While it never reached the commercial and critical heights of Torchwood: Children Of Earth, this year’s long-awaited fourth season of Torchwood, Miracle Day, appears to have been a solid enough success.
Granted, it’s proven quite divisive in terms of reaction to the show, but the UK ratings have been solid, and Starz made noises along the lines that it would be happen to fund another outing for Captain Jack and his team.
Yet, as always seems to be the case with Torchwood now, there’s some doubt as to when we’ll see Jack and Gwen again, if at all. Mainly because of silence from all concerned. That’s appreciating that Miracle Day left things on a bit of a cliffhanger, teasing a further adventure. As of yet, though, no further adventure has been confirmed.
This is generally unusual in American television, where a new season tends to be announceed reasonably quickly. But then Torchwood isn’t a ‘usual’ show. As Starz had pointed out earlier in the year, a new Torchwood story is in the hands of Russell T Davies. And right now, Russell T Davies is also developing a new show with Showtime in the US, Cucumber, a drama about gay men.
How Starz feels about Davies producing a different production for Showtime is something we’re in no position to shed light on, but the impression we’ve been left with is that, were Davies to say yes to more Torchwood, more Torchwood would happen. Okay, it’s never that simple, but he seems to hold the lion’s share of the cards here, if not the money itself.
So: does Russell T Davies want to make more Torchwood?
When we saw him during the production of Miracle Day, he seemed open to the idea of passing the show onto someone else. However, just prior to the transmission of episode one, he seemed re-energised by it. Again, it’s easy to draw too many conclusions from two short meetings that take place in two very packed days. But there seemed little sign that he wanted to walk away.
Instead, what’s more likely is that Torchwood will take its time.And it’ll use that timeto shake things up a little.
Children Of Earth in particular worked because it changed the format, came up with a single season, compelling arc, and was scheduled aggressively. Miracle Day, arguably, wasn’t quite so bold, with a large sci-fi story that didn’t have quite the same personal impact, spread over a lot more episodes.
Torchwood is at its best when its burning its own bridges, in our view, where it cuts off the path back to things that it’s done before. And we’d argue that’s now what it needs to do again.
It’s managed to find an audience in America now (although the size of that audience isn’t clear), and it’s a show that’s clearly transcended its initial roots. Now, the trick – and it’s a tricky trick – is to find a new way to move on again. We’re not convinced that a movie is the answer. And we wonder if it needs to shift from a single, overarching story across one season now, given that it’s done that twice.
It might, of course, be that Torchwood has run out of road, and there are few interesting new paths for it to try. We don’t think that’s the case, but should it be, then it would, of course, be best to call it a day, rather than let it trickle out.
But it strikes us that there’s a lot more life in Torchwood yet, and the likelihood is that it’s a case of waiting a year or two for the pieces to fall back into place. What might change that is if Cucumber takes on a life of its own, and dominates much of Davies’ time (although he’s juggled three shows at once before, remember, along with the mighty Julie Gardner).
As things stand, Torchwood at least has the chance of further stories, although its future is far from clear. Our guess? There will probably be a Torchwood series 5, but we’ve no idea at all when it’ll be.