Friday, January 01, 2010

The End of Time (and Captain Jack?)

While news on the "Torchwood" front has been conspicuously absent recently, the same cannot be said for its parent program. Just over two hours ago, BBC One transmitted the final moments of David Tennant's run as the Tenth Doctor in the two-part "Doctor Who" special finale, "The End of Time".

The finale saw the return of several of the Tenth Doctor's friends and foes, and -- since we can always link things back 'round to Torchwood SOMEHOW -- it's no surprise that Captain Jack made an appearance!

(We posted back in April that John Barrowman had been spotted in costume as the Captain around the Who set. He later denied those claims, but his explanations sounded fishier than, well, a Blowfish driving a sports car.)

For non-Brits, you can catch "The End of Time" on BBCAmerica and/or Space Channel Canada tomorrow, January 2, 2010. (Thus ensuring your New Year's festivities will end with you watching television and grabbing furiously for a box of tissues by your side.)

As a result of this delay, I won't divulge any further spoilers regarding Captain Jack's role in the special, but feel free to discuss the events of the show in the comments below.

And if you're a Torchwood fan who has never seen "Doctor Who", why not take advantage of this TW-free period to start watching the series that brought us Captain Jack and Torchwood in the first place? The two shows are inextricably linked!

If you begin with Series 1, starring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, you can even catch a couple Torchwood cast members (BESIDES Captain Jack!) in before-they-were-famous roles!

Episode 1x03, "The Unquiet Dead", guest-stars Eve Myles/'Gwen' as a 19th century English maid with unusual powers, and the following episode 1x04, "Aliens of London", features Naoko Mori/'Toshiko' in a bit part as "Dr. Sato" (and it also explains the origins of the "space pig" comments Tosh and Owen made in their last minutes of 2x12 "Exit Wounds"). And yes, episodes 1x09 and 1x10, "The Empty Child" and "The Doctor Dances", introduced the world to Captain Jack Harkness (perhaps you've heard of him?).

When Tennant took over as the Tenth Doctor the following year, the second series' theme was "Torchwood", as Russell T. Davies was in the process of developing our favourite spin-off at the time. That finale even included the Doctor visiting the doomed Torchwood One in London, aka the previous workplace of Ianto Jones (although he is not seen or mentioned on-screen).

Series 3 of "Doctor Who" featured Martha as the Companion, and its three-part finale saw Captain Jack return to help out the time-travelling duo. The episodes 3x11/3x12/3x13, aka "Utopia"/"The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords", took place between the end of Torchwood's first series and the beginning of its second, and also gives context to Jack and Martha's cryptic inside jokes when she visits Torchwood halfway through TW Series 2.

Most obviously, Tennant's fourth season finale involved the first official Torchwood/Doctor Who crossover, as Ianto and Gwen both spoke with the Doctor, and Captain Jack again re-joined him in the TARDIS, in the epic battle to realign the planets and destroy the Daleks.

Now that David Tennant and Russell T. Davies have both left the TARDIS, and a new showrunner and production team has taken over "Doctor Who", it remains to be seen whether future episodes of "Who" will involve Torchwood and/or Captain Jack. Today's final Tenth Doctor episode may very well be the last time Captain Jack Harkness and his team of Cardiff-based alien-fighters are included in the world of the Doctor.

Today's "Doctor Who" episode truly marked the end of an era.

And now I will try to stop tearing up every time I think of the Tenth Doctor, and shall instead try to keep a positive attitude towards the future of our favourite sci-fi characters and shows.

In the words of the Tenth Doctor: "Allons-y!"
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