Friday, January 29, 2010

Torchwood Alumni and Random Musings about Desperate Housewives and The Bill

Sad to say, one of my first tasks each day (after making a pot of morning coffee, of course) is to check the news of my favorite TV series. This week Lost and Caprica are top of the list, but with all the hullaballoo about Torchwood last week, it's moving up the charts fast. So...I wasn't surprised to learn the official news that John Barrowman is headed to Hollywood.

Two words: Desperate Housewives

He's been there (Hollywood, not Wisteria Lane) before, and I do remember his roles on U.S. series, but they vanished so quickly that I was startled by Captain Jack in 2005. That role was like meeting JB the actor for the first time. As many of you know, I'm a big fan of Torchwood. I even taught a Torchwood unit in my Honors class last semester. The news this morning has me Hmmmmm-ing, but I expect fan buzz to drown that out as soon as U.S. fans wake up.

I've been waiting for about a month now for news about the next step in Barrowman's career. The CD debuts early in March, now coinciding with that westward flight. If Torchwood was going to start filming in Wales, it would've begun by now. The timing of the Torchwood USA announcement kept me checking back to Barrowman's site to see which would come first: a new TV series or a concert tour. And now we know.

A few thoughts about the news:

1. I'll be watching Desperate Housewives for the first time in years this spring.

2. I previously watched sporadically after Season 2 because of Richard Burgi. (I'm a former fan of The Sentinel and loyal to actors I've enjoyed watching.) Now that he's off the series, I'm wondering if Barrowman's "villain" is a type of replacement. He won't play the same role, obviously, but the series seems to need some kind of confident, sexy, snarky man with a physical build similar to Burgi's. Gee, who could fit that role?

3. The article noted that Barrowman would be meeting with RTD while in Hollywood. Guest shot in the pilot? A starring role in the "US remake," an unfortunate choice of words if I ever heard them? Another project? Tea and scones?

4. Another interesting bit in the article: Torchwood is planned as a joint Fox and BBC production. Not BBC America, but BBC. Typo? Truth? I don't recall "joint" being in previous news blurbs, although I wondered just what everyone was smoking when they started planning Torchwood 4. So...that raises all kinds of new questions about who might be doing what and where. Suddenly I'm a bit more hopeful about Torchwood's future--but there's still too much speculation to know what's going on. I still remember the dreaded "pilot" word from last week's news.

In any case, I shouldn't have doubted JB. He's really not going to be off air that long.

Last week I also was fortunate to see Gareth David-Lloyd's role in The Bill. I don't want to gag anyone with too much sugar so early in the day, but let's just say that I like to watch him act and was looking forward to seeing his next role.

The actors I enjoy most always surprise me. Sometimes it's one little expression or line phrasing; sometimes it's a big old emo scene. The Bill is pretty straightforward, and a guest role like GDL's is meaty enough but still gives limited screen time.

Nevertheless, I almost bought into the stalker's story for two little reasons: GDL's fleeting smile when his character talks about his "lover"'s favorite films and a brief sigh at the beginning of an interrogation scene. They weren't choices I expected for that scene.

Sure, the role offered him a good range of emotion for a guest role, everything from pain to disbelief to earnestness to anger. But ... those two expressions, in close up, in the middle of a longer scene and lots of dialogue--those were the choices that made the role interesting to me. OK, you might think I'm mental for noticing minutiae, but small character moments can turn a perfectly good performance into something memorable. (Remind me to tell you about one scene from a stage production of Heaven Can Wait in 1979 that made me respect and admire Peter Strauss forever.)

I'm looking forward to seeing more of GDL in the upcoming Casimir Effect. It seems like a role with a lot of potential, and I expect more surprises in his character interpretation.

Now, off to set the recorder for tonight's episode of Caprica. Undoubtedly I'll be writing about it soon.

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