Who’s who of sci- fi

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - TIM MARTAIN

ENGLISH TV is not widely held to be the spir­i­tual home of science fic­tion pro­gram­ming, but things might be chang­ing.

The an­nounce­ment of a fourth sea­son of hit BBC se­ries Torch­wood was made all the more in­trigu­ing by the fact it would be pro­duced mostly in the US through BBC World­wide. Fans were ap­pre­hen­sive about the pos­si­ble Amer­i­can­i­sa­tion of the pre­vi­ously Welsh­pro­duced se­ries, but the BBC seems de­ter­mined to build a US au­di­ence.

Torch­wood is a spin-off of the rein­vig­o­rated BBC flag­ship se­ries Doc­tor Who, which was re­launched in 2005 with Christo­pher Ec­cle­ston as the Timelord.

The big risk paid off, with the new se­ries quickly find­ing a huge au­di­ence. Its pop­u­lar­ity has be­come so strong that Amer­i­can au­di­ences are even warm­ing to it.

The two-episode opener of the lat­est sea­son of Doc­tor Who was also shot mostly in the US, which is not only ev­i­dence of an at­tempt to rope in an Amer­i­can au­di­ence but also a sign the se­ries is at­tract­ing a lot more fund­ing.

Torch­wood – the ti­tle is an ana­gram of Doc­tor Who – first ap­peared in 2006 and is gen­er­ally re­garded as the more grown-up sib­ling, with a great deal more sex and vi­o­lence.

It fol­lows the ad­ven­tures of the im­mor­tal Jack Hark­ness ( John Bar­row­man, pic­tured) as he leads the unit in a strug­gle against var­i­ous alien threats to Earth.

Sea­son four, which will pre­miere in July, was filmed mostly in Los An­ge­les and fea­tures Amer­i­can stars such as Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pull­man and Alexa Havins, along with se­ries reg­u­lars Eve Myles and Kai Owen.

So the BBC is clearly us­ing the soar­ing suc­cess of Doc­tor Who to make fur­ther in­roads into the Amer­i­can mar­ket with Torch­wood and good luck to them – as long as they’re mind­ful of the sav­age back­lash they can ex­pect if ev­ery­thing starts look­ing like Jerry Bruck­heimer made it.

In other good news, Aus­tralian pay-TV sub­scribers will get to watch the new sea­son of Torch­wood only a few hours af­ter the UK pre­miere of each episode.

Free-to-air TV view­ers will have to wait a lit­tle longer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.