What Does John Barrowman’s New ABC Pilot Mean For Torchwood’s Future?

By David Wharton | 9 years ago

If you’re a follower of our sister site Cinema Blend, you may have spotted the news earlier today that Torchwood star John Barrowman has signed on for a role in the new ABC pilot Gilded Lilys. Set in 1895 and executive produced by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes, Gilded Lilys focuses on New York City’s first luxury hotel. Barrowman will play a member of the show’s central family named Julius Ashford Lily.

At this point Gilded Lilys has only been ordered to pilot, so we won’t know for a while whether it will go to series. If it does, the show could theoretically hit the airwaves next fall or later. Assuming that’s the case, what does that mean, if anything, for the future of Torchwood?

Whether Torchwood even has a future is still up in the air at this point. After a much-hyped premiere on the Starz network last summer, Torchwood‘s most recent incarnation as Torchwood: Miracle Day was a disappointment in both quality and ratings. While I would argue that the show rallied somewhat and wound up in an interesting place, it spent waaaaaaaaaaaay too long getting there. If the show is to return at all, its presence on Starz is definitely not a sure thing.

There hasn’t been much said about the show’s potential future in recent months, and what little has been said is vague and noncommittal. This past January, actress Eve Myles, who plays Welsh badass Gwen Cooper, said that she hadn’t heard anything new about Torchwood‘s future, and that it wouldn’t return until 2013 at the earliest. If Gilded Lilys does go to series, that could make even a 2013 return for Torchwood problematic.

It doesn’t help that Barrowman isn’t the only one to be moving on to a new, potentially long-term gig. As we told you a while back, Torchwood creator Russell T Davies is working on a new children’s show for the BBC. Even if that doesn’t totally monopolize Davies’ schedule, it doesn’t sound like he’s in a hurry to bring us more Torchwood.

Then again, that may be a good thing. While Miracle Day had its moments, it was nowhere near the brilliance of Children of Earth. At this point it’s probably better just to let Torchwood die with some dignity rather than returning for another sub-par season. Hell, at the rate the show keeps killing off cast members, they’ve only got one or two more potential outings before everybody’s dead anyway.