TV Review – Torchwood: Miracle Day Episode 1 – The New World (Spoiler Free)

I got the chance to catch an advance screening of the first episode on Tuesday night, and it definitely kicked off with a bang…

After the immense success of Torchwood: Children of Earth in 2009, Captain Jack and the gang (what’s left of them, anyway) are back, but this time they’re headed across the pond.  Moving the show to a new market presents a couple of challenges for the show: drawing in new fans from the US market while also appeasing long-time fans of the show.  As a long-time fan of the show living in the new market, this reporter thinks that the show will deliver on both ends.

Miracle Day takes place roughly one year after the events of Children of Earth.  All around the world, people stop dying, whether it be from illness, accident or old age.  The media are quick to dub the phenomenon Miracle Day, but as the trailer suggests, one miracle can have serious consequences.  It’s up to Torchwood, in conjunction with the CIA, to figure out what’s going on and how to stop it.

The show definitely benefits from (what I assume is) the higher budget.  The first five minutes of the episode are pretty disturbing, but they definitely set the tone for what’s to come.  At first, the thought of a day without death does indeed sound like a miracle – but as the episode goes on and people start to think about the consequences, it becomes a whole different story.  Already from the first episode there’s a sense of anticipation, the feeling that you’re heading toward something big.  They do a good job balancing the old with the new – there are plenty of references to the old series that will engage returning fans, but without being so cryptic as to turn off a new audience.  Someone who’s never seen Torchwood could easily come in at the start of this fourth series and understand everything that’s going on, and that will be important if the show hopes to pick up new fans in the US.

The show looks to have some great characters as well.  John Barrowman, Eve Myles and Kai Owen all reprise their roles from the prior series.  Captain Jack is still handsome and still has impeccable timing, Gwen is still a total badass, and Rhys is still…Rhys.  But the show also adds a host of new American characters to the mix.  Mekhi Phifer plays Rex Matheson, a CIA agent who is personally invested in the phenomenon and plays a key role in bring Torchwood into the fray.  The biggest surprise, however – at least for me – is Bill Pullman.  In a bit of a departure, he plays a death row inmate, the convicted rapist and murderer of a 12-year old girl.

Admittedly, I was skeptical when I heard that Torchwood would be moving to the US, as such things rarely turn out to be a good idea.  But the first episode should please old and new fans alike, as well as have them tuning in for more.

GS Reporter: Mirjana

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