Because teenagerdom is a mess, but some people handle it better than others.
10 Badass Gay Characters
by Susana Polo and Zoe Chevat (Mostly Zoe Chevat) | 12:30 pm, June 28th, 2011
Captain Jack Harkness
During our finalization of this Grid, our Chief Editor argued for the live-action Captain’s place among a list dominated by comic-page action heroes. It’s easy to see why; Jack’s origin story and continuing adventures read like something that ought to be in panels but is just standard fare across the Pond. Though every other live-action example we cooked up eventually got nixed, Jack simply could not be. This is not least because, among the ability to run in a long trenchcoat, and keep an encyclopedia’s worth of alien tech knowledge in his head, Jack literally cannot be killed.
Created by Russel T. Davies and co-producer Julie Gardner, Captain Jack Harkness is a character from the new Doctor Who universe. First appearing in 2005 as a time-travel agent turned conman from the 51st century, Jack’s popularity with fans was so immediate that he was given his own spin-off special, the darker, more adult-themed Torchwood (an anagram of “doctor who”). In contrast to the more passive, and pacifistic, Doctor, Jack is more apt to use violence, but also displays as much human warmth as ruthless decision-making. As his complicated backstory revealed in subsequent shorelines of both series, Jack has gone through innumerable adventures all over the universe before eventually taking over the alien-fighting Torchwood Three offices in Cardiff, Wales.
Charming, disarming, and pansexual (in the 51st century, no one cares any more), Jack became as notable for being depicted in on-screen romances with other male characters as he did for actor John Barrowman’s marquee-idol looks. Though his creators have recently commented on wanting to even out Jack’s romantic entanglements to include more women (or just fewer male humanoids), the character has become an important landmark for a certified, classically sci-fi action hero who frequently, unproblematically engages in what us 21st century simpletons would call homosexual conduct. In the words of writer Steven Moffat, “It felt right that the James Bond of the future would bed anyone.” Here’s hoping that, in the future, sexuality will matter so little, we won’t even be making a separate Grid.
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