Archive for July 15, 2011

Please don’t read if you have not seen episode 1 of the new series of Torchwood: Miracle day yet….Spoiler alert.

I was really looking forward to this as it has been a very long time since I have had my last Torchwood fix. I am a huge fan of Torchwood and, like my wife (although possibly for different reasons), I love John Barrowman in it. I think its a shame he hasnt been in the new series of doctor who, but that’s just a minor gripe. Anyway where was I :), Oh yes Torchwood. I don’t know if you remember but at the end the last series of Torchwood a powerful and emotionally wrenching storyline left the ranks of our Cardiff-based alien-hunting Torchwood Institute decimated. They were left so battered that Torchwood could do nothing but disband and Captain Jack (john barrowman) was seen to disappear into space to roam through the galaxy and find a new life for himself.

And this is where exciting new series , “Torchwood: Miracle Day,” starts.  But for some strange reason the action has (unfortunately in my opinion) moved to the United States, where Torchwood is just a rumor and the world, has Something Big to worry about. Anyway this series begins with the botched execution of child murderer Oswald Danes, and soon it becomes clear that death has taken a permanent holiday. And no matter how dire the disease or gruesome the accident  no one on the planet can die. For example, in a particular gruesome scene, the remains of a body is examined after an explosion has blown him to loads of pieces and he appears to still alive.  Captain Jack innocently asks “Will he still be alive if you cut off his head” and the answer, we gruesomely find out, is YES.

What at first appears to be a blessing soon becomes a numerical nightmare. Because we find out as the population increases exponentially, the planet’s resources will dwindle and we are told that everything will be gone in about 4 months.

The only group equipped to find the cause, and thus the solution, is …Torchwood. But is there a connection Torchwood and this phenomenon!

So The CIA attempt to track down Torchwood with the aid of CIA agent Rex Matherson, who has spent most of the episode in hospital after a fatal car crash.  Well, it should be fatal as he had a hug pole in him but, like every one else on the planet, he survives. So, whilst badly injured, he goes off to Wales to track down Gwen (the last remaining survivor of Torchwood). In the meantime Captain Jack comes from his self-imposed exile.

So we  end the episode with Captain Jack, Gwen, Rhys and their new baby being extradited, by CIA agent Rex Matherson, to the good old USA.

There is twist….Captain Jack, who has been indestructible for much of his character’s span, can suddenly be injured and killed; while everyone else has gained mortality, he has lost it. But with this twist it does open up another question for me. If Jack’s suddenly not immortal, despite being a “fixed point in time.”  according to the Doctor how does he become the Face of Boe now?.  Did the makers think the new american viewers would be too confused so they just removed it with no explanation. This isn’t the only twist. Pullman’s Danes, having technically served his sentence, is released from jail and looks as though he is going to become a major character in the series.

Miracle Day seems to race past with big and impressive action sequences.  There are some funny moments too.  Gwen holding the baby, who is wearing ear muffs, whilst shooting at the helicopter was particularly amusing.  In addition, Miracle Day has already begun to explore the  philosophical questions regarding its premise.  How does a person deal with not  dying?  Is an impossibly-alive person still a “victim”?  Is he even still a “person,” and, if so, does he still warrant the same rights and care as a  healthy person?  Does he heal or will he continue to feel pain forever?  The fighting in Somalia  stops because the army cannot bear to continue a pointless fight against an  unkillable opponent;  meanwhile North Korea sees its population as immortal  soldiers and takes up arms.  What will happen when food stores are depleted?   And, most importantly, what happens when the “miracle” stops?

But I have to say I am bit annoyed that most of the action has moved from Wales to the USA. I’m just worried it will lose touch with its roots and turn into an american action series. It seems, in my opinion, far too americanised.  The American cast members seem to be outnumbering the British first of all. So, at this moment I am really not sure I am going to enjoy it as I fear it is going to move too far from the original Torchwood series. And finally why isn’t the Doctor (Dr Who)  involved to save the planet? There is no mention of him at all.

Overall I did feel that Miracle day has tried to make an effort to remain faithful to the original series. But failed.  The tone and pacing appeared similar to the previous series and I think there were several moments in the episode that are sure to make current fans of the series smile.  Even viewers who have never seen the series should be able to jump right into the episode and enjoy it. But I think the die-hard Dr Who/Torchwood fans, like me, will be left a bit disappointed.

What do you think? Do you agree?

Here is a quick look at the next weeks episode:-

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