The BBC’s Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood, has notoriously been more adult than its predecessor. In fact, that’s something that has specifically drawn viewers in considering the showrunners’ propensity and openness when it comes to sexuality and violence. With the series moving to America July 8 via the cable network Starz, fans are wondering what of their beloved Torchwood will change. According to the showrunners and stars, definitely not the sex.
Russel T. Davies and John Barrowman spoke with Entertainment Weekly recently about how the show’s trademark adult relationships would be handled in the new cable series.
Barrowman said his character Captain Jack Harkeness, a known omnisexual, “gets to have full-on boy-sex a couple of times,” in the new season. About the new network and drastic local change he said, “I knew they would be true to the show and not change drastically. If it was watered down, I wouldn’t have done it. For those people who are our stanch fans, it’s going to have the heart and soul of Torchwood which we’ve always had, plus the energy and excitement of a show that’s bigger and better.”
Torchwood: Miracle Day stars series regulars Barrowman, Eve Myles and Kai Owen but adds Bill Pullman, Mekhi Pfeiffer, Alexa Havins and Lauren Ambrose. In addition to showrunners Davies and Julie Gardner, Jane Espenson (Buffy, Battlestar Galactica) jumps on board as a writer.
Davies said the portrayal of gay, bisexual, and lesbian characters here in the United States is actually way ahead of Britain. “The kids on Glee, the beauty and detail of that couple on Modern Family. We’ve got nothing like that,” he said, “Even a nice Republican sitcom like $#*! My Dad Says, a show I quite liked, was stacked with intelligent gay-friendly stories, and that’s in a corner you’d never expect to find them. If course, it’s all the gay men and women sitting on writing teams pushing their stories forward, which I think is wonderful.”
The article, which contains a huge plot spoiler about the new season, also has Barrowman explaining that we’ll see a lot of Captain Jack history in the episodes as well as info about Myles’ character Gwen. “You’ll see her as a mother and a warrior,” said Myles. “She’s militant and does what she has to do and has to make the biggest sacrifice of her life. The only place for Torchwood to go was bigger and better. We’ve completely conquered that this year.”
Davies made it a point to say the show would be easily approachable to new viewers. “You know how sometimes on a show you can tell a new executive has come in, like the Spock’s Brain year on Star Trek — it’s not like that,” he says. “It’s faithful and careful and honest, but at the same time, it’s brand-new for a whole new audience. In Episode 1 you have a brand new cast of American actors who have never heard of Torchwood saying, ‘What is Torchwood?’ So all those questions in the mind of a new audience are literally being said on screen and being answered.”