TV - Torchwood: Miracle Day

Miracle day

It's time for Steve Taylor-Bryant to go on the offensive again and stick up for a work of genius that is much maligned, even by avid fans of the show...Torchwood:Miracle Day...

Season 3 of Torchwood saw the show branch out into long story arc territory, surprisingly what Russell T Davies replacement on Doctor Who Steven Moffat got vilified for and, with Children Of Earth, the bar was raised in Torchwood and in sci-fi drama itself. Following the best that the show had ever offered,Children Of Earth, was always going to be a tough task. You had to do something different, go somewhere new with it, and therein lies everyone's problem...

They don't like change!

One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next. People keep ageing. They get hurt and sick, but they never die. The populace of the planet dub this "Miracle Day" for the immortality they now seem to have. However, this leads to a negative result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people unable to die and continuing births, resources have become limited. It’s suggested that in four months’ time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event – someone must have caused "Miracle Day". It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?", he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

Using a ten episode format was considered a risk, as was pretty much moving lock, stock and barrel to the States. Ten episodes may have been slightly long but I don't agree with those that say the story dragged. I honestly think it's a quick and easy insult to say that and, if there is a problem, it lies elsewhere.

People moaned about the casting before the show was even on our screens. Doubt built up to enormous levels that just weren't fair and I'm sure this harmed enjoyment and viewing figures. The thing is, in a world of 24 hour social network opinions, everyone is a casting agent or director. If they weren't, I'd be out of work and I am as guilty as others of thinking I could do a better job. The difference is that I will give everything a go and judge it on its own merit.

I knew it wouldn't be "Children of Earth" again but wasn't expecting people to view it as a two headed dragon either. A friend of mine likened it to the reaction that a third series of Fawlty Towers set in Jamaica would garner and, whilst the point is valid, it saddens me that people are so judgemental before a show's release.

Miracle day 2

I have long called for a Torchwood/X-Files crossover. I thought an F.B.I link up with Captain Jack would be an exciting proposition so, when the concept for Miracle Day was announced, I for one was over the moon and was already defending my opinion to the naysayers. The casting was strong. Alongside the always great John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), and Kai Owen (Rhys Williams), was a strong support ensemble with two massive highlights. Among the great support cast were Alex Hawkins as Esther Drummond and Lauren Ambrose as the dastardly Jilly Kitzinger. But the stand-outs every time they were on screen were Bill Pullman and Mekhi Phifer.

I thought Mekhi Phifer as Rex Matheson was inspirational casting. He shook off his 8-Mile Eminem shackles, built a chemistry that he seemed to lack in E.R. and played really well alongside John Barrowman's often quirky Captain.

Bill Pullman as Oswald Danes played a psychotic like he really was, whilst exploring depression, redemption and fame hunger with such style.

The story concept was believable and shocking in equal measure. The writing itself was of a level unseen in Sci-Fi drama before. Russell was head writer and brought with him John Fay (Torchwood:Children Of Earth/Mobile) and filled the creative room with the best of American TV writers. Jane Espenson (Buffy/Angel/Eureka), John Shiban (X-Files/Breaking Bad), and Doris Egan (House M.D/Numbers) between them produced a complex but slick plot and told the story extremely well.

Not everyone will agree with me and that's their entitled opinion. But before you join the bandwagon of haters, ask yourself one question "Do I hate it because it's intelligent and I like my shows dumbed down and celebrity based?"

When "Made In Chelsea" is winning Baftas and people are moaning about the story arcs in Doctor Who and Torchwood being too complicated, then we live in sad times. I say to those fans wanting a series five of Torchwood - you should have been more receptive to the changes in series four. When your screens are filled with fake tan wannabes you only have yourself to blame.

Images - BBC

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