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Except Sometimes He Doesn't

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | August 19, 2010 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | August 19, 2010 |

Starz is the American partner for the production of the fourth series of “Torchwood,” which is still on track for a broadcast of summer 2011. Shooting still hasn’t started yet, but the mighty wheels of propaganda PR have started their inevitable grind, which is how we get this plot summary:

When C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy, he finds himself unearthing a threat which challenges the entire human race.

The answers seem to lie within an old, secret British institute, known only as Torchwood. But Torchwood was destroyed, years ago, and the keys to the institute are held by its only two survivors—former Police Officer Gwen Cooper, who has long since disappeared along with her husband and child, and the mysterious Captain Jack Harkness, a man whose history seems to stretch back centuries.

With Rex under attack from all sides, in both the US and the UK, he soon discovers there are forces at work within every level of society, determined to stop Torchwood’s return. As a chain of events across the world links together the most disparate and unlikely individuals—including a surgeon, a killer, senators and CEOs—a new Torchwood team takes shape. But this time, the threat is much closer to home, as they realize that their greatest enemy is mankind itself …

“Torchwood” has always been at its best when the organization is the unknown on the run underdog, and felt weakest as a show when the team was played up as super special secret agents who had all the fanciest toys that the government had to offer. It’s a standard ploy of taking an unknown new character and introducing him to Torchwood as an outsider. But it makes sense from the point of view of getting an American audience unfamiliar with the show on board. It also echoes some of the strengths of “Children of Earth,” bringing in strong new characters, that is, if they can keep rolling sixes on character creation like they did with Jack’s daughter and Frobisher.

I also like that they’re setting the series some years after the events of “Children of Earth,” letting the characters marinate a bit in their pain before bringing them back for another round.

They’ve released a character description for the new guy Rex:


He’s 28, the golden boy. Has been, all his life. Harvard education, fast-tracker in the C.I.A., destined for success. Though he’s never taken it easy—Rex hustles, seduces and campaigns to get where he is today. He can talk his way into anything, then charm his way out, fast. He’s made a lot of enemies, but his friends and lovers would defend him to death.

His choice of career is significant. Someone like Rex could make a fortune in Wall Street, or Hollywood. But choosing the C.I.A. says a lot about him: that for all his swagger, he does believe in justice. And will fight for it.

Slowly but surely, we see him make friends. He’s thrown together a bunch of people known as Torchwood, the only people who might have the answer to a global mystery. To Rex, at first, they’re a bunch of freaks. Welsh women and World War 2 Captains, what’s that about?! But as they race from one crisis to another, dodging assassins, blackmail, corruption and conspiracy, from Washington to Wales and the slums of Shanghai, Rex forges friendships in the heat of fire. He learns to trust his new colleagues. And they realize that this dangerous, dazzling, reckless man is the best friend they could ever have, in a world going to hell.

They frighten us, men like Rex. We wish we were him; we never will be.

Dunno about the whole golden-boy-went-to-Harvard angle, but it seems pretty late in the game for the actor to still be TBD with only a couple of months left before filming begins.

(source: Blastr)

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Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.