Will the fourth series of Torchwood become too Americanised and lose it’s British charm? Doctor Who TV guest writer, Ash Smith, investigates…
Ever since it was announced that Torchwood would be returning to our screens later next year, there has been somewhat of a mixed reaction. The majority of people are happy that Captain Jack and Gwen will be coming back, but there are others concerned about the direction of where the show is going. Will Torchwood become too Americanised and lose it’s British charm? After all, the show is now going to be set in America for the most part, with new American actors and writers both on and off the screen, respectively. And what consequence will there be with an American production company on board? These are fair questions to ask, but looking into it, things look promising.
Firstly, just who are Starz Entertainment? This seemingly random US company are largely unheard of for most of us in the UK. Apart from being one of the companies that are helping bring back Torchwood, not much else is known.
Starz are a Pennsylvania based television production company, who also provide digital television to over 17 Million households in the US. This is by no means a small American company, quite the contrary, in fact. They are big and getting bigger all the time, with an ever growing impressive programme list. And 17 million households is not to be sniffed at either. With a company like this helping to fund the show, Torchwood will have a bigger budget and that can only really be a good thing for a science-fiction series.
The writers for the series have now been confirmed and the line-up features writers who have worked on American TV shows in the past. With classic series like The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica and Buffy The Vampire Slayer under their belts, this sounds like a fantastic mix for this new incarnation of Torchwood. All these programmes have been massively successful in the US and abroad, which can only spell good news for us, the fans.
The X-Files ran for nine seasons from 1993 until 2002 and also had two feature length films. It is generally thought of as one of the most influential sci-fi shows on TV. Battlestar Galactica started in 1978 when the original series was first broadcast, and much like Doctor Who, had a modern re-imagining which ran until 2009. It also has a spin-off series, Caprica, which began in 2009. Buffy The Vampire Slayer ran for seven seasons from 1997 until 2003, and there was definitely a big following for this show. In fact, Russell T Davies even said he was influenced by Buffy when he was reviving Doctor Who.
I don’t think that all these programmes would have been such a success without well-written stories. So on this amount of evidence, Torchwood is in good hands in terms of the quality of the writing.
Now as for the Torchwood team, its numbers are somewhat thinned out. Tosh and Owen were sadly lost at the end of series two, and Ianto Jones was cruelly taken by the 456 in “Children of Earth”. So in addition to Captain Jack, Gwen – and her hapless husband Rhys and baby – we will be getting a few new recruits. Confirmed so far are CIA agents Rex and Esther. Does it matter that these characters are American? Not at all. Have people forgotten that Jack is himself American? You don’t hear people complaining about that.
As most people will know by now, this new series will primarily be based in America, but will take the team all over the world. I think this will work out, as going back to Cardiff after all that has happened would be difficult to write lots of new stories for (and as the hub was destroyed by Captain Jack‘s belly bomb – talk about indigestion). But they will be visiting Cardiff Bay again, so don’t fret, it isn’t completely out of the picture.
So all things said, there is a lot to look forward to with Torchwood: The New World. Filming will begin in January 2011, with it to be televised in Summer of 2011. Will the show be just as good as before? I think it will. Will the shift to America be the show’s downfall? No, In fact I think the show will get much stronger. Yes it may well have an American makeover to it, but if you look at all the evidence that is now falling nicely into place, I think Torchwood will be just fine. It remains to be seen what kind of stories will come from the new series but I’m sure that it will be fast, action packed, high thrill adventure, and just as crazy as ever, especially if Captain Jack Harkness has got anything to do with it.