As a relatively new Whovian, I've always wondered about Capt. Jack Harkness. He's an unforgettable character in Doctor Who not just because of his gorgeous face and as the only American sounding mainstay in a British TV series but because there is not much that we know of this mysterious Time Agent who can't die like the Doctor after being saved by Rose Tyler. It's always a delight to see his appearances as his excessive flirting to both genders will bring you a lot of laughs, but even as head of Torchwood Institute in Cardiff, a huge portion of what they are as an institute and what they were doing was quite forgettable when I was watching the adventures of the last three Doctors. When I made time for this spin-off and played it one night last month, I got quite a bloody shock (trying to inject some British words here, hehe). It is violent, it is sexually charged, it is all new levels of alien life forms, and it has also damn brilliant episodes that move me to tears and make me breathless with adrenaline and excitement. This is a Russell T. Davies masterpiece where each character will be like a well-loved friend to help you forget reality at the moment . You will cheer for them to survive their difficult work of containing the monsters traveling through the time rift that opened in the city, endangering the British and the rest of humanity.Let me introduce to you the imaginary friends that I made this past month
Capt. Jack Harkness
THE LEAD ACTOR OF THE SERIES (played by John Barrowman). Jaw-dropping handsome, excellent leadership qualities, complicated pasts and lifelines. His team knew little of him at first, but then when they witness his revival from the dead COUNTLESS of times, they more or less had a clearer sense of his purpose in Torchwood: an eternal dedication to protecting the human race from alien threat at all costs. His selflessness is his moral fiber, but sometimes it is tested, sometimes it is his weakness. He has experienced an unmatched emptiness and loneliness, and his shallow flirting to anyone is just a temporary balm to get by. Story-wise, Torchwood provided his back stories and made him more whole as a character in relation to the Doctors. Torchwood does all the nitty gritty of mopping up the alien dirt (think MIB but a hundred times more credible). Our dear captain is a box of surprises,Jack is not even his real name! Fans will get to know him better after seeing the three seasons I did. He's usually lovable in Doctor Who, but here in Torchwood, you'll get to the point of hating him for his guts.
THE EMPATH (played by Eve Myles). This gap-toothed lovely lady is the next main character of the series, though amusingly the one NEW in the Torchwood team. The pilot episode opens with her life as a local policewoman who trailed the mysterious Torchwood agents until she gets recruited. Gwen Cooper's character development is also one of the best things in the series that merited Eve Myles a best actress award for her portrayal. Gwen is a smart, compassionate person who brings the voice of reason to the group mostly because she's the only one in the team who is not desensitized to the importance of human emotions in relation to the world. She's the lone person who actually wants to lead a normal life after her missions. Her exposure to the horrendously strange cases of the institute pushed her to the brink of insanity, but because she survived them all and learned so much about herself and the world, she became decisive about how she runs her life. Flawed and stubborn she may be sometimes, but it's her passion that saves her and the people she loves. She's a born leader, and a formidable force to reckon with when season three ended.
THE SCIENTIST (played by Naoko Mori). She's the beautiful Asian brain working all the gadgets, and her intellectual prowess is hands-down amazing as she monitors and troubleshoots through the almost-impossible plans of escape of her friends. She's the most emotionally vulnerable person though, as her complicated love affairs in the series were the most interesting. She is haunted by a past that makes her so insecure and awkward despite her intelligence, but Capt. Jack helped her find her way to be the best person she can be after all the traumatic moments of her life. She exited in season three, and the Torchwood headquarters doesn't seem the same in her absence. I'll miss Tosh. (Trivia: I was thrilled to find out that Ms. Mori played Kim in Miss Saigon when she was younger, while Barrowman played Chris, the American lover)
THE DOCTOR (played by Burn Gorman). He's irritatingly cocky but brilliant nevertheless. Another broken soul like Toshiko, with a sad past that hardened his heart to the world. There's not much figuring out to do with Dr. Harper because he's straightforward about everything that he feels. I feel that there's no middle ground in his character. Extremely calm and collected in missions but war-freak in bars, hehe. He exited the series twice. How and why? That's one of the big revelations you'd have to see to find out! (Trivia: He's the British scientist in Pacific Rim)
THE BUTLER/RECEPTIONIST/PROPERTY CUSTODIAN/AGENT (played by Gareth David-Lloyd). He has the cutest smile and you won't get tired of looking at his formal attire everyday! Ianto Jones is a valuable team player despite the seemingly mundane tasks of making the best coffee for everyone and as man of the house in the impenetrable Torchwood facility.He is humble and quiet (but makes funny puns once on a while) and writes a lot in his diary, but he can assist Tosh with his tech skills and kick some butts too during field work. He is the loyal right hand of Jack (because Gwen is on the left, haha). He completes this diverse team that save Cardiff and the Earth.
You don't have to be a Doctor Who fan to appreciate this show. It explores a deeper angle on alien technology and the supernatural, sort of like a British version of Fringe, only more radical. Just be ready for the adult themes that are in this spin-off. Audiences should move beyond the violence and sometimes sexy scenes sometimes in the show because it still tackles well the universal themes of life, and that all their characters grow so mature in three seasons that I can't help but get attached. They all played their roles strongly and believably I cried when some of them had to exit. I didn't get a copy of the fourth season where American actors like Mekhi Phifer and Bill Pullman were cast in Torchwood while the story continued Gwen's family life.The first three are enough exposure to witness another great sci-fi ride on television in this age where situations unimaginable are brought to life by wonderfully creative Brits who made Doctor Who a legacy.