Torchwood: Captain Jack is Back!

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Captain Jack and His Coat

I’m a big fan of Captain Jack Harkness. I think it has lots to do with that coat he always wears. Coats are cool, just like fezzes and bow ties and Stetsons. The only difference is that Captain Jack doesn’t ever tell you his coat is cool. It just is. When I finished watching the last Torchwood series I was very sad that I would be seeing no more of my favorite overly-sexed, wise-cracking, too handsome for his own good, hero.  There was talk about the series returning and about who exactly would come back, but it all seemed to be in that ethereal Never Never Land that holds things like the possibility of new episodes of Firefly. Yet with the unveiling of the new trailer for Torchwood: Miracle Day, it finally feels like this one is going to happen, but will it be any good?

Captain Jack looks good. He’s got his snappy coat and a fabulous little moment in the trailer that is so typically him it made me want to scream for joy. After an explosion sends him and a woman flying out of a window and into a water fountain he smiles, holds out his hand, and introduces himself. Yeah, that’s the Captain Jack I know and love. Even Gwen has a great scene in which she proudly declares herself Welsh and kicks the snot out of a snarky American. This brings up exactly what makes me nervous about what otherwise promises to be the triumphant return of one of my favorite shows. It’s what I like to call “The American Effect.”

The thing is, British programs just aren’t the same as their American counterparts. There are more than a few shows that were hugely successful in their original British incarnations, but that completely fell to pieces and failed to connect once they were remade for an American audience. The one that always comes to mind for me is Coupling which is one of my all-time favorites shows, but whose American version was rightly canceled in just a few episodes. There’s something that gets lost in the translation. Maybe its stuck in that Never Never Land I mentioned earlier. This is what has me nervous about the new Torchwood.

Although this isn’t a remake, but a continuation of the original series. It’s no longer set in Wales. They’ve moved to Los Angeles, which sort of feels like the anti-Wales with all the sun, and there are new American characters. We still have Captain Jack and Gwen, but the rest of the team is new. I’m really hoping they’ve kept the flavor of the original setting and not lost it’s grittiness in the move across the ocean. The previews do look great though, and are more than enough to keep me counting down the days until the series premiere on July 8th. As nervous as I am about the changes, as long as Captain Jack and his cool coat are there, I’ll be watching.

What do you think?  Will the changes improve the show or are they a bit worrisome?

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19 thoughts on “Torchwood: Captain Jack is Back!

  1. Given how well Dr. Who conquered the US in his series opener a couple of weeks ago, I feel confident that Torchwood will stay true to itself no matter what location it’s in.

    I loved the British comedy The Kuhmar’s at No. 42, about an Indian family. The US toyed with the idea of a version using a Hispanic family, but it never went anywhere.

    1. I loved the series opener for Doctor Who, too, but that was just a one off episode. They didn’t relocate the whole thing here. Though, technically, he’s kind of located everywhere and everywhen depending on where the TARDIS leads him, right?

      I just read up on The Khumar’s at No. 42 and it sounds like a funny show. I wonder if it would have worked as well here, especially given the intent to change it from an Indian family to a Hispanic one. It’s those kind of changes that I sometimes just don’t understand.

  2. Well I was disappointed when it went to London for Children of Earth – for me Torchwood was Cardiff as in the Show is about the Rift, if it was set as a Sci-Fi police procedural/dram then I’d (a la X-Files) then I’d no issue about its location the office can be based in Cardiff but it travels around the globe and I’d have no issue with where they went. Not to say I didn’t enjoy Children of Earth I did even with killing off my favourite character, its just that the tone changed, and going to an American company means another tonal change.

    I’m not sure I’m going to watch it as my boyfriend doesn’t like the show anyway, and when I told him the basic premise he got a bit ranty, and I’m confused as to when/if its airing in the UK, haven’t seen anything yet and I’d have thought that we’d be getting trailers by now.

    1. That’s exactly it, the tone is Cardiff, and London was tough enough but Los Angeles? I’m really worried that even though the trailer had the same feel and that the same people are on board in front of the camera and behind it, that it will lose it’s character.

      I will watch it despite my reservations, because I did love the first three series. But I’ll be holding my breath and hoping not to be disappointed.

      I don’t see any UK air dates yet, either, but I bet it’ll be there sometime this summer.

  3. I am a little worried, but Russell T. Davies is still the Executive Producer and one of the writers. I can’t imagine he would completely FUBAR the show he’s worked so hard on for so long.

    I’m quite excited about the fact that we may just see a little more of John Barrowman than we ever have before. Being on a premium cable channel means they don’t have to censor as much. Whee!

  4. Oh, please, let it be still the Torchwood we love! I will be heartbroken if it is ruined. Heartbroken, I tell ya!!

  5. I just looked at the pic again. OMG he is so gorgeous! And cool! I do have a tender spot for that coat, too.

  6. I am totally jazzed about Miracle Day. I’m not going to worry too much about what is in the trailer. I started watching Torchwood last winter on Netflix and I thought the first 2 seasons were often enjoyable, but nothing special. Often seemed like rejected Doctor Who scripts with more swearing and sex. The show almost lost me with the dreadfully boring season 2 finale. But I really liked Children of Earth and thought it took the show in a very promising direction. Throughout the series we’d been told about Jack’s Dark and Troubled past, Self Loathing, and The Things He is Capable Of so it was nice to finally see some evidence of it. I hope we see more of it. Torchwood is at its most interesting when it is about people who are not very good at what they do, but who are trying very hard to do what is necessary. Torchwood can’t be governed by lofty ideals because they are not clever enough or powerful enough. (Disaster ensues when they start thinking that they are.) Torchwood SHOULD make you feel uncomfortable.
    Best thing about COE, though? The validation I felt when I realized that someone out there hated Ianto as much as I did. (*ducks as the internet throws things at me*) To kill such character off like that – the man just STOOD THERE AND DIED – just made me love RTD soooo much.
    As for the location change, I’m not concerned, but then again I am a dumb American who can only locate Cardiff on a map because I just looked it up right now. Its still going to be set partially in Cardiff though, right?

      1. I had a minor panic attack when I starte reading that link, thinking they dropped the coat, but an update I’m okay with. You can tell it’s a little lighter, but it still looks fantastic. And the designer made Mal’s coat, too? Shiny!

        Yes, it will be set partially in Cardiff, but from what I understand it will be mostly in the US. BTW, also an American who can only locate Cardiff because I just looked it up, too.

        And, I admit it, not a fan of Ianto, either. I know he’s the darling of the show, but he just didn’t work for me. (pushes you out of way to hide under table)

  7. I’m concerned with it being produced in the US. I mean, you can’t compare Top Gear and Being Human in the US to the originals in the UK. It’s encouraging that Russell T Davies is still involved, though.

    I figure it’s still worth giving it a chance, at least the first half of the season. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I didn’t give it that much of a chance – never mind my wife. 😉

    1. I am trying to like Top Gear US, really trying, but it just doesn’t measure up to Captain Slow, Hamster, and Clarkson. I love those guys. And I only got into the US Being Human for a few episodes and just felt like it wasn’t good enough. Not horrible, but not what the original was. The saving grace for this whole project could be Davies, who will hopefully guide it in the right direction. (FYI, whatever makes The Wife happy, a wise hubby will always do 😉

      1. In my case fortunately, most of the things that make the wife happy, make the hubby happy, too – so I’ve got it pretty easy. After all, I’M the one that got her hooked on Dr. Who and it’s spin-offs.
        And I just realized in time for Towell Day that our wedding date (if you use a two-digit year) adds up to “42”. Total coincidence, but I like it.

  8. Looks cool. My personal concern will be if it is no longer produced by the BBC. But hey, I watched SGU Dollhouse and Serenity, so it could still be OK if direction and production has shifted.

    By the way, the “snarky American” is played by Dichen Lachman, who is actually an Australian.

    1. Personally, the lack of Cardiff locations will destroy the magic of it, however good the storyline. No more weevils disappearing down St Mary’s Street or people abducted by aliens half way across the barrier. And there was something special about standing on the exact pavement slab near the vertical water feature outside the Millennium Centre that marked the secret entrance into Torchwood. Hopefully we’ll still be able to spot John Barrowman buying his fruit and veg from Cardiff M and S! I still intend to watch it of course.

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