Doctor Who News John Barrowman and Eve Myles in Torchwood: Miracle Day

Published on February 16th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

Chris Chibnall on Miracle Day Flaws

Let’s face it; Torchwood had something.

Call it an essence, a point of view or a sensibility – regardless of what synonym you choose it managed to pull you in with a wink, a nudge and roll of its eyes.

John Barrowman and Eve Myles in Torchwood: Miracle Day

Captain Jack and Gwen Cooper stand around doing nothing during a global catastrophe…

There was nothing else like it on television which is why passions still run high for its potential return.

That attitude meant something to its loyal fans and while there’s no faulting ambition and potential Torchwood: Miracle Day, for all its promise of a new dawn, hamstrung the show with excessive ideas and reductive storytelling.

Someone who believes something got lost in translation is Torchwood writer Chris Chibnall who has criticised it for lacking the ‘essence’ of the show.

Speaking to Starburst (via Digital Spy) Chibnall commented:

Whether you like or dislike Torchwood, it has an essence – of madness and cheekiness and sexiness, and fun and darkness, those sort of polar facets of what it’s about, of putting those things together – and somehow it lost a bit of that somewhere in the process.

When we were first talking about it, it was something a bit bolder, a bit cheekier. It may just come back to the fact that one of the great essences of Torchwood was taking those American tropes and doing them in Wales.

In a way, that’s what made Torchwood so brilliantly odd. Once you put it in California, it becomes more like other shows.

Despite its unique perspective, Chibnall – whose new series Broadchurch, staring David Tennant, begins in March – has cast doubt on the likelihood of there being a further series of the show:

It’s entirely down to Russell – I would expect he will have other things he’ll want to write, to be honest.

In October Russell T. Davies confirmed that the show wasn’t cancelled but was in ‘a nice limbo’.

So do you think the show had USP worth reviving? Are you glad it’s in limbo? Would you like to see it return and in what form?


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

20 Responses to Chris Chibnall on Miracle Day Flaws

  1. avatar Krumstets says:

    Torchwood could certainly return. There is loads that could be done with the show. It just doesn’t have to have Cap’n Jack wearing that outfit all the time though.
    That just seemed unnecessary .
    Miracle Day suffered from padding to the nth degree with sub X-files plots that culminated in a giant vagina underground. ( Or that’s what it seemed like).
    Just bizarre.
    Tone down the `how this relates to me as a a human and makes me cry’ stuff and we could get back on track.
    Aliens in our midst and the friction with authority could give it a new lease of life.

  2. avatar At0micandy says:

    Children of Earth was one of the most amazing pieces of Television writing I have seen. It was moving, well acted, great storyline, such a hard act to follow. Then came the travesty that was Miracle Day. Oh dear, how far they fell, it was dire. Bring back Torchwood? Only if it is going to be Children of Earth quality. Oh, and it must be set mostly in Britain and the lead American should be Captain Jack and it really should also involve Gwen. Otherwise, you know what? Don’t bother, I will watch my DVD reruns of Children of Earth and marvel at how good things could be, when we tried.

  3. avatar drew says:

    Miracle Day was too long. It should have been 5 or 6 episodes, or even two separate 5 episode-mini-series. Torchwood was also about a team–a team of people led by Jack. The biggest mistake was killing off Ianto. After that, it just became about two people, Jack and Gwen. They should have never killed off Ianto, and should have added to the British cast before trying to put together Miracle Day (although I’m sure that Martha and/or Mickey were supposed to be part of the team as planned and it didn’t work out behind the scenes).

    • avatar BOJAY says:

      Get the americans involved, and it’s going to suck. And that’s coming from an american…….

  4. avatar daniel says:

    Itd be intriguing to see a torchwood tv movie…

  5. avatar Gareth Kavanagh says:

    I rather enjoyed it to be honest. A little long, perhaps but it had the emotional heart, real jeopardy and some superb writing in the smaller scenes. The characters seemed more real and didn’t speak in zingy one liners all the time.

  6. avatar francis cave says:

    Well Chris Chibnall would know about badly written Torchwood wouldn’t he.

    Cyberwoman anyone?…

  7. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I could care less if Torchwood returned or not. I really grew tired of it. I’ve grown tired of this whole wave of TV shows trying to be grittier and sexier and darker than everyone else. If Lis Sladen were still around, and it was up to the fans which show should continue, Sarah Jane or Torchwood, I’d vote Sarah Jane hands down.

  8. avatar Rick Lundeen says:

    Children of Earth was definitely some of the best sci fi TV in history, including some of the best doctor Who. the other seasons of Torchwood? Not so much. I just don’t think Barrowman is leading man material or even a good leader of that team. Too irresponsible and no one can count on him for anything, except maybe for him to hit on guys.

    I think part of why C.O.E. was so excellent, was that Jack was pushed back a bit, not as much focus on him. Gwen had a more substantial role and Jack really does work better as a supporting player. He’s always been a lot more interesting and put to better use in Doctor who as a companion. I think the best thing at this point, as far as Jack’s future, would really to see his past, especially that dark, 2 year period that he doesn’t remember. A lot of possibilities there.

  9. avatar Beth says:

    I much preferred the single episode stories of series one and two, to the long drawn out storyline of Miracle Day. Children of Earth was a good concept, but I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed it as much if the run had been over five weeks instead of five days. Preference aside, one thing is clear… Torchwood needs to return to Wales, plain and simple!

  10. avatar BOJAY says:

    We fans have to face the reality that Torchwood, other than perhaps in book or audio form, is gone. Russell T Davies killed it, and used Starz as the knife. For every moment we can try to point out that redeems “Miracle Day” in any fashion, we should have known we were watching a corpse. Sacrificed on the altar of RTD’s career aspirations, and th irony is, it didn’t really get him anywhere. Life broke in, and I’m sure Torchwood is the furthest thing from his mind.

  11. avatar Wayne says:

    Why can’t you all see? Torchwood was at it’s best in the first two seasons, the monster a week with occasional two parters.

    I wish stop doing with torchwood what they are doing with Doctor Who.

    Stop messing about with it. get it back to basics. 1 series a year, build on one series a year.

    Why has nobody mentioned with Doctor Who how we have missed a complete season? With only production doctor who booked for the anniversary special and the christmas episode.

    Why do we get a new doctor who season?

    • One of the great ironies about Torchwood is that its fans wanted everyone else to take it seriously when the first two series were on and a lot of viewers thought it was trying too hard to be what the fans thought it was.

      When it actually did something that can quite easily be described as some of THE best science fiction television ever produced in Children of Earth (certainly on a par with anything written by Nigel Kneale), the Torchwood fans pretend it didn’t happen.

      It’s one of the great mysteries of the world. Either that, or Torchwood’s own version of the Doctor Who fans who dislike nuWho because it’s “not the same”.

  12. avatar Arthur says:

    If more Torchwood means more rubbish along the lines of Miracle Day and Exodus Code (sorry, Barrowmans), then I would rather see it stay dead and buried. It’s never going to be better than with the original team, in Wales and based at the Hub, with actual aliens and not just paranormal rock vaginas and volcanoes. I miss Ianto, Tosh, and Owen – it’s not Torchwood without them.

  13. avatar Callum Walsmely says:

    Miracle Day was just boring. There wasn’t any aliens in it at all, apart from the flashback. Then there was that hole through the Earth which just didn’t make sense. They killed off the only two of the new main characters introduced that I cared about. Then they went and made Rex unkillable, just like Jack! I never liked Rex and he was the one character they decided to bring back to life.

    I would love Torchwood to return, just not in the same format as Children of Earth and Miracle Day. I want it to return to its roots, Doctor Who-esque. 13 episodes, not one storyline, some sort of plot throughout which reveals all in the series finale. Miracle Day just got boring and in fact, I even considered stopping watching it. The lack of aliens just pissed me off. Torchwood is all about aliens. Not about giant holes through the Earth.

  14. avatar Kevin says:

    I think torchwood the series still has a lot of potential. The mini-series that were series three and four were really a waste of time. There was a lot of fluff. Those two series could have been distilled down to a 2 or three episode story arc in a regular season.

    Ultimately though, I do not see Torchwood coming back at all, “nice limbo” or not. I think the show has lost the momentum it built up on the strength of the first two series.


  15. avatar Rodolfo Piskorski says:

    By Chibnall’s own logic, CoE also sucked, then, because it, too, lacked the bizarreness and oddity of the first two seasons. I mean, the only true “classic quirky Torchwood” thing was the hitch-hiker inside the dead man in Day One: “And I’ve got Tupperware!” They imply the thing even makes you happy! Aliens are sexy and interesting! They produce insight! That’s classic Torchwood. The 456 were just scary, monstrous, and “them”. But oh boy I love CoE.

  16. avatar Arthur says:

    If a further/future series of Torchwood means more of the same rubbish as Miracle Day and Exodus Code (sorry, Barrowmans), then I’d rather see it stay dead and buried. It should have ended on the high note that was Children of Earth rather than how it has fizzled into a rather generic franchise. Besides, it doesn’t feel the same without the original cast. The Torchwood that I loved is long gone. If they could figure out a way to bring it back to Wales, with the Hub and aliens and Ianto/Tosh/Owen, then I might be able to care about it again.

    • avatar Arthur says:

      I’m sorry, I hadn’t seen that my earlier post was finally sent through!

  17. avatar Paula Copeland says:

    I was going to subscribe to STARZ just to be able to view Torchwood. But, since it is going to be cancelled, I have changed my mind.

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