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Torchwood

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The BBC have finally confirmed that Torchwood is starting in the UK in the week beginning 21 October, though they have not yet indicated what day and time broadcasts will be.

Torchwood is a spin-off from Doctor Who, the longest-running TV science fiction series in the world. While DW is very much family viewing, Torchwood will be post-watershed for adults. Here's the BBC's press info:
QUOTE
John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Indira Varma, Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd star in this action-packed, adrenalin-fuelled new series for BBC Three.

Created by award-winning writer Russell T Davies, the high-octane sci-fi thriller follows a team of modern-day investigators as they use alien technology to solve crime both alien and human.

Separate from the Government, outside police jurisdiction and beyond the United Nations, the Torchwood Institute sets its own rules. Based in Cardiff, the Torchwood team delves into the unknown, battling against the impossible in a highly volatile underworld of savage aliens and monsters whilst trying to maintain their everyday lives.

Enigmatic Captain Jack Harkness is the ever-watchful leader of the Torchwood team. Gwen Cooper is initially an outsider, whose first, chance meeting with Torchwood at the scene of a brutal murder sparks within her a burning curiosity to get to the truth. She is intrigued by Torchwood and her life changes when she is catapulted into an unfamiliar and exciting world.

Second in command to Captain Jack is Suzie Costello, the hard-working hardware specialist who catalogues and strives to understand the alien devices the team comes across. Owen Harper is the arrogant, brilliant medic and Toshiko Sato specialises in all things computer, surveillance and technical. Ianto Jones, meanwhile, cleans up after the team and gets them everywhere on time.

Torchwood is written by Russell T Davies and Chris Chibnall, with contributing writers including Peter J Hammond, Toby Whithouse, Noel Clarke, Cath Tregenna, Jacquetta May and Helen Raynor.

The executive producers are Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner. Torchwood is filmed in HD (high definition).

Captain Jack Harkness is played by John Barrowman, Suzie Costello by Indira Varma, Gwen Cooper by Eve Myles, Owen Harper by Burn Gorman, Toshiko Sato by Naoko Mori and Ianto Jones by Gareth David-Lloyd.

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Torchwood was billed as a Doctor Who spin-off which was for adults - and it is. The first episode includes some strong sexual content.

It was a very disappointing start to a series that promises so much - Doctor Who meets X-Files. The acting was not great - apart from John Barrowman - and the storyline was so-so. Russell T. Davies said the series would be sexy, and it seemed to me like this first episode was just an excuse to show just how far they were going to move from the world of Doctor Who.

I still think it has a lot of potential. Barrowman has proved his worth in Doctor Who, as has Eve Myles (plays Gwen) who was Gwynneth in 'The Unquiet Dead'. Hopefully the others will settle in to their roles and the writing will be better once the point has been made about the level of the content.

The photography was mostly excellent and the sets were of the standard we've become used to with new Who. It was a celebration of Cardiff (perhaps even a way of saying thank you to Cardiff for having masqueraded as London and other places in Doctor Who; with the Doctor Who exhibition there, it will certainly add to the DW-related tourism).

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I'm very relieved that episode 3 of the series is a huge improvement (I missed ep. 2 - I didn't notice that the series was starting with a double bill sad.gif).

This had all the hallmarks of the high production values of the revived Doctor Who series - good writing, strong performances and plenty of tension.

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Harumph! Turns out that what I thought was a poor episode 1 was really episode 2 - it was the first half of the double bill I missed. It must have started an hour earlier than I expected.

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Did anyone watch the five-part [b]Torchwood: Children of Earth[/b]? I recorded it when it aired last summer, and my wife and I ended up watching the entire mini-series in one sitting (neither of us had seen a single episode of the series). I went ahead and Netflixed the first season, but it comes nowhere near the mini-series. Maybe subsequent seasons get better, but season one was a real let down in regards to fresh stories and writing.

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[quote name='Baal_T'shuvah' date='19 February 2010 - 12:16 PM' timestamp='1266596193' post='215794']
Did anyone watch the five-part [b]Torchwood: Children of Earth[/b]? I recorded it when it aired last summer, and my wife and I ended up watching the entire mini-series in one sitting (neither of us had seen a single episode of the series). I went ahead and Netflixed the first season, but it comes nowhere near the mini-series. Maybe subsequent seasons get better, but season one was a real let down in regards to fresh stories and writing.
[/quote]

Surprisingly, the second season improves from the first. And honestly, I felt it was an improvement because it focused more on the story and the characters. That first season... it just felt like "we can shock people, so we'll shock people" with the stories.

Also, Davies has been talking to the Fox network about bringing "Torchwood" to the US, with Captain Jack in tow. Barrowman said he'd consider it as long as Jack's "omni-sexuality" is included.

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[quote name='Baal_T'shuvah' date='19 February 2010 - 11:16 AM' timestamp='1266596193' post='215794']
Did anyone watch the five-part [b]Torchwood: Children of Earth[/b]? I recorded it when it aired last summer, and my wife and I ended up watching the entire mini-series in one sitting (neither of us had seen a single episode of the series). I went ahead and Netflixed the first season, but it comes nowhere near the mini-series. Maybe subsequent seasons get better, but season one was a real let down in regards to fresh stories and writing.
[/quote]
I've only seen the first episode so far via Netflix Streaming, but I liked it. Also, I've liked Barrowman in every [i]Doctor Who[/i] episode I've seen him in to date.

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[quote name='Clint M' date='13 April 2010 - 09:39 PM' timestamp='1271219994' post='220317']
Also, Davies has been talking to the Fox network about bringing "Torchwood" to the US, with Captain Jack in tow. Barrowman said he'd consider it as long as Jack's "omni-sexuality" is included.
[/quote]

Hmmmm... didn't Fox and director McG try to do this with SPACED? Not sure if this is good news or not.

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[quote name='Baal_T'shuvah' date='14 April 2010 - 01:39 AM' timestamp='1271227194' post='220325']
[quote name='Clint M' date='13 April 2010 - 09:39 PM' timestamp='1271219994' post='220317']
Also, Davies has been talking to the Fox network about bringing "Torchwood" to the US, with Captain Jack in tow. Barrowman said he'd consider it as long as Jack's "omni-sexuality" is included.
[/quote]
Hmmmm... didn't Fox and director McG try to do this with SPACED? Not sure if this is good news or not.
[/quote]
It's not quite the same. McG tried to recreate [i]Spaced[/i] without any involvement from its creators (Edgar Wright et al.). However, if Davies is in talks to remake [i]Torchwood[/i] in the States, then presumably the American version would be closer to the British version (a la the American version of [i]The Office[/i]).

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I made it through the two-part opener and about ten minutes of the second episode (meteor crashes in Cardiff, Wales and smoke comes out and possesses woman who suddenly wants lots of sex). The drama/comedy and production values seemed lame. Maybe I should try that mini-series or skip directly to Season 2?

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[quote name='Greg Wolfe' date='14 April 2010 - 05:54 PM' timestamp='1271282098' post='220410']
I made it through the two-part opener and about ten minutes of the second episode (meteor crashes in Cardiff, Wales and smoke comes out and possesses woman who suddenly wants lots of sex). The drama/comedy and production values seemed lame. Maybe I should try that mini-series or skip directly to Season 2?
[/quote]
Series 2 is a vast improvement from series 1, IMO. There's some stuff in series 2 that affects certain characters in the mini-series.

There's also a crossover character from [i]Doctor Who[/i] that appears in 3 episodes (assuming you are a [i]Who[/i] fan), and James Marsters shows up, if you like him as an actor. Edited by Clint M

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[quote name='Clint M' date='13 April 2010 - 09:39 PM' timestamp='1271219994' post='220317']
Also, Davies has been talking to the Fox network about bringing "Torchwood" to the US, with Captain Jack in tow. Barrowman said he'd consider it as long as Jack's "omni-sexuality" is included.
[/quote]

[url="http://www.denofgeek.com/television/469510/foxs_us_version_of_torchwood_is_dead.html"]Fox’s US version of Torchwood is dead[/url]

[quote]BBC Worldwide has now released a statement confirming that the Fox version of the show is dead in the water before it's even begun. The statement reads: "BBC Worldwide Productions and the FOX Broadcasting Company have mutually agreed not to progress together with a 13-episode serialized 'Torchwood' format. We are currently in discussion with several interested networks."[/quote]

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After initially liking-not-loving [i]Torchwood[/i], I lost interest somewhere in season 1. I've kept [i]Children of Earth[/i] in my queue, but haven't had a compelling reason to watch it. But with a new series finally coming out, I may need to give [i]CoE[/i] a look.

[url="http://doctorwhotv.co.uk/torchwood-miracle-day-14183.htm"]Torchwood: Miracle Day[/url]

[quote] One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging – they get hurt and sick – but they never die.

The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four months’ time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?”, he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.[/quote]

...of course, it won't "change what it means to be human" [i]too[/i] much, since they're still trying to keep within broad [i]Doctor Who[/i] continuity (whatever that means for a series where the main character is a time-traveling alien), but it's an interesting premise. And with Captain Jack's own experiences with the whole never-dying thing, it could get into some interesting territory.

Time will tell, though.

(FWIW, since the deal fell through with Fox, this has become a BBC-Starz coproduction. Here's the [url="http://doctorwhotv.co.uk/torchwood-miracle-day-characters-14187.htm"]cast[/url], which is almost entirely made up of new--but somehow familiar--characters.) Edited by NBooth

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I found this talk with two (American) writers for [i]Torchwood: Miracle Day[/i] fascinating. They go into the nuts-and-bolts of how scripts are developed and some differences between the British and American ways of constructing a season. Really interesting stuff--at least, to an outsider like me:

[media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXOo_xa93u4&feature=player_embedded[/media] Edited by NBooth

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[i]Children of Earth[/i], for me, was a great disappointment. With the exception of a few individual episodes, I've found [i]Torchwood[/i] as a whole (yes, I watched both seasons) to have a much more grim and despairing worldview. If the Doctor's hope is for a day in which "everybody lives," Torchwood's expectation is that "everybody dies." Except Captain Jack, who doesn't know why. Sad, but them's the breaks. I can see the denouement of "Miracle Day" coming from miles away--death is what makes us appreciate living. Thanks for the lesson in humanism.

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[quote name='BethR' date='05 March 2011 - 08:31 AM' timestamp='1299331916' post='246174']
[i]Children of Earth[/i], for me, was a great disappointment. With the exception of a few individual episodes, I've found [i]Torchwood[/i] as a whole (yes, I watched both seasons) to have a much more grim and despairing worldview. If the Doctor's hope is for a day in which "everybody lives," Torchwood's expectation is that "everybody dies." Except Captain Jack, who doesn't know why. Sad, but them's the breaks. I can see the denouement of "Miracle Day" coming from miles away--death is what makes us appreciate living. Thanks for the lesson in humanism.
[/quote]

I actually got around to watching [i]Children of Earth[/i] today and was pretty impressed--particularly with the last couple of episodes, in which things went way-way dark. There was a certain ring of truth to the bickering among the government representatives, and their final decision regarding who should go was merciless (and set up a nice contrast to Jack's actions right at the end). Then I went back and finished season one and...yeah. Not so much, on that front. [i]Torchwood[/i] seems to work better as a miniseries.

Meanwhile, on the [i]Miracle Day[/i] front, here's [url="http://www.aoltv.com/2011/06/06/exclusive-torchwood-creator-russell-t-davies-on-captain-jack/"]an interview[/url] with Davies regarding what to expect [includes what might be considered a MAJOR SPOILER]:

[spoiler][b]The Captain Jack we first met in 'Doctor Who,' he was a swashbuckling hero...[/b]
A con man.

[b]A con man, right, a charmer, all that kind of stuff. Along the way, especially in 'Children of Earth,' you put him through a lot of changes. Is he a really different person at the start of this season of the show?[/b]
Well he's literally, physically different. He's mortal. Everyone else is immortal, he's mortal. It's the biggest switch in the show, which we did in order to give us new insights into Jack. I appreciate what you're saying, that he's a different character. I think that's my job. I [there can be] a great passivity and inertia when it comes to characters on shows that are successful -- they keep coming back and they keep being the same. I'd much rather change them.

You've got a great cast, you've got great writers, why keep doing the same old stuff? We should all move into new areas. Look where we are with this strange, weird, hybrid Welsh-American show. We couldn't have started with this, because it's too odd. It's a rolling stone that's gathered moss. And that's come from pushing and changing all the time. I love where we did end up, which has odd flavors and tastes sometimes, but here we are.

[b]I'm just trying to process this information about Jack being mortal. It's sort of fundamentally altering who he is, isn't it?[/b]
It's part of the story, but the greatest thing you can do is offer a new look into the character. It's not fundamentally altering the character, it's fundamentally altering the rules -- the character stays the same, that's the glorious thing. [The idea is to] put them in situations where there are new rules, new trials, new victories, new losses, and see who they are, that's the point. That's what they're there for, these fictional people. [/spoiler]

How that might play into whatever "conclusion" the series reaches is, of course, more than anyone can say at this point.

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[url="http://reviews.doctorwhonews.net/2011/06/torchwood-miracle-day-preview-and-q-at.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter"][i]Doctor Who News[/i][/url] has a (very brief and spoiler-free) review of the first episode and a summary of the panel discussion from the recent BFI screening.

io9 [url="http://io9.com/5814114/why-torchwood-still-rules-television"]also has a review[/url]--of the first three episodes:

[quote]Davies and his co-writers take this seriously as a science fiction premise, and slowly explore all the angles, both the potential causes and the consequences. They've clearly given this a lot of thought, and the result is a thought-provoking, ambitious work of science fiction in which one change has a million ripples. Among other things, the lack of death means that deformed babies no longer spontaneously abort, and human bodies become germ factories, creating an endless supply of lethal pathogens without death to put a stop to the process.

The whole thing quickly becomes a fascinating meditation on the nature of death, but also our imperfect health care system. And the very real problem of overpopulation, with all of its Malthusian implications.[/quote]

And later:

[quote]The first few episodes aren't perfect, by any means. The pace lags a bit from time to time, and there are a few attempts at trans-Atlantic humor that don't entirely work. Like a long scene where Gwen learns that we say "ATM" instead of "Cashpoint." Speaking of which, if you've ever found Gwen Cooper annoying in the past, you'll definitely find her annoying in these episodes — although she also gets some absolutely brilliant moments.

But all in all, this is Torchwood achieving its full potential. With a huge budget thanks to the new co-producing partners at Starz, the show is able to tell a widescreen story full of crazy action as well as Earth-encompassing consequences. And Russell T. Davies and his collaborators seize this chance with both hands and run with it. The result is a series that lives up to Children of Earth's heady legacy — and one that we'll all be talking about long after the summer is over.[/quote] Edited by NBooth

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[url="http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/144688-torchwood-miracle-day/"]PopMatters has a review.[/url]

[quote][i]Torchwood: Miracle Day[/i] tries to have it both ways: to be a shiny new series on Starz and a continuation of the previous three seasons. It’s as if [i]Torchwood [/i]has packed some nonessential items for the transatlantic flight, but left its original quirkiness at home. [/quote]

EDIT: [url="http://io9.com/5819599/with-miracle-day-torchwood-becomes-first+rate-science-fiction-about-ideas"]Here's Io9[/url] (with some spoilers):

[quote]All in all, this was a fantastic first episode and a great reintroduction to Torchwood. The speed with which Davies unspools his idea and all of its ramifications - not just the fact that nobody dies, but also what it means for the human race - shows that he's got a lot of ground to cover and a lot of ambitious ideas to unravel, coming out of this one big idea. And suddenly, Torchwood is the most idea-driven show on television. Who'd have thought it?[/quote] Edited by NBooth

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Episode One is [url="http://www.starz.com/originals/Torchwood/ScreeningRoom#/episode-1"]now streaming from the Starz website[/url] (requires a "Widevine" plugin).

I've got to say, the pacing here is definitely a little off; we go from "Oh, wow, this dude didn't die" to "Oh, wow, [i]no one[/i] is dying!" to "And that's a [i]bad[/i] thing" in what seems like literally a matter of a minute or two. I wish the episode had given the characters time to take stock of what was happening and develop responses, rather than leap right to the action. And speaking of action--where [i]Children of Earth[/i] started on a relatively low-key and creepy note, [i]Miracle Day[/i] jumps right to the explosions and gunfights--and that, again, doesn't give the episode much time to ease in to its story.

Still, this was a pretty solid episode; Gwen Cooper is easily the best thing in it, and I liked the scenes with her defending her family. Jack doesn't get much screentime, but John Barrowman makes good with what he's got. And there's one scene (shortly after one of the explosions I mentioned) that is effectively creepy if not downright horrifying.

I did find myself wondering, though--if no one can die, then what happens if they're hit with some sort of disintegration ray? Surely Old Torchwood had a couple of those on hand; they could be useful under the circumstances. But that's just idle speculation.

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I just watched the first episode. I didn't feel lost, really, but I wonder how much I missed--I haven't watched Torchwood at all before, and only a couple Dr. Who episodes (I understand the two series are connected, but I don't know how). Do I need to catch up on them?

Also, has Mekhi Phifer always looked like Tracy Morgan?

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[quote name='Tyler' date='11 July 2011 - 10:00 AM' timestamp='1310396434' post='255524']
I just watched the first episode. I didn't feel lost, really, but I wonder how much I missed--I haven't watched Torchwood at all before, and only a couple Dr. Who episodes (I understand the two series are connected, but I don't know how). Do I need to catch up on them?

Also, has Mekhi Phifer always looked like Tracy Morgan?
[/quote]

Captain Jack was introduced in [i]Doctor Who[/i] in "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" and was a regular companion for several episodes before being put on a busstation at the end of the Eccleston run. He shows up a couple of times after that. He's got quite a bit of backstory to him, but he also functions pretty well without it (although, really, you should probably check out [i]Children of Earth[/i] in order to see why Gwen's on the run and Jack's been in space for several years).

I wound up suffering through the first series of [i]Torchwood[/i] and skipping the second; if you watch any of it, just to get an idea what TW is (although it's explained pretty well in [i]Miracle Day[/i]) you could check out the first episode of series one.

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Am I supposed to know what Spinny Triangle means already?

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[quote name='Tyler' date='30 July 2011 - 12:50 PM' timestamp='1312048254' post='256787']
Am I supposed to know what Spinny Triangle means already?
[/quote]
Unless it shows up somewhere in the second season--and I'm pretty sure it doesn't-- I think the Triangle is meant to be still shadowy at this point.

EDIT: Managed to catch up now. It's sure sounding like the spinny triangle is supposed to be a known adversary, but they're not ringing any bells.

Nice to see them bringing out some of the more macabre possibilities in the set-up, and Oswald Danes as a kind of [highlight=black]dark messiah[/highlight] is, if a little sudden, at least sufficiently unsettling to give his scenes a nice sense of menace.

Also--[highlight=black]if Phicorp turns out to be the Big Bad, and their plot is just some re-warmed Lex Luthor landgrab scheme[/highlight] I will not be happy. At all. Edited by NBooth

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I watched the beginning of the Torchwood series this weekend, and I'm wondering if the [highlight=black] resurrection hand from the premiere [/highlight] might be connected to the Miracle Day.

Re: The triangle:

[url="http://uroborus-void.tumblr.com/post/8264322182/okay-so-just-realized-in-torchwood-miracle"]Here's one theory[/url]:
[img]http://s3.amazonaws.com/data.tumblr.com/tumblr_lp5s75lTZS1qgks2to1_1280.png?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ6IHWSU3BX3X7X3Q&Expires=1312314766&Signature=EZiSI2aHNVN9NJbQOFbqftIHcoM%3D[/img]

That is, Triangle + Phicorp logo = The Deathly Hallows

[edit] I looked through a few Torchwood forums, and no one seems to know what the triangle is. One theory is that it's an illuminati symbol. Edited by Tyler

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I watched the episode, "They Keep Killing Suzie," from the first season, and it reinforces my theory that the resurrection glove is connected to Miracle Day somehow. In the episode, they show [highlight=black] it can bring people back permanently (sort of), and after the glove Torchwood had was destroyed, Ianto hinted there might be another one out there. [/highlight] Edited by Tyler

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