*Torchwood* always had trouble finding its bearings. The first season was wildly uneven—there were some very promising episode (to my mind, [“Countrycide”](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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.