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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this British science-fiction series from some of the creators of the latest iteration of Doctor Who is intense and bloody enough to make it iffy for younger and/or sensitive viewers. Some of the alien characters are menacing in appearance, and their violent attacks on people can be graphic (in one scene, for example, a man is bitten in the neck, and blood gushes from the wound). Bloody murder victims are also shown at crime scenes. Expect plenty of strong language ("s--t," "hell," and even "f --k"), too.
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What's the story?
British sci-fi series TORCHWOOD follows the adventures of a top-secret team of investigators who capture aliens and use their technology to solve crime. When her crime scene is taken over by a mysterious group, police officer Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) is suspicious. Following fragmented leads, she witnesses another violent murder before stumbling upon the headquarters of the Torchwood Institute. There she meets team lead Captain Jack Harness (John Barrowman), who explains Torchwood's purpose: to capture the hundreds of alien creatures who slip through a rift of space and time into the city and to use their scavenged technology against them. Gwen's offers to work as a liaison between the police force and Torchwood. Then, when a vacancy surfaces on the team, she joins the top-secret group in the hopes that Torchwood's resources will help solve the city's crimes.
Is it any good?
Created by Russell T. Davies, whose credits also include the latest version of Doctor Who (from which this series was spun off), Torchwood is a suspenseful, action-packed thrill ride for sci-fi fans. The series is well cast and written and raises -- albeit on a conversational, rather than scientific, level -- the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
There's a lot to enjoy about this intense show, but there are plenty of red flags for parents, too. Violence is prevalent and often bloody, language is very strong ("f--k" is a popular choice, as are "s--t" and "hell"), and the invisible line between fantasy and reality may be difficult to decipher for youngsters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of science fiction. What draws people to this genre? What's the fascination of aliens and cool gizmos? Does sci-fi work as well on TV as it does on the big screen? Why or why not? Families can also discuss extraterrestrial life. Do you believe in aliens? Why or why not? How would life change if it was proved they existed? Could our society handle something like that?