Saturday, 25 June 2011

Torchwood Miracle Day - Dual-ing Episodes

Now that "Torchwood" is truly on the brink of being a cross-cultural phenomenon in both the United States and its birthplace of the United Kingdom, it's also apparently about to become an experiment in duality. Doctor Who Magazine Editor Tom Spillsbury has tweeted that the new mini-series "Torchwood : Miracle Day" will have dual versions of each episode, one for American audiences, and one for the BBC. It seems as though the production is succumbing to jitters that American audiences might not understand cultural references that "Torchwood" has always had.

And that American fans have embraced. The BBC has had a cultural beach head of BBC and other programming in North America for decades with classics like "Masterpiece Theater", "Monty Python" and various other UK imports, but apparently producers are aiming for more than the average American Anglophiles who are already fans of "Torchwood" and "Doctor Who". At this production scale and cost they want clearly want the kinds of audience numbers perhaps enjoyed by the late "Battlestar Galactica" and other premium channel series. It seems quite unnecessary on the grounds that the core audience of science-fiction in general always makes the extra effort to begin with and delight in not only made-up alien culture, but are also able to keenly follow and learn about foreign cultures.

Perhaps the more over-riding issue is that given that this will be a more adult content oriented version of "Torchwood" than ever before, with adult situations and scenes not passable for a British general broadcast audience. "Torchwood" has always pushed the envelope with it's lead character Captain Jack Harkness and his omni-sexuality. It's debatable that the world is ready for a bi-sexual or gay superhero figure, but it's hardly the time to get terribly squeamish so many years into the existence of "Torchwood" as a franchise. Would more explicit depictions of sexual situations really add to the plot points we already know about? Hard to say, basically because when 'life and death' situations become an 'endless life' catastrophe, then every emotion including sexual ones would naturally come into play.

Will this rankle fans? Probably - almost definitely, but then it will be a telling exercise once what I predict will see large numbers of viewer clamor to view both versions. It will be educational as to how the producers see us the viewers both in the UK and in America; what they think we can and can't handle. Probably in somewhat the same way fictional world leaders and the band of Torchwood survivors handle their fictional crisis and inform their fictional populaces. And perhaps that's a good thing. To know what your leaders think of you. And to know what those who produce your TV think you can or can't handle.

Partial source

We are very interested to know how the DVD will work, a different one for the UK/USA? Or both versions on the DVD, or something else? Watch this site for both versions :)

BTW Mike Jackson is MentalFoto, and a great 1st post Mike :)


MrGrumpy said...

You know what?
If I want to watch porn, I know where to find it.
If I want to watch sci-fi, I dont need the sex.
It was gratuitous in seasons 1..2 and I found the over use in Game of Thrones ridiculous.
Who said about screen writing 'include nothing that does not advance the story'?

'lets go have sex' is enough, thanks. I get it. They get together.

So if they trim some of it out for the UK, I won't bemoan the absence.

Combom said...

i think you have it confused, the sex is trimmed out for the US, we are ok about it.

stagbeetle said...

I wonder if they've already done this on Doctor Who? I've seen several American fans mention "fish sticks and custard" - enough to make me wonder if they redubbed that line for US broadcast.

Combom said...

good thought, the audio in the uk def says FISH FINGERS :)

rzochoa said...

The American version said fish fingers and custard. It's just that an America would recognize it as fish sticks and call it so because that's what we call it, but the line was definitely not dubbed over

Combom said...

fish fingers are a silly name for them anyhow, they are fish sticks!

jamawalk said...

well, i will be downloading the UK version.

but i doubt its a sex thing. with recent cable hits such as Game of Thrones and True Blood, Torchwood is Stars chance to get in the game with a genre epic rife with sexuality. I really don't see the sex being an issue.

its probably more cultural stuff that the suits holding the purse strings are worried about. they want to reach as many people as possible and as such will water down anything they get their hands on.

the possibility of selling multiple dvd sets will just make them happier.

The Snappy Sneezer said...

I hope they don't muck about with Gwen's Welsh pride in the US version. I am much more concerned about losing regional and cultural refrences and the like. About the sexuality, it was too forced the first series, and much better handled later, part of this was the natural chemistry between Jack and Ianto. They should not be setting out to shock 100% for shock's sake and though a bit of fun innuendo here and there is ok and I do not mind the scenes with Jack and Ianto, the kissing was natural, it felt forced with that WWII army guy and Spike from Buffy, I forget the character name though I hated him and was disappointed when it seemed they just let him off at the end. They should have killed him but anyways, don't do something just because you can, make it matter.

Bobby said...

I think Combom is confused. Starz in the US is known for VERY graphic sex, both of the straight and gay variety. We're talking full frontal nudity (male and female), like what you would see in Spartacus. I would bet that the sex is going to be taken out of the BBC version, or at least toned down. Startz like to be known as even more adult then HBO and Showtime.

Combom said...

and so are the BBC (after 9pm), i doubt they will cut sex out, unless its somewhat extreme, and i doubt that.

Raukodraug said...

I'm not sure about Starz's commercial policy, but if it's anything like more mainstream cable, the episode length will be luck to hit 42 minutes for an "hour-long" show. That said, the issue may be as simple as a longer BBC cut that loses 2-3 minutes for the Starz cut.

Jillianne6 said...

@Raukodraug Starz doesn't have commercials. Show will at least be 52 minutes.

DJ Rob Cyberman said...

Ok, so there's a version for the UK & 1 for the US. Where does that leave the rest of the world? Are we all to get bastardized versions in each country? Do we get an Australian version, a New Zealand version & a Canadian version as well? What a wank. All this does is encourage people to download both versions.