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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

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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