TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY poster

Now this is the kind of poster that makes a person want to watch TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY…

Even if you had no idea what TORCHWOOD was about, this poster looks pretty exciting, even though nothing is really happening. That’s Capt. Jack Harness, played by John Barrowman, looking mighty unhappy that he’s no longer the only immortal in town. And, judging by the palm trees in the background, that town is Los Angeles, not Cardiff, Wales. (However, I’m sure that no one else is a fixed point in time! So he has that going for him. Which is nice…)

Bonus: Alexa Havins, formerly Babe on ALL MY CHILDREN, made the poster. Not her image, of course, but her name. Which is interesting, because her character, Esther, is sometimes left out of synopses of the series. For instance, this one, from the Starz TORCHWOOD Web site describes the series:

One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging — they get hurt and sick — but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four month’s time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?” he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

TORCHWOOD, premiering July 8, stars John Barrowman (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) as Captain Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Mekhi Phifer (ER) as Rex Matheson and Bill Pullman (Independence Day) as Oswald Danes.

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY – the first teaser

Hey, check it out! Follow this link to the first teaser trailer for TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY! at least it sounds interesting…

Well, this really is just a tease! Nobody knows much about what happens in this series, which is pretty remarkable in this modern age of the spoiler. All anybody knows is that one, everyone stops dying; not a single human being on the planet Earth dies. This is not as good as it sounds. After watching this non-spoilery clip, we barely know much more than that. However, we do catch mention of the last death on Earth…

Here’s how the Starz TORCHWOOD Web site describes the series:

One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging — they get hurt and sick — but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four month’s time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?” he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

TORCHWOOD, premiering July 8, stars John Barrowman (DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES) as Captain Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Mekhi Phifer (ER) as Rex Matheson and Bill Pullman (Independence Day) as Oswald Danes.

TORCHWOOD: Set photos

Yep, that’s Torchwood 3’s Gwen and Rhys confronting PC Andy in TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY!

SFX is the place to see 10 behind-the-scenes pics from filming of the fourth TORCHWOOD series. They feature John Barrowman as Captain Jack, Eve Myles as Gwen, Kai Owen as Rhys, Mekhi Phifer as Rex and Tom Price as PC Andy.

My question at this early point in production: Which characters will survive bloodthirsty creator Russell T Davies’ story this time? CHILDREN OF EARTH cost us Ianto, while Tosh and Owen bought it in series 2. (Also, will PC Andy finally be detailed to Torchwood this series?)

T:MD is filming in the United States and Wales concurrently, and set to premiere on July 1 in both the USA on Starz and BBC1 in the UK.

TORCHWOOD: THE NEW WORLD Casting

Dichen Lachman

Is this a conspiracy? The new season of TORCHWOOD has added two more CIA operatives, in the lovely forms of DOLLHOUSE active Dichen Lachman (ex-Sierra) and ALL MY CHILDREN vet Alexa Havins (ex-Babe). Lachman also did a stint on a soap opera: Australia’s NEIGHBOURS.

Havins will play the previously announced female lead, Ester Katusi, a CIA analyst with a crush on colleague Rex Matheson, to be portrayed by former ER doc Mekhi Phifer. No name has been released for Lachman’s character. Bill Pullman (Independence Day), will be playing way against type as depraved murderer/pedophile Oswald Jones. (I guess casting him as the president of the United States would have been too easy?) In addition, Arlene Tur (Bebe, CRASH) has been cast as Vera Juarez, described as a surgeon. I cannot express how highly I approve of the gorgeous Lachman’s casting. I loved her in DOLLHOUSE, where she made Sierra such a complex character: soft and beautiful as a rose, but steely strong beneath the surface.

I’m really looking forward to TORCHWOOD: THE NEW WORLD, if for no other reason than it takes my mind off obsessing about DOCTOR WHO. If TNW is even half as good as last year’s CHILDREN OF EARTH, we are in for a treat. It has been too long since I’ve seen John Barrowman’s Capt. Jack Harkness, Eve Myles’ Gwen, and Kai Owen’s Rhys. And three cheers for the return of Tom Price as PC Andy! Remember Jack’s cameo in DW’s “The End of Time, Part 2”? Gwen and Rhys haven’t been glimpsed since the end of COE.

The best part is that the forthcoming fourth season will be broadcast here in the colonies on Starz concurrently with the premiere on BBC One back in the U.K. So no trauma-inducing wait for the series to migrate across the pond.

I have a feeling that 2011 is the year that everything changes…

Heroes 4x: Rejection of the Mundane

I have figured out what’s wrong with HEROES — at least as far as I’m concerned. The characters of HEROES are, with the exception of Hiro, obsessed with leading “normal” lives, lives that do not feature healing factors or mind-control. In other words, they aspire to lives of quiet desperation. Which is exactly the kind of lives most of the viewership is desperate to escape! The show and its fans are ships passing in the night, going in opposite directions. Most HEROES watchers imagine what it would be like to live an extraordinary life, rather than an existence defined by mind-numbing work and scrambling for paychecks. There’s clearly a disconnect when the stories are striving to be low-key. Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to tell stories that people can relate to. But how about relating to the best parts of them, the aspirational parts? Spider-Man’s mantra is, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Well, along with great power and responsibility comes the need for great stories, not pedestrian ones. Extraordinary characters call for extraordinary stories. The heroes may want to be “normal,” but the stories should aspire to be more. Sure, Peter Parker is famous for wanting to get on with his life, including attending school and holding down a job, but sooner or later the Scorpion, or Venom shows up and puts Spider-Man through his arachnid-powered paces.

It is possible to tell stories about emotions and feelings people can relate to while using science fiction and fantasy as the conduit. That’s what made BATTLESTAR GALACTICA so compelling: the stories were all about human conflict, but they were dramatized by people and robots and spaceships. BSG did not shy away from its milieu, it embraced it to tell stories in a way no other show could, using what was unique about its premise. Want to explore questions about parenthood? Tell a story about a Cylon that desires to have a baby. For the most part, HEROES is not using what makes it unique to tell compelling stories. “Claire has a nosy new friend” is not a story; it’s a potential complicating factor within a story. “Peter wants to help people” is not a story; it’s a potential motivation for a story.

HEROES has been plagued by routine: Either the powered folks are trying to stop someone from blowing up New York/the world, or struggling with vaguely-motivated “villains,” or they’re trying to deny their powers. It should not be hard to tell an involving story about Hayden Panettiere‘s Claire, the indestructible teenager. She cannot be killed, but she has myriad other vulnerabilities. And there are fates worse than death! The British series TORCHWOOD also features a character who cannot die, Capt. Jack Harkness. But TORCHWOOD is never boring, because Jack gets put through the wringer by problems that test his humanity as well as his immortality. (For example, he was buried underground for 2,000 years; constantly suffocating and reviving in an endless cycle. Who wouldn’t prefer true death?) What does being unable to die do to the mindset of a young woman? The parallels for teenage alienation practically write themselves. And, until the-powers-that-be at HEROES apply their brainpower, they may have to…