'Torchwood': The Pros & Cons of a U.S. Remake
By Angel Cohn, TWoP | Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 4:20 PM
John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness
BBC Worldwide/Todd AnthonyFox is teaming up with British producer Russell T. Davies to work on developing an Americanized version of his popular UK show "Torchwood." For those unfamiliar with it, it's a sci-fi series that involves a small team of crime fighters who deal primarily with the otherworldly.
As a fan of the show, my initial reaction to the Fox news was one of horror, and while I'm still highly skeptical that this remake should ever make it to the screen, there are some potentially good things about the idea. Here are the pros and cons of bringing Captain Jack across the Atlantic:
Pro: Russell T. Davies
If you are going to make a new version of a landmark show, having the creator on hand is at least a promising start. And Davies certainly does know how to make addictively geeky television.
Con: Less UK "Torchwood"?
If Davies is working on this remake, and if star John Barrowman may join him (see below), what does that mean for fans of the UK version who were left desperate for more after the devastating finale of "Torchwood: Children of Men"?
Pro: John Barrowman
There are rumors that John Barrowman might be tapped to reprise his role as Captain Jack Harkness. He's a great actor that a lot of Americans probably knew nothing about. Being on a show here would expand his international appeal, and honestly, I personally have a hard time imagining anyone being able to do that part justice.
Con: John Barrowman
Fox has an iffy track record with sci-fi, so launching a new series with someone who isn't really famous here could be a recipe for disaster and certain cancellation. But then again, "House" worked...
Pro: We Could Use a Sexy American Sci-fi Show
While "Torchwood" has a lot in common with "Fringe," one of the things that makes it stand out is its very adult nature. It's not Showtime After Dark, but there's definitely a lot of sex between the co-workers (in various permutations), which makes all the alien-corralling that much more fun.
Con: Probably Less Gay
Captain Jack isn't just gay or bisexual, he's omnisexual (meaning that he'll have sex with men, women, and aliens), which is another one of the great things about "Torchwood." He's an equal opportunity flirter. But I have a hard time believing that network TV will air all the steamy scenes, especially if they involve two men.
Con: More Conventional Co-Star
I'm going to be upfront about this: I think Eve Myles is totally cute and smart and makes an awesome Gwen Cooper, but I have a hunch that the casting folks stateside are going to be pressured to try to find someone who is more conventionally gorgeous. Knowing Fox, they'll likely find a way to make Olivia Wilde part of this.
Pro/Con: Previous American Adaptations
Some overseas shows do this transition well. Just look at "Life on Mars," which was fairly well-executed, but short-lived, or "The Office," which really found its footing after it broke out of the UK mold a bit, or "Queer as Folk," which went to even racier places for many seasons. But for every success story, there are ten failed examples like "Kath and Kim" or "Coupling" or "Worst Week." And there's not much worse than a bad version of something you loved