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Tag Archive: Torchwood


Those lucky enough to meet the siblings that are actor/writer John Barrowman and writer Carole Barrowman at Planet Comicon in Kansas City last weekend and fans of the Who-verse will want to get their hands on a new graphic novel available at comic book stores today.  Going back to John Barrowman’s days as his most well-known and beloved character, the flamboyant and cheeky Captain Jack Harkness, the Barrowman duo has penned the next adventure of the Torchwood British (and short-lived U.S.) television series in Torchwood: World Without End.

World Without End is a bit of a story from The X-Files done in the unique style from the Torchwood show, that British variant of a secret government agency going after aliens and whatnot featuring Harkness and Torchwood leader Gwen Cooper.  It brings in an H.G. Wells flair, concepts pulled from classic fiction, and all sorts of familiar sci-fi and fantasy stories and tropes.  It’s a fun read fans of the TV series will love, written in a style one could imagine Nathan Fillion or Alan Tudyk might do if they were given the job of writing new Firefly stories.  Something about being immersed in a world–such as John Barrowman was for his stint as Harkness on Doctor Who and Torchwood–adds another level of authenticity to this continuation story.

Full of all the good innuendo and sass of the original television series, World Without End is also a great looking book, with interior artwork by Antonio Fuso, Pasquale Qualano, and Marco Lesko.  One key to quality adaptations is getting the characters to look right and you’ll find that successfully done here.  The Barrowmans’ dialogue is also spot on.  Look for clever roadsigns, asides, winks, and Easter eggs along the way on your journey back into the world of Torchwood.

Check out this preview to Torchwood: World Without End, courtesy of Titan Comics:
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class-kelly

What if your planet was massacred and you were the sole survivor?  What if a legendary figure out of space and time found you a place to hide?

In the United States we have been offered up only the briefest teaser preview for the new Doctor Who spinoff TV series Class.  With two stars of the Jeremy Piven star vehicle Mr. Selfridge in lead roles–the brilliant actress Katherine Kelly and the up-and-coming actor Greg Austin–the series was built for success.  We are hard pressed to come up with an actress who might make a better first female Doctor than Kelly.  Maybe Sherlock’s Lara Pulver?  So getting Kelly into this universe is great for Whovians everywhere.

Class is the second spinoff series of Doctor Who, following the successful Torchwood, which sparked new phases of the careers of John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Burn Gorman.  Class is steeped in good British and Doctor Who tradition: For 54 years viewers have heard of the school at Coal Hill.  So who are the students attending classes there these days?  Class is going to show us just that, including one student who is an alien.  Class is a teen-centric series, not aimed at the typical young end of the Doctor Who audience.  So this series is for a wider audience and is to explore broader themes.  The several BBC trailers that so far have only aired in the UK are exciting and fun, dotted with fun characters, and even a fan favorite villain from Doctor Who.  

class-show

Class, written by A Monsters Calls’ Patrick Ness and executive producer Steven Moffatt, follows Katherine Kelly’s Miss Quill and four students, played by Austin and newcomers Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah, and Fady Elsayed.  Even Peter Capaldi’s Doctor makes an appearance at the beginning of the first season.  Moffat called the series dark and sexy and has labeled it a British Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Ness agreed, saying, “Adults watch Buffy because it’s a great show, but the POV and the agency are all teenage, and that’s what we want to do with Class.

Unfortunately, Class may not make it to the States before being cancelled back home.

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Westley The Princess Bride Cary Elwes

Oliver Queen, Supergirl, Firestorm, Captain Jack Harkness, Amy Pond, and Princess Buttercup’s Westley all set to appear

For more than a decade Planet Comicon has been one of the Midwest’s biggest comic book and pop culture conventions and that was no less so in 2014 when it became the largest attended event in the history of the Kansas City Convention Center.  Last year’s show featured William Shatner and the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and this year Planet Comicon is bringing in some of today’s biggest names from TV and movies featuring fan-favorite superheroes.

Stephen Amell Oliver Queen

The star of the CW’s Arrow, Stephen Amell will be attending the event along with cousin Robbie, who starred in Tomorrow People and is the new Firestorm on the CW’s The Flash.  Genre mega-star John Barrowman, Doctor Who and Torchwood’s Captain Jack Harkness, will also headline the Con this year.  Barrowman played Arrow’s key villain from seasons 1 and 2, the Dark Archer.

Amy Pond

Most famous for playing the Doctor Who companion Amelia Pond opposite Matt Smith, Karen Gillan will make a rare convention appearance this year in Kansas City.  Gillan starred most recently in 2014’s blockbuster hit Guardians of the Galaxy as Nebula. Also appearing from Guardians of the Galaxy is Michael Rooker, who played the blue-faced mentor to Star-Lord, Yondu, along with Sean Gunn, who was the physical on-set actor as Rocket.

Guardians Michael Rooker

Rooker appeared on The Walking Dead, and also appearing from that series will be Scott Wilson, known to fans for his role as Hershel Greene.  Wilson has starred in plenty of TV shows and movies, including The X-Files, CSI, The Last Samurai, The Twilight Zone, and the adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Radio Free Albemuth.

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Torchwood Miracle Day

After a long wait the Starz 10-episode mini-series Torchwood: Miracle Day has been picked up by BBC America beginning with the first episode last Saturday, September 14, 2013.  Originally airing on pay-cable channel Starz in 2011, it received a lukewarm reaction from some, a hostile reaction from others.  Maybe it’s just the absence of any Torchwood for most of the country since 2008, but finding old friends Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Torchwood agent Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and even hubby Rhys (Kai Owen) back in a “new” series is a welcome sight.

More than that, actor Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Deceived) is a series regular, and we quickly learn he is a serial killer getting the death penalty carried out in the series’ first scene.  True to Torchwood’s roots as a spinoff of Doctor Who, the focus of the new series is a world where only the strange is the norm.  Ripped from the files of The Twilight Zone (specifically the Jason Alexander episode “One Night at Mercy”), it is no longer possible for anyone on Earth to die.

torchwood-miracle-day Gwen Cooper

Torchwood, the agency, is no more, thanks to Torchwood: Children of Men, except for Gwen and Captain Jack.  Gwen and Rhys and baby are living the quiet life away from all the X-Files-esque world.  But the Americans see the word “Torchwood” pop up on their secure networks then it vanishes, prompting a hunt by CIA analyst Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) and partner Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer)–one of the dead that is still alive, and he’s not happy he needs to go all the way to Wales to extradite Jack and Gwen to the U.S.  Two Brits and two Yankees in a buddy cop team-up?  Good idea!  On top of that, the immortality of humans translates to mortality for Jack.

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First up, John Barrowman, who you may know as the suave Captain Jack Harkness from Doctor Who and Torchwood, has signed on to play a yet-to-be-revealed character in the opening season of CW Network’s Fall TV series Arrow, centered on the classic DC Comics character, Green Arrow.  We previewed the pilot episode here last month, and it looks to be a great series, full of action and energy, with ample nods to Green Arrow’s established canon.

It seems impossible, but wouldn’t he make a perfect Hal Jordan, aka Green Lantern?

I wouldn’t get my hopes up.

The show’s creators have only released that Barrowman will play a “well-dressed man” (huh?) “as mysterious as he is wealthy” and that he is an “acquaintance of the Queen family and a prominent figure in Starling City.”

  

And now the CW announced that they are adding another familiar DC Comics character to the series in a multiple-episode story arc:  Enter:  Helena Bertinelli, The Huntress.  Part of the classic DC series and trio Birds of Prey (along with Barbara Gordon/Oracle and Dinah Lance/Black Canary), which had its own short-lived TV series, Australian actress Jessica De Gouw will play Helena Bertinelli, a “potential love interest for Oliver Queen; a fellow vigilante, set on destroying her father’s organized crime empire. But Helena’s blind pursuit of revenge will put her on a collision course with the Arrow.”  Perhaps Barrowman will play her father?

Jessica De Gouw to be the new Huntress

Adding the Huntress opens the possibility of including Batman at some point, because of their long connection, but I’m also not getting my hopes up about that.  Because of the Birds of Prey connection, the Huntress is a natural fit for fleshing out Dinah Laurel Lance’s storyline, allowing her to operate separately from Oliver Queen if the writers want to go in that direction. And how about making her look like Cat Skaggs’s drawing of Huntress in her classic costume shown above?

So we now have Green Arrow, Black Canary (who the creators seemed to indicate would get her fish-net clad supersuit in the first season in their Comic-Con panel interview), the villain and now the Huntress. CW’s Smallville had its own established set of DC characters, so what better place to experiment with a Justice League story than this new series?  If I was writing it, I know I would try to free up as many JLA characters as possible to share a vision of the JLA long overdue, and finally respond to the pleas of DC Comics fans around the world wanting something to match Joss Whedon’s hit 2012 movie, The Avengers.  Unlike Smallville, the pilot revealed that this new series will be a superhero show, not just another CW soap opera.  Moreover, we have established genre character actors in key roles lending some credibility to the series with former Star Trek Voyager Borg Queen Susanna Thompson as Moira Queen and The Dresden File’s Paul Blackthorne as Detective Quentin Lance.

Arrow premieres on the CW Network Wednesday, October 10, 2012.

C.J. Bunce
Editor
borg.com

Being a Total Fan

Comic-Con Panels: Fables or Being a Total Fan

By Jason McClain (@JTorreyMcClain)

I love Fables.  How do I know that I feel that strongly about a series?  Easy.  If I read a TPB and can put it aside for a while, I liked it.  I may go back and buy the next one whenever it is convenient like Free Comic Book Day or the next time I’m browsing at Golden Apple, Meltdown, Secret Headquarters or House of Secrets.  If I love it?  I go buy it as soon as I’m done with the one I’m reading.  I’ll go to every comic shop and bookstore until I find the next book in the series.  It happened with Y: The Last Man.  It happened with Harry Potter.  (I didn’t start reading them until the fourth one was in stores.  I borrowed the first and second books from a friend.  I finished them in probably a little over two days.  Unfortunately, I finished the second one after 11 pm at night, so I couldn’t borrow the third one right away.  What did I do?  I bought a book at a Super Wal-Mart for the first time.)  It happened with Fables.


Fables Vol. 1: Legends in Exile

Because I love Fables, and have lent my run of TPBs to quite a few friends (they are currently on loan to my good friend Emese – I hope she’s enjoying them) to show them how good it is, I figured going to the Fables panel at Comic-Con would be a great idea. It was.  I had a great time.


Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book Two

Still, at the same time, I realized that my “love” and other’s “love” are two quite different things.  Before the panel started, an emcee ran around asking for Fables related items or answers to trivia questions.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a master of the trivial, but I had no clue on these questions.  I even tried punching a couple of searches into my smartphone, as it was an open book contest, and barely scratched the surface of the answers as the searches I entered were much more general than I needed them to be.  Still, there were people that had no problems and the man with the best knowledge ended up winning Boy Blue’s trumpet, a very cool panel prize if I ever saw one.  I came to the realization that my love for Fables is much different than some of the other’s in the room, the people that knew trivia, the people dressed in intricate costumes or dressed in any costume.  I have thought this before about different artistic endeavors and can break it down a couple of ways.

Single vs. Multiple Viewings

I understand the compulsion to watch something good again and again.  There are some things that I’ll watch multiple times like episodes of Community. I read Harry Potter novels again before the next book in the series came out at midnight.  I’ll stop to watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Shawshank Redemption or Goodfellas if I happen to pass them by on the TV.

But, it doesn’t happen too often.

Sometimes, I wish I watched things again more often.  I’d be better with movie quotes, I’d better understand all of the pieces that make good novels, comics, movies or TV shows work.  I’d notice those small things that the creators put into their works that are a reward for multiple views.

I just can’t do it.

I always think there is something new on the horizon like a new author, a new movie or a new series that could be worth watching. Sometimes I’m right and I stumble onto a Terriers or a Wonderfalls. Sometimes I’m wrong and I’ve wasted thirteen hours on The Killing.  Maybe I’m just a short attention span person.  But, with all of the things I’ve yet to see, it’s tough to spend time on things I’ve already experienced.  Just this year, I’ve found for the first time Doctor Who, Veronica Mars and Sherlock and enjoyed each of them.

Sample vs. Complete

Speaking of those three TV series, I also watched every episode of each that was available to me through Netflix.  With so many streaming options it has become easier to do that with most TV series.  If you miss an episode, you can find it online, watch it instantly through your cable provider or just be sure to use your DVR so that you don’t miss a thing. You can wait for the DVDs and watch them all at once. It’s pretty easy to watch all of The Wire or to get current on Breaking Bad without too much cost or trouble.

Which is a good thing, because otherwise, I’m not good at seeing everything an artist has done.  I believe I’ve seen every Coen brothers movie, but I still have quite a few Hitchcock, Huston, Ford, Wilder and Hawks movies that I need to see.  I haven’t seen every Cary Grant, Tom Hanks, Al Pacino or Humphrey Bogart movie.  Heck, I haven’t even seen every Marx Brothers movie.

I guess I could be sure to see every thing an artist has done, but after the Coen Brothers’ The Ladykillers, or Pacino’s The Recruit I’ve come to realize that missing an artist’s work is not always a bad thing.  I guess I’m a sampler of artists and a completer of stories.

Festivals

Since I’ve gone to five Comic-Cons now, I can definitely say I’m a pretty big fan.  Still, there are some people that have gone to many more.  There are those that also go to Dragon-Con and Star Trek conventions in addition to Comic-Con and go to the convention I look forward to attending in February that I heard about this summer while waiting for the Torchwood panel, Gallifrey One.  I think if you’ve ever been to a festival or small show for whatever you love, you have definitely entered the realm of the big fans. I just know that I’m not the biggest fan, because then I would attend everything.

Lines

For my last word on Comic-Con, the truest sign of fandom is the ability to wait in lines.  Not just wait in them but also successfully wait in them.  I waited in several over the Comic-Con weekend and made a few panels and also missed a few.  To the fans that got out at 8 am to be sure they made it to Hall H, congrats.  I’m glad there are rabid fans like you out there, though I wish there were fewer so that my casual wake up at 9 am self could have gone to see more panels. See you next year super fans, and hold me a place in line if you can.

By Jason McClain (@jtorreyMcClain) 

The movie starts out with images.  The Eiffel Tower.  The Arc De Triomphe.  The Louvre.  Le Sacre Coeur.  The Seine. Familiar looking streets to your eye if you’ve ever seen anything filmed in Paris.  Of course like any big city, there were cafes on screen that I don’t remember having seen in any image before so it provided new glimpses of a city familiar to all of us from the increasingly small world through movies and television.

Midnight in Paris had me right then and I didn’t even know it.

My thoughts drifted to my all too brief time in Paris.  Walking the streets.  Stopping by carts to pick up lunch.  Looking forward to the morning with coffee, baguettes and strawberry jam.  Letting my feet take me where they wanted to go with only the memories of my tour book to guide me as the physical copy was left behind in my hostel room so that my walk was unencumbered by backpacks or books.  Yes, I missed seeing things.  Yes, I ended up in a cemetery and realized I had no use seeing gravestones, not that there’s anything wrong with it, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.  (White, no sugar.)  Still, I saw as much as I could from the vantage point of the many different random streets that go in every which way to make up the Paris city center.

Soon after leaving, I dreamt of visiting again or, even better, of living in Paris for a year, because I had fallen in love with a city and the people.  Finally using the language that had made enough of an imprint in high school and college so that I could still pick up on just enough of someone’s speech to make me smile at my ability to decipher a special code of tens of millions of people.  The language that I used on a train to talk to a couple who helped me along, that were kind enough to take the time to listen to my halting words and help me to understand that my struggle could show benefits.  Sitting every morning near the banks of the Seine, enjoying a coffee seems like it would be a cool way to spend a year.  Though the dream is now many years old, it is still one that I cherish, the thought of becoming a secret agent of France.

Minutes later during the movie, I realized I was not alone in this dream, for this was the dream of the protagonist played by Owen Wilson.

After the movie, I realized how much more universal the theme is.

Temporal displacement.

Geographic displacement.

Interpersonal displacement.

Entertainment allows us to explore those fantasies of finding a place, a time and people that we truly love.  Finding a place, a time and people where we don’t feel like we are rushing to keep up with all that is around us, but rather the flow of our world buoys us to the surface of its stream and we casually float along in peace, knowing that everything will be ok in the end.  Athletes call it “the zone,” and I’m not sure what the term would be in regular life, but in tribute to Bryan Cranston, Walter White and Vince Gilligan, I think it could just be called “breaking good.”

Spending time with those people that truly get us, that know what it means to meet a deadline for a project, or to write the perfect sentence or to find that missing dollar that balances the books in the midst of millions is something that seems easy.  We can find those people.  We can join clubs.  We can find a cool place to work.  We can take classes.  We can call, email, IM or visit friends.  We can control our interpersonal placement as much as we can control anything. Still, when the casts of Community or Torchwood appear on the television, I think a lot of us would jump at the chance to go to Greendale Community College and play paintball or to work in secrecy under the streets of Cardiff examining alien artifacts and saving the world.  We’d still keep in touch though.  Of course we would.

There are times when I think that the solitary life of a trapper in early 1800s, exploring the west for the first time would be the perfect life.  It probably comes from my father’s DNA, as “Jeremiah Johnson” is one of his favorite films. There are times that I think a mountain town calls my name to return to that small town, big peaks life.  There are other times that I know that L.A. is the perfect place for me.  Ask me any day of the week and I’d give you a different answer, depending on the traffic, the sunshine, or the dreams of snow in June.

I’m not sure where, when or who my perfect existence would encompass.  Paris in the ‘20s with F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway might be pretty darn cool as it showed that world during my viewing of Midnight in Paris.  It certainly would help to explain why Doctor Who has become a favorite of mine.  Not only is all of the past open to the Doctor, but all of time and space as well. You could sample everywhere, every when and every who.  Why not?  How do you know what is your perfect time and space unless you look around a bit? Well, unless you think that your life has peaked and that there isn’t much else out there.  The glory days have passed you by and Bruce Springsteen’s song haunts your nights, as your beers never have a chance to get warm.  I hope that isn’t your truth and maybe seeing Midnight in Paris will convince you otherwise.  You might just need a displacement to give you a fresh outlook on life, if only in your dreams.

Midnight in Paris is a fantasy/comedy and is in theaters now.  Starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams.

The 2011 San Diego Comic-Con is just ten days away.  Sold out months in advance as with past years, again more than 100,000 comics, sci-fi, fantasy, movie, TV and gaming fans will descend on the beautiful waterfront convention center for this year’s event.  Comic-Con organizers released the programming schedule for the four-day convention this weekend, and as usual there is something for everyone.

At the top of my list our own borg.com contributor, author Elizabeth C. Bunce, will be giving away advance copies of her new fantasy novel Liar’s Moon and will speak on a panel with other genre authors as part of the Saturday line-up.  She will also be available for signing copies of her new book, the sequel to StarCrossed in her Thief Errant series.  If don’t you don’t get a copy at Comic-Con you’ll have to wait until its official release in November from Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic .

DC Comics has several presentations involving the September release/re-launch of 52 comic titles, including panels featuring Jim Lee and several writers and artists.  Digital artist  Freddie Williams II (Captain Atom, DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics) is scheduled to be in “artist’s alley” again this year and internationally known artist Alex Nino (God the Dyslexic Dog) will be featured in one panel.

Some great TV series cast presentations are scheduled to appear–the entire cast of Chuck, Psych, Warehouse 13, and Torchwood are at the top of the list along with a presentation by the one and only Bruce Campbell from Burn Notice.  The current Doctor Who himself, Matt Smith, is slated to be on a panel.

Another panel features Rick Baker, monster maker, talking about making creatures for the future release, Men in Black III.

The fan group OneRing.net will hosting a panel on the coming Hobbit movie and they hint at one or more surprise guestsand Mugglenet will be featured in a separate panel discussing the final Harry Potter installment.

Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four, Horatio Hornblower) will preview their new TV series thriller Ringer in one of the big convention ballrooms.

Other interesting scheduled presenters include Jon Favreau (Iron Man), Mike Judge (Beavis and Butthead), William Shatner (Star Trek), Avery Brooks (Deep Space Nine), Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), Elijah Wood (Wilfred, LOTR), Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Dave Gibbons (Watchmen), Jeff Smith (Bone), and Terry Moore (Echo, Strangers in Paradise).

You can also depend on the major studios to preview coming theatrical releases both on and offsite at this year’s show.  Too much for any one person to see! 

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

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