Illuminating Torchwood

Essays on Narrative, Character and Sexuality in the BBC Series

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About the Book

Created in 2006 as a spinoff of Doctor Who, the internationally popular BBC television series Torchwood is a unique blend of science fiction and fantasy, with much more of an adult flavor than its progenitor. The series’ “omnisexual” protagonist, maverick 51st-century time agent Captain Jack Harkness, leads a team of operatives from the present-day Torchwood Institute, a secret organization dedicated to battling supernatural and extraterrestrial criminals. With its archetypal characters, adult language, subversive humor and openly homosexual and bisexual storylines, Torchwood provides a wealth of material for scholarly analysis and debate.
Using Torchwood as its focal point, this timely collection of essays by a range of experts and enthusiasts provides an interpretive framework for understanding the continually developing forms and genres of contemporary television drama.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Ireland is the associate dean for undergraduate students in the Media School of the United Kingdom’s Bournemouth University. In 2004 he was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Andrew Ireland. Series Editors Donald E. Palumbo and C.W. Sullivan III
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 251
Bibliographic Info: notes, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4570-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5560-7
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Introduction—Reading the Rift (ANDREW IRELAND)      1

PART I: Narrative and Torchwood

One — Playing to the Crowd: Torchwood Knows We’re Watching

(ANDREW IRELAND)      11

Two — Existentialism and Christian Symbolism

(R. C. NEIGHBORS)      22

Three — Policing the Rift: The Monstrous and the Uncanny

(SUSAN J. WOLFE and COURTNEY HUSE WIKA)      30

Four — Touching the Other: Alien Contact and Transgressive Touch

(RIA CHEYNE)      43

Five — More Than Just a Hero’s Journey: Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, and Captain Jack Harkness

(VALERIE ESTELLE FRANKEL)      53

Six — Screwing Aliens and Screwing with Aliens: Torchwood Slashes the Doctor

(RICHARD BERGER)      66

PART II: Character and Torchwood

Seven — The Eternal Vigil: Captain Jack as Byronic Hero

(G. TODD DAVIS)      79

Eight — Gwen’s Evil Stepmother: Concerning Gloves and Magic Slippers

(VALERIE ESTELLE FRANKEL)      90

Nine — Transgressive Torch Bearers: Who Carries the Confines of Gothic Aesthetics?

(DANIEL J. RAWCLIFFE)      102

Ten — The Alien Woman: Othering and the Oriental

(CARRIE DUNN)      113

Eleven — Outside the Heroic Paradigm

(TOM POWERS)      121

PART III: Sexuality and Torchwood

Twelve — “Love the coat”: Bisexuality, the Female Gaze and the Romance of Sexual Politics

(CHRISTOPHER PULLEN)      135

Thirteen — Fashioning Masculinity and Desire

(SARAH GILLIGAN)      153

Fourteen — Sexual Relations and Sexual Identity Issues: Brave New Worlds or More of the Old One?

(SHERRY GINN)      165

Fifteen — “Loving the Alien”: The Erotics of Technology

(PAUL WINTERS)      181

Sixteen — Cyberwomen and Sleepers: Rereading the Mulatta Cyborg and the Black Woman’s Body

(ELSPETH KYDD)      191

Seventeen — No Consent Necessary: A Feminist Perspective on Non-Consensual Penetration

(CARRIE DUNN)      203

Eighteen — Out in Space: Masculinity, Sexuality and the Science Fiction Heroics of Captain Jack

(LEE BARRON)      213

Episode Guide      227

About the Contributors      231

Index      235