Jack Harkness gives James Marsters some Torchwood

by Paul William Tenny

torchwood.jpgBefore I get into the first-episode guest star which you already know from the post title, let me say with no small amount of unpatriotic shame that the best "new" fall show last year wasn't produced in North America, and wasn't even really new, either.

If you happened to get BBC America and are a fan of science fiction in all its shapes and forms, you probably heard about Torchwood, and if you got that channel, you had the opportunity to see it a number of months after the brits did.

That's not the case this year, as we're only going to be running on a slight delay from the BBC, with new episodes from season 2 beginning later this month, on January 26th.

Torchwood is a spin-off of the also very cool Doctor Who, centering on the character of Captain Jack Harkness, a 51st century conman turned good guy working for the Torchwood Institute in modern-day Britain. They seek out alien technology and other spooky things that will help humanity survive the future.
I actually find Torchwood a lot more accessible than Doctor Who, and it's not because the Harkness character is American (though it does help.) It's because Who takes the concept of episodic television to its extreme, with virtually no carry over from episode to episode, and no season lasting long enough to carry a significant arc anyway.

What is it with the brits and their 10-13 episode "seasons" anyway?

So Torchwood was just a fantastic show with many classic sci-fi elements, far better than the Bionic Crap coming out of NBC, though not really on the same level as Heroes. Those crazy brits play a good game, but not that good. Better than anything new, which says a lot about how close they might be. And of course, the new season won't be affected by the WGA strike since Torchwood is under the Writers Guild of Britain (WGB?)

If you're really looking for adult sci-fi (real adult scifi, not just overly dramatic broody shows like the still good Battlestar Galactica) then this show is absolutely worth dedicating some time to, and what've you got to lose with no other new domestic shows happening other than that Terminator sandbag -- the one that only has like 8 episodes to air because of the strike?

So naturally I would force you to read through all that to get to the only important part of the entire post: James Marsters is guest starring in the season season premier a "charismatic-but-psychopathic Captain John Hart, a time agent who shares history with Captain Jack." Sci Fi Wire has a couple of spoilers about future episodes if you're interested in seeing them, and my, does this new season sound three times as good as the first!

Watch out Hollywood, the best sci-fi on television this year may be an import if Captain Harkness has anything to say about it.
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