Newsflash! Torchwood: The New World

Hear ye, hear ye! Torchwood series 4 is a go! I repeat, Torchwood series 4 is a go! Houston, we have sexiness.

A few months back I reported on the news that BBC and Starz were teaming up to bring you a 10-episode arc of a fourth series of Torchwood. The Powers That Be were shtum on details and all that remained was rampant speculation on how badly the demise of the Monster-of-the-Week format would alter/ruin the show, what/how much freedom Starz would allow BBC, and how much rebooting would actually take place.

That all changed this weekend. During the show’s panel at this year’s Television Critics Association meeting, tons of new information was announced. Production is slated for January 2011 with a summer 2011 airdate tentatively scheduled. Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), Rhys Williams (Kai Owen), their bun in the oven, and Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) are all set to return, along with at least two new characters: Rex Matheson and Esther, a pair of currently uncast spooks.

Story-wise, Gwen will suffer some sort of alien problem (here’s hoping her baby’s an alien!) and somehow that will unite her with the newbies who will be in dire need of help from the man from the Boeshane Peninsula. Or, as Davies put it:

“Rex has no idea what Torchwood is and has to investigate… Torchwood has been destroyed. It’s like a legend now, it’s almost ceased to exist a long time ago and is spoken of only in whispers. We also have a watch analyst at the CIA called Esther. The two of them become embroiled in the Torchwood legend and investigate what Torchwood is, or was, and they find themselves on the run and meeting Captain Jack and Gwen, having to decide whether they’re friends, whether they’re enemies. It’s a decision that takes a long time to be decided. That’s part of the 10 episodes is the two teams coming together, a lot of sparks, a lot of excitement.”

Originally series 3 was set to be the end of all that was Torchwood, but, as RTD said in the TCA panel:

“[It] got phenomenal figures in Britain and did beautifully over here on BBC America… There was just a buzz about it. ’Children of Earth’ was a new form of Torchwood and something clicked. It just inspired me. The story of the new Torchwood is something that’s been ticking away in the back of my head for a long while.”

This go around will still have some Welshness leftover, but will definitely be more global in aspect, something much more easily achieved with Starz and their likely L.A.-based production. “It has this global sweep to it which is justified by the story,” said RTD, adding “I hate to say ’international in scope’ because it usually means a scene set in Berlin for no reason.”

The behind-the-scenes stuff is equally as amazing. Torchwood has acquired some of the cream of the crop of television writers: Doris Egan (Dark Angel, House, Tru Calling), Jane Espenson (Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Game of Thrones), John Fay (Coronation Street, Torchwood: CoE), and John Shiban (Breaking Bad, Supernatural, The X-Files).

And if for some crazy reason you’re still worried that the people who brought you the Angel-Buffy-Spike and Anders-Starbuck-Apollo love triangles or the network who brought you The Joy of Roman Sex (aka Spartacus: Blood and Sand) would be squeamish about a little sexy alien-on-sexy human smex, let the man behind Queer As Folk and Casanova quell your fears:

“I’ve always had loose standards and practices… If the story demands intimacy or savagery, we will go there absolutely.”

All this leaves me feeling much, much, much better about the fate of Torchwood and the characters within (well, except for PC Andy, poor, forgotten about, left behind Andy). I am still worried about Exec Producer Julie Gardner’s comment that series 4 has been “absolutely rebooted to welcome in a new audience,” but not enough to make me recoil in horror. And it makes me want to go back and rewatch the whole show (in Doctor Who chronological canon no less). But, for now, I’ll have to settle with the trailers for series 1, series 2, and series 3. Got speculation you’re just dying to share, want to argue with me over Ianto’s unwarranted death, or have some PC Andy/Jack slashfic to share? Please share with the class down in the comments. Hey, we have to pass the time somehow.

Thanks to io9, Zap2it, and the ever-awesome Mo Ryan at the Chicago Tribune for the quotes/info.

Alex Brown is an archivist in training, reference librarian by day, writer by night, and all around geek who watches entirely too much TV. She is prone to collecting out-of-print copies of books by Evelyn Waugh, Jane Austen, and Douglas Adams, probably knows far too much about pop culture than is healthy, and thinks her rats Hywel and Odd are the cutest things ever to exist in the whole of eternity. You can follow her on Twitter if you dare…


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