Short Television Review: Torchwood: Children of Earth

*Torchwood* always had trouble finding its bearings. The first season was wildly uneven—there were some very promising episode (to my mind, [“Countrycide”]( remains the series’s creepiest episode to date)—but for the most part the show was a solid “meh.” Still, I stuck with it through the second season, which improved notably, especially with the three-part arc of “Reset”/”Dead Man Walking”/”A Day in the Death.” Apparently I wasn’t the only person who thought there was promise in the series, as it as renewed for a third season. Instead of a full 13 episode run, however, the BBC commissioned a five-part miniseries, *Children of Earth*, to be broadcast over the course of a week.

In some ways, this is the perfect format for *Torchwood*: there’s no time for filler episodes or extraneous plot details—everything is focused on a single story arc: cutting down both the number of episodes as well as the main cast means that the show is much leaner, and that lends it strength. The plot of the miniseries involves all of the world’s children, which begin speaking in unison about what appears to be an imminent alien invasion—an invasion that someone really doesn’t want *Torchwood* investigating. *Children of Earth* is at turns funny and dark; the final episode includes at least two very powerful, disturbing scenes that made me shudder, and leaves off with an uncertain future for the series and its eponymous team.

Doomcast: Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

Spin that noisemaker; blow that party horn! We hereby celebrate the tenth episode of the Doomcast, proving once again that persistence is the better part of valor—or, at least, ignoring people’s repeated pleas to stop assaulting their eardrums. As we party down, we invite a special guest to join our tin anniversary and discuss such important concerns as:

  • the terror of the skies
  • Podcasters Against Dinosaur Driving (PADD)
  • matters reminiscent
  • at the intersection of science and evil

Download, for your listening enjoyment. [19m 59s]

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Daily Doom 7/14/2009

After a lengthy break, we return you to your regularly schedule Doom, already in progress:

Ectothermic Aquatic Vertebrates and the Troubles They Cause

Samurai Swords!

Zoo News

Legal Eagles

And a merry Day of the Tesla to you, too

If you opened up Google today, you may have noticed the header background, indicating that it’s the birthday of noted Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla.

As we here at Doombot have long celebrated Day of the Tesla, we thought you, the readers, might enjoy partaking in some of the more time-honored festivities of this highest of holidays. As always, we perform the ceremony of failing to electrocute an elephant with alternating current (we use symbolic plush toy elephants, of course—this is no diabolical, hedonistic Edisonstravaganza), followed by the traditional viewing of Tesla biopic The Prestige.

Finally, the evening is concluded with a live reading of our award-winning* children’s book, Tesla and His Pigeon: A Children’s Story of Love and Loss in the Electric Age, based on Tesla’s relationship with his favorite creature.


Afterwords, the kids are sent to bed with the reminder that the spirit of Tesla won’t appear to deposit Serbian dinars bearing his likeness unless they are fast asleep.

If this is your first time celebrating Day of the Tesla, you might also wish to partake of these classic episodes of our podcast adventures, The Scrimshaw Meme and TMYK, in which we pay homage to Tesla through the deepest respect of humor.

Finally, the most devoted of Tesla followers undertake—at least once in their lifetime—a trip to the laboratory of the man himself, Wardenclyffe Tower, where the prescient inventor intended to pioneer the field of wireless communication, were he not dastardly foiled by the dark lord Edison.

And so we wish you a happy Day of the Tesla, and to you and your kin, we say: may the eternal peace ray shine down upon you.

* Tesla and His Pigeon was the recipient of the 2006 award for Most Promising New Children’s Book Involving a Historical Inventor of Serbian Descent, by the National Association of Serbian Inventors Whose Initials are “N. T.”. It was also on the short-list for the Newberry Award in the same year, though it was narrowly beat out by Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow