TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Torchwood TV Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
British sci-fi series offers intense alien action.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 61 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages
Positive Role Models & Representations

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.


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).


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.


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

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.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
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 s... Continue reading
Adult Written bytweedleeves August 17, 2011

Keep your childrens eyes on the Doctor

When I read reviews from kids who repeatedly mention that the characters have sex, I'm apt to believe that there is far too much sexual content in this ser... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bywhaleoh4060 March 12, 2011

For mature audiences

The show is pretty violent which is why it is rated MA15+ in Australia (basically R in America). It can sometimes be a bit spooky.
There is a LOT of sexual cont... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byLadyRowena April 9, 2008


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... Continue reading

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?

TV details

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