Big Questions Surround Fox’s ‘Torchwood’ Pilot

John Barrowman (BBC)

John Barrowman (BBC)

Diehard fans of ‘Torchwood‘ – and by extension the show from which it was spun off, ‘Doctor Who‘ – are abuzz in the wake of the Hollywood Reporter‘s exclusive scoop that Fox is considering a U.S. edition of the BBC America series, which to date has produced three seasons totaling 31 episodes.

Aside from the very large question of whether a Stateside version of ‘Torchwood’ could succeed (versus arrive DOA à la NBC’s take on ‘Coupling’), other matters beg to be addressed. For example:

What exactly is the status of Fox’s ‘Torchwood’? A pilot script penned by series creator Russell T. Davies himself “has been delivered to Fox,” says a rep for BBC Worldwide, which would produce the sci-fi program for Fox. Presumably, any green light would be issued on or around the time of the network’s May upfront announcements.

If Fox picks up ‘Torchwood,’ would Davies remain involved with the series? Nothing is definite, but anyone who knows Davies’ passion for the Whoniverse knows that he is likely to be hands-on should ‘Torchwood’ land on Fox’s 2010-11 schedule.

Would Fox’s ‘Torchwood’ be a continuation of the BBC series and its characters or a complete, U.S.-based reboot? As originally conceived, ‘Torchwood’ follows the Welsh branch of a super-secret, non-government organization – the Torchwood Institute – that investigates incidents involving extraterrestrials. BBC Worldwide, alas, won’t comment on the premise for Davies’ Fox pilot.

Will John Barrowman reprise his role of Captain Jack Harkness? Although the Reporter said that the Scotsman “might” star in the U.S. ‘Torchwood,’ that appears to be little more than speculation. “It’s too early to comment on the cast,” says the BBC Worldwide rep. Now, if Barrowman does wind up attached to the Fox series, another and more dicey question comes into play: Can network TV handle his omnisexual (women, men, aliens…) alter ego?

Is ‘Doctor Who’ also coming to the States? That’s unlikely, and certainly not on anyone’s current drawing board. Fans of the Time Lord have this to look forward to, however: David Tennant, who recently ceded command of the TARDIS to Matt Smith, stars in the NBC pilot ‘Rex is Not Your Lawyer,” which is more likely than ever to get picked up to series – perhaps by the end of this spring. You can thank Mr. Leno for that one.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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