Torchwood review: The Sins of Captain John: The Restored features sex, zombies and hilarity in equal measure

Captain John Hart gets up to a lot of fun in Restoration England in The Restored, the first episode of his own Torchwood spin-off The Sins of Captain John.

The first episode of new Torchwood spin-off The Sins of Captain John lets us know that this is something very different. Heck, the very opening lines immediately let us know that. In just the opening moments, we not only have a reference to Buffy, but even a complaint about the audio medium – both of which by Captain John Hart himself.

While Torchwood has usually mixed in fun stories among the dark and serious ones, there’s never been anything quite as gloriously outrageous as this. Well, not quite. We had The Death of Captain Jack, which also starred James Marsters as Captain John Hart and was also written by David Llewellyn. (And is a story that we very strongly recommend.)

But even that story doesn’t go as far as breaking the fourth wall. Repeatedly. On a regular basis. With any other character in the Torchwood universe, this could be a problem. With Captain John? It’s absolutely glorious.

A fun opening episode

The first episode alone has so much fun with this. The Restored takes place in (would you believe it?) Restoration era England. Captain John’s on a mission to find a pair of gloves. Very special and very powerful gloves. If you’re a Torchwood fan, you can probably guess what these gloves are, and what they can do. You can also imagine how dangerous they can be when they start to malfunction.

You can tell that David Llewellyn had so much fun writing this episode. It’s like a pseudo-historical in Doctor Who gone horrifically wrong, in the best possible sense. This story features plenty of zombies, sex and Captain John trolling the audience, in equal measure. There are many moments when he makes a point of how amazing something is to actually see. This has to be one of the first characters in Big Finish to actively complain about the medium they’re stuck in!

Featuring a lot of farce and hilarity while still beginning the main arc of this box set nicely, The Restored is a fun and fantastic start to this new spin-off, and establishes Captain John as the Deadpool of the Torchwood universe.

Have you listened to The Sins of Captain John? Do you think the character should have had his own spin-off series on television, or even appeared in more episodes of Torchwood? Let us know in the comments below.