Torchwood Miracle Day is the first season of a new Starz/BBC co-production but actually the fourth season (or series as the Brits refer to them) of the Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood. In Miracle Day the British production is taken to America and has added a lot of Americans both in front of and behind the camera. The plot of this new season is that one day everybody stops dying. Anyone who should be dead just will not die. They’ll remain injured, to extremes, but will not die no matter what. This is not only an incredible mystery, but it also sets off a chain of events as if no one in the world is dying there will be repercussions. Joining Torchwood veterans of Jack Harkness (Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Miles) are CIA agents Rex Matheson (Phifer) and Esther Drummond (Havens). Also prominent players in this new world without death are Oswald Danes (Pullman), a convicted pedophile and murderer who’s death sentence could not be carried out and Dr. Vera Juarez (Tur).
Torchwood is a series that has a rabid fan base mostly owing to it’s affiliation with Doctor Who. The series is sort of similar except set entirely on modern day earth. It’s been a hit in England for 3 seasons. I was surprised when I heard about Starz coming on and co-producing the show as well as bringing it to America. I sort of wondered how they’d be able to do that. The first step in the right direction was hiring Jane Espensen, one of the best TV writers around, who you might know from her incredible Buffy The Vampire Slayer work. She certainly has sci-fi cred and is more than familiar with this type of show’s tone.
I do have to admit that I’m not a big fan of Torchwood. I watched a few early episodes but never got into it. So my knowledge of previous seasons and storylines is pretty limited. I have to assume Starz is aiming for more than established fans of the show but there’s a rough balance that needs to be reached. I’m still unsure of how well they’ve hit that balance. The first few episodes especially it seems like those with knowledge of what’s come before will have a much better understanding of the goings on. To the show’s credit they don’t weigh down those fans with any tedious exposition, but there is maybe a little too much mystery for those of us just starting out. However you can dive right into Miracle Day without any prior knowledge of Torchwood and know what’s going on mostly.
Torchwood Miracle Day is really a show that’s firing on all cylinders. The writing is great. There’s a wonderful balance of genres going on that’s just perfect. And the acting is impeccable. The highlight of the cast has to be Bill Pullman in an Emmy worthy performance. His portrayal of a manipulative and unrepentant child killer is incredible. John Barrowman is also doing some really great work, pulling his already well established character into new places.
Story-wise this plot is more than intriguing, it really gets you thinking. Obviously the writer’s have done their own thinking about the consequences of a world without death and they do a great job of constantly bringing up new issues that would be caused.
This is a great adult show and I highly recommend checking out. Past seasons of Torchwood are available on DVD/Blu-ray in individual seasons and a complete set.