Torchwood: Captain Jack Harkness / End of Days (season finale)
For a debut season of a large budget sci-fi show on the BBC, scheduled late in a poor slot on a digital channel with limited viewers and decidedly adult themes, strong language and graphic violence, this show succeeded where so many others fail miserably.
And it achieved its success by giving viewers a taste of something usually only witnessed in much higher-profile shows, such as its big sister show Doctor Who; originality.
Sure, we can all cite the references and influences (or "rip-offs", as they're more commonly known), but I don't really care about all that; all I care about is passing an hour without feeling like I'm watching an episode of King of the Rocket Men or Flash Gordon from the 1950s.
Two major things happened in this well-rounded two parter which stand out as significant in the overall 13 episodes of Torchwood; firstly, Captain Jack turned out to be human after all, if only in the emotional sense, and we got a cliffhanger so good that it'll be worth waiting a year to experience he conclusion.
It all started when Toshiko and Jack found themselves accidentally transported back in time to the Blitz in 1941, while the rest of the Torchwood team searched for long-lost clues in the present which would aid their return.
At the heart of the story was a mysterious (and rather creepy) old chap called Bilis Manger, who seemed to be able to bridge the time gap between the two eras and cause mayhem.
Meanwhile, Jack made an unfortunate discovery, when he found himself being introduced to none other than Captain Jack Harkness -- and here is where my review meets with its only complaint. In meeting the man whose identity he stole before venturing back and forth through time, Jack found himself falling in love. Worse still, the real Captain Jack fell in love back.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for strong gay characters and more mature approaches to sexuality in science-fiction; but it all seemed unnecessary, out of place and, well, weak. It felt entirely an indulgence on the part of Russell T Davies.
But as I said, it was only a minor complaint, and in some small way gave us a deeper insight into Jack's psyche, but not before he was yanked back to the future thanks to some ad-hoc manipulation by an obsessed Owen of the 'rift' in space and time above Cardiff.
Despite the meddling with the rift allowing the return of Jack and Tosh (along with some fairly basic time-travelling tricks which really should have been better thought out), all of this spelled certain doom, not only for Torchwood, but for the world.
When things picked up in the second half, everything was in turmoil. People from all across time were being sucked into the future; plague victims, Roman gladiators and UFOs -- causing all sort of chaos.
And then mister Manger played his trump card and gave everyone in the team a vision of the future, which in Gwen's case meant death for her partner, and the incentive to open up the rift against Jack's wishes, which bought about the release of a terrible creature I haven't seen the likes of since the Stay Puft Marshmallowman in Ghostbusters (second complaint: please don't make the villain at 80-foot demon who stomps on people).
Despite these minor discrepancies in an otherwise entertaining finale, I simply wanted more, and when the end came -- cute cliffhanger and all, I truly felt like I'd taken a ride with the Torchwood team over the last three months which ended with me jumping eagerly to the back of the queue to do it all over again.
And as for the cliffhanger for next season?
Well, let's just say a familiar materialisation sound from Torchwood's big sister show made an appearance at the very end and a prominent character vanished into thin air.
Season Two can't come soon enough for me.