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Who spinoff is not for kids

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The long weekend is a time for marathons, and no marathon this weekend is as goofy, eccentric or seriously "out there" as Torchwood, Welsh writer Russell T. Davies' adult spinoff from the 2005 revival of Doctor Who.

Torchwood is sexy and salacious where Doctor Who is innocent and charming, and small wonder: Among Davies' other creations are Queer As Folk and the serial dramedy, Casanova.

Torchwood episodes will air for 14 straight hours all day Friday; the 2009 miniseries sequel, Torchwood: Children of Earth, will air Saturday. A fourth season in the series, Torchwood: Miracle Day, bows July 9.

Whatever it is, Torchwood's tale of a tightly knit team of paranormal bounty hunters is not for children. It was originally intended to air after 9 p.m., where, theoretically, anyway, a more mature-minded kind of viewer has control over the remote.

Davies openly said he wanted Torchwood to be more visceral, more violent and, yes, more sexual, if need be. Torchwood wasn't going to be trash, though, Davies added: He wasn't awarded the Order of the British Empire for nothin'.

John Barrowman, who plays Torchwood's dashing hero, the lantern-jawed he-man Capt. Jack Harkness, said he wasn't about to do any nude scenes. Not in the first season, anyway. "They're saving that for the next season," he quipped at the time.

The early episodes, featuring Barrowman, Eve Myles — one of the few holdovers from the series' start —Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd, revolve around such sci-fi gambits as cyberwomen, malevolent garden gnomes, time-travelling airline passengers, telepathic co-workers, and a device that can tap the hidden energy left behind by strong emotions.

Popular characters die suddenly; predictable plot lines take sudden, hairpin turns; and nothing is ever quite what it seems.

Torchwood may not carry the torch for harmless family entertainment the way Doctor Who does, but it burns bright just the same. Heed the viewer advisories, keep your sense of humour and remember the adage about a willing suspension of disbelief, and you'll have yourself a grand old time. (SPACE)

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  • APA 6th ed.: Kenneally, Tim (2011-06-30). Who spinoff is not for kids. Postmedia News p. B6.
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