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16. 'Torchwood' (2006-2011)

Doctor Who's earthier spinoff started simple, tracking the two-fisted alien-hunting exploits of polysexual immortal Captain Jack Harkness (played by John Barrowman), his Cardiff-based lover Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd) and his right-hand woman Gwen (Eve Myles). But as the series developed — and moves into the complex multi-part stories such as "Children of Earth" and "Miracle Day" — it turned into something like a tense, taut political thriller with laser-guns. Forget good guys and bad guys; at its best, the show delved into the dreadful moral compromises that the powerful make on our behalf. NM