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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

oh thank the gods: Fox says no to American ‘Torchwood’

We dodged a bullet. Fox — known mostly for killing innovative science fiction such as Firefly (The X-Files would never have survived on Fox today) — has passed on a redo of the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood (via the Hollywood Reporter blog The Live Feed):

Fox has decided not to pursue a U.S. version of the UK cult hit. The network was developing a stateside version of the “Doctor Who” spinoff, a prospect which divided fans.

“BBC Worldwide Productions and the FOX Broadcasting Company have mutually agreed not to progress together with a 13-episode serialized ‘Torchwood’ format,” said BBC Worldwide in a statement.

But wait: We’re not clear yet. That BBC Worldwide statement continues:

“We are currently in discussion with several interested networks.”

As to that last part, BBC Worldwide executive vp of programming and production Jane Tranter reiterated that a U.S. version was still making progress.

“It’s very much ongoing and very much alive,” Tranter said.

Ugh. Why not just air proper-Torchwood on NBC?

(Thanks to reader Clay for being the first to send me this news.)

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  • Anne

    Hopefully they are talking seriously with HBO or Showtime. Those networks could do the show justice on the adult level it should be made.

  • there’s no possible reason for a US Torchwood… Torchwood, the institute, as the very reason for its being is to protect Great Britain! there is no indication, after the battle at canary wharf, that Torchwood went worldwide, or became an international organization!

    show us proper Torchwood, and make *more* proper Torchwood!

  • MaryAnn

    Those networks could do the show justice on the adult level it should be made.

    But the BBC is already doing that!

  • Chris

    thank god. I’m not a huge fan of Torchwood, but I like it enough to not want to see Fox tear it to shreds. Firefly? No thanks, we’ll only broadcast 12 eps. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles? No, we’ll kill it after 1.5 seasons, at a ridiculously cliffhangery spot in the story. American Idol? ENTERING YEAR 8 BABY. Maybe Fox just HATES Summer Glau

  • RyanT

    I’m no fan of FOX, I’m still hurting about Firefly, and I’m glad that they passed on Torchwood, but I will defend them a bit since they are keeping Fringe in their line up. And that’s some great sci-fi TV there.

  • MaryAnn (Thu Apr 22 10, 4:19PM):

    But the BBC is already doing that!

    Well, the BBC is doing this too, shopping the show around to be rebooted in the US.

    And Torchwood is a lot of things, but it’s never been “adult” — not even at the very start. Sure there was a little risque dialogue, but it was pretty benign even before jumping from BBC4 to BBC1.

    Plus, as much as I love Torchwood, the british don’t do proper crime-fighting action as well as the US. The show looks silly at times. Have you ever noticed how horrible everybody looks when firing a gun? Gwen is pretty bad. But Captain Jack? Jesus, he looks sooo silly when he’s waving that pistol around. It makes me laugh every time.

    That being said. No US Torchwood, please. I can’t even imagine the logistics of the backstory without an equivalent to The Doctor. And we don’t wanna go down that road.

  • Kathryn

    Torchwood started on BBC3, not BBC4.

    I know that sounds pedantic, but BBC4’s output is ‘highbrow’ arts and documentary programming, mainly, so it is really seriously bizarre to think of Totchwood in the mix!

  • I_Sell_Books

    Well that’s made my day.

  • I_Sell_Books

    And then I read the rest of the article, and damn.

  • nyjm

    Wow Torchwood just gets no love. Mind you, love from Fox is the kind that you need to get blood-tested for, so I agree with MAJ – thank the gods.

    But Torchwood perennially gets bashed by Brits for being “too American” and Americans bash it for being “too British.” Well, I love my Doctor Who / CSI hybrid! Gimme more – not some reboot, just more! Dammit.

    … and somebody get me some BBC American here in Atlanta while they’re at it… watching Matt Smith via iTunes isn’t going to cut it.


  • Dr. Rocketscience

    But the BBC is already doing that!

    Are they, though? Last I heard, despite the huge success of “Children of Earth”, plans for a fourth series of Torchwood were nebulous at best. And rumors were swirling about John Barrowman hoping the pond to join the cast of Desperate Housewives or something.

  • Lisa

    Barrowman’s the big bad in this season of DH so he’ll not last til next year

    I was scared of the fact that they were going to have to introduce an american the play the dr in your version of it can you imagine?

  • Andrew

    I would only point out that the X-Files is surviving just fine on Fox today, they call it Fringe now is all.

  • Kathryn (Thu Apr 22 10, 5:22PM):

    Torchwood started on BBC3, not BBC4.

    I know that sounds pedantic, but BBC4’s output is ‘highbrow’ arts and documentary programming, mainly, so it is really seriously bizarre to think of Totchwood in the mix!

    Yes, well… I was gonna look it up and then I realized who cares! ;)

  • Isobel

    @ Newbs – if you don’t mind, I think I’m going to take the fact that we don’t do gun-toting crime fighting well as a compliment. We are, thankfully, not a gun culture. There are less than 50 gun related deaths (total – accidents, crime etc) in the UK per year and the vast majority of our police force do not carry guns. I’ve never liked the fact that characters in Torchwood carry them at all.

  • NickT

    In defence of Fox (which is something I never thought I’d say), they’re better than they used to be.
    Since Firefly and Drive (cancelled within a week), they’ve been quite a bit better at giving shows a chance to prove themselves before dropping the axe.
    I think they’ve realised that ‘new series on Fox’ has become a meme for ‘cancelled in a month’, which was keeping people from trying to get into new shows in the first place, so they’re trying to change their image.

    The problem is that Sci-Fi shows cost a hell of a lot more than most other shows (especially reality stuff), and tend to have a narrower appeal.
    While I didn’t want to see Terminator go, looking at it from their perspective, they did give it time, and it was clear it wasn’t going to become the massive hit they wanted.

    But yeah, I’m glad that there isn’t a US Torchwood coming. Aside from the fact that Doctor Who is pretty much the only British take on Sci-Fi that hasn’t become a punchline, from the plot viewpoint, Torchwood is explicitly a British organisation. If they had to make a spin-off, surely they could do something with UNIT instead.

  • deering

    If any network picks TORCHWOOD up, it would be advised to junk everything except the premise, Captain Jack, and creepy-atmosphere-building and start from scratch. Except for the truly terrific “Children Of Earth” mini-, TORCHWOOD suffered from unbelievable/annoying lead characters and casting. Honestly, how could any team anywhere get anything done with members that damaged and high-strung? It was amazing that these folks were able to get out of the bed in the morning, much less keep themselves in check enough to function as a team in out-there circumstances. Add to that the ridiculous fan-fic “everyone constantly falls for Captain Jack or another team member” stuff, and it made the show much less than it could have been.

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