‘Torchwood’ on Starz: Just as before, Capt. Jack will get you bi tonight

Harkness Gwen

“Capt. Jack’s sexuality is certainly not going to change. Whether it’s man, woman or alien, Capt. Jack is a gloriously sexually active being.”

The occasion for that priceless quote from BBC Worldwide exec veep Jane Tranter is today’s news that “Torchwood,” popular in the U.K. and a rising cult hit in the U.S., will begin a new season of 10 episodes that will premiere Stateside on Starz in summer 2011, thanks to a new co-production deal between Starz, BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Worldwide.

“Torchwood” has aired for three seasons in the U.K., the most recent of which was broadcast by BBC America last summer as the miniseries “Torchwood: Children of Earth,” to great critical notices and historic ratings for the cabler. Show creator Russell T. Davies (“Doctor Who”) already has a premiere script and season bible for the coming campaign, which will take advantage of the new international co-production deal to produce the most global story yet for the series.

“Jane always had this global aim that I really loved, because that’s the way drama’s going now,” Davies said. “Everything’s downloaded, and your stuff goes around the world in seconds. When I worked on Doctor Who,’ our highest viewing levels were in South Korea. … It’s nice that drama sort of reflects that.”

Davies said the upcoming season of “Torchwood” involves a global crisis, “but always being handled with a lot of wit and a lot of truth and a lot of darkness.”

Davies began envisioning the new season of “Torchwood” before the pursuit of a new deal began — “It felt mad not to continue it,” he said — and was able to present a season premiere script and preliminary bible that sold Starz on the project.

The coming season will contain a story arc that comes to full completion at season’s end. It will pick up after “Children of Earth” left off, but in a fashion that doesn’t require new viewers to have knowledge of previous episodes, he said.

In addition to John Barrowman’s Capt. Jack Harkness and Eve Myles’ Gwen Cooper (pictured above), there will be two other series regulars and a host of recurring characters. Davies said he was never worried about having to compromise on Jack’s sexuality or make any significant changes to cater more directly to an American audience.

“I’m sure if this was a network show that question would be stronger, but Starz gives you the freedom to use your own voice,” Davies said.

“I invented the original ‘Queer as Folk.’ You don’t get something like that worrying about the network. … I think it’s well-known (‘Torchwood’) was developed at Fox — they have ‘Glee,’ for goodness sake, as if anyone was going to worry about Capt. Jack. The representations of homosexuality on American television are much more strong and diverse than on British television.”

Davies did add that, hypothetically “if someone had asked me to compromise in a way that caused me heartache, I would have walked away.”

As evidenced by the tumult of “Children of Earth,” “Torchwood” isn’t exactly a show afraid of confrontation and change, and above all, that’s what Davies hopes will continue forward.

“‘Torchwood’ became a banner title for stories that have a fantasy element that affects the human race,” Davies said. “‘Torchwood’ takes the metaphor out: This is how we repsond to a crisis. (It tests) what human beings are capable of in a good way and a bad way.”

Added Tranter: “‘Torchwood’ will have, as it has always had, a significantly impactful story that powers all the way through the season, that is clearly and reasonably accessible and understandable, and beneath that, in true Russell T. Davies fashion, will be a number of layers of complexity.”

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  1. I am a big fan of the subjects discussed. I also enjoy reading the comments, but notice that a lot of people should stay on topic to try and add value to the original blog post.

  2. ceindreadh says:

    [quote]. I was thrilled when it didn’t resemble the previous two series.[/quote]
    See, as somebody who actually liked the first two seasons, that was one of my biggest problems with Children of Earth.
    It was like sitting down to watch a new season of the original BSG only to find myself watching the remake. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to assume that a 3rd season of a show will have the same premise/style as the first 2. That’s what I tuned in to see, that isn’t what I got. If season 4 is going to be the Children of Earth version, then I see no point in watching.

  3. Salamar says:

    Well I have to agree with El Ricardo – I thought that the first 26 episodes of Torchwood often struggled to find their identity; it was like a poor man’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but without the witty dialogue or interesting characters. Children of Earth saw it grow up and gain focus in a hurry, and I really welcomed that, despite the horridly downbeat ending. I was thrilled when it didn’t resemble the previous two series. At least they were clever enough to get rid of deadweights Tosh and Owen at the end of series 2.
    I hope that this new series continues to improve on what CoE did. And get some more hot cast members, haha!

  4. ceindreadh says:

    “Really tight writing and constant tension -way better than all of the other Torchwoods put together ”
    That’s a matter of opinion, and my opinion was that while I enjoyed the first 26 episodes I did NOT enjoy Children of Earth because it moved too far away from what I felt made Torchwood ‘Torchwood’. And honestly, I felt that they should have just made a completely new show without using the Torchwood characters since they treated them as guest stars on their own series.

  5. El Ricardo says:

    Get over it. Children of Earth was freaking awesome. Really tight writing and constant tension -way better than all of the other Torchwoods put together (and before you say anything, I’ve been a big fan since the first episode). So bring on more of that good stuff, I say!

  6. ceindreadh says:

    So, ‘new viewers don’t have to have knowledge of previous episodes’ and ‘Torchwood is a banner title for stories with a fantasy element that affects the human race’
    Translation, this will bear about as much resemblance to Torchwood seasons 1 and 2 as Children of Earth did. Why not just create a new show that isn’t called Torchwood? Oh wait, then they wouldn’t be able to sucker in the S1 & 2 fans like they did for COE (“Jack/Ianto fans will be happy with their relationship”, hah!)
    COE systematically got rid of everything that made the first 26 episodes so enjoyable. There is nothing left of what made Torchwood stand out. ‘Jack’ and ‘Gwen’ will probably be even less reconizable than they were in COE.
    (And don’t even get me started on the way TPTB treated their fans last year)

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