Torchwood

John Barrowman worries Fox will de-Queer Capt. Jack

SCI FI Wire has a story about John Barrowman's concerns that Fox will make Captain Jack straight in the American Torchwood, we actually have two bigger concerns:

Jack is Bi

Russell T Davies always said that Jack was bisexual.  (remember his daughter and grandson)  What is more likely is that Fox will trumpet his bisexuality and say he is just interested in a particular girl.  That way they can have their cake and eat it too... or should that be Π.

Fox does not have a good track record with GLBT characters.

24 with Aliens

Fox likes comfortable patterns.  The biggest threat facing an American Torchwood is that it will be little more than 24 with aliens.

Hopefully, Davies will have some pull with them and keep the series on track, but my hopes are not all that high.  Fox loves to muck up scifi shows and break fans hearts.  Fan tears are their crack.  Be wary of Torchwood until we have proof they didn't naff it up.

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U.S. version of 'Torchwood' for Fox

Jack Harkness
Image via Wikipedia

Cold chills ran through my body when I saw this... and not the good kind either:

Exclusive: Huge news for sci-fi fans: Fox is developing a stateside version of the U.K. hit series “Torchwood.”

...

Unlike U.S. adaptations that have gone awry, “Torchwood” fans can take comfort that the original producing team is on board. In addition to Davies, exec producers include Davies’ producing partner Julie Gardner (former head of drama at BBC Wales for the show’s first season) and Jane Tranter (another BBC vet, now exec VP programming and production at BBC Worldwide Prods. in the U.S.).

Also, some of the current cast — most likely John Barrowman, who plays the immortal Capt. Jack Harkness — might star if Fox orders “Torchwood” to pilot (The Live Feed | THR).

I don't know whether I should laugh, cry, or scream.  Maybe all three simultaneously.

Dear God, not Fox!

If any other network were involved, I might be excited about this, but Fox is where scifi goes to die...

The only shows that Fox allows on their network are reality shows, torture porn, and flat formulaic trash.  Any original show, ahem Dollhouse, gets canceled quickly.  Unless Glee is not a fluke, and the network is opening up to other original ideas, this is very dangerous.

Goodbye Jack Harkness

Despite rumors to the contrary, American media is not that friendly to GLBT characters.  If Torchwood goes to Fox, expect Jack to be retooled.

Help us, Russell T Davies, you're our only hope!

I can only hope that Davies will fight for the series and the result will be as good as the American Queer as Folk.  O, please Fox, don't mess this up!

Torchwood: John Barrowm Promises Return

John Barrowman, photo taken during the filming...
Image via Wikipedia

John Barrowman in an interview to the BBC said that Torchwood will most definitely return.  I wished he knew the when's and how.

While promoting his new DVD release on BBC Radio Twos This Morning Program. John Barrowman revealed that Torchwood “Most definitely, Torchwood will come back to the BBC.”

He went onto add that the whens and hows are still being discussed but everyone seems fairly confident that the show will make a triumphant return to the BBC at some point in the future.

The big question for me is How will Torchwood return?  This will take some serious consideration.  For me I would love to see Unit bring Jack back.  This could give us a chance to see more Martha and possibly set up for a Unit spin off.

(via SciFiPulse)

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DVD Releases: July 28, 2009

Out this week we have seven DVDs to feature:  Dollhouse: Season One, Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, Torchwood: Children of Earth, Knight Rider, Green Lantern: First Flight, Dragonball: Evolution, Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5.

  • Dollhouse: Season One:  This is a great show, Joss Whedon does it again.  It received mixed view based on the first few episodes which are not the best but that is due to Fox forcing rewrites and re-shoots on Joss' vision.  The fans have lovingly come to refer to those episodes as Fox's Dollhouse and the rest of the show as Joss' Dollhouse.  After about episode five this show really opens up and develops.  This set includes the original pilot episode plus the episode Epitaph One. A must own!
  • Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead: a special episode of David Tennant Doctor Who when the Doctor and his fellow passengers are mysteriously transported through a wormhole to a planet inhabited by an endangered anthropomorphic species.  It's on the top of my Netflix que if not an owner unseen.

  • Torchwood: Children of Earth: I love this series, this is a five episode mini-series picking up for season three of Torchwood.  It's on the top of my Netflix que if not an owner unseen.

  • Knight Rider: This was a light, fun show with fast changing cars and action.  It started with some promise of having substance with gay characters and interesting subplots it just unfortunately suffered from too much studio tampering and test audience death and lost it's substance.  Watch it here on Hulu.
  • Green Lantern: First Flight: another DC Comics animated project bringing us the Hal Jordan Green Lantern.  It's on the top of my Net Flix que and almost an owner unwatched because of how good the past animated DC projects are.

  • Battlestar Galactica: Season 4.5:  The conclusion of season four and the Battlestar Galactica show.  I really liked how this show grew into it's own and tackled some interesting topics.  I wished it had been bolder with some of the social and philosophical topics addressed.  My issue with this product is it's an overpriced 1/2 of a season set.

Netflix, Inc.Netflix lets you rent, watch and return DVDs from home - Try free for 2 weeks

Torchwood in July, Jack returns to Doctor Who!

torchwood2.jpgTorchwood: Children of Earth will be coming to BBC America in July!  No exact date yet, but I will keep an eye on it. For me, though, there is one piece of bigger news:

Right now the only news that could make me more excited is if a US air date for Davies' final three Doctor Who specials were announced (with Barrowman returning for a final adventure with the tenth Doctor) (AfterElton).

Hehehe,  Maybe he will finally tell the Doctor how he feels about him, or the Doctor will tell him he will be come the Face of Boe.  I can't wait.

Literature of Change

We have discussed What Speculative Fiction is, What makes it Progressive, and Why it is important that it is progressive,  but now it is vitally important to clarify some key points about the nature of Progressive Speculative Fiction.  There are two equally disastrous paths we can take from here.  As with everything in life, we have to find the middle path between the opposites:

  • The Light Side: Everything is great, and will only get better.  The future will be a universally happy place.  We are heading towards a utopia.
  • The Dark Side: Entropy rules the world and things are only getting worse.  The future will be a gloomy and sinister place.  We are heading towards a distopia.

Both are extremes, and neither can ever paint a valid world that has any grounding in reality.

Does Speculative Fiction have to be gloomy?

Damien G Walter at the Guardian wrote a fascinating article about the utopian and distopian sins of Science Fiction (read it here).  He asks the basic question that I would love to paraphrase: Does Speculative Fiction have to be gloomy?

From the recent releases, you might assume the answer is a yes, but it doesn't have to be.

Gloomy has its place in any story, but if that story only strikes one note throughout, then it become boring, and the audience looses interest.  We can see this trend with Lost and Heroes, but shows like Torchwood, Battlestar Galactica, and Sanctuary show that it s possible to strike a happy median.

Sometimes a story has to be bleak and gloomy throughout to make the point, like 1984 by George Orwell, but more often then not writers take the gloom to an unnecessary extreme.

The challenge for writers of science fiction today is not to repeat the same dire warnings we have all already heard, or to replicate the naive visions of the genres golden age, but to create visions of the future people can believe in (The Guardian).

Must SF fix the worlds problems?

Kathryn Cramer at Tor had an interesting take on Damien's post (read it here):

I view science fiction partly as a set of perceptual tools we take with us into the world. I don’t think SF can be held responsible for finding solutions to all the world’s problems, but I think it is SF’s task to help us understand them (Tor).

Whether or not the writer understands or believes it, all fiction is a perceptual filter that shows their readers/viewers the world from a certain point of view.  People are influenced by these perspectives to differing degrees.  The quality of the fiction plays a part in that, but so too does the structure and discipline of the reader/viewer's mind.

It is too much to ask any writer to solve the world's problems in their work, but they have to understand that they are responsible for show the cost and consequences of their character's actions.

For example, we like to believe that people are born good or evil, and that it is alright to be amoral from time to time.  This is why so many people reacted negatively to George Lucas' edits of the original Star Wars Trilogy and the addition of the prequel.  He clarified Han Solo's morality and showed how a good person can become evil.  In fact, it has been argued by C. S. Lewis and others that their truly is no such thing as evil.  There is only vile, horrible, and misguided attempt to do good.  If you look at most of the "monsters" in history, they are people who thought they were doing good even though they wrought horrors on the world.

It is the job of every writer to show that every action has an effect.

A Positive Science Fiction Platform?

Jason Staddard over at Strange and Happy put forth his Stranger and Happier: A Positive Science Fiction Platform.  While it is well intentioned, I think it swings the pendulum too far in the other direction.  Let's go through the planks in the platform.

Positive science fiction starts with acknowledging that there are positive things happening, now (Strange and Happy).

Is this necessary? No.

Often an SF writer will start here, but others will start with the fear of the current situation or from the perspective that the current state of affairs in beyond saving, and impose a new solution to avert the mistakes the present state could lead too.

  • Star Trek starts with a world war and global catastrophe that nearly brought about another dark age.
  • Lestat saw the system of mandated belief an filial duty as corrupt and corrupting.  It wasn't until he became a vampire that he started looking for a better way.

That does not mean we should ignore this plank, but simply take it as advise rather than a rule.

Positive science fiction is about the possibility of positive change (Strange and Happy).

Absolutely.  In the Project: Shadow Manifesto, I call this simply "hope for the future."  Things can get better, but that doesn't mean they are destined to.  If there is no hope, there is nothing at stake for the characters and no tension in the story (What is Progressive SF?)

Positive science fiction has a protagonist or protagonists that can effect change (Strange and Happy).

Definitely.  This is the problem I have pointed to time and time again with SF media, and why I didn't like Battlestar Galactica for a long time.

This ties directly into hope.  If it is impossible for a character to affect change, then there is no tension.  The villain will win.

Positive science fiction isn’t afraid to look at challenging definitions of “positive (Strange and Happy).”

This is where the writer has an important question to answer.  "For whom is the change positive?"

Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side is necessary to bring balance to the force.  There are many ways to take this, but it is fundamental to Progressive Speculative Fiction.

Positive science fiction inspires people to act and influence positive change (Strange and Happy).

So long as it is not preachy, I agree.  If the story inspires the reader/viewer to make a possitive change within themselves, then the story succeeded.  There isn't enough time or space for me to list all of the stories that have influenced me positively.

Literature of Change

There is a common thread weaving through this discussion.  Jetse de Vries on his blog, In the Plane of the Ecliptic found the middle ground between gloom and naivite, the answer we have been looking for:

I disagree with the cliché that SF is the literature of ideas (they help, but they're not the core): to me, SF is the literature of change.

Roughly speaking, there are two kinds of change: things change for the worse, or things change for the better (I realise life is much more complex than that: some things improve, other things worsen, and some things don't change very much. I'm looking, admittedly roughly, at the net result here) (In the Plane of the Ecliptic).

Even the simplist horror and fantasy deals with the nature of authority and friendship.  Change is the only constant in the universe, and Speculative Fiction is the literature of change.  Writers ask themselves, "What if this happened?"  The answer is usually, everything would change.

How writers explore the changes is the difference between and great and a mediocre story.

Torchwood Season 2 Available to Own

Torchwood Season 2 is available in the iTunes store! Season 2 which finish airing back at the beginning of the month is now available. Not quite real time but I must say at a reasonable price and way before the DVD release. I hope that by season 3 I could be watching torchwood in near real time through a season pass at the iTunes store.

Cheers! BBC for movement in the right direction.

Get more info on the show (here)

Get your copy of Torchwood Season 2 for $25.87: Torchwood - Torchwood, Series 2

Get your copy of Torchwood Season 1 for $25.87: Torchwood - Torchwood, Series 1

Torchwood Season 1 DVD from Amazon for $54.99

Wii Want Doctor Who In Near Real Time

BBC iplayerI I came across some exciting news late last night! Brace yourself... ready... Doctor Who and other BBC iPlayer shows are now available through the Nintendo Wii!

Now for the sad news... I got so excited that I didn't even pause to let my skeptic side speak out before I scooped up the Wiimote and loaded up the browser. I went to bbc.co.uk/iplayer and became even more giddy to see the page load on the TV. Scrolling around for a brief moment I took in the beauty of technology and clicked swiftly on the first episode of Doctor Who: Partners in Crime. The player loaded and then the dreaded message "Sorry, this programme is only available to play in the UK." Yes, I forgot or maybe had hopes that there was some glorious loophole which didn't require deliberate circumventing of systems to allow me, living in the U. S. to watch Doctor Who in near real time.

But hope remains eternal... Since I was already on the page and desperate to click on something, probably a conditioned response form having a game controller in my hand, I moved on to the "why" link. Latching on to the second line I perked up reading that BBC world wide is working on an international version!

So I wait patiently and hope that soon they can iron out the requirements and allow international access.

(Link via Times Online)

Torchwood Season 1 Review Disk 1

Review of Torchwood season one disk one. Torchwood-Review-Pic

The first disk came with two episodes "Everything Changes" and "Day One".

"Everything Changes" is the pilot episode where we are introduced to the setting, special opps group Torchwood, and that strange things happen in Cardiff because of it's location in space and time.

"Day One" is about the value of keeping in touch with one's humanity. They address how important it is to have down time from work where an individual can get back in touch with life.

Overall Torchwood disk one was a very enjoyable experience, definitely an owner.

Likes

  • Jack is cute
  • They tackle sexuality: they do it in a mature and brilliant way where they just show people as people with out dwelling on labels or having a person go through a crisis for kissing some one of the same sex. They actually go so far at to mock the individuals that see the need to label people as hetero or homo.
  • The show has a good tempo and pacing
  • The plot twists are not obvious: I found it refreshing that I was not able to just guess how the rest of the episode would go 10 minutes in.
  • They set up the mystery for the episodes, leaving clues that are not obvious but are sufficient for the viewer to solve the puzzle.
  • They really built the suspense, creating expectations, and then taking the viewer in a different direction.
  • the show has a wonderful sense of humor: Jack and the torchwood team kept their sense of humor even though their work was dark. I found this to be quite delightful and it kept the show from being dark and depressing. The moments of humor was well placed and did not detract from the drama and suspense that was being built.

Dislikes

  • Jack is very nihilistic and apathetic: though it looks like this will be an area of growth for him since by the end of the second episode it appears to me that he has realized he has lost this and value's Gwen because she has this passion for life.
  • The show takes a kind of nihilistic perspective: The Torchwood team members all show a lack of humanity and compassion for life. I found that to be unpleasant but I think they are building on this aspect through the character of Gwen and I will have to watch how this plays out through the rest of season one

Torchwood Rite of Passage

Torchwood is all gown up now and will go through the ultimate rite of passage. Like Star Trek and Star Wars before it Torchwood will have it's own convention. The event will be one day, in London, with panel discussions, photo opportunities, and signing of memorabilia.51X8pSXzhSL._SL210_

Actress Eve Myles will be among the guest stars taking part in the Torchwood special at the Porchester Hall in London on April 26.

She will be joined by former Buffy star and Torchwood guest actor James Marsters, Gareth David-Lloyd, who plays Ianto, former Neighbours and Ugly Betty actor Alan Dale and Torchwood producer Richard Stokes.

(via icWales)

Doctor Who & Torchwood Rule iPlayer

Doctor Who and Torchwood dominate the top 10 watched or downloaded shows on the new BBC iPlayer. I hope this means that with it's success of more than 11 million streamed or downloaded shows that they continue to branch out offering content in America. I'm being selfish of course but I would love to be able to get current Doctor Who, Torchwood and other BBC favorites on my AppleTV. The iPlayer allows the user to either stream the show from the previous seven days or if downloaded it lasts for 30 days. This is an intriguing model because it would allow content providers to take better advantage of adds and to give assurances of add relevancy while giving the content users the choice to download the content instead of only being allowed to steam it. I would love to see the American studios take advantage of this program as long as they remember to keep it free for users and add supported if it will be disposable downloads.

BBC iPlayer Top 10 (25/12/07 to 12/02/08)

1 Doctor Who 2 Louis Theroux Behind Bars 3 Torchwood 4 Ashes To Ashes 5 Torchwood 6 Six Nations Rugby 7 Top Gear 8 Mistresses 9 Mistresses 10 Torchwood

(via Webuser)