Early Torchwood sold itself as "grown-up" sci-fi. What this meant was plots quite as daft and juvenile as anything served up by Dr Who- big, stompy monsters and all- plus sex. The sex always felt bolted on. Torchwood was essentially a kids show, but with embarassing excresences. This series has largely dispensed with the sex. Jack and Ianto are now a couple- surely the first gay couple ever to lead a mainstream actioner- and we get kisses and discreet male nudity, but all in the flow of things and without the script pausing to go, "Ooh, look at this, isn't it saucy!"
I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I think Torchwood has gelled. I wouldn't put it past Russel T to blow it in the last act- either with gooey sentiment or some preposterous deus ex machina- but for the time being we're chugging along nicely. It's bonkers, but not in the "I'm sending the entire Dalek and Cybermen armies to hell through a rift in space" sort of a way but in the "I'm going to rescue my boss whose been entombed in concrete by breaking into his prison with a fork lift truck then dropping him off a cliff" sort of a way. Strip it down and what you've got is a well-executed, Hitchcockian comedy thriller- in the vein of North by Northwest only with a sci-fi McGuffin- and (thus far) it's been nothing but fun.