question of the day: What international locations and faces should the new season of ‘Torchwood’ take advantage of?

I think I should take it as a testament to 1) how public I’ve made my geekiness, and 2) how geeky you guys are that I first heard yesterday about the upcoming return of Torchwood via a bombardment of emails from you all. So I expect that this conversation will develop into a lively one.

So, via BBC News:

Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood will return for a fourth series with a more international flavour, the BBC said.

The 10-part series will be funded by BBC Wales, as well as the corporation’s commercial arm – BBC Worldwide – and US cable network Starz Entertainment.

John Barrowman will return as Captain Jack alongside Eve Myles, as Gwen.

While previous series have been recorded in Cardiff, new storylines will include locations in the US and around the world.

At The Live Feed, Starz chief Chris Albrecht confirms that Torchwood’s budget will be bigger, and that

A lot of this story takes place in the U.S. as well with several characters that are in the U.S. intelligence forces and end up teaming up with Gwen and Captain Jack to deal with the situation at hand.

I’m a little leery to hear some of this. I don’t want Torchwood to get watered down, and Starz is more known for cheese than for quality drama. I also worry because Torchwood the organization is so specifically English, having been instituted by Queen Victoria herself to protect Great Britain from alien influence. I hope the Britishness of it doesn’t get lost. But Russell T. Davies, also at The Live Feed, gives me hope:

It’s very much the next step. It’s not a new version, it’s not a reboot. We’re simply moving countries. The show was previously a format show — monster of the week. The breakthrough was “Children of Earth” and that it became one long story. It’s not going to be ‘Lost’ and take 20 years to find out what’s going on. It’s going to have a most remarkable conclusion after 10 episodes.

As Dan Martin at the Guardian’s TV & Radio blog notes, with an American network onboard, this almost certainly means American faces among the cast. Who should they be?

The obvious first box to tick would be James Marsters. He’s the ultimate go-to guy for US cult telly, and already exists in the Torch-verse, having played Jack’s old (ahem) sparring partner Captain John. And as Russell T Davies made no secret of Joss Whedon’s godlike influence over the show, and I’d be amazed if there aren’t shadowy meetings going on as we speak to have him guest-write an episode, some of Whedon’s extended repertory company would be a shoo-in. Eliza Dushku as a new female lead or femme fatale? Neil Patrick Harris as a new love interest for Jack? Nathan Fillion as Jack’s new nemesis? Seth Green as the team goof?

Nathan Fillion in Torchwood? I’ll be in my bunk. Or perhaps Joss Whedon himself should make an appearance: maybe he’s an agent for a secret agency whose work is meant to soften us all up to the notion of aliens among us…?

What international locations and faces should the new season of Torchwood take advantage of?

Have fun.

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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C David Dent
Tue, Jun 08, 2010 11:59am

Daniel Dae Kim as a Korean-American Ianto-like character. Sort of “the cleaner” who deals with details.

I like the idea of Seth Green as the goofy-nerdy guy. but I think that Kal Penn could do just as well and would make for more ethnic spread.

I adored Gabrielle Union on Flash Forward and I think this would be a great place to make her shine as a Medical expert.

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 12:00pm

God, I’d love to see Marsters on Torchwood again, and NPH and John Barrowman would be awesome.

As for setting, it should be anywhere but NYC, LA or DC. Part of the charm of the original series for me was that it took place in Cardiff, which to this American, reads a little quirkier than London. If they wanted to do a big city, I s’pose they could do Chicago, but I think I’d really love to see them somewhere random – Idaho Falls, ID, Eugene, OR, Barstow, CA. Maybe just to be perverse they could have their SuperSekritHeadquarters beneath Temple Square in SLC, UT. I’d love to see Capt. Jack emerge all studly like from an invisible lift underneath some statue of Brigham Young.

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 12:01pm

Could be interesting, but since it is practically a new show(and isn’t Torchwood only allowed to operate on British territory anyway? (Ok, there was this one time in Nepal in the ‘year that wasn’t)), personally i wouldn’t have called it “Torchwood S4”, but “name of new show in the Whoverse”-Season 1.

But that’s more of a nitpick: if they don’t mess it up, this could be interesting.

What concerns American faces: Since he is in everything anyway, Mark Sheppard will probably make an appearance. ;)

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 1:26pm

Mark Sheppard – yes! Fillion is too busy with Castle but Michael Trucco really needs a good gig after getting the thankless task of romantic roadblock on that show. And continuing the BSG theme: James Callis (though he’s not an American face). To be honest the first name coming to mind before even reading the article was James Marsters. He was great the first time around.

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 1:52pm

Marsters! Fillion! Dom Monaghan/ Alan Tudyk would be great as their sarcastic tech guy. Josh Holloway as a FBI agent who knows something’s gonna on but can’t figure out who these guys are – cue confused looking Sawyer glare. Definitely Mark Sheppard – how come he missed out on Lost. That’s a genius idea Engler P. Olivia Williams as Jack’s new boss.

Monster at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Capt Jack infiltrating the Scientology Celebrity Centre to kill Xenu. Weevils in the New York subway is an obvious one but what is something worse was hunting them? and then moving on to humans? Voodoo aliens in New Orleans or aliens pretending to use black magic for some other reason/control over humans like Jasmine eating them in Angel? One set in Afica would be cool. Or a Thing-style one in the Artic like they did in that X-Files episode “Ice”.

Didn’t Josh say he wouldn’t write for Dr Who once – might feel the same way about Torchwood – it’d be great of it worked out though.

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 2:08pm

For some reason, the first thing that hit me was Eerie, Indiana. I always wanted to know what was up with the jogging basketball team in the opening sequence.

C David Dent
Tue, Jun 08, 2010 2:25pm

I like the idea of SLC, UT but New Orleans has a certain charm to it.

Orlando, FL under the Epcot Center, perhaps?

As for any “Torchwood can only operate in the UK” ideas you might have that was pre-Canary Wharf. Whatever Torchwood was before that isn’t any more. Torchwood as of the TV series is/was an independent agency…probably financed by the operating body of UNIT but outside their command structure.

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 5:22pm

IF they can pull it off, it might be interesting. Hey, I’d take anything to see Captain Jack back in action.

I echo the sentiments of other commenters. The charm of Torchwood is that it’s in Cardiff. The “next step” should not be to a big city. We don’t want another show to go a big city because it’s more interesting. It’s interesting because of Cardiff.

Tue, Jun 08, 2010 6:10pm

I wonder if they could set a story in Sunnydale and see how many jokes they could stick in about how much “Torchwood” follows “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” One is basically SF and the other is basically fantasy, but the structure and characters are remarkably similiar. Every time Masters’ character shows up, people run in fear and he doesn’t understand why.

Or they could set one around the Okoboji lakes and make jokes about how different it is from what he saw on “X-Files,” which is completely.

Or they could go to Africa chasing an alien gun runner who turns out to be under the protection of another branch Her Majesty’s Government because he sells used British weapons to the sides they like.

Tonio Kruger
Tonio Kruger
Tue, Jun 08, 2010 9:14pm

Olivia Dollhouse Williams as Jack’s new boss is an absolutely awesome idea.

So they probably won’t use it…

Vera Cobb
Vera Cobb
Tue, Jun 08, 2010 10:01pm

I’d love to see it set mostly elsewhere in Europe and Asia with only occasional episodes in the US, no more than 1 or two per season. I hope international flair doesn’t mean permanent move to the US and/or big cities, but sticks with the quirky atmosphere of Cardiff. Also, I quite liked the glimpse of Jack off planet in the 10th Doctor’s finale. So, more space episodes please.

I’d second Michael Trucco. I’d also like to see David Franklin (not technically US, but I beieve he might be working here now) and James Morrison, but that may be just because I’ve been watching some 90s sci fi lately.

Wed, Jun 09, 2010 1:02pm

hey can David still play Dr in this universe?

C David Dent
Wed, Jun 09, 2010 1:08pm

Or they could go to Africa chasing an alien gun runner who turns out to be under the protection of another branch Her Majesty’s Government because he sells used British weapons to the sides they like.

That is, perhaps, the most brilliant plot idea I’ve ever read.

Wed, Jun 09, 2010 7:08pm

Well, thank you, but it’s not that much different from the subplot of “Lords of War” starring Nicholas Cage, and one of his best films in my opinion. Cage’s arms dealing character is chased by these cops, but when they finally catch him a Pentagon official comes and bails him out. But in my case, it would be told from the POV of the cops instead of the criminal.

Wed, Jun 09, 2010 7:38pm

First and foremost: YES! More Torchwood!

Secondly: dammit, now I simply must get BBC America…

RE: Alan Tudyk. Yes, please, give this man a role where he does not die, for the love of god…

Thu, Jun 10, 2010 12:00pm

i totally second (third — thirtieth) the enthusiasm over the return of Jack and Gwen! i also think it shouldn’t do the obviously big city stuff. if it comes to the US, a place like Bismark, ND would be just as exotic for some of us as a locale as Cardiff… perhaps it should stick to investigating phenomena in the British Commonwealth, or former colonies… i’d like to see something set in Brisbane (perhaps Tegan could make an appearance), or Red Branch, NZ, or Tasmania… India! THINK of the possibilities in India!