Sunday, July 10, 2011

Captain Jack Is Back!

He's back! Captain Jack. And, no, I don’t mean Captain Jack Sparrow, though I do like that character quite a lot, just not in the same way.

I’m referring, of course, to my very first Captain Jack; Captain Jack Harkness. A character who has a way of making you swoon just by saying hello. A man for whom I carry a torch and that I’ve missed greatly. The man I want to be when I grow up.

For those who have never seen it, "Torchwood" was created by Russell T. Davies, the man responsible for reviving "Doctor Who" in the U.K., thus spreading Whomania once more amongst the geeks and nerds of the world. Davies is also the man behind the brilliant "Queer as Folk," which first appeared on the BBC before it was redone here in the States. But I digress.

Torchwood is an organization that, according to its illustrious leader, is “outside the government and beyond the police.”

When the show was on BBC America, my partner and I watched religiously. It had an enormous impact on me; mostly because the writing is so fucking brilliant! As I writer, I both admire and envy what the creative team has done. It’s what I hope to achieve with my own writing, someday. Not necessarily the sci-fi bit, though I do have plans to work on a sci-fi piece. I'm talking about taking the reader by the hand, yelling, "Run!" and taking them on a wild romp. I want to make the reader experience emotional highs and lows along with the characters. I want to make them scream with agony and roil with suspense. I want them to melt, and even burn with desire, when characters in my stories kiss, have sex, or make love.

"Torchwood" is back now, and it’s here in the States. I have to admit that I had my doubts when I heard they were bringing the show to American television. They’d never do him justice and probably make him all hetero or demasculate him completely. But when I found out Russell T. Davies and Julie Gardner were executive producing, I breathed a sigh of relief. They wouldn’t let their fans down. They’d stick true to the characters.

Only Gwen and her husband Rhys have joined Captain Jack for this one. If you want to know why Ianto -- the coffee-bringing hottie whom I adore -- and the others aren't in this series, I'm afraid you’ll have to watch the previous ones to find out. I don’t believe in spoilers. But I will say this, when I saw Captain Jack -- played brilliantly by John Barrowman -- suddenly appear in the first episode of "Torchwood: Miracle Day," I gave a little gasp and my breath caught. I felt like a little school girl whose crush had suddenly smiled upon me.

Oh, and when he said, “come with me,” I was more than ready!

That’s all I’m going to say on this first episode of what I call the American Torchwood, which premiered on Starz this past Friday, July 8. What I will do, however, is repost my "Ode to Captain Jack," which I wrote a couple of years ago, in honor of the man that’s made an impression on my life as surely as the events I’ve experienced have molded me into who I am today.

For those who've read the post before, please forgive me. I trust you'll humor me in rekindling of Captain Jack Harkness. Oh, and if any of you actually know Barrowman, Davies, Gardner, or any of the other talented and marvelous people involved with bringing "Torchwood" to life, please be sure to pass this on and let them know I'd happily become their go-fer, just for the opportunity to say that I was a part of it.


This entry originally appeared on a different blog I used to write.

I carry a Torch. Or should I say a Torchwood? His name is Captain Jack Harkness. Yes, I know what you must be thinking. Who the hell wants to hear about this loser's love life? But you see, it's not about my love life. Not in the traditional sense.

Those of you reading, who might know me, could possibly be smirking at this moment and wondering where I'm going with this. How does this relate to erotica or porn even? Frankly, I'm not sure. I only know that when my partner and I first talked about creating this blog it would be more commercial, a bit more artsy and incorporate things other than what is normally featured in our Horndawg Productions Blog. We wanted this one to be affiliate related, meaning porn, but different. We wanted it to be sometimes quirky, with gay-related issues, themes, art. And, hopefully, fun.

When the subject of Torchwood came up as a blog post, my partner said, "Nah, John Barrowman. You love John Barrowman. Do it on him. Then you can explore his singing and talk about his books." Which, I am appalled to say, I have not yet explored. One of them is actually sitting on the nightstand by my side of the bed. I plan on reading it once I finish at least one of the 12 other books I'm working on. Of course, he was also in the Cole Porter movie biography, De-Lovely. But I didn't know who he was then.

So if I'm such an ardent fan of Barrowman, why haven't I listened to his music? Why is this blog not coming out the way I had intended? The answer hit me several attempts and several hours after sitting down this morning. It's because it wasn't John Barrowman, though extremely talented, that I loved. I barely know him. In fact, I don't know him at all. No, the man I love, other than my partner of 13 years, is a television character from the BBC America show, Torchwood, written by one of the most brilliant writers on television, Russell T. Davies, who also wrote the original Queer As Folk (not the American version which was based on Russell's) and the smash reincarnation of Doctor Who.

In Season 1 of Torchwood, Episode 1: Everything Changes, the scene opens with Cardiff P.C. (Police Constable) Gwen Cooper, played by Eve Myles. Some discussion ensues, with P.C. Andy, about the "poor bloke" found dead, face up in an alleyway while mad rain pours over them, thick and heavy. The CSI team is scurried away amidst grumblings and along comes a large, black S.U.V. A team of 4 people climb out and stride to the crime scene with bags of equipment, gadgets, attitude and their fearless leader, Captain Jack Harkness. You don't know his name at this point, but I fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him. I know it sounds cliché. But it is true and no other words can describe it so succinctly.

As he stands there, drenched in the heavy rain, wearing his military, period trench coat, communicator in ear, he says, "There you go. I can taste it. Estrogen." Only it sounds like he says Eas-trogen. Perhaps how they say it in Great Britain? Don't know. His very brief monologue continues, "Definitely estrogen. You take the pill, flush it away, it enters the water cycle. Feminizes the fish. Goes all the way up into the sky and then falls all the way back down onto me. Contraceptives in the rain. Love this planet. Still, at least I won't get pregnant. Never do that again!"

I never stood a chance. He had me at Eas-trogen.

Captain Jack Harness, the courageous leader who can never die, Head of Torchwood-Cardiff, is a cocky, arrogant, selfish, self-centered, egomaniac with a dash of flair. He is debonair, dashing and hauntingly handsome. He is a cross between Rhett Butler and Captain James T. Kirk. And he's omnisexual. He'll fuck anything; human, alien, female, male. And the man who plays him, John Barrowman, is openly gay. The delight and relish I feel when I hear people, women in particular, say, "He's gay? No!" is almost perverse. But back to Captain Jack. It's his openness and the freedom with which he says things you would not normally hear on American television. It's his bravado, chutzpah, balls and determination, along with so many other qualities and great lines, that made me fall deeper in love with Captain Jack Harkness. And then, while sitting at a bar, when he tells Gwen Cooper -- who has been stalking them to find out who Torchwood really is -- he says, "The 21st century is when it all changes. And you've gotta be ready." So here I am. Ready. Waiting. Willing to do whatever He bids of me. Alas, he relies only on his team.

Torchwood is an incredible piece of sci-fi. You really can't call it anything else as it consists of a team of people who fight aliens. Only here, on Earth. No one ever leaves the planet. Well, except for Captain Jack but that's another tale for a different post.

I became addicted to Torchwood, despite it's sci-fi-ness. And, although we have DVR, I never wanted to leave the house on Saturday nights. There was only one other show in my television watching history that made me stay home on Saturday nights and that was decades ago, when Golden Girls was on national television.

Several episodes into Torchwood, my partner sprang a very nasty little secret he kept from me. He said, "You know, this is a spin-off of Doctor Who." He was referring, of course, to the new Doctor Who but it was a show I had no desire to see. I had the displeasure of witnessing bits and pieces of it in the very early 80s on PBS and had absolutely no desire to watch it. But here again, I digress. But never fear, I will elaborate on Doctor Who in a later blog post. This ode is about Captain Jack.

As much as Torchwood is sci-fi, though, it is more than that. Much, much more. It's also about people and the relationships we have with loved ones, or the lack thereof. It's about our friends, family and fellow earthlings. It's about all of the wonderful things wrapped up into life. Beauty, love, ugliness, the choices we make that affect our future. It's about the drama in our lives. But in the end, it's also a love story. Many love stories, filled with all the complications and sadness and joys we feel. It is, in my opinion, one of the most amazing pieces of television I have ever seen, if not the best.

There are many reasons why this show is as wonderful as it is. I'll leave you to find them out on your own. But I will share my two top reasons. The first is that the show does not shy away from projecting some of our worst frailties and conditions, throwing it up on screen and embracing them; along with all our other flaws, as well as all of the good we can accomplish if we set our minds, and hearts, to it. One of the other things that makes this show brilliant is it's lack of fear in exploring sexuality and sensuality. In almost every episode, there is girl-on-girl, boy-on-boy, boy-on-girl-on-boy snogging. It's all done without pretense, without excuses, without remorse. It simply is and it is simply wonderful and refreshing.

There are several team members on the Torchwood staff. They are all rich, deeply textured and real. But the other one I have a crush on, is Ianto Jones, played by Gareth David-Lloyd. He is their "get it done" man. Coffee. Front Of House. Guard. Clerical Worker. Clean-up Man. And he's Captain Jack's fuck buddy.

It's implied several episodes in and is done so simply, so matter-of-factly, it's truly nothing short of brilliant. As the season progresses from that point into Season Two and, finally, Torchwood: Children of Earth the love story just evolves so beautifully. It has all the nuances of people who might feel something for each other but never acknowledge or awkwardly approach. In fact, it's frequently the things that are not said on this show that were the most moving of all.

Torchwood: The Complete Second SeasonTorchwood: Children Of Earth

I cannot, and will not, tell you any of the plot lines. Spoilers! Suffice to say, however, that each episode has a marvelous story to tell. I cannot pick one that stands out in my mind as a favorite as they are all favorites for various reasons. Although there was one episode where Gwen Cooper's fiancee, Rhys Williams, played by Kai Owen, appears naked in Episode 10 of Season 1. Kai is a burly, beefy, yummy type bordering on bear. I would jump his bones in a heartbeat!

As I wrap this up, I am listening to the Torchwood soundtrack. The Season One Box set is sitting to my right, and my mug of coffee, in honor of my Torchwood love, is to my left. However, Ianto did not bring it to me. I had to get it myself.

I do not ever remember . . . no, scratch that. I have NEVER, in my 47 years, in all the time I've sent watching television, been so moved or so inspired as I have been by Captain Jack Harkness and Torchwood. When I grow up, I want to BE Captain Jack. Strong, courageous, someone that others can look up to. The character has had a huge impact on my life. In fact, I can truly say that many of the things I have done lately, things I normally would not have had the courage to do, has been since I've seen this show. It might have something to do with my age, the feeling that -- now that I'm in my 40s -- I'm running out of time. But I like to think that there's also a dash of Captain Jack in there somewhere.

I know it sounds goofy. Hell, a grown man like me going on about some silly show? Characters who aren't real? What can I say. I guess inspiration comes from the oddest and most unexpected of places. Yes, I'm showing my inner geek, the nerd within I have fought to control. You might even say I'm gay for Captain Jack and his staff!

We've watched the first two seasons of Torchwood twice, the third season once. We will soon watch them again, back-to-back. I find I'm needing the escape, needing to reacquaint myself with old friends. I'm needing . . . a little Captain Jack to hold my hand and boost my courage, my morale and give me a shot of much needed testosterone. No. Not THAT kind.

But then again . . . mix a little Captain Jack with some Ianto and Rhys and that's quite a little orgy I can get into!

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