Captain Jack is back, as youthful-looking as ever. At least, in your mind’s eye. Because though Torchwood: Aliens Among Us does officially count as Series 5 of the Doctor Who spin-off, and is overseen by creator Russell T. Davies, it will be done for Big Finish Productions as an audio drama.
To be released in 3 boxed sets, the 12-episode series will reunite those cast members whose characters have survived this far: John Barrowman as Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, Kai Owen as Gwen’s husband Rhys, and Tom Price as Gwen’s former police partner Andy. Big Finish also teases a mystery character. Davies has created a new cast of characters as well, as the revived Torchwood team resumes investigating threats to Earth from their home base in Cardiff.
Is it too much to hope for Mekhi Phifer to come back as Agent Rex Matheson, the other immortal man as the result of Miracle Day? Though that series was somewhat of a bust, at least the implied addition of Rex to the team would have made an interesting wrench had STARZ gone forward with it.
However, Torchwood has always been a bit troubled. Its first two regular series had trouble focusing, though it wrapped up on the BBC with the searing and excellent third series, Children of Earth. When it switched to U.S. production with Miracle Day, it lost focus again. Maybe the limitations of an audio drama will spark it back up.
Though Big Finish has done Torchwood audio dramas before, they have been one off episodes, much like the novels and comics. Set in various time periods around the show, they fit into dark corners of continuity. This marks the first time that they’ve officially moved the continuity forward.
It also makes sense to transfer this series to audio, as Barrowman’s character is supposed to be unaging (until, possibly, at some point he will hyperannuate into the Face of Boe). Barrowman’s voice may not age, but now Jack Harkness looks middle-aged — a very good-looking middle-aged, but still… it’s the same problem that would face Maisie Williams as Ashildr from Doctor Who; she’s a great character with lots of storytelling potential, but Williams will not stay a teen girl forever. Big Finish means, however, that both Barrowman and Williams can stay young in our minds.
The first set of Torchwood: Aliens Among Us will be available in August, 2017.