EPISODE ONE SPOILERS FOLLOW
Rejoice, fans of gay-friendly television! Even though Ugly Betty airs its last new episode tonight and Brothers & Sisters only has two episodes to go, I have good news. This Saturday night Torchwood is back and it’s gayer than ever!
For gay viewers used to having their few out, gay characters as part of a large ensemble cast that affords them only a proportional amount of screen time (Kevin on Brothers & Sisters, Marc on Ugly Betty) or only presents them with frustrating irregularity (Luke and Noah on As the World Turns), this is blessed news indeed.
For those not already in the know, Torchwood is the BBC (and BBC America, here in the States) science fiction series (spun off from the long-running Doctor Who) set in Cardiff, Wales about a team of special operative agents who investigate extraterrestrial activities on earth.
It’s also the only show currently airing that features a bisexual (or “omnisexual,” to use the show’s jargon) male action hero as the lead. Even better, that hero, Captain Jack, is played by the out John Barrowman. Not only is he in every episode, he’s in the majority of scenes.
Whereas the show’s first season took a little while to get to the gay male content, the first episode of the new season, appropriately titled “Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang,” couldn’t be any more gay unless it were a Broadway musical starring Harvery Fierstein, Cheyenne Jackson, and all seven of the gay contestants from Project Runway.
James Marsters of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame (he played Spike for seven seasons) guests in the first episode as Captain John Hart, a former partner of Captain Jack. And that’s not just “partner” as in “business partner” or “crime-fighting duo”: that’s partner as in “lovers for five years”. ”
After a zippy opening involving a deranged alien/blowfish (proving the show has kept its sense of humor intact) the gay content comes fast and furious. First Jack has to deal with the hurt feelings of his team, comprised of Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), Dr. Owen Harper (Burn Gorman), Toshiko Sato (Naoko Mori), and, most importantly for Torchwood’s gay fans, Ianto Jones (Gareth David-Lloyd), who are mad at Jack for mysteriously disappearing at the end of Season 1.
While refusing to explain just where he’s been, Jack tells Ianto, “I came back for you.” He then pauses a long moment before adding, “All of you,” but clearly Jack’s words carry special weight for Ianto, building on the hints of a relationship between the two that surfaced toward the end of the first season.