Many fans of ‘Doctor Who’ will be happy to hear that ‘Torchwood,’ the spin-off series, is alive and kicking.  ‘Torchwood’ (now called ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’) is being renewed for a fourth season which means more alien adventures for John Barrowman (Captain Jack) and Eve Myles (Gwen) who will return in July 2011.

What makes this even more interesting is the fact that ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ will now be a joint production between US based cable channel Starz, BBC Wales and BBC Worldwide.

Starz? If you’re wondering if there will be any negative effects to the show by bringing aboard an American-based network, you’re not alone.  Many fans are wondering if this means the “feel” of the show will change now that Starz is involved. Well, based on what’s been said recently, there’s evidence that a change could be taking place – though not necessarily a bad one.  ‘Torchwood’ writer John Fay was quoted as saying recently, “Russell [T. Davies] and Julie Gardner remain in charge,” he explained. “[But] there are more American characters in it, so obviously it’ll probably feel more American.”

There’s no doubt that this next season does see an influx of more actors so it’s very possible that these new, mostly American stars will have some sort of influence on the series.  Russell T. Davies attempted to put fans at ease by saying recently, “For faithful viewers you’ll see the same people in the same world, following on.  Though it also starts from scratch, because there’s a brand new Starz audience there…waiting to be scooped up. But I restarted ‘Doctor Who’ in 2005 from scratch, so I know what I’m doing.  It’s still Gwen, it’s still Jack, and hopefully more. You’ll feel very comfortable with it. And there’s great new American characters coming into it.”

Among many of the American stars that will be appearing in ‘Torchwood,’ Ernie Hudson, Jr. will have a role in the new season.  There’s no word yet on what character he’ll be portraying or how many episodes he’ll be starring in, but ‘Ghostbusters’ fans will definitely see him at some point in the series.

Another familiar American face will be Wayne Knight.  If his name doesn’t sound familiar, his past acting roles should ring a bell.  He played Newman, Jerry’s arch-nemesis (and mailman) in the hit show ‘Seinfeld,’ and a corrupt researcher named Dennis Nedry, the catalyst behind the mayhem in ‘Jurassic Park.’  His joining ‘Torchwood’ was confirmed by a tweet set out by the BBC’s account which stated, “We’ve got Alexa Havins here with us today with a special guest, here’s a clue ‘Uh uh uh didn’t say the magic word.”

The BBC seems especially excited about working with the American network.  “We have a long history of working with many U.S. networks, but it is incredibly exciting to be working with Starz for the first time, as well as to be reunited with the best of British in Russell, Jane and Julie,” said Ben Stephenson of BBC Drama Commissioning.

Previously, “Torchwood” was only viewable in the U.S. on BBC America so airing the show on Starz can really help foster a stronger American fan base.

Of course there are those who are grumbling over the collaboration.  But I say let’s see what it looks like first before the complaints roll out too much.  I know, easy for me to say, right? I’m not seeing my favorite show being aired across the pond with foreign actors some would argue…although hearing that my favorite American superheroes will be played by Britons on film in the near future does make me feel as though I can definitely relate.

In any event, don’t miss the fourth season of ‘Torchwood’ on Starz starting July 2011.