Two articles that I've transcribed from TV Guide. I tried to be careful, but if you see any typos let me know.
Please note the Roush Review could be considered spoilery if you want to go into the first episode "cold".
Roush Review by Matt Roush
TV’s Sexiest Alien Hunters
Over the years, I’ve somehow resisted the lure of the iconic British fantasy Doctor Who in all of it’s incarnations. So imagine my surprise to be hooked on Torchwood, a cheeky and often startlingly adult spin-off.
These are the provocative adventures of Torchwood, a supersecret team of dashing agents who specialize in containing alien threats. Think MI-5 in cahoots with The X-Files. Which makes sense given that their underground lair, which houses a pterodactyl in the rafters, is near a space-time rift where cosmic “driftwood” regularly washes up.
The newcomer to Torchwood is a police constable, Gwen (Eve Myles), who is regularly astonished by what she sees. Who wouldn’t be, if on your first day you unleashed an airborne alien sex addict that takes over bodies to feed off the energy from orgasms. “First contact with an alien, not quite what I expected,” Gwen muses.
This crew is as naughty and irreverent as it is ruthless and arrogant, trampling civil liberties as it chases alien intruders and tests scavenged technology. Gwen often acts as a conscience for the team, especially its mysteriously aloof leader Capt. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), who is accused by one of the gang as being “the biggest monster of all.”
His backstory is a good one, as the only Jack Harkness on record vanished in the 1941 WWII blitz and the modern version claims to be immortal.
But the big mystery among Torchwood’s rank and file: Is Captain Jack gay? “Paramilitary is not the dress code of a straight man,” quips one of the team. I don’t recall gossip like this on the decks of the Enterprise.
K-gal editorial comments:
Even if he hasn’t seen the Doctor Who episodes, Jack’s sexuality doesn’t seem to be a big secret (see the JB interview below) so what’s with all the sniggering, shocked, wink-wink, nudge-nudge, he might be gay stuff? (Of course this is the same Matt Roush who steadfastly does NOT SEE the slightest hints of House/Wilson either.)
And referencing the Enterprise is especially toolish given that Star Trek fandom is where slash (as a phrase, if not a concept) was born.
John Barrowman spins off Doctor Who as an alien hunter (with a twist!) in Torchwood.
By Benji Wilson
One day John Barrowman may come to resent the kids waiting outside his office door for a phote with their hero, Capt. Jack Harkness of the new sci-fi sizzler Torchwood. But not yet.
“I wanted to be an actor,” he says, sitting on the couch of his apartment overlooking the bay in Cardiff, Wales, where Torchwood is shot. “Celebrity has come with that, and I’m absolutely loving it. I love signing autographs!”
If anyone spotted Barrowman in America right now, he be as likely to get a catcall as an autograph request—he’s probably best known for playing a spoiled rich guy in Darren Star’s short-lived Central Park West. But if Torchwood has the same impact in the U.S. that it’s had overseas he may find himself signing autographs from Wales to Wisconsin.
Viewers first met Captain Jack, a time-traveling con artist from the 51st century in a five-episode arc on Doctor Who. He proved so popular that creator Russell T. Davies mixed up the letters of Doctor Who’s title to give him his own spin-off. Now refumed, Jack heads up Torchwood, an outside-the-law team of crimefighters who protect the from alien invasions. That may sound like any other sci-fi series, but Torchwood is a far edgier proposition. Though it works as a plot-driven romp with all manner of eye-popping creatures (from evil fairies to sexy fembots), it also deals with adult themes. And with the character of Captain Jack, Torchwood can lay claim to the 21st century’s first bisexual action hero.
“He’s go something for everyone,” Barrowman says. “Women think he’s sexy, some young people find his bisexuality is something they can relate to, and kids just want someone who’s cool. One little boy at an autograph signing said, ‘I don’t care if he likes boys—he’s still my hero.’ “
Barrowman, 40, is openly gay (he and his partner, British architect Scott Gill were joined in a civil commitment ceremony last year). He’s as outspoken about prejudice in the industry as you’d expect from someone who was passed over for the part of Will in Will & Grace--because the producers felt he was “too straight.”
“I know a lot of gay leading men in Hollywood,” he says. “I’m not one for outing people—they might have personal issues they need to overcome—but if they are not speaking up because they’re afraid it’s going to affect their careers, that pisses me off. Take the risk! I took that risk and the public rewarded me. I still play straight leading characters in theater, TV and film, so it doesn’t matter.”
Born in Scotland, Barrowman moved to Illinois with his family when he was 8. He went back to the U.K. as a college student to study Shakespeare, but soon found himself at an open-call audition. It led to a part in “Anything Goes” on the London’s West End, and he never looked back. He’s a seasoned stage star who’s appeared in everything from “Phantom of the Opera” to “Sunset Boulevard.” But it was his part in Doctor Who in 2005 that let to Torchwood and all that’s followed.
“I’d do Torchwood for the next five years, if they asked,” he says happily. “I wake up every morning. I shoot aliens, I save the world, and I get to be sexy and cheeky at the same time. A young boy is living his dreams as a man.
K-gal editorial comments.
1. “A catcall”???? Maybe a wolf-whistle, but a catcall? Come on. As they said, the show was short-lived and I doubt that many people remember it, and if they do, hold his character’s behavior against him.
2. “on London’s West End”????
Shouldn’t that be “in London’s West End”?
I know it's an American writer, but doesn't it behoove them to get the usage right. I make it my business to get UK idioms correct when I'm writing US based fandom. I think a journalist might at least bother to do the same thing.