featurettes, one for each episode which cover story concepts, creatures, design, sets, locations and characters. The stuff is all interesting and will be a treasure trove for fans.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 & 2 versions of this set seem to be identical to our local release.

Summary

    The first season box set of a great new adult series which has been spun off Doctor Who.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good and a step up from the audio on the previously released two-disc sets.

    The set has an incredible array of extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, February 14, 2008
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) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Captain Jack American - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Captain Jack American - Anonymous
Captain Jack Alien? - Anonymous
Captain Jack Alien? - Anonymous
Save your money - just crap viewing - MGH REPLY POSTED
Sounds Cool - Tom Tuttle
Tried to like this but... - Cassidy (The bionic man)
Save your money - just crap viewing - Le Messor (bio logy class)
re "crap viewing" - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
"crap viewing" sorry to Bran - Le Messor (bio logy class)
re "crap viewing" - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
It's Cool. - Le Messor (bio logy class)
Does the extras contain subtitles? - AussieGuy REPLY POSTED