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Torchwood: Children of Earth,” the “Doctor Who” spinoff miniseries currently playing on BBC America, is so good that I have practically forgotten the mediocrity that was “Torchwood’s” second season and can forgive all of its distracting stunt casting and convoluted story lines. With this five-night event, the series about a super-secret evil alien fighting, Cardiff-based unit led by the charismatic, and immortal, Captain Jack Harkness reincarnates itself as truly riveting drama. It is reminiscent of the days when miniseries were appointment television; the kind of TV you rearrange your schedule to watch.
When the children of the world simultaneously begin to stop in place and fall into catatonic states, Torchwood awaits the call from the British government to spring into action. But, as things get worse, the government doesn’t ask for help, instead they set out to destroy Torchwood. You see, this threat has visited Britain before and Captain Jack knows all the incriminating details.
Recounting the rest of the story would simply give away too much of the delicious plot, but suffice it to say that “Children of Earth” seriously addresses the current political climate, exploring the complex issues of a government in a secret war while trying to project normality to the populace. It’s chilling to watch the scenes of government officials discussing what portion of the population is most expendable, because it is completely realistic. You can easily imagine those conversations taking place in London, in D.C., in Moscow, and it becomes clear that the real monsters may not be alien invaders, but the frailty of the human condition, the vulnerability of emotional connection.
Revelations about the lives of each Torchwood member swirl around the core drama, making for a rich and often moving experience. Plus, it maintains its scifi/horror bona fides in spades with children acting most oddly. Nothing creepier.
The conclusion airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. on BBC America, with an encore presentation of night four at 8:00 p.m. If you haven’t been glued to your TV the past four nights, the DVD will be released Tuesday, July 28.

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