The two episodes were shown as a double bill, a wise move I think, as the Russell T Davies pilot episode was definitely the weaker of the two. It will be interesting to see how it is greeted, as this is definitely not Doctor Who. Yes there are quite a few references – although never by name – but this is definitely an adult show, with occasional swearing, some gore, and well with the plot of episode two being about an alien entity that absorbs energy from orgasms (which I know sounds like the plot of a porn movie) quite a bit of sex. It will certainly be interesting to see if there is any sort of outcry from parents who had let their Doctor Who obsessed children watch it without checking it out first – certainly Beth is aware of pupils who are fans who were going to tape it.
As to whether it was any good, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t fantastic either. When Doctor Who came back it had the benefit of the key elements being almost embedded in the national psyche, so in general it didn’t need much exposition. The thing is that as a concept I don’t thing Torchwood quite works – I mean they’re fairly visible for a secretive organisation – dashing around waving guns around and in the most conspicuous car imaginable, which looks for all the world like a drug dealer SUV only more cheesy and yet conversely after the massive numbers of personnel that were visible when the London base appeared in Doctor Who, they now seem to have a staff of five at their base in Cardiff.
Having said that, most sci-fi shows tend to take a while to find their feet – and I suspect this may be no exception. However I do think that it might have been better not to saddle it with quite as much of a link to Doctor Who – especially as this is a very adult show spinning off from a show with a family audience. Quite apart from that I’m slightly concerned that with Sarah Jane Adventures coming along too the Doctor Who ‘franchise’ doesn’t go the way of Star Trek in that it spins so many shows off that it gets lost in it’s own continuity.