Ripples In Time25 Jul, 2009 By: John Latchem
American fans have waited more than a year for the return of the Doctor and Capt. Jack Harkness. Now that wait is over. New episodes of the time-bending “Doctor Who” and its spinoff, “Torchwood,” are making their way to home video July 28, within days of airing on BBC America.
The third season of “Torchwood,” dubbed Children of Earth, offers a single story told through a five-episode story arc, as drawn up by series creator Russell T. Davies.
“The idea was to tell one really big ongoing story,” says executive producer Julie Gardner. “Russell was really excited to write the show in that format.”
Gardner says the story deals with the consequences of negotiating with aliens, and that puts a lot of pressure on the Torchwood team, which includes John Barrowman as Capt. Jack, Eve Myles as Gwen, Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto and Kai Owen as Rhys.
“The characters kind of got into a comfort zone,” Gardner says. “We wanted to force them to operate more guerilla style, outside their lair, and really push the team into the greatest jeopardy we could imagine.”
The two-disc Torchwood: Children of Earth will be available July 28 on DVD ($29.98) and Blu-ray ($34.99) from BBC Video. The four-disc Torchwood: Season Two will be available the same day on Blu-ray for $79.98.
Meanwhile, “Doctor Who,” a staple of British television since 1963, returns with four special episodes featuring the final appearances of David Tennant as the 10th Doctor.
“It’s electrifying to see David do his last story,” Gardner says.
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead airs July 26 on BBC America, then hits DVD and Blu-ray Disc two days later. Planet of the Dead finds our favorite Time Lord trapped on a dangerous desert planet without his time machine, the TARDIS. When a London bus travels through a wormhole to the same world, the Doctor teams with the mysterious Lady Christina (Michelle Ryan of “Bionic Woman”) to find a way home.
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead
“It’s a rollicking romp of a story,” Gardner says. “I hope it appeals as much to the 5-year-old watching for the first time as it does to the 70-year-old grandfather who remembers the old show.”
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead will be available July 28 on DVD ($14.98) and Blu-ray ($19.89) from BBC Video. The Christmas special The Next Doctor, which takes place before Planet of the Dead, will be available Sept. 15 on DVD for $14.98.
The saga of the 10th Doctor continues later this year in The Waters of Mars, which Gardner calls a darker story that plants more seeds leading to the character’s regeneration.
The final two specials will depict the transition from Tennant to the 11th Doctor, played by Matt Smith.
“I think he’s really going to be quite something,” Gardner says of Smith. “The role needs people who are versatile, thorough actors, and Matt is that.”
The regeneration episode also marks a transition from one creative team to the next. Davies has turned over the show’s reins to Steven Moffat. It’s also the final episode for Gardner, who has become an executive producer for BBC Worldwide in Los Angeles.
“Just like the Doctor, the show should regenerate itself every few years,” Gardner says. “Everything needs change.”