What IS going on, Torchwood!

Torchwood season 4 has been trapped in the rift for a fair while now. There’s been a major move to the US, a failed deal with Fox – some would say they dodged a bullet there – and now, finally, we get word.

Torchwood: The New World, is going to start filming next year. It’ll be set in Los Angeles. That’s right. LA. Not Cardiff.
Jack, Gwen and Rhys are back. Show creator Russel T Davies has been quoted envisaging Gwen on a poster with gun in one hand, baby in the other (er, what?). There’ll be 3 new US team members, two your typical CIA (CSI) types – Rex Matheson, and Esther Katusi (Katusi? Any relation to Wilfred’s old mate Winston Katusi?). Oh, and a convicted pedophile called Oswald Jones.
It is Torchwood, after all. In case you’re wondering, all three new characters are yet to be cast.

*cue personal outrage* – OSWALD Jones?! Bring back our IANTO Jones, thankyouta!

On the whole, the announcements about Season 4 of Torchwood have left me feeling deflated and unimpressed :-/

Torchwood season 4 will be lacking at least part of what made the previous seasons so endearing. It’ll be missing that underdog factor.

Underdog #1: Location – Cardiff

If there’s alien threat in sci-fi land, it happens in the US. If something happens in the UK, its in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bristol, Cornwall…any number of other cities. Nothing ever happens in Cardiff! Setting Torchwood there was as brilliant as setting District 9 in Johannesburg.
Cardiff isn’t your normal hub of alien encounters – which oddly, makes the fantasy all the more plausible. Andy sums up our pre-Torchwood thoughts on Cardiff in the first episode with –

“CSI Cardiff. They’ll be measuring the air speed velocity if a kebab.”

Nothing is supposed to happen there. But it does.
We love Cardiff, because it is the underdog city.

Torchwood season 4 is set in LA. Predictable, when it comes to alien encounters, and hardly the underdog of cities.

Underdog #2: The Team – the Small Fish

While Jack Harkness is indisputable caller of the shots no matter where he is, Team Torchwood as a whole was an underdog.
They weren’t intended to be sole Torchwood representatives or shoulder all of the responsibility to defend the UK. Torchwood 1 (London) was in power, from Queen Victoria’s time, up until the battle of Canary Wharf in 2006.
Seeing Torchwood 3 (Cardiff) go from being small to being the only real experienced defense Britain had, made the entire team an underdog, as a unit. The small office got the big promotion and with it, a requirement to prove themselves. And they totally proved themselves. We were proud. There were tears 😛

Underdog #3: the Gwen Character

Torchwood needs it’s Gwen character.

What Russel T Davies does brilliantly is write underdog or ordinary characters – Mickey Smith, Rose Tyler, Donna Noble, Rhys Williams, even Ianto’s brother in-law Johnny Davies – and lets them be brilliant. It’s inspiring.
When Torchwood began, we joined Gwen Cooper in discovering what it meant to go from being street cop to alien expert. And while her character is supposed to evolve, that dynamic of finding one’s feet is going to be a difficult thing for the show to find again in a new location. Everyone we know and love will be experts already. But we, the audience, will need someone to journey with, in order to find our feet in the new place.
Sure, we’re getting the three aforementioned new characters. But – have their journey mimic Gwen’s too closely, it’ll look unoriginal, and be kinda boring. Stray too far and we lose the element of sharing the newbie’s journey entirely, so relating to it will be difficult.

And have them try to even hint at replacing our Tosh, Owen and Ianto – and there’ll be interweb hell to pay!

I’m sure it’s doable in writer-land, and it’ll be tricky – but Torchwood needs it, particularly with the move.

And what about the Rift…

The Rift was the reason for Cardiff’s branch of Torchwood existing. Was the Rift destroyed when the Hub was? Is it shifting? Is it still there but they no longer care? Or is there a bigger rift over LA, all of a sudden?

Or are they moving on from rifts entirely, and creating a brand new reason to settle in the US? How many lanterns are they going to have to hang on that one?!

In Summary…

One of the reasons Torchwood was so brilliant was that it was the battler, the underdog. It wasn’t Doctor Who. They were BBC3, they were a spin-off. The team didn’t have the access to all the gadgets the Doctor did, and weren’t able to pick up and run off into the Vortex if things got too complicated. They had to stick it out, for better or for worse, in Cardiff. It was their job, and we could all relate to that.

With most of the original characters dead, the Hub blown up and moving the remainder of the team to the US? It won’t be Torchwood. It’ll be yet another US-based CSI-type show, with a dose of aliens.

…please prove me wrong, RTD. I beg you.

—-

Looking to own Torchwood? You can buy Torchwood: The Complete First Season on DVD or Blu-ray, Torchwood: The Complete Second Season DVD or Blu-ray and Torchwood: Children of Earth DVD or Blu-ray from Amazon.


2 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    I totally agree, i mean OSWALD JONES??? c’mon guys, you can do better than that! And what was so wrong about Cardiff that you had to go to LA??

  2. Misaki says:

    These are from another forum: enjoy.
    The Torchwood Drinking GameTake one drink when
    1) There is a swooping aerial shot of Cardiff from a helicopter.
    2) Someone delivers or orders a pizza.
    3) A main character says snog or snogging
    4) A main character says shag or shagging
    5) A hetrosexual snogging occurs
    6) someone says special ops
    7) you can read Torchwood on the side of the top secret Torchwood mobile.
    8) Rhys Williams phones Gwen, or is used for comedic relief.

    Take two drinks when
    1) Jack (doesn’t) die after being killed
    2) Lesbian/gay snogging occurs
    3) hetrosexual snogging occurs between two main characters
    4) hetrosexual shagging occurs
    5) Myfanwy the pterodactyl appears (exclude during titles)
    6) anyone takes an alien artefact home without permission

    Take three drinks when
    1) There is a swooipng aerial shot of Jack (or other cast member) astride a Cardiff landmark.
    2) A Torchwood member betrays the trust of the rest of the team
    3) Lesbian/gay shagging occurs
    4) Lesbian/gay snogging between two main characters occurs
    4) Hetrosexual shagging between two main characters occurs
    5) There is a cover up for the murder/death of a member of the public
    6) Anyone refers to sex without resorting to euphemisms like snogging and shagging .
    NB: F-words don’t count.

    Take four drinks
    1) Lesbian/gay shagging between two main characters occurs
    2) A main character get stabbed, shot or otherwise seriously injured or mutilated.
    3) A dismembered body part appears on screen
    4) There is a direct reference to Doctor Who

    Drink the entire bottle when
    1) The main characters leave earth
    2) The Doctor, the TARDIS or genuine companion appear in the episode (not just a body part)
    3) An episode ends with no sexual references at all

    Throw up when
    1) Gwen/Owen snog, shag or even think about it.

    Take one drink when
    9) Tosh gives Owen a knowing look
    10) Gwen gives Jack a knowing look
    11) Owen gives Gwen a knowing look
    12) Jack gives Ianto a knowing look (can be substitued for an evil’ if knowing looks are not going spare)

    Take two drinks when:
    7) Tosh has a good day
    8) Whole team wears sunglasses outside on a grey day
    9) There is a shoe horned Americana reference to a) CSI, b) Basketball/Baseball in order to cater to BBC America etc to cater for potential American Network deals
    10) There is a shoe horned stereotypical Welsh reference, eg: Millennium Stadium, anything in welsh, rugby, to take full advantage of Cardiff potentially being marketed over in America.
    11) Someone/Anyone says something/anything derogatory about London.
    12) Someone brandishes an impressive weapon (Owen’s not included!) with a torch.

    Take three drinks when:
    7) The CGI utterly lets you down
    8) There is no CGI in the episode
    9) Subtle Who reference is used knowingly (Can also be interpreted as knowing look between RTD and the Whovians tuning in). Clunking great lady-cybers do not class as subtle.
    10) Someone brandishes an impressive weapon (Owen’s not included!) in a montage.
    11) During any montage.

    Whole bottle:
    4) The Torchwood Blimp takes its inaugural flight
    5) Weevil gives Jack a knowing look
    6) Little man from office in Glasgow pops in and after thirty minutes learns the art of the knowing look and leaves to go and grow his own little nest of iniquity in the windy Scottish highlands.

    Drink the entire case when
    1) Jack shags the Weevil

    Drink the entire bottle if:
    A homosexual snog occurs under no alien influence whatsoever.
    Harkness says What? in response to his co-workers’ incomprehensible Welsh accents.
    Gwen shoots herself in the behind while reholstering her unfamiliar weapon.
    The pterodactyl poops on someone’s head.
    The severed hand crawls into someone’s pants with the intention of committing an obscene act.
    A member of the Royal Family guest stars as a werewolf.
    Harkness shags a sheep.

    What about drinking when:
    1.) Ianto looks guilty or vulnerable for no apparent reason.
    2.) Owen wears his white coat.
    3.) Tosh says/does something that makes her look really uncool and then tries to act normal.
    4.) Some unsuspecting soon-to-be victim does something really stupid (generally near the beginning of the episode).
    5.) We see a scene featuring the Torchwood crew chilling together in the bat-cave.
    6.) Gwen starts worrying about her (now SHAM) relationship with Rhys.

    Finish the bottle when:
    1.) We see someone’s bare bottom (be honest it’s only a matter of time).
    2.) Someone says Torchwood? Who on earth are they? I’ve never heard of them. They must be ultra-secret.

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