The first two episodes of Doctor Who’s ‘adult’ spinoff Torchwood: Not too bad, I suppose (am I the only one who thinks alien sex vampires are a bit dull?), but got to admit I was – probably foolishly – hoping it would be brilliant. And it wasn’t, really. I can’t help but think it’s actually a kids’ show with an ‘adult’ skin grafted onto it. People get messily killed, there’s plenty of inter- and intra-gender mouth-on-mouth action, even some bonking. But all that’s just the bodywork; the chassis and engine underneath don’t feel quite so grown-up. The pacing of each episode’s pretty much flat-out, the plotting seems a bit reliant on people behaving like complete idiots and the characters talk and behave like unruly teenagers half the time (characteristics it shares with Spooks – a show that in the last couple of seasons seems to have given up all pretence of realism and turned into a live action cartoon, if you ask me. Which you didn’t.)

Basically, it’s Dr. Who with added sex and violence, which I suppose does make it an adult show, in the post-watershed kind of sense. It’s got potential, so I’ll give it another episode or two to really win me over. Makes me kind of miss Strange and Ultraviolet, though: brief UK efforts to do sf/f/h for grown-ups. In my possibly rose-tinted memory glasses, they both had a darker tone, a slightly more measured approach to cranking up the tension and characters who talked and behaved like adults engaged in at least vaguely serious business. Both disappeared from our screens very quickly. Not enough of us liked them, evidently. Which just goes to show … something. That my attention span’s too long, probably. Or that I’m just a grumpy old man (already? How did that happen?).

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