Torchwood – Has the rift moved?

It has been two years since we last saw Captain Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper save the Earth from the threat of alien invasion. And with the recent news of a new ten part series you would be forgiven for thinking fans would be jumping for joy, but the sad fact is, they’re not. In fact it’s quite the opposite.

Earlier this week it was announced that the long-awaited new series would finally hit our screens on 14th July. Six days after the Americans.

The BRITISH series ended after a five part mini-series in 2009 which was set over the course of five days in which an alien-species demanded 10% of the Earth’s population of children. We saw Captain Jack leave Earth after watching lover Lanto die in his arms and sacrificing his grandson to save the Earth’s children, leaving behind a heavily pregnant Gwen Cooper to settle down to a more quieter life with husband Rhys Williams.

The new ten part series begins when a murderer fails to die during an execution during which it becomes apparent that no one on Earth is dying. Quickly the natural life-and-death cycle is broken resulting in a population growth overnight. Torchwood – or rather what is left of it – is called in to investigate and Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper do what they do best, kick alien ass.

The new series, which was co-produced by BBC Worldwide, BBC Cyrmu and US Network Starz, is partially set in America and features a whole range of new American characters including, Rex Mathesan, CIA’s golden boy, Ester Drummond, CIA Watch’s analysis, Vera Juarez as a surgeon, and Jilly Kitzinger, a sweet-talking but cold hearted PR genius to name but a few. Thankfully a few of the original British cast and crew have remained including John Barrowman and Eve Myles – naturally – and characters PC (now sergeant) Andy and Gwens parents as well as committed husband Rhys.

But the big question on the fans lips is why we have to wait an additional six days to watch it? Basically, American investment. Not content with stealing our iconic British brands – ahem Cadbury’s – the Americans have now stolen our – ‘our’ in the true sense of the word as we, the British taxpayers, have paid for its production – TV show. While Russell T Davis and Julie Gardner claim the show is simply moving on, the fans feel differently and it’s easy to understand why.

Eve Myles was quoted as saying earlier this week that, “we never wanted to take this show away from the original fans….if it was up to me and John, we’d have it to them straight away. But it’s not.” The news that the Americans are to view the opening episode first has done nothing to reassure British fans that the show has remained true to its roots. As more and more news has surfaced recently Torchwood fans have become increasingly concerned about the Americanisation of the show. While the BBC have kept the show largely under their hats Starz have not, releasing a trailer on the internet that isn’t even viewable outside the US.

The American investment in the show does mean some positive changes though, as from the trailer it is evident that there is more action and atmosphere than ever before and the big budget has resulted in a more Hollywood finish to the show. It is one of the biggest plots ever and promises to be darker than ever before with many guaranteed edge-of-your-seat moments. There is however, a distinct CSI quality about it.

All that’s certain is there’s going to be a lot of illegal downloading; bad move BBC. However, whatever your opinion of the rebooted Torchwood is, it has to be said that it will certainly not be the show that it was. After all, America attempted to revive Doctor Who in the late 1990s, and while the amended version wasn’t great it pathed the way for the more modern, action-packed series which will continue to stun fans for many years to come. As for Torchwood, only time and personal taste will tell if it’s for the best. But one thing’s for sure; 14th July is a date to look forward to.

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