A New World
Last night I had the opportunity to sit down undisturbed and watch the first episode of the new season of Torchwood. A co-production of Stars and the BBC, it's taking something from the format of Children of Earth in running a single story over multiple episodes.
Inevitably there was a lot of concern amongst fans about how an American translation of Torchwood would work. But the truth is this isn't an American translation. Not only are several of the lead characters still here, but the show runner hasn't changed either.
Russell T. Davies has always had a Hollywood aspect to his writing, now however the partnership with Starz allows that to really shine through without the limitations of a a BBC budget. That became obvious within the first few minutes of Torchwood: Miracle Day.
And that's a good thing. The first couple of seasons of Torchwood really felt like they were trying to be this big action series but hampered by a shoestring budget. Children of Earth got around the problem, but then we only got 5 episodes. So I feel that Miracle Day is what Torchwood was always intended to be.
While the plots have been of mixed quality, the acting on Torchwood has generally been good. And the series regulars still hold up their end of things (Eve Myles and Kai Owen in particular). I have a more mixed reaction to the new American characters though.
Alexa Havins does a solid job with what is so far a pretty generic female agent and I liked Arlene Tur's doctor. But Bill Pullman's Oswald Danes seems like a bad Hanibal Lecter impersonation at the moment and I'm not at all sold on Mekhi Phifer's Rex Matheson. He seemed perpetually bug eyed and over-reacting.
I can't say very much about the plot at this point. As anyone who's watched the trailers knows, suddenly no one on earth can die (a fact they explore in gruesome detail) and someone seems to be trying to deliberately implicate Torchwood.
This first episode was mainly aimed at re-introducing or introducing the characters and then getting them all on the same continent, which it managed to do. It's set up the basic mystery well, but we haven't got much flesh on the bones of the new characters yet. Still, it's early days.
So it's fast paced, exciting. It features old favorites. It's got a sold sci-fi concept. It's what Torchwood was always intended to be. And above all else it's fun. I'm in for the season.
- 'Torchwood' begins anew on Starz in the USA: 'Miracle Day' (crooksandliars.com)
- Torchwood: Miracle Day: "The New World" (tor.com)
- 'Torchwood: Miracle Day' steeped in fandom, libido and relationships (cnn.com)
- With Miracle Day, Torchwood Becomes First-Rate Science Fiction About Ideas (wired.com)