Why Torchwood USA is a Terrible Idea

The Hollywood Reporter broke the story that apparently FOX is developing a U.S. version of the popular BBC show Torchwood, which for the uninformed, is a Doctor Who spin-off with a more adult flavor. The good news apparently is that creator Russell T. Davies (who has some free time now that he’s left Doctor Who) will be writing, and series star John Barrowman might be reprising his role as Jack Harkness. Of course, there’s no telling if this move is a real attempt to bring the Who-verse to American audiences, or if it’s just a case of someone thinking “Ooh! CSI Cardiff! Grab that!” Still, my knee-jerk reaction (apparently shared by a lot of the show’s fans, judging by the Internet buzz so far) is that this is a terrible idea. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Remember the last time Doctor Who tried to come to America? It is a black mark on the franchise called the 1996 movie which featured the Eighth Doctor in San Fransisco. Let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
  • Coupling. Blackpool (known stateside as the trainwreck Viva Laughlin). Teachers. Eleventh Hour. Life on Mars. Just a few examples of incredibly awesome British TV shows that became mediocre to horribly, horribly painful American TV shows. There are obviously exceptions to this – Queer as Folk comes to mind, and it was actually written by Russell T. Davies. But if you want an example of just how horribly Hollywood can mess something up, have a look at the American version of Coupling, which uses the exact same scripts and somehow manages to fail horribly.
  • FOX. Really. FOX? Really? Because they have such a great track record of nurturing cult science fiction shows. < irony > On the bright side, at least Joss Whedon isn’t writing this one. < / irony >

I’m all for sharing the Doctor Who love with American audiences, but I think this is probably a case of: If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.  Otherwise we’re going to have Torchwood: Miami starring David Caruso, or better yet – a Doctor Who reboot starring Zac Efron as the Twelfth Doctor.

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30 Responses to Why Torchwood USA is a Terrible Idea

  1. i would like to see Jack turn into the face of bo…but that might take a few thousand seasons. :P

    OR it would be funny to see jack run around in a trench coat in LA! people would give him funny looks just for that! ha!

  2. i would like to see Jack turn into the face of bo…but that might take a few thousand seasons. :P

    OR it would be funny to see jack run around in a trench coat in LA! people would give him funny looks just for that! ha!

    • Good point. I actually think the low-rent effects in Doctor Who are part of what makes it so great. Cybermen and daleks were once the height of production design, but I think if they had redone them to fit current conceptions of sci fi production value it would have taken away from the awesome cheesy nostalgia of it.

  3. You guys have something against Joss Whedon? Firefly has one of the biggest followings I’ve ever seen for something that was cancelled by a retarded TV network after the first season.

    • Right, that was a comment on the “retarded TV network.” ;) i.e., at least maybe if Joss isn’t writing it they won’t cancel it offhand since they seem to kill everything awesome that he does… (I’m still pretty miffed about Dollhouse.)

    • Good point. I actually think the low-rent effects in Doctor Who are part of what makes it so great. Cybermen and daleks were once the height of production design, but I think if they had redone them to fit current conceptions of sci fi production value it would have taken away from the awesome cheesy nostalgia of it.

  4. You guys have something against Joss Whedon? Firefly has one of the biggest followings I've ever seen for something that was cancelled by a retarded TV network after the first season.

    • Right, that was a comment on the "retarded TV network." ;) i.e., at least maybe if Joss isn't writing it they won't cancel it offhand since they seem to kill everything awesome that he does… (I'm still pretty miffed about Dollhouse.)

  5. One of the reasons Torchwood is so interesting is because the characters, particularly Jack, portray their sexuality as being so much more fluid than so many American shows. There is no way that Fox won’t take their self-righteous red pens to that alone.

  6. One of the reasons Torchwood is so interesting is because the characters, particularly Jack, portray their sexuality as being so much more fluid than so many American shows. There is no way that Fox won't take their self-righteous red pens to that alone.

  7. Well, I’d rather they made the attempt, you know? Sure, it may fail miserably, *but* who knows? It may actually succeed.

  8. Well, I'd rather they made the attempt, you know? Sure, it may fail miserably, *but* who knows? It may actually succeed.

  9. Ahahahahahahahahahaha Doctor Who US xD !!!

    Even in dreams, even in some parallel dimension far across the time vortex, even if Rose Tyler was the companion of the doctor again, it would sucks ! Doctor saying “awesome” instead of “brillant” ? The Raxacoricofallapatorius speaking with a Texas accent ?

    Come on you bloody Americans, the Tardis is already translate every language of the univers directly in English into your head ! So look at the show, don’t messed up by failing to copy it.

  10. Ahahahahahahahahahaha Doctor Who US xD !!!

    Even in dreams, even in some parallel dimension far across the time vortex, even if Rose Tyler was the companion of the doctor again, it would sucks ! Doctor saying "awesome" instead of "brillant" ? The Raxacoricofallapatorius speaking with a Texas accent ?

    Come on you bloody Americans, the Tardis is already translate every language of the univers directly in English into your head ! So look at the show, don't messed up by failing to copy it.

  11. As an American, I have to say, don't fix what isn't broken. Just make Doctor Who more widely available here. ;)

    Torchwood USA. *shudders*

  12. As an American, I have to say, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Just make Doctor Who more widely available here. ;)

    Torchwood USA. *shudders*

  13. torchwood USA?!……..

    for the love of all that is holy make it stop!

    heard about this a while back actually, supposed to follow on from tennant finale, with jack in the space bar and alonso going back in time to restart torchwood. anyone who saw the miniseries will see that this is impossible. its called 'Ianto' for fraks sake. same for the cardiff location – cardiff is so unglamorous and unexpected that its bloody brilliant because its NOT L.A. or N.Y. thats getting all the random aliens (also with district 9 – ces't manifique)

    so in other words – no. just no.

  14. torchwood USA?!……..

    for the love of all that is holy make it stop!

    heard about this a while back actually, supposed to follow on from tennant finale, with jack in the space bar and alonso going back in time to restart torchwood. anyone who saw the miniseries will see that this is impossible. its called ‘Ianto’ for fraks sake. same for the cardiff location – cardiff is so unglamorous and unexpected that its bloody brilliant because its NOT L.A. or N.Y. thats getting all the random aliens (also with district 9 – ces’t manifique)

    so in other words – no. just no.

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