But there are those characters we don't know much about. Think about Benjamin Linus from Lost when he first appeared as Henry Gale among the Flight 815 survivors. There were so many secrets and mysteries surrounding him that we couldn't take our eyes off of him when he was on-screen. Well Ben's story may be more or less told, though something tells me there's still more to be gleaned, but there are plenty of familiar faces on television with not so familiar back-stories. And while Ben didn't make the list, that doesn't mean Lost went unrepresented.
If you just want the list, click here.
10 - Dr. Helen Magnus (Sanctuary, SyFy)
9 - Captain Jack Harkness (Torchwood, BBC America)
8 - Castiel (Supernatural, The CW)
7 - Tony Almeida, (24, Fox)
6 - Angela Petrelli, (Heroes, NBC)
5 - The Devil (Reaper, The CW)
4 - Christina Scofield (Prison Break, Fox)
3 - The Doctor (Doctor Who, SyFy)
2 - Richard Alpert (Lost, ABC)
1 - Walter Bishop (Fringe, Fox)
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What's so brilliant about the stories we get is that in most cases the back-stories are nothing like I would have expected for that character, and yet at the same time it so perfectly serves the personality and drives of each individual on the team. Suddenly, Tosh's meekness, Ianto's eagerness and Owen's boorishness make perfect sense in the context of their past experiences. Even Jack's cavalier behavior and obsessive dedication to Torchwood make sense considering his own history with it. What they've managed is to add more depth to our relationship with each of the individual Torchwood members just in time for all hell to break loose in the finale.
(S02E11) "Always room for one more. We could have used you an hour ago for naked hide-and-seek." Jack to Gwen after she walked in on him and Ianto having an intimate moment
Well, it was a vast improvement over last week's episode. And it actually revealed some significant information about the rift and its activities, but that's not to say the episode was without some logistical problems and "conveniences." As seems to be par for the course on Torchwood, there was at least one ridiculously convenient coincidence that the emotional hook of the episode hinged on.
Speaking of that emotional hook, you know how you can tell this is a British television show? Because it didn't get all wrapped up in the end in a nice, easy bow. This is a mainstream show in the UK. How many mainstream shows in the US would allow the whole show to get wrapped up in misery and shame and leave us there? Torchwood has always been the darker, more mature cousin of Doctor Who, and this episode lived up to that title.
It was cool to think of Jack exploiting his immortality by performing as "The Man Who Could Not Die" in a traveling freak show a hundred years ago or so. It would make perfect sense that he'd go into that line of work. But then we learned that he did so while investigating the "night travelers," but he wouldn't say for whom and why he was investigating. Another layer of the Captain Jack onion almost peeled.
This was more of a comic-relief episode than any of the season's previous ones. It was a welcome respite from the heavy life-and-death episode about Owen from last week.
On a side note, I'm amazed Owen, since he died and was resurrected, still doesn't have the craving for human flesh that the shapeshifter from this episode had. In all other aspects he's pretty much become a zombie. Maybe that bit happens later.
(S02E08) "You get to live forever. I get to die forever." -Owen comparing his situation to Jack's immortality.
This was a very different Torchwood episode. There were no aliens to battle and no major action sequences. In fact, Team Torchwood was mostly inactive. Instead, we got to take an episode to look deep into the psyche and situation of Dr. Owen Harper. Everything from the music to the way the various scenes were shot lent itself perfectly to the melancholy and hopelessness of the character. Burn Gorman showed tremendous depth in his portrayal of Owen this installment, and it looks like we may finally be looking at some major growth for Owen. Not that he still doesn't have some very serious issues to deal with.
(S02E07) The death of Owen Harper trilogy continued. But does death mean the same thing in the world of Torchwood as it does in our world? Do you really need to ask? Aside from an incredibly hokey introductory sequence in which Jack stormed into the above scene, struck a very theatrical pose and said "Nobody touches him until I return!" before abruptly disappearing again, this was a pretty solid episode. I do have to say that the point of Martha's continuing involvement is escaping me as she didn't really have anything to add to this installment.
(S02E05) If you're one of those people who believes what I tell you then I apologize. As was corrected in the comments last week, this episode was not the one that featured the start of Freema Ageyman's run on Torchwood, reprising her Doctor Who role of Martha Jones. That one is next week. Instead we got a fantastic one-off episode that not only got into the inner workings of the personalities that make up the Torchwood team, but that also showed us some of Jack's mysterious past.
(S02E04) When Gwen first joined Torchwood, she brought with her an element that none of the other team-members had, namely a significant other in Rhys. Since that time she has struggled to keep those two worlds separate, insisting to Rhys that she was still working for the police department and keeping him in the dark as to the otherworldly doings of Torchwood. Seems that would be difficult to maintain, right? Well, Cardiff is only so big so inevitably it would become impossible.
Did you really think Captain Jack wouldn't be back? Now in its second series/season in both the UK and the US, we're going to do things a little differently with our Torchwood reviews this year. The fine folks on both sides of the pond finally got things squared away so that new episodes air much closer in the US to their initial UK airing. The third episode airs this Saturday, February 9, on BBC America, which is a little more than a week after the UK airing. To minimize any "spoilery" concerns, the episode reviews will follow the US airings.
But before we can get to that, we need to play a little bit of catch up, so look for an overview of the first two episodes of Series/Season Two after the jump. And about that image up there spoiling the first episode? Hey, that might just be a flashback sequence. That's right, I got you there.
Sarah Jane is aided by a small group of children in her quest. And while the series has a lower budget than Who and is geared more towards a children's audience, I still found it to be tremendously fun. And any opportunity to see K-9 is worth it in my book!
Just as happened with parent series Doctor Who, those of us stateside won't have to wait as long after the British airing of Torchwood's second season to see it here, though ironically it has yet to be announced when it will premiere on BBC Two in the UK. TVGuide.com tells us the second season of BBC America's biggest hit comes to us beginning January 26. And with James Marsters (Buffy/Angel) dropping in for a guest shot, and Doctor Who's Freema Agyeman (companion Martha) checking in for an extended stay mid-season, this second go round with Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen and the gang is shaping up to be more exciting than the first.
Marsters will play a time-agent criminal who "goes around in different times killing people with no remorse at all." His character Spike, remains one of the most popular in the Buffy-verse, so I expect Torchwood's ratings to see another "spike." (Boo! Boo! Hiss! Get off the stage!).
(S01E15) The Doctor (to Rose): You were fantastic! And you know what? So was I.
Okay, much to talk about this episode. So, no dilly-dallying around, boys and girls. Let's get right to it!
We begin where we left off last episode: Rose (Billie Piper) is a prisoner of the Daleks, who are on a direct course to Earth for a little invading. Luckily, our heroes The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston, in his last episode) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, also in his last episode) come to her rescue and appear right in the middle of the Daleks' command bridge. It's here that The Doctor learns about the resurgence of the Dalek population. To summarize . . . after the Time War ended the Emperor Dalek escaped and began to repopulate from dead humans. Ripping away all vestiges of humanity the Emperor created a new army of Daleks. After doing this about half-a-million times he began to think of himself as a god, and he wants to continue that streak of good luck by assimilating the rest of the human population.
Of course, The Doctor isn't having any of that.
(S01E10) Former gas-masked zombie: My leg's grown back! When I come to the hospital, I had one leg!
Doctor (not The Doctor): Well, there is a war on, is it possible you miscounted?
The Doctor can babysit at my house anytime. I mean, any man who can get a crazed group of gas-masked zombies to stop attacking just by saying 'Go to your room' can get my kids to behave as well.
This episode was another fine performance all around for stars Christopher Eccleston (The Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose Tyler) as well as writer Steven Moffat and Director James Hawes. Moffat and Hawes kept the tension that they developed last episode ("The Empty Child") while bringing in a bit more levity and even a happy ending for all concerned.
To recap: when we left our intrepid duo last episode they, as well as Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman, who looks and sounds a little bit like Tom Cruise), were about to become alien zombies. As mentioned above, The Doctor gave them all a stern talking to, which caused all of the zombies to go back to their rooms. From that point on it was a non-stop train ride.
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