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128 of 144 people found the following review helpful
Note: To help avoid potential confusion, the reviews from the upcoming U.S. release have been mixed with the earlier reviews for the DVDs available from the international marketplace. The reviews describing compatability issues have NOTHING to do with the U.S. release which, naturally, will be fully compliant with the appropriate technology. The reviews should NOT have been mixed, but that sometimes happens here.

For the first time, the Torchwood team (or what's left of it) head to America for this ambitious ten part series for the Starz network. In Captain Jack Harkness, creator Russell T. Davies and actor John Barrowman created a truly unique warrior for the science fiction and paranormal set. The dashing bi-sexual hero was first introduced on Davies' "Dr. Who" reinvention and quickly became a fan favorite. So, it was with some amount of excitement that I followed Barrowman to his own show expecting some variation of the "Dr. Who" narrative. But no, the show was stylized in a very different way. The "Torchwood" spin-off played like a high octane and oftentimes quite amusing cousin to the "X-files." For two seasons, the show exceeded as adult escapism at every level. The controversial miniseries "Children of Earth" redefined everything in the Torchwood universe and is alternately loved and hated by the show's most fervent fans. For my money, though, it was a dark and unforgettable experience.

"Miracle Day" arrives some time after the remaining Torchwood members have disbanded and are in seclusion. Miracle Day refers to the show's dynamic premise--one day, no one in the world dies. No matter how traumatic an injury or illness, death has simply vanished as an option. As simple as that, the entire world faces a universal dilemma about what constitutes life. The ethical, societal, political, economic, and practical ramifications of an ever expanding world population sets the entire planet into a frenzy. It seems that the occurrence might have been knowingly orchestrated by unseen entities and expected by large pharmaceutical interests. More concerning, it may have to do with Barrowman's Harkness. Previously immortal, Harkness is experiencing the opposite effect of everyone else--now he is vulnerable to injury. And he (as well as Gwen and her family) are on the firing line.

The show's concept, in this case, is the star. Complicated and truly thought provoking, the idea behind Miracle Day raises so many intriguing questions. More akin to "Children of Earth" than to the original show, if you disliked that miniseries--you will no doubt be disappointed in this as well. And while I don't think that this incarnation has the operatic grandeur of "Children of Earth," it still works on its own terms. It doesn't, however, feel particularly like the Torchwood you've come to know--this is an entirely different beast. With only a couple of the original cast members left, the program relies on many new faces. Mekhi Phifer is a new lead, filled with bluster and bravado, and is not someone I particularly connected with. More successful is Bill Pullman as a messianic death row inmate who survived his execution, Arlene Tur as a doctor caught up in the unraveling the medical conspiracy, Lauren Ambrose as an unscrupulous public relations agent, and Alexa Havins as a CIA analyst who finds herself in the field.

Again, it is the plot that is the most intriguing aspect of "Miracle Day." With so many new characters and such a broad international narrative, I sometimes felt Barrowman was sidelined. I always want more Jack! But the intricate mythology and the unraveling conspiracies compensate for this disappointment. As the days progress, the world plunges deeper into a ruthless government state and the fate of humanity is once again in the hands of the Torchwood team. An easy recommendation, despite some minor reservations. KGHarris, 8/11.
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152 of 179 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2011
Miracle Day had its moments (mostly when Jack, who was sorely underutilized, was on screen), but if you're a fan of the original series then you probably shouldn't waste your time or your money. It feels nothing at all like the first three seasons, which are what made me fall in love with Torchwood in the first place. The format of the show has changed, the new characters are highly unlikeable, and I found the episodes slow-moving and not very well-written (with few exceptions). And ten episodes was FAR too long for the plot they had.

It's like an AU (that's alternate universe, in case you aren't familiar with the term) version of Torchwood. And honestly, since Jack and Gwen were practically background characters, it shouldn't even be called Torchwood, because it just felt like any other bad American action show that just happened to have Gwen, Jack, and Rhys involved.

Torchwood should have ended after Children of Earth - which was a well-written, tight, dramatic miniseries that I actually got involved in. Children of Earth actually felt like an ending - Gwen was left to start her beautiful family with Rhys, and Jack was freed from earth when he had nothing (Ianto) to make him stay. It wouldn't have been a happy ending, but it would have been an ending and as far as I'm concerned, it was the end of Torchwood.

Miracle Day was just flat, apart from a handful of scenes. But in my opinion, they killed the show when they killed Ianto - it doesn't feel like Torchwood without him. I didn't care about the new characters, Jack was barely in the show, and there was too little Wales.

I did like episode seven, though I felt the chemistry between Jack and Angelo fell a little flat, and that Angelo was a fairly unlikeable character. The roadtrip scenes in that episode with Jack and Gwen were stellar, though - glad to see that it illustrated that their priority is no longer each other. It made their dynamic even more interesting. I'd actually love to see them turn on each other if they (god forbid) did another series. THAT would be fascinating.

I am also glad they knocked off the forced romantic tension between Jack and Gwen from the first one and a half series that frankly, in my opinion, hampered their characters. I love Gwen and Rhys's relationship - it's nice to have that normalcy and love to "even out" all the action. Which is also the reason why I miss Ianto - his absence was very painfully felt through the entire run of Miracle Day. He was a nice bit of humor, and he brought out a side of Jack that no one else has. It was very telling every time Jack mentioned Ianto in Miracle Day that he is not over what happened on Day Four of COE. He may put on a brave face, but he's broken now and I don't think he'll get past it in a very long time. Big misstep in getting rid of Gareth - he's a fantastic actor and the show isn't the same without him.

If you want to see a great show, just watch the original U.K. series. THAT is what Torchwood is all about. If they can't bring back the original cast and feel of the show, I don't know how interested I would be in watching another series.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
For the first time, the Torchwood team (or what's left of it) head to America for this ambitious ten part series for the Starz network. In Captain Jack Harkness, creator Russell T. Davies and actor John Barrowman created a truly unique warrior for the science fiction and paranormal set. The dashing bi-sexual hero was first introduced on Davies' "Dr. Who" reinvention and quickly became a fan favorite. So, it was with some amount of excitement that I followed Barrowman to his own show expecting some variation of the "Dr. Who" narrative. But no, the show was stylized in a very different way. The "Torchwood" spin-off played like a high octane and oftentimes quite amusing cousin to the "X-files." For two seasons, the show exceeded as adult escapism at every level. The controversial miniseries "Children of Earth" redefined everything in the Torchwood universe and is alternately loved and hated by the show's most fervent fans. For my money, though, it was a dark and unforgettable experience.

"Miracle Day" arrives some time after the remaining Torchwood members have disbanded and are in seclusion. Miracle Day refers to the show's dynamic premise--one day, no one in the world dies. No matter how traumatic an injury or illness, death has simply vanished as an option. As simple as that, the entire world faces a universal dilemma about what constitutes life. The ethical, societal, political, economic, and practical ramifications of an ever expanding world population sets the entire planet into a frenzy. It seems that the occurrence might have been knowingly orchestrated by unseen entities and expected by large pharmaceutical interests. More concerning, it may have to do with Barrowman's Harkness. Previously immortal, Harkness is experiencing the opposite effect of everyone else--now he is vulnerable to injury. And he (as well as Gwen and her family) are on the firing line.

The show's concept, in this case, is the star. Complicated and truly thought provoking, the idea behind Miracle Day raises so many intriguing questions. More akin to "Children of Earth" than to the original show, if you disliked that miniseries--you will no doubt be disappointed in this as well. And while I don't think that this incarnation has the operatic grandeur of "Children of Earth," it still works on its own terms. It doesn't, however, feel particularly like the Torchwood you've come to know--this is an entirely different beast. With only a couple of the original cast members left, the program relies on many new faces. Mekhi Phifer is a new lead, filled with bluster and bravado, and is not someone I particularly connected with. More successful is Bill Pullman as a messianic death row inmate who survived his execution, Arlene Tur as a doctor caught up in the unraveling the medical conspiracy, Lauren Ambrose as an unscrupulous public relations agent, and Alexa Havins as a CIA analyst who finds herself in the field.

Again, it is the plot that is the most intriguing aspect of "Miracle Day." With so many new characters and such a broad international narrative, I sometimes felt Barrowman was sidelined. I always want more Jack! But the intricate mythology and the unraveling conspiracies compensate for this disappointment. As the days progress, the world plunges deeper into a ruthless government state and the fate of humanity is once again in the hands of the Torchwood team. An easy recommendation, despite some minor reservations. KGHarris, 8/11.
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46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2012
I don't really know what the writers were thinking on this series. Throughout most of it, they seemed to be trying to recapture some of the sinister glory of "Children of Earth", by creating a world-wide tragedy, and letting its implications play out over the course of the series. I would have been ok with that, had they come up with a strong enough story to back it up. But come on, guys - a giant pink crack in the earth that regulates peoples' lifespans? Seriously? It makes no sense. Any semi-rational person could easily see the flaw in that plot line in a few seconds - for instance, the fact that average lifespan has been increasing over the years because of better medicine and food. We don't need a giant pink crack to regulate anything.
Also, and this is for anyone who watched Dr. Who before this show, the reason why Capt. Jack is immortal is not because of something in his blood - his blood is nothing spacial. He's immortal because he's a fixed point in time. So how did pouring his blood into the pink crack make EVERYONE immortal? Once again, it makes no sense.
Other reviews have already rattled on about the poor character development, so let me just say - I agree. It was bad. And it's really a shame, because Jack and Gwen and Reese were all very good characters in the original show. The new people, I could care less about. Which isn't good. And what was all that business about the "families"? That was just dumb. Probably the worst "big reveal" ever ever. There was very little actual setup for it, and it made me feel cheated after having sat through eight episodes or so of people asking "who really caused the miracle". I mean, come on. The bad guys are just rich suits? Manipulating a giant pink stone crack? Bleh.
I also didn't see the point of Bill Pullman's character, except maybe to make the show even more depressing and weird than it already was. Frankly, he made me uncomfortable, and I just wanted him off my TV.
And another thing: why hire John DeLancey, a brilliant actor, if you're not going to use him for anything? That made me mad.
Anyway, the point is this: this show is America's attempt to recreate something absolutely brilliant without understanding it even a little bit. It tries to be "Children of Earth", but it's not. It's called "Torchwood", but it is absolutely not Torchwood. Don't watch it, unless you feel like pulling out your hair in frustration, shouting obscenities at Russel T Davies for agreeing to do this show.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
For the first time, the Torchwood team (or what's left of it) head to America for this ambitious ten part series for the Starz network. In Captain Jack Harkness, creator Russell T. Davies and actor John Barrowman created a truly unique warrior for the science fiction and paranormal set. The dashing bi-sexual hero was first introduced on Davies' "Dr. Who" reinvention and quickly became a fan favorite. So, it was with some amount of excitement that I followed Barrowman to his own show expecting some variation of the "Dr. Who" narrative. But no, the show was stylized in a very different way. The "Torchwood" spin-off played like a high octane and oftentimes quite amusing cousin to the "X-files." For two seasons, the show exceeded as adult escapism at every level. The controversial miniseries "Children of Earth" redefined everything in the Torchwood universe and is alternately loved and hated by the show's most fervent fans. For my money, though, it was a dark and unforgettable experience.

"Miracle Day" arrives some time after the remaining Torchwood members have disbanded and are in seclusion. Miracle Day refers to the show's dynamic premise--one day, no one in the world dies. No matter how traumatic an injury or illness, death has simply vanished as an option. As simple as that, the entire world faces a universal dilemma about what constitutes life. The ethical, societal, political, economic, and practical ramifications of an ever expanding world population sets the entire planet into a frenzy. It seems that the occurrence might have been knowingly orchestrated by unseen entities and expected by large pharmaceutical interests. More concerning, it may have to do with Barrowman's Harkness. Previously immortal, Harkness is experiencing the opposite effect of everyone else--now he is vulnerable to injury. And he (as well as Gwen and her family) are on the firing line.

The show's concept, in this case, is the star. Complicated and truly thought provoking, the idea behind Miracle Day raises so many intriguing questions. More akin to "Children of Earth" than to the original show, if you disliked that miniseries--you will no doubt be disappointed in this as well. And while I don't think that this incarnation has the operatic grandeur of "Children of Earth," it still works on its own terms. It doesn't, however, feel particularly like the Torchwood you've come to know--this is an entirely different beast. With only a couple of the original cast members left, the program relies on many new faces. Mekhi Phifer is a new lead, filled with bluster and bravado, and is not someone I particularly connected with. More successful is Bill Pullman as a messianic death row inmate who survived his execution, Arlene Tur as a doctor caught up in the unraveling the medical conspiracy, Lauren Ambrose as an unscrupulous public relations agent, and Alexa Havins as a CIA analyst who finds herself in the field.

Again, it is the plot that is the most intriguing aspect of "Miracle Day." With so many new characters and such a broad international narrative, I sometimes felt Barrowman was sidelined. I always want more Jack! But the intricate mythology and the unraveling conspiracies compensate for this disappointment. As the days progress, the world plunges deeper into a ruthless government state and the fate of humanity is once again in the hands of the Torchwood team. An easy recommendation, despite some minor reservations. KGHarris, 8/11.
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60 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2011
if you're in the USA and thinking about importing these, you'd BETTER be sure that your either both your TV and Blu-Ray player can cope with 50hz Blu-Ray discs, or that your player is capable of converting them to the US standard of 60hz, because these discs are AUTHORED AT 50hz for the British market!

Some US importers found out the hard way (with titles such as Planet Earth, Being Human and Doctor Who: Series 5) that 50hz discs are NOT universally compatible with US equipment. In short, if you have an incompatible player (such as the Playstation 3, amongst others) and/or TV (such as all Panasonic and Samsung models, but perhaps more), you'll have wasted your money.

If you're not 100% sure you can play these, you'd best wait for the eventual US set.

Amazon should really do a better job about educating people about these incompatibilities rather than just happily taking their cash (I'm fully compatible with 1080/50, by the way).
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Sorry. I love Doctor Who (new & old) and enjoyed the regular seasons of Torchwood. But this was truly awful and painful to watch. The story and writing are not good and worse they seem to be trying to draw it out longer. Most of the acting is not good either. I can't watch this without it making me angry that I spent money to purchase this season to stream. Don't waste your money. Torchwood deserved better.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2011
Russell T Davies has really dropped the ball; indeed, he literally tossed it away (either that or he didn't have as much control of the ball as he might have liked). These scripts are, in part, plain appalling. Indeed, they're almost embarrassing to watch.

Did Russell T Davies write the entire series in a couple of hours after the pub one night? Wasn't there a script dept. to pick up the glaring narrative faux pas?

The plots wander aimlessly; there are gratuitous moments and scenes that do not successfully further the narrative or the characters; opportunities for conflicts are carelessly missed; there are story-illogical moments; heavy-handed attempts to demonstrate the differences between the UK and US; there are whole sections of inactivity during which characters sit around talking about what they might do next (didn't anyone read even a rudimentary 'how-to' screenwriting manual?). And Mr Davies even fails to make us truly buy that the US would spontaneously accept an infanticidal paedophile as a sort of cult hero (I don't have anything against that plot on moral grounds, only on storytelling grounds; it's badly set up, poorly executed).

If I hadn't seen Torchwood series 3, which was enjoyable, I'd say Mr Davies doesn't know how to work a long form drama. I'd say he has taken the concept for a double episode and tried to stretch it over many episodes. Stretched so thinly it doesn't take much to poke a finger through the weak fabric of this series. There are often moments in the episodes that are little more than packing materials intended to pad out what little true dramatic material is present - bubble-wrap wrapped around nothing of any consequence.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2012
With all due respect to the wonderful cast, specifically Eve Myles and John Barrowman, this isn't "Torchwood".

One of the things that makes "Dr. Who" and its spinoffs so wonderful is that they are, quintessentially, English. There is a sense of serious reserve, silliness, and strong, heartfelt emotion. The original "Torchwood" had the effect on me that Brits do--I always thought it was incredibly sweet, and it always made me cry.

The original "Torchwood" had hokey, but wildly creative sets and special effects, bad, but truly atmospheric lighting, cheap cameras used to fantastic effect, and even much better music. (The original "Torchwood" music sounded like someone left over from a good eighties New Wave band, probably sitting with a single synthesizer in a room somewhere.)

By comparison, visually, this looks like CSI. Emotionally, some of the acting is much like American television shows; it's abrasive, and it seems out of place. The music is dreadful; it's like someone using GarageBand who has no actual musical experience or training. (Minimalist doesn't mean idiotic.)

Mourn whatever made BBC Wales give up the franchise and take a pass on this. I really want my $15.00 back.
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44 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 2011
I'll tell you why. Because the show became a US/UK co-production and the "purists" would have you believe the quality suffered. I would like to make a few points now that will show, if anything, that Torchwood stayed true to its original format and actually progressed as a series.

1) Torchwood didn't HAVE to have any scenes in the UK AT ALL- when Torchwood jumped oceans, Starz could have said, "all the action takes place on US soil now". In retrospect, very little of Torchwood: Miracle Day occured in the United States. Much of it still happened in the UK and other countries. That was probably pretty expensive for Starz.

2) Not enough reference to the UK series- Again, Starz could have said, "We want to start this show over again. No references to the previous three UK series". However, the show continually referenced the first three series, subtly at first but then more as the season progressed. Consider this: I NEVER thought we would see PC Andy during Miracle Day, yet Tom Price was in about half of the episodes. Also referenced were The 456, Ianto, Owen and, of course, The Doctor. Gwen's parents were even in it and we haven't seen them since season 2.

3) The writing suffered- Series creator Russell T. Davies still wrote for the series and most likely outlined the entire plot from beginning to end so the other writers knew what to do. At the end of it all, we saw that everything had a purpose. Also, it was nice to see some humor mixed in with the drama again. While Children Of Earth (season three) was absolutely brilliant, it was also some of the bleakest television I've ever seen. Plus this series explored more of Jack's past in what turned out to be a pivotal episode for this season.

4) Mekhi Pfeiffer ruined the show- No, he didn't. His character is REAL. Like Owen Harper before him, Rex is a flawed character and a bit of a jerk. In the real world, the good guys aren't always totally good and the bad guys aren't always totally bad. Russell T. Davies acknowledges that and always gives us complex characters. I believe this may be the crux for most people: Rex is an arrogant AMERICAN. I bet if the series had stayed in the UK and everything about Rex was exactly the same EXCEPT he was BRITISH, no one would have complained.

5) The music changed- Arguably, the most ridiculous complaint about Miracle Day was rock music in the soundtrack. Sorry, I forgot- there's no rock music in England. They all sit around all day sipping tea and listening to symphonies. Give me a break.

6) The US got the episodes a week before the UK: how dare they!- Not Torchwood's fault, not Russell T. Davies' fault. This was an agreement hashed out between Starz and The BBC. Don't take it out on the show. And it's nice for us Americans to have something first for a change. With the exception of the most recent season of Doctor Who, we ALWAYS get everything later than the UK. Upset at waiting a week for Torchwood? Try waiting a YEAR to see season 5 of Primeval! Or Being Human! The UK has plenty of other shows to gloat about getting first.

7) Torchwood is just a name now, not an organization- Yeah and it was that way in Children Of Earth too.

In summary the show stayed true to itself, its characters and its fans. I don't think we really could have asked for more. The series overall had a more cinematic quality that lent itself brilliantly to action we could only imagine in earlier series (a vast improvement over inexpensive CGI and anything major happening "off-camera") thanks to an increased budget from people who truly believed in the show. Hopefully we will see more Torchwood on Starz (and due to something of a cliffhanger ending, it would suck if we didn't) and that the series will continue to grow and progress in the future.
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