This past week, the five-part Torchwood miniseries “Children of Earth” aired on BBC 3. This was a replacement for a typical season-run for the third season of the show, much like Doctor Who is interspersing four “specials” (one down, three to go) throughout the year rather than the usual thirteen-episode season.
Torchwood has always been darker than Doctor Who, but “Children of Earth” really takes it to a whole new level. I can’t reveal too much without spoiling the plot, but let’s just say that even if you’re not a fan of the show, if you appreciate science fiction with complicated ethical dilemmas and don’t mind the social commentary a tad heavy-handed at times, this is not to be missed. Plus, creepy children and really, really, really creepy aliens. When every kid in the entire world freezes in place and starts speaking in unison, you know you’ve probably got an alien problem – and the image is all very Children of the Corn.
Though I should offer two warnings: (1) you may be forced, as I was, to stay up until 3am watching all five episodes; and (2) Russell T. Davies, who pinned most of the scripts, is the type of writer who seems to delight in slowly carving fans’ hearts out with a spoon.
There has not yet been any word on whether there will be more seasons of Torchwood, abbreviated or otherwise, though I suspect that if there is an announcement it will be made at Comic Con, since both Davies and star John Barrowman will be there. However, it would not appear to be the last time we’d see Captain Jack Harkness in any case, as Barrowman has been seen on the set of the upcoming Doctor Who specials.
If you are in the U.S., “Children of Earth” will begin airing on BBC America on Monday, July 20. You’ll want to give your kids a hug after this one.