Torchwood: Miracle Day, “The New World”

Posted on July 09, 2011

Here’s an interesting dilemma for a blogger: How do you write about this show on a weekly basis? And make no mistake, after that tense, explosive (literally), and just plain fun opening episode, we have every intention of writing about this show every week.

But here’s what: This is technically the 4th season of a British science fiction show which is itself a spinoff (and anagram of) a much more well-known British science fiction show now in its 6th (or 30-somethingth) season. Except now it’s being co-produced and featured on an American cable network as a Brit/U.S. collaboration. Oh, and while it’s technically a “series” by British broadcasting standards and a season by American ones, it really seems to be functioning as more of a mini-series, which makes sense because the previous season of the show essentially ditched the known format (after dumping half the cast) and turned what had been a somewhat silly X-Files/Fringe-type show into something far darker, more nuanced, and emotionally wrenching.

Confused? Relax. That only makes you normal. Let the nerds guide you through this one.

The good news for any newbies is that you could tune into this first episode having never seen any prior ones and you would think you were watching the premiere of a brand spanking new TV series. We imagine there might be one or two moments that’ll have you going “Hunh?” but the script does a surprisingly good job of filling in the parts of the backstory that are relevant and walking quickly past those parts that either don’t matter or don’t fit into the new paradigm.

And what is the new paradigm? Well if you saw the previous Torchwood series, Children of Earth (which is on Netflix streaming; you don’t have to watch it to understand this series but it’s a cracking good sci-fi series on its own and it’s only about 5 hours long), things are as you would expect. Torchwood is disbanded, Gwen and Rhys are living in seclusion with their ridiculously cute daughter Anwen, and Jack hasn’t been seen since he ran off at the end of Children of Earth.

But if you’re just seeing this show for the first time, most of the aforementioned won’t matter much to you because the story unfolds rather quickly and the setup and implications of that setup are laid out within the first half hour. The Miracle Day of the title refers to the day people stopped dying on Earth, which sounds like good news except it means people with catastrophic injuries (like, y’know, getting your head cut off) still don’t die. It also means the aged will keep on aging without dying; a convicted murderer and pedophile gets a lethal injection and doesn’t die, opening up a whole can of legal worms; ICUs are overwhelmed within days because there’s no patient turnover; and if babies keep getting born without other people dying, the planet is looking at a Malthusian crisis within months, only worse, because people will starve from lack of resources but still won’t die. It’s a credit to the writers and the actors that all of this information is presented without overwhelming the viewer. You get how horrifying things will become even before you see that much evidence of it.

Compounding the mystery is the mysterious email that shows up in the inboxes of the CIA with one word: “Torchwood.” No one knows (except the viewer) what it means. This was a brilliant way to start the show (although the last series pretty much dictated it) because as the two main CIA characters try to find out what Torchwood is (or was), any viewers who aren’t familiar with the show get a pretty decent crash course in it.

We’re making it all sound terribly expository but there’s plenty of action. In fact, if you are familiar with Gwen and Jack it’s both thrilling and jarring seeing them in the middle of action sequences that look a hell of a lot more expensive than anything we saw on the BBC. The beach chase with the helicopter was like something out of a Die Hard movie.

As for the cast, Mekhi Phifer is a bit on the irritating side, but considering what he’s going through, we suppose it makes sense. Besides, we’re getting the impression that he’s almost a parody of the rough and tough American law man. Bill Pullman is creepy as hell playing the murderer-pedophile and manages to make him unrelentingly evil without turning him into a mustache-twirling villain. Eve Myles is still awesome as Gwen. We know some fans of the show never liked her character (and to be fair, she could be a bit mopey and irresponsible), but give her a reason to get angry and she’s a sight to behold. Sure, it was silly seeing her firing at a helicopter with a baby in her arms, but it made a great iconic image; she always was a bit of a lioness, now she’s got a cub in tow. And while we always kind of liked Rhys’ character, if he keeps bitching at her it’s going to get old real quick. As for Captain Jack Harkness, here’s an admission that might get us in trouble: we never could stand John Barrowman. Oh, he was fine in the role when he was playing the Doctor’s sidekick, but once they gave him his own show, the bombast and camp with which he played the character seemed way out of place. He did a pretty decent job of toning  it down in Children of Earth, but he’s in some ways almost unrecognizable here. That’s a good thing. The story is grim and the previous story ended on probably the grimmest note possible, so the comparatively underplayed performance here is making him a lot more palatable to us.

We have two plot issues, however. We’re not mathematicians but it seems to us the 4-months-to-everything-collapsing timeline seems awfully short to us. Secondly, the release of Bill Pullman’s character would never happen under the real-world American judicial system. In fact, that one rang so false to us it took us out of the story. Then again, the story has barely started, so maybe there’s an explanation forthcoming.

Aside from that, no complaints. It was a tense, fun, horrifying hour of television and frankly, it’s been WAAAAY too long since we’ve been able to say that about any sci-fi show on the air. No doubt about it; we’re sticking with this one for the time being.

[Picture credit: Starz]

    • http://www.facebook.com/zherz Zachary Herz

      Sorry, but when I saw “That would never happen under the real-world American judicial system” my Law School Fag Spidey Sense kicked in…

      It’s actually not at all obvious whether you can try to execute someone after a botched attempt. The relevant case is Francis v. Resweber (1947), which held that such actions taken by the state of Louisiana didn’t violate the condemned’s guarantees of FEDERAL due process–that said, the way that we think about incorporation (essentially: which parts of the Constitution only apply to the federal gov’t, and which to the states) has changed pretty radically since the forties, and it’s highly unlikely that SCOTUS would endorse this decision now, at least with its specific reasoning. The issue hasn’t really come up a lot since–recently, this happened to a Ronell Broom, whose second execution was then stayed pending appeal. That said, Broom’s case is in the context of a general challenge to Ohio’s specific lethal injection procedure as cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, so. 

      I think the argument you would make is that the guy’s punishment–execution–is over and done with; the fact that he happened to survive the punishment doesn’t make it any less valid. Adding new punishment (like a life sentence) over and beyond that imposed by the jury is unconstitutional. It’s kind of an interesting question, but the idea that you would let someone go following a botched executon isn’t really as weird as it seems at first. Also, I feel like kind of a didactic twat now. Anywho, uh, MONDO WAS ROBBED. Carry on.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        Released a day or two later? That still seems a bit off.

        • http://www.facebook.com/zherz Zachary Herz

          oh, it’s definitely INSANE. The irony is, it’s a perfectly viable way to interpret the relevant caselaw; in the real world, they’d keep him locked up as long as they possibly could regardless. Heck, they kept Casey Anthony for almost a week… But the issue isn’t that the Torchwood writers (Torchwoodies?) have no idea how American law works, it’s that they’re being formalist and forgetting that Real Americans Never Let People Out of Prison.

          • http://twitter.com/lbcubbison Laurie Cubbison

            Especially Kentuckians. I would expect a stonewalling maneuver by the governor, followed by a court fight. Speaking of which, I was glad to see scenes set outside the major cities and with what sounded to a native KYian like me to be reasonably authentic accents.

          • Anonymous

            That loophole in the plot actually bothered me a lot, too.  I would have expected them to at least make the case that, since his trial and crime were so publicized, as was his “botched” execution, that it would be in his best interests to provide him with protection, and the safest place is right in his solitary cell in prison!  :D

            But, from the previews of the future episodes, I am guessing that would not have furthered the plot, and thus anyone who knows anything about the way the US legal system really works on things like this are left wincing and being pulled out of the ‘bubble’ for a moment.

            • Rand Ortega

              Personally, I think I’ve would have preferred if he had broken out of prison, leaving carnage in his wake, making for another layer of how terrible his character is & how clever. Imagine if this guy created his cult underground, constantly thwarting the laws efforts to recapture him, making a twisted folk hero out of him. That, to me, would have been much more credible & interesting than what was depicted.

          • Anonymous

            The case would definitely have gone all the way to the Supreme Court, don’t you think? And given the speed of American justice, would’ve taken years at a minimum. And I’m not at all sure the current court wouldn’t find some reason to decide it was constitutional to commute his sentence to life imprisonment.

        • http://www.facebook.com/zherz Zachary Herz

          oh, it’s definitely INSANE. The irony is, it’s a perfectly viable way to interpret the relevant caselaw; in the real world, they’d keep him locked up as long as they possibly could regardless. Heck, they kept Casey Anthony for almost a week… But the issue isn’t that the Torchwood writers (Torchwoodies?) have no idea how American law works, it’s that they’re being formalist and forgetting that Real Americans Never Let People Out of Prison.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        Released a day or two later? That still seems a bit off.

    • http://www.facebook.com/zherz Zachary Herz

      Sorry, but when I saw “That would never happen under the real-world American judicial system” my Law School Fag Spidey Sense kicked in…

      It’s actually not at all obvious whether you can try to execute someone after a botched attempt. The relevant case is Francis v. Resweber (1947), which held that such actions taken by the state of Louisiana didn’t violate the condemned’s guarantees of FEDERAL due process–that said, the way that we think about incorporation (essentially: which parts of the Constitution only apply to the federal gov’t, and which to the states) has changed pretty radically since the forties, and it’s highly unlikely that SCOTUS would endorse this decision now, at least with its specific reasoning. The issue hasn’t really come up a lot since–recently, this happened to a Ronell Broom, whose second execution was then stayed pending appeal. That said, Broom’s case is in the context of a general challenge to Ohio’s specific lethal injection procedure as cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, so. 

      I think the argument you would make is that the guy’s punishment–execution–is over and done with; the fact that he happened to survive the punishment doesn’t make it any less valid. Adding new punishment (like a life sentence) over and beyond that imposed by the jury is unconstitutional. It’s kind of an interesting question, but the idea that you would let someone go following a botched executon isn’t really as weird as it seems at first. Also, I feel like kind of a didactic twat now. Anywho, uh, MONDO WAS ROBBED. Carry on.

    • Lisa Goodwin

      I’m a huge Torchwood fan!   I sucked a couple friends into a standing Friday night dinner/Torchwood party too.   The reasoning under which they released the Bill Pullman character made me cringe, and I thought my non-scifi loving friends might bail on it at that point.   But they seemed to chalk it up to the Brits not quite understanding the American legal system.    Either way, it did derail the show a bit.   But I look forward to your weekly reviews!

    • Lisa Goodwin

      I’m a huge Torchwood fan!   I sucked a couple friends into a standing Friday night dinner/Torchwood party too.   The reasoning under which they released the Bill Pullman character made me cringe, and I thought my non-scifi loving friends might bail on it at that point.   But they seemed to chalk it up to the Brits not quite understanding the American legal system.    Either way, it did derail the show a bit.   But I look forward to your weekly reviews!

    • Anonymous

      “It was a tense, fun, horrifying hour of television and frankly, it’s been WAAAAY too long since we’ve been able to say that about any sci-fi show on the air. No doubt about it; we’re sticking with this one for the time being.”
      After what crap Falling Skies has turned out to be (and my still rage at The Killing) I am wary about getting invested in another TV show, but I’ve always liked Torchwood and really this was a great first episode. I was so afraid Starz, and adding Americans to the show, would screw it up. Fingers crossed.
      And yeah, that baby was so cute my teenage son even lol’d at how cute she was.

    • http://twitter.com/taijuuuh Taija HU!

      “Let the nerds guide you threw this one.”
      Mein Gott, what is this fuckery?

    • Anonymous

      I can’t imagine him being let go though.  I’d imagine an “accident” would occur and he’d disappear. 

      The production values look way better.  And after watching the first two seasons, then getting to the 3rd all on netflix over the course of a couple weeks, I agree I do prefer the idea of the seasons being about one issue, not a bunch of one off’s that culminate in some anti climatic boss fight with the supernatural.

      I don’t like Mekhi’s “ugly american” character but hopefully he’ll become more appealing.  

      • Anonymous

        Funny.  I thought the special effects looked particularly bad–in particular the flames after the helicopter has been shot down n the beach were so fake! (I known that is kind of a spoiler but sounds so vague I can’t imagine it spoiling anybody really.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12933141 Elizabeth Riley

      You boys just made my day, reviewing this. I lovelovelove Torchwood and last night’s episode was brilliant. And Capt. John Harkness was a *bit* annoying and campy, but charming as hell and I love him :)

    • Anonymous

      There’s quite a lot of anger that this is being shown in the US before it’s being shown here. I think showing it on the same night would’ve been fairer however part of the deal was that the US partner had contractual rights to premiere it. 
      Now if Torchwood had been created and developed by a private company that would be ok, but the BBC is publicly funded by licence fee payers. Much as it’s appreciated that the US investment has enabled the show to continue, it’s not the sort of thing that sits easily over here. If anything like this happened to Doctor Who there would be an almighty uproar!

      So, no spoilers please! We have to wait a week.

      • MilaXX

        You might want to skip these post until you watch then, because it’s a bit ridiculous to think we won’t discuss in detail the episodes after they air.

        • Anonymous

          Ok fine, fair enough. But the point was that when they managed to air Doctor Who series 6 on the same date then I’m sure they could have with this, given the established fanbase will be in the UK and a lot of them will be desperate to see it. It seems to be partially down to the contract and partially down to the BBC waiting for a good timeslot.

          • MilaXX

            Oh I completely agree. I am surprised it took until DW series 6 for them to realize that it would be beneficial to air the show on the same date on both sides of the pond. I have been a Who fan since the 4th Doctor and I understand that it remained somewhat of a cult following for a long time, but TPTB have known for some time now that most US fans watched by er, um other means rather than wait out the delay it took for them to air it on BBCA or Scy Fy. I’m sure it all came down to dollars and cents. Shame really cause it’s die hard fans that have keep the show going.

            • Anonymous

              Totally. I grew up on it, mostly Tom Baker then Peter Davidson. It’s mainstream popularity even here waned after that until it came back with Eccleston. The McGann Doctor being seen as a bit of an odd curiosity only tenuously connected. It’s great to see how popular it’s become in the US and doing the same date launch was a great idea. I know you guys normally have to wait, just as we have to wait on US shows. 
              What I’m not sure comes across to many is just how protective we are of Who and it’s franchises. It’s so woven into our culture. I think the only US equivalent would be some 50s and 60s shows as you’ve had multiple channels longer so I’m struggling to think of more recent telly that would have the same impact of everyone watching – and in the days of 3 channels, every kid watched classic Who on Saturday at tea-time from behind the sofa after Jim’ll Fix It and before the Generation Game. For want of closer examples it’s like Sesame street or I love Lucy to us (please do insert more relevant examples LOL). So there is a fear of Americanisation, that has been stirred up a little by some of the recent Who episodes like TIA. 

              No doubt it comes down to hard cash. The BBC, like every public body, is cutting expenditure and can’t justify the licence fee on more and more effects and Davies wants everything bigger and higher budget. If TW succeeds in it’s new format with it’s new partners and survives the first series then great, but it’ll become a different show, not ours, and no longer part of that Who stable and the air date has just kind of rubbed that in.Sorry for the ramble, hope it makes sense! :)

          • Anonymous

            For the previous 49 years, we’ve had to wait to watch Doctor Who. A week won’t kill ya. ;)

            • Anonymous

              Of course it won’t :) and likewise we wait a while on US shows coming here and always have. But if you read my post I was referring to the general response I’ve read rather than just my personal feelings!

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1121651290 Angela Murray

        Actually, they technically DID try it with Doctor Who. :) If the movie with the Eighth doctor back in the 90’s had actually been successful, I’m sure Fox would have insisted on premiering episodes as the series continued.

        • Anonymous

          And as I recall it didn’t go down too well LOL! However at that time it had been long cancelled and unloved with the latter series before the axing losing popularity fast. So fans were happy to get any Doctor Who no matter the circumstances. And then it was widely panned anyway.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

      TLo and bitter kittens — could someone do a compare & contrast between “Falling Skies” and “Torchwood”?  I know nothing about the latter, but the former robbed me of four hours of life that I will never get back. After slogging through the disastrous “Killing” I’m a little gun-shy about starting a new series. Thoughts?

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        They’re not really comparable in any way. Torchwood’s much closer to a full-on action series with government and military overtones while Falling Skies is post-apocalyptic. Plus, Torchwood always did have a sort of gleeful insanity about it, even when the episodes weren’t any good. Falling Skies is pretty morose and fatalistic. In short, Torchwood’s just more fun, although it has a tremendous capacity to get very dark. As for this series, Lorenzo never saw the previous seasons of the show and he needed almost nothing explained to him. It really does feel like the premiere of a brand new series in that way. Give it an hour of your life. If you aren’t hooked in the first episode, we can’t imagine you’d like it going forward.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Catherine-Rhodes/602850414 Catherine Rhodes

          Thanks. I’ll give it a try.

    • Anonymous

      “we never could stand John Barrowman. Oh, he was fine in the role when he
      was playing the Doctor’s sidekick, but once they gave him his own show,
      the bombast and camp with which he played the character seemed way out
      of place.”

      i absolutely LOVED barrowman as jack in dr who. but youre right, in torchwood, all the fun just got sucked out of the character. although i blame the writing more than barrowmans performance. what did making him immortal and mopey and tortured ever add to the character?

      • MilaXX

        I always viewed Torchwood as Doctor Who’s campy stepchild and with the exception of a few eps here and there, until CoE it really was just zany fun. Between his captain Jack role and the yearly pantos he does, I think Barrowman likes the campy roles so I don’t mind much. I am happy to see that he know when to reign it in.

      • Anonymous

        ” what did making him immortal and mopey and tortured ever add to the character? ”

        The whole ‘not being able to die’ thing made for some pretty cool moments.

      • MilaXX

        He was immortal on Doctor Who as well.

        • Anonymous

          Jack became immortal on Doctor Who and brought it with him to Torchwood.  Agreed that it made for some cool moments, but also excruciating ones reminiscent of the “deaths: in Miracle Day, except taht Jack also healed whenever something happened.

    • glennethph

      Good luck to them but I’m not watching any more Torchwood.  While I was a fan, I realized that I was there more for Ianto than anything or anyone else.   So if other fans still want to watch, more power to you but unless the timey-wimeyness of Doctor Who’s Season 5 affected anything in the Torchwood universe and brought back a suit-wearing, coffee-making asskicker, I’m out.

      • http://twitter.com/AGMcKamey Aliza McKamey

        I’m very much in agreement with you. I had issues watching Children of Earth after what happened with Tosh and Owen and I think Ianto was the final straw for me. I’m not going to be watching this season of Torchwood, I don’t think, because it’s disappointed me too much in the past.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, I don’t think I can come back without Ianto either. Bad enough losing Owen and my darlin’ Tosh, but no Ianto? no dice.

      • MilaXX

        No details but I saw an interview where JB promises that there is mention of Ianto. I was never in it for the ship’ nor did I really see them as OTP, so while it was sad and surprising I wasn’t angry over the loss. It had been established that Jack had loss previous Torchwood staff over the course of the years they had been in Cardiff.
        However if that’s not your cup of tea, Ianto does live on in the radio series.

        • Anonymous

          Totally agree.  I think one of the best things about this series has been its fearlessness in ending characters that are beloved, even when it is heartwrenching.  I always had a soft spot for Tosh, but I prefer Jack when he is being at his most omnisexual. 

      • Anonymous

        I’m still bitter about Tosh and Owen and the Children of Earth debacle. But I’m giving this a shot… my love for Gwen keeps me watching.

        I’m hoping that it stays campy (as all Who/Torchwood is meant to be) but not cheesy (Starz?). The scene with Gwen shooting an airplane with baby in arms was way cheesy, but hoping that’s not a constant.

        • http://twitter.com/magdalenebloom magdalenebloom

          I did like the smile on the baby’s face though….”My mama’s kicking butt!”

    • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

      Because of the timing of Pullman’s execution attempt, though, there’s a lot of normal rules that wouldn’t apply: the whole world’s going to go nuts as it is, what’s one more guy?

      And 4 months isn’t that much of a stretch — you have to remember that there are NO stillbirths or miscarriages, and think of how many people are born and die every day.  Not to mention no abortions, and no selective termination in pregnancies of multiples — that alone is going to pull the number up by quite a bit.  And if I understand the premise correctly, not only does noONE die but neither do any THINGS — so everyone on earth has to suddenly go vegetarian at the same time that animals are going to be using up more of the plant resources.

      • http://www.tomandorenzo.com Tom and Lorenzo

        It’s only affecting humans. This was mentioned a couple of times, most notably by Gwen to Andy in the hospital in Wales. No mention yet has been made about humans in utero but that’s an interesting thing to explore. As for the math behind the impending collapse, the numbers as they were presented in that scene with Gwen and Andy were something like 350,000 births every day and 150,000 deaths. With no deaths occuring, that’s a net gain of half a million people a day. After the 4 months cited, the world population will have increased by 80,000,000. That’s catastrophic, surely, but we’re not convinced society would simply collapse over it and everyone alive will be fighting for resources.

        • Anonymous

          Those numbers sound about right.  I am thrilled that Davies has woven an environmental message into his thriller plot.  We are getting ready to “celebrate” the birth of the 7 billionth human around the end of October 2011–that is only 12 years since the six billion mark was reached in 1999.  Since 1975 we have been adding a billion people approximately every 12 years to the earth.  eliminating all mortality would have a substantial impact on growth of the population.

        • http://www.facebook.com/vitruvian23 Scott Michael Harris

          The births were happening anyway. So, if the Earth reaches capacity in four months at +350k per day, it would have done so anyway within 350k/200k * 4 = 7 months without the Miracle.

      • Anonymous

        ” Not to mention no abortions, and no selective termination in pregnancies of multiples ”

        That’s an interesting twist I hadn’t considered. No one dies — but would “aborted” fetuses continue to develop? Or would you have some kind of “living” 3 month old fetuses cluttering up clinic operating rooms?

        • Anonymous

          Oh! I think you are absolutely right.  Russel Davies has a very scary imagination.

    • Elena

      I’m excited to watch this series unfold, especially after the fabulousness that was Children of Earth, but I sure am going to miss my Coffee Boy.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll have to check it out. Children of Earth was good, though depressing. It’ll have to be pretty good to draw me back in after the deaths of  important characters. I’d be looking forward to this season a lot more if Ianto was still around.

    • Anonymous

      I never watched any of the prior seasons, but this was just fun TV. Loved the baby with the noise cancelling little headphones during the beach chase scene, which was right out of a good James Bond movie. This could actually be good, but I thought that after the first episode of Falling Skies and The Killing, so who knows, but I loved this first episode, so glad you are going to blog it.

    • http://twitter.com/jennawaterford Jenna Waterford

      The “that would never-ever happen” was a big problem with me for Children of Earth, too. I’m waiting for this to wrap and will watch it if the consensus is that it’s worthwhile.

    • MilaXX

      Surprisingly enough I didn’t dislike Gwen here, in fact I found Mommy!Gwen kinda badass. I didn’t like that Rhys was bordering on annoying with his whining and yelling. I didn’t have a problem with Bill Pullman’s quick release. I just fanwanked that with everything going crazy the politician thought it easier to let him go than challenge him in court. I also didn’t have an issue with Mehki’s character since on both TW & DW American politician and officers like him are often portrayed this way. I loved the shout out of Jack using Owen’s name in the autopsy scene. My only quibble is the leap that Jack makes after the CIA library scene. He gets bruised and assumes he is now mortal. How do we know that like everyone else he can now get injured but never die?

      I also missed the flashmobs.  Apparently they had them in every city in which they held a premiere of the movie this week.

      • Anonymous

        I also loved the Owen shout out. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523566011 Dawn Grimes Stough

      I’m so excited you guys are covering this! yay tlo! :)

    • http://diaryofaconsumerpunchingbag.blogspot.com/ Laura Ann Springer

      I am also very excited that you are covering this…I do have to get a bit bitchy that you don’t like Captain Jack cause despite the fact the man bats for the other team he is HOT! I love how easily he plays people and did you know that John was born in Scotland, moved to Illinois when he was a kid and FORCED himself to learn to speak with an American accent so he would fit in. I love this show and can’t wait for the next episode already!!!

    • Anonymous

      I have to preface my comment with the fact that I am a freakishly huge Doctor Who fan so my deep love of Torchwood is kind of a given.

      I didn’t have nearly as much of a problem with the first two series of Torchwood that other people seem to have had.  I thought it was fun and a bit campy sometimes but a lot of the British TV I tend to enjoy is.  I liked the cast and John Barrowman makes me smile.  (Sometimes I pretend he likes women because I just enjoy looking at him a little too much.)  Children of Earth was brilliant and even though they killed my favorite character I still re-watch it every so often when I catch it on TV or when I am having a Torchwood type marathon when I am being hermity. 

      I was super super nervous about Starz having anything at all to do with the production.  American TV tends to water down and edit out things that I find rather important to that show.  If you’ve seen the way BBC America edits the old episodes of Torchwood you will know what I mean.  I didn’t want to miss out on relationships I cared about or change too much about Captain Jack and I just got this feeling that Starz would fundamentally change a hero who tends to act the way Jack does.  I was pleasantly surprised with this first episode.  I will wait to pass final judgement on weather or not I think the American TV deal was a good idea after I see a few more episodes but so far so good.

    • Anonymous

      Damn, I missed it! I’ll have to catch it on reruns. If you want to see John Barrowman having lots of fun, check out “Springtime for Hitler” in the movie “The Producers” (the one with Nathan Lane, not the original). He is one hell of a song and dance man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=523566011 Dawn Grimes Stough

        it’s been on twice tonight already, and i think it’s on now… depending on where you are.

      • MilaXX

        I’ve seen him in that and also a sort of review thing with Carol Burnett. It was hilarious because I one point Carol losses her skirt and John confesses he split his pant and they are being held together with duck tape

    • http://twitter.com/mcglory13 mcglory13

      I’ve never watched very much Dr. Who (I don’t remember a thing about it), but I like Torchwood quite a bit. I thought Children of Earth was great (and horribly sad, of course). I streamed the first episode of this online tonight (sorry UK! You guys got Sherlock WAY earlier than we did), and I really really enjoyed it. I hope that blonde assistant proves herself much more badass than just MP’s assistant as the thing progresses and I worry about Anwen’s hearing after all the shooting.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GP6V45ZWCF6WTIP7UIMEO5BFWM Donna

      Just a warning that if you watch it streaming on Starz, it’s one of the worst streaming widgets EVER and buffers hardly anything.  But, I struggled through, and it was totally worth it.  Loved old Torchwood, and am glad to see it back.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HXGIQGVFKRD23QPTOQX4Y4DVUY Rachel

      Funny, I keep telling my boyfriend that Jack Harkness doesn’t work as the hero of the story. It’s more interesting for him, handsome and confident, to be subordinate to the Doctor– kind of like the high school jock being subordinate to the nerdiest guy in class. Jack as the hero is… expected. But things are different now, after Children of Earth, and Miracle Day looks promising. I can’t wait to read your thoughts on the rest of the series. Nerds. ;)

    • Rand Ortega

      Besides the judicial plotting (plodding?), I only have 1 quibble about this episode: What the hell is up w/ Capt. Jack’s hair? It’s Hiddy!
      Extreme Hiddy!

    • http://twitter.com/SongBird3411 Mindy

      Since I don’t get Starz, I will have to wait until this shows up somewhere else. Hopefully on Netflix streaming.  I liked “Children of the Earth” though.  Even though it was kind of depressing and my favorite character died.  Alas.  “Miracle Day” greatly intrigues me due to its glaring similarities of premise to a book by writer José Saramago called “Death With Interruptions”.  I thought this premise of “no one can die” was freaking fantastic in Saramago’s novel.  I am pretty excited to see the same premise play out on “Miracle Day”, except taken globally instead of just in one country as in Saramago’s book.  Sounds way fun!

      • Anonymous

        The new season of Torchwood (and the previous seasons) is available at this link:
        http://www.free-tv-video-online.me/

        Search under TV shows, hopefully one of the streaming options will work for you.

      • http://missbethg.wordpress.com/ Beth Ann

        Starz seems to be showing/streaming the new Torchwood on their site as an incentive to get people to subscribe, so you can watch it now if you like.

      • Anonymous

        Mindy, if you search for “Project Free TV”, you will find a website that shows current/past movies and TV shows. They are streaming all the episodes of Torchwood, including the new series.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=545688758 Kathi Burnett Malin

      SO EXCITED that y’all are blogging this!!  Now….if you could add Doctor Who to your list of shows to blog, I’d be a very happy girl!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LEU4X5RQFPM4ZEA73GO4NKV2MA Kimmy B

      Yay! I look forward to your weekly Torchwood reviews~

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OLFHAJIPDVNC2KB5K4PQQ66PP4 Abi Munro

      I am so happy you are covering Torchwood too! I actually have come to prefer Torchwood Jack to Cameo-on-Dr-Who Jack, because while his first season on Dr. Who he was great, every other time they brought him back he was much more a parody of the character. Torchwood let him show more growth and revealed more of his non-campy personality to me. I was wary of it being set in America this season, but I have to admit, I enjoyed MP’s reaction to Wales. 

    • Anonymous

      I was able to watch Miracle Day early on Friday, as Comcast On Demand made it available to everyone before it aired Friday night. Oddly what took me out of the story a bit was the actress portraying the young blonde CIA employee. She used to be a dippy character on All My Children! Anyway, she did a fine job, and I hope we see more of her in future episodes.

      I’ve been intrigued by John Barrowman since he turned up on Doctor Who. I didn’t watch TW when it originally aired, so I caught up on both shows with Netflix. He is quite a talented man in both song and dance, his beautiful voice was quite unexpected to me. Lots of youtube videos to catch him performing. Also on youtube, search for “John Barrowman David Tennant kiss”. It happened at ComicCon and is really cute and funny.

      While I enjoyed TW:MD, I wasn’t as quite caught up in it as many of you, I don’t know why, except it may be due to my now judging all shows by BSG, which I have been watching on Netflix, and have just 10 episodes to go. I am stunned by the quality and depth and my husband says I am obsessed! lol!

    • Anonymous

      Count me in as a huge Doctor Who and Torchwood fan who was horribly disappointed with Children of Earth. I think they could have handled the plot in a much better way without being so bleak. I ended up feeling resentment toward Jack at the end of that series. However, I’m giving the American version a shot. I have to say, I’m concerned about the new characters. Mikhi Phifer is a terrible actor (from what I’ve seen so far) and the female character has no personality. But then again, it was just the first episode. I have hope.

      I love Gwen and will watch as long as she’s still in (and we know Torchwood writers have a tendency to kill off beloved characters). I’ve been re-watching old episodes of Doctor Who when Jack is a companion to remember why I liked him so much in the first place.

    • Anonymous

      ” the release of Bill Pullman’s character would never happen under the real-world American judicial”

      That was only the first of three plot problems that drove me nuts. The second was Cap’n Jack showing up at Gwen’s — knowing somebody, likely with heavy firepower, was chasing them — in an open jeep. Made for a great scene on the beach but come on…..

      The worst was the whole CIA plot. The CIA has — enshrined in law — NO AUTHORITY IN THE US. It’s prohibited to operate within the US. So what was CIA guy doing flashing his “badge” to commandeer a cab? The only badge they have is the one that gets them into Langley. And since it looks like the whole damn story is going to revolve around a new Torchwood working with the CIA its going to make me crazy if they’re going to have some freakish “CIA” agency unrecognizable from the real thing. Covert Affairs does enough of that shit to make me nuts….don’t let Torchwood go down the same path. 

      • Anonymous

        I love how people are picking the plot apart like it’s impossible to think that Bill Pulman would be released from prison, but everyone being immortal is plausible?  No offense to anyone, it just makes me laugh….

        • Anonymous

          I don’t think anyone on here is thinking that being immortal is plausible. It is generally recognized that in order to enter the realm of scifi/fantasy, you have to engage in “willing suspension of disbelief”; a phrase which originated with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, albeit in another context altogether. The problem with the convict and CIA storylines is that we believe in our real world that some things happen and some things really don’t happen. So there is a clashing of the rules of this story world with what we know to be true in real life. So far in this Torchwood story, they have allowed these events to be plausible, so it is something we have to accept in order to flow with it. There may come a time when events become so preposterous that it is jarring for the story world as it has become established. That is when a fantasy falls apart, within its own world. An example would be if characters from Harry Potter suddenly showed up in this Torchwood storyline.

          Sounds a bit pedantic and nerdy, I know…

        • MilaXX

          Perhaps because it’s a spin off from a story about a 900 year alien with 2 hearts who occasionally changes appearances who happens to visit earth on occasion. The entire premise of the show is the world is like we know it to be, but there happen to be these aliens & secret agencies to combat aliens.

        • MilaXX

          Perhaps because it’s a spin off from a story about a 900 year alien with 2 hearts who occasionally changes appearances who happens to visit earth on occasion. The entire premise of the show is the world is like we know it to be, but there happen to be these aliens & secret agencies to combat aliens.

        • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

          That’s because the lack of death is THE main plot point.  In fantasy and sci-fi, it is more important than anywhere else to make the details believable because the basic premise requires such a suspension of disbelief.  If you can’t make the leap with the writers about the core story, you aren’t going to be watching anyway. 

          And if too many details are handled badly and are unrealistic, they pull you out of the story and make it impossible for you to go with the writer on the anything.

    • Anonymous

      In total agreement with you guys on Barrowman – Jack was great in Doctor Who, awful in the regular Torchwood seasons, much better in Children of Earth. I love him, but he needs to be carefully directed on the small screen or things get cheesy real quick.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Marianne-Shively/552257797 Marianne Shively

      I love Torchwood and all its campy goodness. I will be eagerly awaiting your comments every week!

      Also, I saw this, laughed out loud, and thought of you boys: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/wwddd

    • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

      You have made me a VERY happy person for covering Torchwood! If we’re keeping count, I’m among those who enjoyed the first two seasons despite the campy silliness, and loved CoE despite the death of my favorite character. They’re practically different shows, so I like them for different seasons.

      My main concern about the new season—and maybe this is silly—has to do with all those rumors about making Captain Jack straight. I’ll be devastated if that’s the case. And if they avoid the issue by putting a stop to his indiscriminate flirting, that will be just as bad. Come on, American television…I know bisexuality scares you, but don’t take this away from me.

      • Joshau Norton

        As I recall, the original “Dr. Who” Captain Jack was an omni-sexual, not strictly gay. He was a salvage scrap dealer/con man from the 51st century where inter-alien/multi-sexual pairings was the norm. He flirted openly with Rose as well as the men he met. If they show Capt. Jack being interested in women as well as men, it still will be true to the character.

        • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

          Oh, I remember the omni-sexual conversation quite well! That’s what I’m afraid they’re going to get rid of. It wouldn’t be right if he only flirted with men, but it would be especially wrong if he only flirts with women. Either scenario will be guilt by omission. I just have a huge fear that American television is too prudish to follow through on an omni-sexual (bisexual, pansexual) character.

          The episode where he meets the other Captain Jack was such a beautiful one!

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            I don’t know that the BBC or Davies would allow that, honestly.  It’s so much a part of Capt. Jack that they can’t really change it now. 

            And since it’s on a premium movie channel, they tend to be a little more fearless than even most cable channels since they don’t have to make advertisers happy.

    • Elizabeth Herman

      I had full intention of skipping this show because I’m a fan of the British edition and I’m still being pissed about the character deaths at the end of the brilliant Children of Earth and I hate my British shows being Americanized (Coupling, anyone?).  BUT since you guys like it so much and we do agree on so many other sci fi shows, I’ll give it a shot.

      • Anonymous

        This is NOT an americanised version of the show (trust me, I share you hatred of that. “Shameless”, anyone?), rather it is a co-production of Starz and BBC. The end result is that they’ll pump a tonne of money in for special effects (the helicopter crash!).

        So watch guilt free.

    • Anonymous

      You have to love the fact that Gwen put earmuffs on the baby prior to shooting; Mom of the Year, that.

      I am thoroughly over the moon that “Torchwood” is back. Now I can stop relying on “Falling Skies” for my Sci-Fi fix.

      Added bonus, the absolutely lush Kai Owen who plays Rhys is back and thicker than ever. If ever there was a man I would leave my husband for….

      • http://twitter.com/dialmformichele Michele Rosenthal

        Those must be some industrial strength baby earmuffs, though!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Raymond/100000418842583 Lisa Raymond

      Torchwood (and many other BBC Sci-Fi series) have what the Americans are missing.  Immediate action, immediate lines drawn between good and bad.  They have an overarching mystery but seldom do they spend an entire episode just talking/crying about it.  That and the humor.  I thought this had some of the best comic relief I’ve seen in a long time.

    • Anonymous

      Yay! I was able to watch online through the Comcast website.  Not as chilling and creepy (yet) as Children of the Earth, and not as fun as the first 2 series, but still, along with True Blood and Curb,  should make for good summer watching! 

    • Anonymous

      How dare you boys not love Capt Jack! I kid. I kid. But really it’s Capt Jack and I will always love him and his camp! So happy to have what’s left of the Torchwood gang back on my screen. Did you two shed a little tear when Jack revealed his FBI alias was Owen Harper? I did. No shame.

      I’m not totally convinced Jack can die yet, like they want us to believe. Maybe he is just like everyone else now. He can get hurt but he will still live. The main difference is that he isn’t healing like he used to.

      Anwen is totally my new favorite character though. I don’t think you could find a cuter baby.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F73LIJ3SJGI5AJQMXMWXCKILHI Pamela

      “We never could stand John Barrowman”???????!!!!!!!!!!!  These are the last words I ever expected from you and, little missies, if I was your hag I wouldn’t talk to you for a month…..okay, a week.  And NO cat-sitting either!  LURVE “Torchwood” since the beginning and never thought it was silly or “X-Files”-ish.  If the only way to get more TW was to Americanize it, I suppose I can get on board but “Children of Earth” would’ve been the spectacular, tragic swan song any show would wish for.  Taking it away from its origins makes it lose a little something in my view but Russell is a genius and I shall choose to trust his vision.  Welcome back, Captain Jack & Gwennie!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_F3HKIK7MIJMBDAQBDWEAQDTXUM theneva

      John Barrowman always reminded me of stout Tom Cruise. It’s strangely off-putting.

    • Anonymous

      I’m proud/slightly embarrassed to say that I understood every word of
      that opening paragraph. I’ve just started watching Miracle Day (I’ve
      been busy!) but so far I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I was VERY
      dubious about both the Americanization of the show and the lack of Ianto
      (seriously, they couldn’t have kept that ONE character?!?), but decided
      to give it a shot. I’m still a little unsure about the fact that it’s
      going to take place primarily in America. I mean, part of the reason I
      like watching British television is to get a bit of a change. I see
      America on TV all the time. But regardless of that, it was a great first
      episode, and I have missed the show a lot. I’m looking forward to
      seeing where they go with this.

      I’m still mad about Ianto, though.