Torchwood TV Poster Image

Torchwood

(i)

 

British sci-fi series offers intense alien action.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Positive role models

The action is sci fi and soap opera-ish enough to render most of the characters as pawns in service of the plot, but Captain Jack Harkness is a noble jester who inspires his team and leads fearlessly. Characters sometimes double-cross each other but are usually punished for any wrongdoing, such as when Gwen regrets cheating on her fiance with one of her colleagues. Unlike other sci fi shows, the welfare of non-humans is important, and the Torchwood team often works to protect well-meaning alien creatures.

Violence

Some bloody murder victims shown. Attack scenes can be gruesome -- in one, for example, a man's neck is bitten and blood spurts forcefully from the wound. Guns and other weapons are commonplace. A main character is immortal and recovers quickly from otherwise-fatal injuries (like a gunshot wound to the head, for example).

Sex

Frequent innuendo, flirting, kissing scenes (including at least one between two men), and sex scenes (no explicit nudity). In one episode, an alien feeds off of orgasmic energy. The lead character is bisexual.

Language

"Ass," "s--t," "hell," "bloody," and more are used frequently -- unbleeped.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults drink alcohol in bars and social settings. In one scene, a man spikes a woman's drink with an amnesia drug so she'll forget their conversation the next day.

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Premiere date:September 8, 2007
Cast:Eve Myles, John Barrowman, Naoko Mori
Network:BBC America
Genre:Science Fiction
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of Torchwood was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Brilliant sci-fi drama for brave teens and up.
  • Cult vampire series has witty bite and strong role model.
  • Strong sci-fi mystery OK for older tweens, teens.
  • Lots of fun, but too scary for some kids.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byGracesbigsis July 14, 2010

Not for children at all

I'm 19 years old and I haven't seen every episode (I've seen most) but this show is not for kids. When I say it's not for kids, I say that strongly, it really is NOT for ANY children. I found myself disgusted with what I saw in the first two seasons. Now, the third season, the mini series Children of Earth was fantastic and really was toned down so, for that, I think I'd be okay with someone 15 or older seeing it. But it can get disturbing on many levels. The only reason I watched it is because I'm a huge Doctor Who fan. So my review is split. I think the first two seasons should be avoided (there are maybe two or three episodes that aren't too questionable, "Adam" being an example) but if you're interested in a really good sci fi drama, Children of Earth is phenomenal. You may turn your head away when Jack's body pieces itself back together and it does get very disturbing in the end, plot wise, but it's mature. Like I said, don't show this to your kids.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byLadyRowena April 9, 2008

Unimpressed

I downloaded the episodes as they were premiering in the UK, at the recommendation of a friend. I was expecting something akin to Doctor Who, with slightly more mature themes. To be totally honest, I was rather shocked by how much more 'mature' the themes were. There's much sexual references, (the second episode being about an alien who feeds off of 'orgasmic energy,' with pretty graphic sex scenes and all) and the amount of nasty gore. The male lead is bisexual, and a very blatant one at that, if you have issues with such things, then this show is DEFINITELY not for your teenagers. There is much casual homosexual/bisexual behaviour occurring throughout the series. As a teenager myself, I only had the stomach to get through about the fifth episode before I had no desire to watch any more of it. If your child enjoys this show, I would recommend they go back to it's family-friendly predecessor Doctor Who. There's a reason it's been airing since the early '60s. I found nothing redeeming about the entire show, the plots were relatively simple and not very thought-provoking, generally, I had them figured out about 20 minutes into it. This show is basically Doctor Who's sexed-up, stupefied cousin with acne.
Adult Written bycityscapes101 July 20, 2010
Doctor Who fan or not, you will want to check this show out. It has great plot lines, it's extremely interesting, sexy, and fun. If you're expecting a more action-packed Doctor Who, you may be a bit disappointed. The Doctor may make an appearance or two, because the show is closely tied to Doctor Who, but for a person that isn't a Doctor Who watcher, it can be viewed as a standalone show. However, for Doctor Who fans that are fans of Captain Jack, this will be perfect for you. The sex in the show isn't mild, but not too explicit. Anyway, I wouldn't let my 12 year old watch it. Think of it as a mature PG-13. The main character is bisexual, and homosexual activity and sexual activity towards aliens is treated as normal because of the society they live in (it's the 51st century). The point of the show is to move past prejudices and stereotypes, however, if you still aren't comfortable with it, this is IS NOT for you. The violence can be bloody and a bit disturbing, but nothing worse an PG-13 movie. Also, the language can be a bit bad, using words like f--k and s--t, but if you're okay with that, it's barely noticeable. Just make sure your kids aren't too young to hear it.There's some drinking, but nothing abnormally bad. Despite it all, Torchwood is a quality show and something that you should definitely watch.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Great messages

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement