I was simply blown away by the Torchwood S3/miniseries (subtitled Children of Earth) that ran M-F this past week. Holy friggin' moly, that was great! Despite not being a Dr. Who-ligan, I enjoyed the first two seasons of its spin-off (see here, here, here and here) and was dismayed that the third season would only be a five-episode miniseries. But the miniseries was vastly better than the first two seasons, pared down, action-packed from the get-go, funny, exciting and heart-breaking.
An alien race has come to Earth and demanded 10% of the planet's children or it will eradicate the entire human race. The aliens are dealing with the Brits because this is the second time they've come to Earth: back in 1965 the British government gave them twelve children in hopes they would go away. The Welsh Torchwood unit is poised and ready to help, but the government, keeping their 1965 dealings with the aliens a secret, confounds them at every turn. The thing is, while the government is as much the Big Bad as the aliens, the viewer does not have an easy time knowing whom to side with. Would you sacrifice 3,500,000 children to save the remaining billions of people? And if so, how do you pick who is sacrificed?
Russell T. Davies has now supplanted Joss Whedon as the most ruthless television writer/producer: SPOILER he has killed off three of the five original cast members in 3 seasons; he has a government worker, betrayed by his boss, the British Prime Minister, shoot his two daughters, his wife and then himself, rather than give his children to the aliens; and Captain Jack is forced to sacrifice his only daughter's only child to save the planet. Grim, heartrending stuff - and really good television. END SPOILER.
The ending of Children of Earth was ambiguous as to whether there will be any more Torchwood episodes - Davies and the show's stars (those still living) seem ready and willing to do more, so fork over the money, BBC! It looks like I'm going to have to start watching Dr. Who episodes (man oh man that's going to take me decades, isn't it?) so as not to lose touch with this world. In the meantime, I urge you to rent or buy Torchwood 1, 2, and 3 (the last of which should be coming out on DVD very soon).
Also, I caught the pilot of Being Human, a new (new to the U.S.) supernatural BBC America show about a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire who are flat-mates. The pilot was a little rough, as pilots are wont to do, as it seemed as though the viewer was dumped into the show somewhere in the middle and had to figure out what was going on (as in, how did the vampire and the werewolf, who were already acquaintances before they occupied the flat that holds the ghost, first meet? although I suspect we'll get to see that as the series goes on). The show seems to be trying for a balance of horror and humor, like Buffy et als., and does fairly well; the werewolf when not wolfing out is a little squirrelly for my taste, but the gore is quite bloody, so that's fun. I suspect Being Human will only get better as it goes along and plan to keep it in the DVR queue for the duration.
11 hours ago