The character of Captain Jack Harkness has been a fan favorite since his debut in the episode “The Empty Child”. With his wit and flirty nature, he won the hearts of fans. So much so that he got his own spin off show, “Torchwood” in 2006 and ran until 2011, directed by none other than Russel T. Davies. The show got mixed reviews in the early showings, but soon became a fan favorite and moved up from BBC 3 to BBC 1. Even earning itself a comic series, multiple novels, and two audio dramas. In all of which, the coy captain and his small team of investigators explore and solve cases involving the extraterrestrial and human alike. Unlike Doctor Who, Torchwood is aimed at an older audience. Exploring sexuality and other adult themes throughout the series. Creating a larger audience and giving the writers more freedom.
So why is Jack such a big deal? For one he is one of the only openly LGBT characters on the show. Although we never get a true label it is obvious that Captain Jack Harkness is interested in more than just human women. On more than one occasion we see him flirting with men and women of both the same and a different species. So why do we care? While media is getting better at including gay and lesbian characters, they often times fail to include bisexual and characters that prefer not to be labeled. Therefore, the inclusion of his undefined sexuality is important to those who are questioning their sexuality and to those who already have it all figured out. As a viewer, it was very refreshing to see a character what wasn’t just gay or straight. It is important to represent those who are bisexual and don’t always see characters that they identify with on television. LGBT youth are more likely to be bullied and commit suicide. Representation matters.
At the time of me writing this post, we as a class are beginning to watch a few episodes of Torchwood, the spin off of Doctor Who with Captain Jack. Since there is no other time like the present, I’ve decided to look at and compare Torchwood, Doctor Who, and most importantly Captain Jack.
Captain Jack, one of the main characters of Torchwood, was first introduced in Doctor Who by saving Rose’s life in the episode “Empty Child.” Jack’s first line, which fits him quite well, is “excellent bottom.” He spoke those lines referencing to Rose. Soon after, Jack spoke to a different man, telling him “you have a nice little bottom, too.” Below is a short clip from the episode “Empty Child” of Jack’s first appearance. Throughout his introduction, most can recognize that Captain Jack is an openly bisexual man. Captain Jack Harkness appears in roughly nine episodes in Doctor Who.
Jack’s openly sexual habits found its way into majority of all of the characters in Torchwood. Kierra Green, my roommate, watched the episodes with me and I think we can both agree and state that Torchwood is much more open with sexual activities than Doctor Who is. Only in Torchwood can you see Captain Jack Harkness and Captain John Hart, played by James Marsters, in an aggressive fistfight while also kissing passionately.
Lastly, as a fact that not everyone might know, the name “Torchwood” is actually an anagram for “Doctor Who”. What I am curious about is why the anagram came to exist to begin with.
After watching a couple of episodes of Torchwood, I am beginning to see where the Doctor and Captain Jack have similarities. Since the series doesn’t have the Doctor in it, I feel as though Captain Jack is taking over that position of authority. Throughout the series, the people go to Jack for the answers and most of the time he is the person that saves the day. Everyone has their own opinion, but here are my views on what might make the Doctor and Jack more similar than you originally thought.
- Captain Jack has a mysterious past. Similar to the Doctor, there isn’t much that people know of him. This is a trend that is constantly seen in both shows. Even Jack’s closest friends have no idea where he is from or who he is. For another example, the Doctor’s companions don’t know much about the Doctor. The only thing they know is that he’s a Time Lord, whatever that may be.
- Captain Jack is always saving the day. Similarly, the Doctor always seems to be in the right place at the right time, too. However, this very well could be just because the show needed a hero-like character to be successful.
- He may not have all the answers like the Doctor, but he does like to show off his knowledge when he has the chance. There are many instances where Captain Jack rambles on about science-y stuff that nobody understands. The Doctor does this in arguably every episode of Doctor Who.
- Both Captain Jack and the Doctor are open to both sexes. This is completely evident in Jack and can be seen in a more subtle way with the Doctor. However, the concept is still there.
So, there you have it. That concludes my first list of a few of the traits that both the Doctor and Captain Jack share. Please comment your thoughts and any more ideas of similarities (or major differences) when comparing the Doctor and Captain Jack!