How should I overlap the viewing of Doctor Who and Torchwood?
How should I coordinate the viewing of both series?
as a true fanboy you also should include "The Sarah Jane Adventures". The Doctor has some guest appearances (10th and 11th)
DO NOT WATCH CHILDREN OF EARTH BEFORE THE END OF TIME. THE END OF TIME PARTS 1 AND 2 TAKE PLACE BEFORE CHILDREN OF EARTH. (spoilers)
I'm going to assume we're talking post-2005 Doctor Who, as that is the one in conjunction with Torchwood. The order I'd recommend would be:
- Season 1 of Doctor Who
- Season 2 of Doctor Who
- Season 3 of Doctor Who, stopping after Blink
- Season 1 of Torchwood
- Season 3 of Doctor Who, restarting at Utopia
- Season 2 of Torchwood
- Season 4 of Doctor Who
- Season 3 of Torchwood (Children of Earth)
- Doctor Who Specials (four hour long episodes in 2009)
- Seasons 5 and 6 of Doctor Who
- Season 4 of Torchwood
I've included Christmas specials, etc, as part and parcel of the corresponding season.
I've erred on the side of keeping seasons together as it tends to make more sense than trying to recall what happened earlier in the season if you had to put one show down and pick it back up. The exception is Season 1 of Torchwood, because it leads directly on to the following Doctor Who episodes whereas Blink is more of a standalone.
A lot of the seasons can really be watched in parallel despite the list above. Jack initially appears in the last five episodes of Doctor Who Season 1. Torchwood Season 1 can then be watched in parallel with Doctor Who Seasons 2 and most of 3. The last episode of Torchwood Season 1 aligns directly with the start of Utopia (3rd last episode) in Doctor Who Season 3. Season 2 of Torchwood then comes before the last two episodes in Doctor Who Season 4 (The Stolen Earth & Journey's End).
After that they are almost completely independent, barring a short cross-over post-Torchwood Season 3 in the last episode of the 2009 specials, The End of Time Pt 2. Torchwood Season 4 (Miracle Day) and Doctor Who Seasons 5 and 6 have no cross-overs.