Torchwood began as a more adult spinoff of Doctor Who, but came into its own right in its third season, the five-part mini-series, Children of Earth.
One day, all the children of Earth freeze up and announce, “we are coming” over and over, before carrying on unawares. The aliens known as the 456 are announcing themselves. What soon becomes apparent to the audience is that the British government had dealings once before with the 456 back in 1965—and they don’t want it to be known. They attempt to destroy the Torchwood team, blowing up the immortal Captain Jack Harkness, to keep them silent. The 456, it turns out, were given a dozen children in 1965 and have come back to take 10% of all the children of Earth.
It’s a powerful tale, where bad decision after bad decision threatens to topple humanity into the abyss. Two actors deliver noteworthy performances, John Barrowman as Jack and Peter Capaldi as John Frobisher, a senior civil servant. Jack cannot die and he can barely live with himself after he betrays several trusts. Frobisher is a man who’s worked hard all of his life, only to discover that his masters consider him an expendable pawn. Some of the minor characters keep the story rooted in the human experience, saving it from technobabble, and shed light on the main characters’ backstories.