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Torchwood: Children of Earth Blu-ray Review

childrenofearth

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: VC-1
  • Resolution: 1080i/60
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD High Resolution 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Discs: 2
  • Studio: BBC Warner
  • Release Date: July 28, 2009
  • List Price: $34.99
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Overall
rating4
The Series
rating5
Video Quality
rating4-5
Audio Quality
rating3-5
Supplemental Materials
rating1-5

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
More screen captures (12 total)
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG and thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

rating5

The BBC Wales series Torchwood has been branded the sexy, more mature spin-off of the Doctor Who revival. Its sleek production and themes of alien cover-ups and government conspiracies have often garnered it comparisons to U.S. television shows like The X-Files, and a tendency towards freak-of-the-week shows and blunt sexuality puts it in league with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Dark, hip, contemporary and futuristic all at once, Torchwood manages to be far less silly than Doctor Who, even as the show deals with the far out prospects of soul sucking nymphomaniacs and giant insects, it maintains a sense of realism and humanity that is usually forgotten in most science fiction.

Torchwood: Children of Earth arrives as the third season, but instead of a full season, Children of Earth is a five-part mini-series that ramps up the conspiracies, paranoia, and, subsequently, the death toll. Once again Torchwood, the agency founded by Queen Victoria to fight off alien threats, is headed by Captain Jack Harkness, a man with Lazarus qualities whom the government now needs to find a way to, if not kill, then silence in order to bury the sins of their past, as an alien race known simply as the 6-4-5 have returned to Earth using the planet’s children as vessels for communication.  Centered in Cardiff, the team must find a way to fight off this alien race who have come to Earth with a threat against humanity and its children while facing a hostile government that now wants them dead.

BDDefinitiontorchwoodce-a1080

Torchwood: Children of Earth is absolutely riveting. I will put my neck out and say that, not only has Torchwood surpassed its parent series Doctor Who (the name Torchwood is an anagram of Doctor Who) with Children of Earth, but also it has surpassed The X-Files on every level. The creators have managed to wrap in socio-political commentaries, drama and action that network television in the United States would probably be far too timid to carry. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and glued to your telly.

Video Quality

rating4-5

BDDefinitiontorchwoodce-k1080

Just like the previous seasons of Torchwood on Blu-ray, Children of Earth comes with a 1080i/60 VC-1 high definition encoding that looks absolutely amazing. The level of detail captured in the Torchwood production is superb. Every freckle on Eve Myles’ beautiful face is easily visible. And because Torchwood is shot in high definition at 1080i, there is a sense of hyperrealism that isn’t normally there with most television series captured on 35mm film. Flesh tones are realistic, black levels are deep and stable, and contrast is strong, only occasionally coming close to being too hot.  At times, there are some motion artifacts detectable, like some mild judder and slight aliasing, but they are rare and do not detract from the overall clarity and depth that is presented in this solid transfer.

Audio Quality

rating3-5

BDDefinitiontorchwoodce-h1080

Torchwood: Children of Earth is proved with an English 5.1 mix in the rarely used lossy High Resolution variety of DTS-HD. The mix offers clear dialogue with good amounts of ambience sent to the surrounds and constant activity in the rear channels as well. From street noise to the buzzes and beeps of the Torchwood hub, the surround channels are active, even if not full of a lot of motion. Cut scenes and action sequences bring the most activity, but the subwoofer is not utilized as much as it could have been, leaving some of the more powerful action scenes sounding a little bit weak. High frequencies also sound a bit on the harsh side, which is emphasized given Torchwood’s techno-style soundtrack.

Supplemental Materials

rating1-5

BDDefinitiontorchwoodce-i1080

Children of Earth is thin on the supplements, coming with only one making-of featurette entitled Children of Earth Declassified (1.78:1; 480i/60) that feels more promotional than informative. It does, however, offer some interview segments with the stars of the series and its creators.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

rating4

BDDefinitiontorchwoodce-b1080

Torchwood: Children of Earth trims out the filler in this brief, but absolutely spectacular five-part third season. It is sci-fi television at its finest, with an exceptional high definition transfer to boot.

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