Review: Torchwood is back with a thrilling third season

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Finally! It's about time. It's been over a year since Torchwood graced our TV sets, and when you find out we only have a five-episode mini-season to look forward to about our favorite alien hunters, it's hard not to complain. What took so long? Sure, one story that takes five consecutive episodes to tell sounds cool, but how about three of those? Come on BBC! One tiny, little mini-season just isn't enough!

Well, people, stop whining. Torchwood: Children of Earth begins tonight on BBC American at 9 p.m., and after you watch this breathtaking, thrilling, brilliant, devastating third season, you'll know why Torchwood creator Russell T. Davies wanted to tell this story. In fact, if you never see another new episode of Torchwood, what a hell of a way to go out.

Torchwood: Children of Earth explores what happens when every child on Earth stops one morning. It's only a brief moment, but it's enough for the British government and Torchwood to take notice. Not much later, the children stop again and begin speaking in unison, chanting, "We are coming." British civil servant Mr. Frosbisher (Peter Capaldi) realizes that the events connect back to something that happened in 1965 involving 12 children. He knows what happened in the past must stay in the past.

Meanwhile, Torchwood begins to investigate and quickly comes to believe what's happening with the children involves aliens. Their inquiry takes Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) to visit a psychiatric patient named Clem (Paul Coply), while Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd) tries to figure out who Clem really is and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) heads to the hospital to find a child to examine.

As the children continue to speak in unison announcing the aliens' intentions, the British government orders the assassination of Captain Jack and the Torchwood team. The team is forced to run for their lives. Meanwhile, the aliens are coming and they want something from the human race.

In Torchwood's first two seasons, it was like a darker, more adult Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series was never afraid to have fun or deal with difficult issues. At the end of season two, two of the show's main characters were killed off, saving Cardiff. In this third mini-season, creator Davies obviously isn't worried about continuing Torchwood as a series. There are shocking character revelations, as well as powerful twists and turns to the story. Every character, including the guest characters, undergoes a powerful arc and most suffer devastating consequences to their actions. Lives are at stake and Davies spins out the ultimate no win situation for everyone involved.

Captain Jack, the man who's died perhaps a million times, will never be the same in our eyes. Barrowman's powerful turn takes Captain Jack to a place that gives us crushing blow about who he really is and then makes us love him all over again. Although he might not be eligible, Barrowman deserves an Emmy for his fearless work in Children of Earth. The rest of the regular cast does a fine job as well, especially Eve Myles and Gareth David-Lloyd.

In the end, let's hope there are more seasons of Torchwood to come. Davies would certainly have to get creative when it came to putting the team back together, although there's no doubt he'd be up to the task. In the mean time, stop worrying about what might be and enjoy what is. Tonight is the beginning of some of the finest hours ever created for television and you won't want to miss them.