The Rift is a temporal anomaly, a rip in the fabric of the universe, where all manner of weird things can come forth: the lost, the unhinged, the trash of the multiverse.
So of course, I spill out of it, emerging– blurry eyed–in Cardiff, Wales of all places. An interesting location to be sure; having the highest concentration of aliens in the entire hemisphere being only one of its appealing qualities. But I was not here to meet the locals. No, I had eyes for only one man. A man of infamy around the bars frequented by the Judoon. A man who was known for only three things: his unstoppable libido, dashing good looks, and the strange condition of immortality.
He’s also the only person in this century with a time machine. His is a crude device to be sure, but it was only a means to procure a more suitable ride later.
He was opposed to the idea, of course, and certainly did not appreciate me shooting him in the head. But my goal was so close now, and I was not going to let the Torchwood Institute stop me from claiming my prize.
And you thought Doctor Who was a dark show.
If you have ever been on the internet, ever, then you have at least heard of the mega hit that is Doctor Who, a British-made television series that is known for its insane plot lines, strange aliens, and rabid fans. It’s all-pervasive among nerd culture, and capable of warping the world with its influence, managing to bring the humble fez back as a fashion statement, and make bow-ties cool.
But did you know it also had a spin-off series? One made for adults?
Well, you do now.
The series seems to exist as a method for the writers of Doctor Who to get out all of the demons that they’re not allowed to use: rape, death, drugs, guns, disease, and sex; all of the things hinted at in the parent series, but never actually shown.
The main character is, as expected, a minor character from the main series. A man by the name of Captain Jack Harkness: a bisexual, xenophilic ex-time travelling immortal, who commands a team of agents that police alien activity on earth.
Basically, they’re the British Men in Black.
I’m just going to get it out the way and say that this show is not as good as Doctor Who. Fans may attack me for that statement, but nowhere during its respectable four seasons (or “series” for British readers) did the show ever reach the heights of the original. Though, admittedly, that may just come from the fact that it doesn’t have as big of a history to draw from, nor a nostalgia factor. Additionally, the biggest pull for watching Doctor Who was always the Doctor himself, and his absence from Torchwood just sucks a lot of the life out of it.
That’s not to say that it’s not a good show. I called it the dark version of Doctor Who and that is certainly the case, and the scenarios that it lends itself to are quite interesting. The show’s main talent is asking tough moral questions whenever humans and aliens interact, often showing stories where there are no true heroes, and everyone is partially guilty for what happened.
The best part of the series though is when they do the classic “alien invader” stories, mainly because they’re allowed to take them to their disturbing extremes and not shy away from death. Aliens are shown eating and straight up pulverizing human bodies and the gore is often intensely graphic.
If any of this turns you off, then this show is not for you. But, for the ones who are intrigued by the dark underbelly of science fiction, where morality is only shades of gray, I implore you to give it a look.
Quickly too, because it might not be available for much longer…
This is but one part of the grand Netflix Quest! To check out the others, click here.
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