Brief spoilers for the "Torchwood" season two premiere coming up just as soon as I trademark the name "Bikini Cops"...
Now this is the show I was hoping for when they gave Jack his own spin-off.
Like I said in my column, Angsty Jack is a complete waste of both the character and John Barrowman. Brooding, he's a bore. Charming and happy and perfect, he's wonderful. And the overall mood of "Torchwood" seems to have brightened right along with Jack.
The blowfish car chase/hostage situation was done with just the right light touch; a deadpan moment like a blowfish-headed alien driving a red convertible isn't the sort of thing this show could have pulled off last year. (It was maybe the most "X-Files"-ish moment of the series so far.) The team is getting along better instead of betraying each other every five minutes (Jack's absence having forced them into it), and the main story with Captain Jack vs. Captain John managed to ride that Whedonesque funny/scary/funny/tragic wave really well.
James Marsters' presence obviously helped -- I imagine the scene pictured above exploded the heads of half of skiffy fandom -- but the entire production felt far more confident, whether it was John's violent arrival, or Jack entering the bar for a Wild West-style shootout, or a paralyzed Gwen trying to will Ianto and the others to find her. The execution on almost everything was spot on.
It wasn't perfect -- the "it would activate the bomb" excuse for not cutting off John's hand was lame, and the writers really need to make up their mind about whether Torchwood is a super-secret organization or so well-known that old biddies make derisive jokes about it -- but it was a vast, vast improvement over nearly all of season one.
What did everybody else think?