Now those Brits know how to put out DVD extras! This was by far one of my favorite DVD watching experiences in recent months, and not just because I found the second season of this Doctor Who spinoff to be amazing, but because it was stuffed with bonus features that I actually wanted to watch. Shocking, I know!
For those of you unfamiliar with this BBC America show, imported from the lovely UK, its a sci-fi series that takes the extremely attractive DW recurring guest Captain Jack Harkness (a sexy former time agent who can't die, played by the dreamy John Barrowman), teaming him with smart, sassy detectives and pitting them against otherworldly creatures. Sounds a little X-Files-ish, but when you throw in some hysterical dialogue and lots and lots of sex (hetero, homo and other), it becomes an addictively entertaining show that's like nothing else on earth.
The bonus goodies are plentiful, including an entire disc of "Declassified" segments, one devoted to each episode. These lengthy segments (around 30 minutes) are filled with cast interviews about each of the 13 episodes, behind-the-scenes footage and even soundbites from the creators, writers, stuntmen and other various crew members. These are basically a substitute for any sort of commentary track, and frankly, they're more engaging than the majority of commentary tracks. Unless you get someone truly comical or engrossing, it's just watching the episode with someone talking. Here you get so much more, and lots of pretty visuals to support the conversation.
In the first "Declassified," James Marsters (who any self-respecting Buffy fan should know) talks about his portrayal of Capt. Jack's rival, Capt. John. It was a role written specifically for him. Cool, right? And Marsters babbles with his actual American accent, which still takes me off guard every time I hear it, and there's footage of Marsters and Barrowman rehearsing for the fight scenes, and filming their kissing (yup, kissing) scene. It's good fun. I haven't brought myself to watch the final "Declassified" about the heartbreaking season finale yet, but the others that I've seen have all been as well-produced and entertaining as this one.
My other favorite segment was "The Life & Deaths of Captain Jack," narrated by the lovely Freema Agyman (a.k.a. Martha Jones, a former Doctor Who companion and Torchwood guest star). This should probably be titled "Captain Jack: 'I Can't Die'" for all the times that he repeats that, but it is a nice history of how Jack came to be a time agent, turned Torchwood employee and gifted with everlasting life. Series creator, Russell Davies, describes Jack as "the hero every man wants to be and every woman wants to snog." I'll buy that. There are interviews with the adorable David Tennant (the current Doctor) and even funny chats with Barrowman's adorable stunt double, who seems to genuinely love getting killed off in various manners.
As all DVD sets should have, there are outtakes (or bloopers). Watching these though, it is a wonder that any work gets done around here. The impish looking Barrowman seems to be quite the goofball, cracking jokes, flubbing lines, playing pranks and just generally having a ball. The best is the Torchwood staffers spontaneously breaking out into a chorus of "Bohemian Rhapsody" when they realize they are posed similarly to the famous Queen video.
And the obligatory deleted scenes are included as well. Nothing earth-shattering in here, though there's a touching (and insanely lengthy) extended version of Owen by the deathbed of the guy who was holding "the pulse," which goes on too long, but is really quite wonderful in retrospect.
Torchwood arrives on DVD on Tuesday, September 16th. It's a must-have for any fan, and even if you aren't a Who or Torchwood fanatic, a great way to jump in.