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Published on July 11th, 2011 | by Thomas Spychalski

The New World Reviewed

Our review of Torchwood: Miracle Day episode one, The New World, may contain spoilers for anyone yet to see it, so tread carefully!

Torchwood has always been a bit of a hit and miss series with me, and after watching the first installment of the Miracle Day story line, The New World, I am not sure if this one will start to show signs of life or die on the operating table.

Last time we saw the Torchwood team we were embroiled in the 456 incident, and honestly Children Of Earth really was the best Torchwood series yet, with all of the shoed in adult themes such as sex, gore and violence that at times tainted the first two Torchwood series only being used to move the story forward, not just because it could.

Miracle Day would seem to be using the same tried and tested formula as its predecessor with the still-living corpse of the bombing victim and Rex Matheson’s odd swear word being used in context to the story, with the effect that (unlike with “classic” Torchwood) it’s effect is not one that seems cheap or contrived.

However, despite all the joy at seeing Gwen (Eve Myles), Rhys, Andy and of course Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) back in action, the first episode seems to suffer from being the first baby step of a much larger and complex plot. This episode is designed to make us aware of the immediate situation the team faces, let us catch up with old friends and introduce some new ones along the way. It does accomplish this goal but not in a manner that took hold of you and instilled a sense of mystery and the “I must know what happens next” mentality like the first installment of Children of Earth.

While discovering the entire planet cannot die seemingly by any means we also find out the Captain Jack has been reverted to being a mortal Human male who can indeed be hurt, cut and bruised and also one would assume be killed. I feel personally that unless there is a reason for doing so, this was stated outwardly much too early in the narrative, it might have been better to try to keep as much of an air of suspense as possible to get viewers hooked whether they are Torchwood veterans or a new casual viewer on the Starz network.

This is not to say that this episode is a failure, it did as said introduce the common concepts, relationships and events that we will be dealing with as this series moves forward. Russell T Davies has never lacked an ability to bring fictional people to life from the script to the screen and The New World is no exception, with Matheson (Mehki Pfifer) and company being excellent additions to the covert, rough and tumble roster of gun toting heroes Torchwood does so well.

As far as overall concepts go Miracle Day shows a lot of promise and strength as Andy and Gwen’s discussion on the repercussions of people not dying day after day for a prolonged period of time are really a testament as to how great this concept is and how many opportunity’s there are for some really memorable moments and scenes. Of course, it remains to be seen if the series can manage to bring this to fruition, but hey, anything is possible.

After all, the series is called Miracle Day, isn’t it?


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About the Author


Tom has been a Doctor Who fan since the early eighties and has developed a deep love and admiration for the show and its universe in that time.

4 Responses to The New World Reviewed

  1. avatar johnoed says:

    Thomas I disagree…this episode was a failure. The acting was over the top. The story jumped from one scene to the next. It failed to introduce the mythology of Torchwood and worst of all it was, dare I say it, cheeky!! I understand the financial draw of America to an English writer/producer. I get that it is a stamp of approval and all that good stuff. I just find that every time a British show makes the jump across the pond something gets lost in translation: Latest Examples – Being Human & Life on Mars. I’ll continue watching to see if it gets any better but I don’t have much hope.

    • avatar Thomas Willam Spychalski says:

      Greetings Johnoed!

      A review is like that a piece of writing that some will agree with and some will not as shown here in the comments.

      I will however relate this to a show I recently started watching myself, which is Merlin, starting with series one over the last two weeks.

      The first episode did not do much for me, it was OK, but really it was not great and did not give me high hopes for the entire series despite the fact that I was waiting to see episodes written by Howard Overman as I loved his writing on Misfits and Dirk Gently.

      But it grew on me with a better second episode and so on, so although if I had to review the first episode of Merlin it would have not gotten perfect marks I would give it the benefit of being the introductory episode and more of a vehicle to get things rolling then to have any meaningful impact.

      I did point out the Miracle Day was not perfect from the start, that indeed COE started much better, but I think this will get better with time.

      Personally, I love the Jon Pertwee DW serial Inferno but episode one is quite boring…same thing with the much hated McCoy story Battlefield.

      Point is, I think we are in for better days and hey, the ninth Doc would love it…”Everybody lives”! ;-)

  2. avatar 23skidoo says:

    And I have to disagree with johnoed – I thought the episode was great, with the actor playing Rex stealing the show (his frustration over Wales was hilarious). And John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Kai Owen step easily back into character (although Rhys is a bit of a damp squib in this one compared to his rather robust involvement with Torchwood in the recent Ghost Train audio drama).

    The thing that needs to be remembered is that this is a 10-episode serial. Not a single one of the episodes were going to see are intended to be viewed or even judged on their own. The first episode is supposed to be a baby step. This is no different than reviewing the first episode of, say, The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Or even better examples, The Daleks Master Plan or The Trial of a Time Lord or The War Games. None of their first episodes accomplished much, either.

    It’s easier to view Miracle Day as a single serial when you remember that Starz and RTD have chosen not to show on-screen titles for the individual episodes (first time in Who franchise history for full-length episodes – I don’t know if the K9 spinoff does, though).

    Back to johnoed’s comments above, Torchwood cannot be compared to Being Human and Life on Mars because this is a continuation, not a different series. For some reason people are trying to make this out to be a brand new show, simply because of the production venue. Seemingly ignoring the VERY great pains RTD and everyone else is going to in order to make the Wales connection obvious. Heck, they even brought back the actors who played Gwen’s parents in Something Borrowed, name-dropped Owen Harper, reused some photos from previous seasons, the “456 file” thing is too obvious to point out, and while it has yet to be completely explained the whole “they’re out to kill Gwen” subplot is probably a leftover from Children of Earth. Short of Matt Smith making a cameo I can’t see what else they need to do.

    The key is read the credits: executive producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner. This hasn’t been handed over to foreign hands; the same people are in charge.

  3. avatar BJAMES says:

    I completely agree with johnoed about British shows getting disfigured by being brought into an American context. I don’t even have to see an episode of the US version of “Being Human”, because the whole real question is “WHY”? It can only be money for it’s own sake, really. The British “Being Human” is brilliant, and has no need of being “americanized” The whole thinking behind that is just stupid, and with all due respect to its excellent creator, the motive can only be money, and the ridiculous urge to suck the Hollywood teat (I think RTD and Julie Gardner are developing a taste for it), and to ride the current vampire “craze”, most of which, I think, yields substandard offerings (“True Blood” being a very notable exception). That being said, I think we all ought to stick with Torchwood, and give this give this season a shot. I think the first episode did a marvelous job of remaining faithful, while establishing new ground. I know I’m still looking forward to it, and hoping for the best……..

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