Torchwood has the unenviable task of following up Children of Earth (one of the best sci-fi stories I’ve seen told in any medium in recent years) with not only a change in network (at least here in the United States) after a long layoff, but also moving the characters themselves across the pond to America. It isn’t a reboot exactly, but it does feel like a brand new beginning.
If I have complaints with “The New World” (the first episode of the new season) it’s with how long the show spends setting up the world and introducing several new characters before getting the team together (something which still isn’t completely settled by the end of this episode).
The story itself is interesting. No one is dying. Anywhere. This includes a murdering pedophile (a creepy Bill Pullman) who survives being put to death by the state. Just as alarming is the fact that Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) seems suddenly able to get hurt.
This first episode has some nice moments including Gwen (Eve Myles) verbally battling with her mother and Rhys (Kai Owen) scared out of his mind that his wife is going to get sucked into the latest crisis even though Torchwood is long dead and buried. And the show does a good job reintroducing the idea of Torchwood (a secret government agency dealing with extra-terrestrial threats) for both old and new viewers.
That isn’t stopping a pair of CIA officers from investigating, and ultimately stumbling across Torchwood. One is a CIA analyst (Alexa Havins) who stumbles across mentions of Torchwood and won’t let them go and the other is an operative (Mekhi Phifer) who should have died but has survived. Together it looks like this pair, along with Captain Jack and Gwen, will for the foundation for the new Americanized version of Torchwood.
We’ll have to see how long it takes to get the team together before they can get any real work done. I’m also concerned about the size and scope of Pullman’s storyline which, which from the previews, looks like it’s going to be a major plot thread. It’s not Children of Earth, but Torchwood is back, and I’m more than willing to stick around to see what happens next.