Friday, July 15, 2011

Torchwood Miracle Day Episode 1: The New World

What if one day the world woke up to find out that no one would every die?  At first this sounds like a blessing...a miracle.  Then the realization sinks in.  How long can the world survive with the exploding population (approximately 300,000 people die each day)?  What about the people who are mutilated?  What at first seems like a miracle suddenly becomes a curse...

Russell T. Davies did a fantastic job of bringing Doctor Who back to life in 2005.  Although he has his shortcomings as a writer, he strengths far out weigh them.  As we found out from his Doctor Who days, he can come up with some fascinating story ideas.  His skill with characterization is rarely matched by other writers.

In the hands of most writers, "Miracle Day" would be shown as a great boon to mankind.  Davies decides to introduce the concept through the execution of a pedophile.  When he is injected with the poison, he goes into convulsions but does not die.  Later Davies shows us what happens when a suicide bomber explodes but does not die.  Another character takes some steel rods through the chest and spends the rest of the show taking pain killers.  Davies goes to great lengths to show the negative side effects to immortality.

As usual with a Davies script, many character moments stand out.  Bill Pullman stands out with his portrayal of the pedophile.  The way he looks at you can give you chills.  One of my favorite moments is when Gwen (Eve Myles) Cooper announces that "we are Torchwood" as she takes out a helicopter with a rocket launcher.  And what kind of episode would it be without Captain Jack (John Barrowman) Harkness and his snarky comments and expressions.  Davies even includes a picture that refers back to the first appearance of the Captain in Doctor Who.

Is this the same as the BBC produced Torchwood?  No.  The addition of Starz puts more money in the budget.  It also adds more American characters to the mix and ramps up the action.  The shoot out between our heroes in the jeep and the bad guys in the helicopter showcase the action flick influence.

Overall, I think Davies did a good job of balancing the mix of the British and American teams, the old fans and new ones, and combining a British type show with the American version.  I will be anxiously watching the next episode.  At this point we have no idea how the "miracle" occurred.  And the mystery of Captain Jack's problem is a major concern.  I hope this finds the audience to keep the show going.  I know I will be recommending it to my friends.


Gandergelf said...

Thanks for the review. Haven't seen this yet (no access to premium cable), but glad to hear that, despite the American involvement, the Torchwood spirit is still there.

Jim Black said...

Some fans are upset with the new series. It is not identical to the former seasons but then last season was different than the first ones. You can watch the first episode for free at starz,cin