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.