TORCHWOOD MIRACLE DAY
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Torchwood: Miracle Day (DVD)
John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Desperate Housewives) and Eve Myles (Doctor Who, Little Dorrit) are joined by stars Mekhi Phifer (ER, Lie to Me) and Bill Pullman (While You Were Sleeping, Independence Day) for a new heart-pounding season of Torchwood. When convicted child killer Oswald Danes (Pullman) miraculously survives his own execution, the footage holds America transfixed. And then everyone realizes that nobody is dying. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next. People keep aging -- they get hurt and sick -- but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four month's time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as CIA agent Rex Matheson (Phifer) investigates a secret British institution named Torchwood that seems to hold the answers, and finds only two surviving members: Gwen Cooper (Myles), who has retreated to a remote Welsh hideaway with her new family, and the mysterious, brilliant Captain Jack Harkness (Barrowman). But soon they all find themselves in the same fight against the greatest threat humanity has ever known – humanity itself.]]>
Torchwood: Miracle Day opens with a fantastic premise: one day, everyone on earth stops dying. A murderous pedophile being executed survives; a CIA agent who gets punctured with rebar survives; victims of heart attacks and strokes and disease survive. The world population begins to skyrocket and the only clue is a word that flashed across the CIA's computers for only a moment: Torchwood--which all fans of BBC science fiction know is a British agency dedicated to investigating impossible and alien events. In short order, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) returns from his self-imposed exile and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) comes out of retirement to discover what's behind this instant immortality. Reluctantly merged with Jack and Gwen are two members of the CIA: an aggressive field agent who should be dead (Mekhi Phifer, 8 Mile) and an analyst who's never done field work at all (Alexa Havins). And how will that pedophile (Bill Pullman, Independence Day) fit into everything as he gradually becomes a cult figure and a media sensation? Unfortunately, the 10-episode series soon gets bogged down in conflicting impulses. Half of the show wants to be a thoughtful examination of how humanity would grapple with such a transformation, while the other half wants to be a thrill ride as Torchwood peels back layers of conspiracy. These halves seem like they ought to mesh, but they undercut each other; what would be a compelling revelation for one of these threads seems lackluster for the purposes of the other. What makes Miracle Day still worth watching are the human moments: a wonderful backstory romance for Jack and an encounter between the pedophile and an escort have an emotional payoff that's far more significant than the conspiracy, which grows increasingly forced. And Gwen Cooper remains a delightful character, grounded in the prosaic world while wrestling with the mysterious unknown; she's the perfect audience surrogate. The basic pleasures of Torchwood are muddled in Miracle Day, but what succeeds will still be essential to the show's fans. --Bret Fetzer
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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.
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).
This is the situation the world finds itself in at the start of "The New World," the first episode of Torchwood: Miracle Day. It's the fourth series to of the Doctor Who spinoff be produced and the first to be co-produced with the American television network Starz.
As the story opens, we find a man, Oswald Dane (Bill Pullman), about to be executed for the rape and murder of a twelve-year-old girl. His defense? "She should have run faster." Not the most sympathetic character. We watch as his execution begins and then starts to go horribly wrong when, in a scene that went on almost long enough to become funny, he starts screaming in agony and breaking loose from his restraints.
He's not the only person to survive apparent death. CIA agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer), is driving while being told that the word "TORCHWOOD" is appearing on screens all over the CIA, only to disappear as quickly. As he's processing this, and indulging in some job hunting, some rebar falls from a truck in front of him and does, oh, some very nasty things. He's brought to the hospital where, to everyone's surprise including his own, he lives.
Soon word of undying people spreads around the globe and everyone begins looking for answers. Matheson's friend, fellow CIA agent Esther Drummond (Alexis Havins), thinks there may be a connection with Torchwood. She raids the CIA archive, finds a photo of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), and then is confronted by the man himself, who saves her from an explosion and then is troubled to notice that a scratch on his arm isn't healing.
Matheson himself soon leaves the hospital and begins investigating the case, eventually traveling to Wales where he complains a lot and tracks down Gwen Cooper, who has been leaving peacefully with her husband Rhys and baby Anwen. Rhys is less than pleased to have anyone snooping around trying to get his wife involved. Cooper on the other hand seems to have become bored with domestic life and is quite keen to return to the fight; a fight that becomes all too literal as assassins try to kill everyone.
The show is off to a great start. All the characters we know and love from the British series (well, those still alive at any rate), return and are put to good use, though the show is nearly stolen away from them by exceptional performances from Mekhi Phifer and Bill Pullman. The central problem of a never-dying population is also handled with intelligence and logic, including a couple conversations about why, exactly, this is a problem.
The program is also doing an excellent job of building off the darker, more adult feel the series gained with 2009's Children of Earth, but isn't nearly as buried in dread. Fans of that series will also be pleased to know that it hasn't been forgotten and that numerous references to the 456 turn up throughout the first episode.
While it is hard to evaluate the entire series on the strength of this first episode, I will say that it seems to be off to a great start. At no point was I bored or disinterested in what was happening, and I am very much looking forward to what happens next. Producer Russell T Davies has created an exceptionally fascinating conumdrum and watching how he gets everyone out of it promises to be vastly entertaining.
GRADE: 4 stars out of 4.
Returning to the series are stars John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness, Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper, supporting actors Kai Owen and Tom Price, as well as Russell T Davies and some of the rest of the production staff. Joining the cast are Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman and Alexis Havins. The program begins airing in the USA on Starz on July 8, and in the UK on BBC One on 14 July.
It may have been a little overdone - the scene with Gwen holding the baby while she shoots at the helicopter...NOT a candidate for mother of the year there...but all in all it has the same exciting vibe and a bigger budget - I thought it was done well and we will just have to wait until the next episode to see if it continues to get better - I have high hopes I must admit - Jack has to redeem himself (in my eyes) for what he did in Children of Earth...only time will tell.
Most recent customer reviews
Odd format with commentary before each of the episodes, but it's easy enough to...Read more
Was not a huge fan. Cool idea but seemed forced to wrap it up at the end.