Torchwood: The New World

torchwood_4_cropThe Hollywood Reporter relays the following information from the Television Critics Association fall press tour about the Starz/BBC production of the upcoming TORCHWOOD miniseries.
First off, the ten episode arc will be called TORCHWOOD: THE NEW WORLD. This is apt, because a goodly portion of the series will be shot in the U.S. with location in Washington D.C. and Los Angles, begining in January.
The show will feature two new American characters, CIA agents  Rex Matheson and Esther Katusi,  yet to be cast.
Creator/Producer Russell T Davies (DOCTOR WHO) explains that Matheson  “is an entrance into the new story.”

 “He’s a CIA agent. The fact that TORCHWOOD has been off the air for a while and is also brand-new to a lot of people is actually being used as a part of the story in that Rex has no idea what Torchwood is and has to investigate Torchwood. Torchwood was destroyed, disbanded. It’s like a legend now. It’s like something that ceased to exist a long time ago that’s spoken of only in whispers.
So Rex is drawn into this, has no choice but to be drawn into this through complications that you will see in the story. Also, he’s at the CIA. We also have a watch analyst at the CIA called Esther, who is now friends with Rex but works with colleagues of Rex’s. The two of them become embroiled in the Torchwood legend and investigate what Torchwood is or was.”

Russell T Davies

 Davies also confirmed that female lead Gwen Cooper’s (Eve Myles) husband Rys Williams (Kai Owen) will return, and will be part of the team. And they’ll both be caring for their baby, as we last saw Gwen six months happily —one of the few rays of light in the dark finale of TORCHWOOD: CHILDREN OF EARTH.

 “So the sight of Gwen Cooper with baby in one arm and gun in the other is going to be our poster, I hope, because that’s just going to be irresistible.”

Producer Moffat Writing 5 'Doctor Who' Eps

Moffat_BBCDen Of Geek reports that DOCTOR WHO producer Steven Moffat (SHERLOCK) will be writing five of the thirteen episodes of the sixth season of the revived series. (That’s 32 seasons in all, since 1963.)
Being interviewed  about his new modern-day Sherlock Holmes series SHERLOCK’s premeire episode, A Study in Pink,  Moffat confirmed that he’s writing the Christmas special, plus the five regular season stories.

“I’m basically following what Russell (Davies) did. Having worked out the sums and worked out how he does it, I thought that’s a perfect way of doing it.
But there is no way of balancing this. The last year has been extraordinary. I’ve had about four days off, and that includes Christmas day. I work every weekend, I get up early in the morning, I go to bed late at night. …Great fun, so long as it doesn’t kill me!”

It was confirmed back in March by the BBC that Season 6 will be of the standard thirteen episodes. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith and companion Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) will be returning, with Alec Kingston and Arthur Darvill (River Song and Rory Williams) expected to reprise their roles as well.

Amy, The Doctorm and Rory - Vampires of Venice
Amy, The Doctor, and Rory — Vampires of Venice

Novelist, screen writer, and comic book author Neil Gaiman (The Sandman, MIRRORMASK)) revealed some time back that he’ll be writing one of the shows, possibly the third episode in the series.

New 'Torchwood' Details

TV GUIDE reports on casting news for the new season of TORCHWOOD the BBC and STARZ are producing.
torchwood_Gwen_JackThe series plans to cast American characters. A new regular will be CIA Agent Rex Matheson: “twenty-something… a fearless, cocky thrill seeker.”
Recurring characters will include:

Esther Katusi, a newbie Watch Analyst in the CIA who is deeply (and secretly) in love with Rex.
And Oswald Jones is the dangerous psychotic villain. He’s a forty-something murderer and pedophile who gets sprung from the slammer into the spotlight.”

John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) [both pictured above] are returning. Still unknown is if Gwen’s husband Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) or other of the DOCTOR WHO spin-off characters left still living after the CHILDREN OF EARTH mini-series will be featured.

Christmas Carol for DR. WHO

The BBC announced that production started Monday (July 12th) on the 2010 DOCTOR WHO Christmas Special for BBC One.
The special will guest star Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in the HARRY POTTER films) Harry Potter, The Singing Detective) and opera singer Katherine Jenkins, in her first acting role.
Head writer and executive producer of DOCTOR WHO, Steven Moffat, gave the following information on the show:

“Oh, we’re going for broke with this one. It’s all your favourite Christmas movies at once, in an hour, with monsters and the Doctor and a honeymoon and — oh, you’ll see. I’ve honestly never been so excited about writing anything. I was laughing madly as I typed along to Christmas songs in April.
My neighbours loved it so much they all moved away and set up a website demanding my execution.
But I’m fairly sure they did it ironically.”

Ben Stephenson,the BBC Controller of Drama Commissioning, is quoted as saying:

“Matt Smith and Karen Gillan captivated audiences in their debut series and DOCTOR WHO’s clever twist on the much loved A Christmas Carol will thrill BBC One viewers this year with special guest stars Sir Michael Gambon and singing sensation Katherine Jenkins joining Amy and the Doctor for an unforgettable present!”

The DOCTOR WHO Christmas specials have become a yearly event, begining with tenth Doctor David Tennant’s debut on the revived series.

'Torchwood' To Be Re-lit

TorchwoodWEBThe BBC announced today that
BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Worldwide, and Starz Entertainment (the US cable network), will form a three way co-production partnership that will produce a new season of TORCHWOOD.

The 10-episode fourth season will be written by a staff led by creator/producer, Russell T Davies (DOCTOR WHO).
Julie Gardner and Jane Tranter will also return as executive producers.
John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) will reprise their roles, along with new cast members.
It’s not yet known if Gwen’s husband Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) will return, though it seems likely, as all the other Torchwood team characters have either been killed off, or shown to have moved on to other things.
The article goes on to say that rather than be shot and take place largely in Cardiff, Wales, this new season will have an international flavor, with stories taking places in the U.S. and other locations around the world.
Ben Stephenson, the Controller of BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “…Torchwood will burst back onto the screen with a shocking and moving story with global stakes and locations that will make it feel bigger and bolder than ever.”
This announcement should come as some relief for TORCHWOOD fans, following previous disappointing news that Davies’ recent efforts to bring the show to the U.S. as a Fox Network series had fallen though.

Doctor Who: Time of the Angels/Flesh and Stone

DOCWHO_weeping-angels_R The Eleventh Doctor Is In Good Hands

I’ve been watching the fifth season of the BBC’s revived DOCTOR WHO series on BBC America with great interest. New producer Steven Moffat is branching off from the often inconsistent, but memorable tenure of Russell T Davies, who brought the series back from limbo. It’s early days yet, but I think the series is in good hands.
Matt Smith is the youngest Doctor thus far, and while he still seems to be channeling some of David Tennant’s hyper 10th Doctor, he’s also bringing his own shadings of the Time Lord as being nerdy-quirky, compassionate, far from omniscient, and possibly somewhat immature and reckless.
New companion, Amy Pond (Karen Gillan) is attractive and the center of an enigma, seen in the first episode of the season, when the newly regenerated Doctor discovers a ‘crack’ in space and time, manifesting in her childhood bedroom. He thought he had sealed it, but the trouble was just beginning, in what promises to be a long story arc.
Two of Steven Moffat’s creations for the show, the sinister  ‘Weeping Angels’ and the mysterious River Song (ER’s Alex Kingston) reappear in this two-part episode. Song is a very important person in the Doctor’s life, but they keep meeting out of temporal sequence, a great idea for a show about a time traveler. He first meets her the day she dies–at least, physically. (Fourth Season’s two-parter ‘Silence in the Library / Forest of the Dead’.)
The Angels were created for the third season ” Doctor-light filler” episode ‘Blink’, for which Moffat won BAFTA and Hugo awards.
They’re a strange race from the early universe who appear as stone angels, usually with their eyes covered as though crying. They’re “quantum locked”, meaning they literally turn into immobile statues while anyone is looking at them. As soon as living beings take their eyes off them, they can move quickly, and attack, seeking energy–be it from radiation or people’s own life / temporal energy.

Amy, The Doctor, and River Song are looking for Angels
L-R Amy, The Doctor, and River Song are looking for Angels

Dr. Song has used her knowledge of the Doctor’s vanity (he visits far future museums to ‘keep score’) to lure him into rescuing her from sticky situation via a starship’s flight recorder on which she has inscribed the message “Hello, Sweetie!” in old ‘High Galliferyan’. She’s also promised his help to a company of soldier-priests intent on destroying the last of the Angels, still onboard the now-crashed spacecraft.
There’s a lot of creepy-fun atmosphere on the planet, in a catacomb full of ancient and decayed to the point of being featureless statues. (Kudos to director of photography Damian Bromley & Crew.)
One of the flaws of the first of the two episodes is that no one suspects what the statues are until too late, including the Doctor, who knows that the long-dead aliens who built the place had two heads, not one. Of course, they are near-dead Angels, now feeding on the ship’s radiation and other power, and any living thing they can find.
And this seemed screamingly obvious to me as a viewer. It’s one thing to figure things out a little in advance of the heroes (which can be a nice plus), it’s another to think they’re all dim-wits.
A young cleric-solider named Bob (David Atkins), whom the Doctor had tried to reassure is killed, and the Angels use his mind and voice to torment the Time Lord. In a nice bit, he remains polite and apologetic as he relays their taunts.
Amy Pond has stared into the eyes of a Angel, and it has gotten into her visual centers, which makes it necessary for her to close her eyes and still try to navigate, having to trust the Doctor, even though she knows he doesn’t always tell her the truth.
She’s saved, but through the actions of River Song, something this new series and season have done often, making the companions seem at times more clever, understanding, or heroic than the Doctor. I can understand the desire to make these characters seem worthy in their own right, both to the audience and the time-traveling hero, but it’s a trend that can become irksome; it seems to diminish the lead role slightly.
The afore-mentioned crack in space & time shows up again, acting as both a deu-ex-machina, and a springboard for further stories.
This crack is actually eating up time & matter, and thus memories–explaining a number of things, such as why Amy had no idea what the Daleks were, despite very dramatic public and world-wide incursions by them in previous seasons. It’s implied no one remembers them, because these events now never happened, an ingenious way of getting rid of stories Moffat’s predecessors did that he might not care to keep in his continuity.
And considering some of the truly over-the-top elements of some episodes, who can blame him?
(People who have traveled in the TARDIS can remember them, because it takes you outside of time and changes your perception of  it.)
The Doctor seems both frightened and delighted with this new phenomenon that could consume the universe.
At episode’s end, after fending off a surprise romantic overture from the to-be-married the next day Amy Pond, the Time Lord suddenly realizes that his companion and her wedding date are inextricably linked to this menace, and hustles her into the TARDIS, just before the stroke of midnight.
A nice cliffhanger ending, even though the next episode “Vampires of Venice” wouldn’t appear to address the matter directly. Maybe the Doctor’s buying time.
I’ll tune in to find out.
DOCTOR WHO: Time of the Angels / Flesh and Stone (2010)
The Doctor: Matt Smith
Amy Pond: Karen Gillan
River Song: Alex Kingston
Father Octavian: Iain Glen
Directed by Adam Smith
Written by Steven Moffat

Norton Hears Who Fans

During Saturday April 25th’s airing of DOCTOR WHO the BBC ran a cartoon “coming next” promo for their OVER THE RAINBOW reality series, featuring an animated version of UK TV personality Graham Norton.
Unfortunately, it appeared as The Doctor (Matt Smith) was making an impassioned speech during The Time of Angels’ dramatic cliffhanger ending.
Thousands of viewers complained to the BBC, which issued an official apology as to the timing of the incident.
In this video from his BBC One talk show, Graham Norton does his humorous best to make amends to WHO fans.
The Time of Angels’ airs this coming Saturday (May 8th) at 9PM Eastern, followed by SO GRAHAM NORTON.
Now if only viewers in the U.S. could gain some respite from these animated nuisances during our own programs.