outside the government and beyond the police, tracking down alien
life on Earth, and arming the human race against the future. The
21st century is where everything changes, and you got to be ready."
-Captain Jack Harkness
John Barrowman reprises his role as Jack Harkness, the charming
and rogue captain from the 51st century in Doctor Who's
first ever spin-off, Torchwood, whose first season is finally
released on DVD this week. Barrowman made his debut as Captain
Jack in the final episodes of 2005's Doctor Who, in which
his character was originally a conman. However, throughout his
adventures with the Doctor and Rose Tyler, Jack slowly reform
as more of a hero, and became a fan favorite.
Jack is now the leader of a secret government agency that consists
of Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Ianto Jones, and Toshiko Sato. Playing
by their own rules, there is a rift in the space-time continuum
in Cardiff, and it is up to Captain Harkness and his team of operatives
to save the planet Earth from things to goes bump in the night.
is the brain child for executive producer Julie Gardner and writer
Russell T. Davies, both of whom have written for Doctor Who,
the anagram for Torchwood. The reason behind this ambitious
spin-off is they were inspired by American shows such as Buffy,
the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Smallville.
was a great year for American sci-fi, if I'm getting this right"
Gardner said. "We were watching the last season of Buffy.
We were probably into, like, the third season of Angel.
Smallville was either in season one or season two. And
so every week, Russell and I would talk about those shows. We
would talk about why isn't there a British sci-fi show that is
paced in the same way as American sci-fi shows, has emotion and
the kind of bigness of character and the excitement of those shows.
And in one of those conversations, Russell told me about a show
he wanted to write, which at that point was called Excalibur.
It was very much Episode 1 of Torchwood."
its debut last fall in the United States, Torchwood has
become BBC America's biggest hit ever, and now its first season
is here on DVD. Featuring all 13 episodes that include extras
such as deleted scenes and Torchwood Declassified, a behind-the-scenes
look of the series of each episode from the cast and crew.
Each member of the
Torchwood team had its own arc throughout the first season in
Changes": Then a police officer, Gwen witnessed the resurrection
of a murder victim, leading her to the intriguing yet dangerous
of Torchwood, as she and viewers discovered Jack's hidden secret.
Called as the "Alfred" of the team, Ianto must choose
love and duty when Torchwood discovers that he has hid his half-human,
half-robot girlfriend inside their headquarters.
- "Greek Bearing
Gifts": The quiet and reserved Toshiko receives a gift
that allows her to read the minds of everyone around her - including
her teammates, but soon learns that some things are better left
- "They Keep
Killing Susie": Original member Susie Costello comes back
from the dead when murders are being linked to Torchwood.
Heart-broken and distraught Owen goes undercover and uncovers
a Fight Club involving men taking their frustrations
out against aliens called Weevils.
- "Captain Jack
Harkness": Due to the space-time continuum, Jack is transported
to 1944 with Toshiko. "He goes back to World War II and
meets the man he took his name from. He meets the real Captain
Jack" stated Gardner. "So there is a bit of an interrogation,
an examination of our character Captain Jack and what his past
was. And he falls in love with him. And it's very, very moving.
It's done very lightly, but it's important."
Firefly, there is moral ambiguity within each of the team
members both professionally and personally, struggling to do what's
right in their job to protect humanity while maintaining their
sanity. They protect people, but at what cost, and who protects
them at the end of the day? You don't have to be a fan of Doctor
Who to be a fan of Torchwood, which is dark, sexy,
and addictive, and all mostly due to John Barrowman in his breakout
role as handsome and charmastic Captain Jack Harkness. Equal parts
Han Solo and a futuristic Buck Rogers, Jack is both a bad boy
gone well and a tragic, reluctant hero cursed with a secret ability.
The first ever male bisexual hero ever shown on mainstream television,
Jack Harkness gets by through his looks and wits, but always able
to look out for his team, as he steps up to kick butt and save
planet with the first season of Torchwood, available this
week on DVD.
SCI FI Magazine (October 2007)