Friday, July 8, 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day-"A New World"

The Team runs into a little trouble with a helicopter on "Torchwood"
Credit: Starz/BBC

My review of tonight's premiere of Torchwood: Miracle Day is after the jump.

I'm going to be frank: this was one of my favorite premieres of the season. Sci-fi has always been a genre that interested me, but I was never able to get into the first two seasons of Torchwood. I have seen a few from the first season, but it never quite clicked with me. About two months ago, I watched Children of Earth. This was about as good as a sci-fi miniseries could get. A lot of people disliked the conclusion, but I can't say I did. I found the conclusion of that to be about as good as it could have been, it could have been a lot worse.

It was Children of Earth that lead me to be very excited for Miracle Day. If this miniseries is anything like Children of Earth, I will be very happy. And based off this premiere, I would say that Torchwood is on the way to another great season. What I loved about the premiere were the ideas and the characters that it introduced for the season.

What I love about Miracle Day is the premise. A world where nobody dies is an idea that is so out of the box that it's brilliant. This will allow the series to dig deeply into mortality and how we will all die eventually. Based on the premiere they are going to use at least three different characters to deal with this idea.

First, there's CIA Agent Rex Matheson. The first time we see him, he's stabbed through the chest with a pole. Because of the "miracle" (*), he's alive. If the show used the idea that he is supposed to be dead to define his character, he could work. But what they focus on in the first episode of the show is that Rex is investigating Torchwood, and will stop at nothing to find out what it is. That's why he didn't do much for me as a character. I hope that he gets developed more in future episodes so that I can begin to care about him. 

(*) Every time I use the noun form of miracle, assume there are quotes around it so I don't have to keep typing them.

The second character is Oswald Danes. This guy is a pedophile and murderer who was due to be executed when the miracle occurs. In the premiere episode, the execution fails and Danes twists the law so that he can be set free. When he is let go, he doesn't get a warm welcome from all of the people that are  standing outside waiting for him. This is a character who could be very compelling down the line. I know a little bit about how they use him in the future and that's a very interesting place to take the character. Plus, Bill Pullman is a fantastic actor who can be extremely compelling with pretty much anything. This could be an interesting character and I'm interested to see how what he has to do with the miracle.

The third character is the returning favorite Captain Jack Harkness. As soon as the miracle happens, he doesn't heal. I don't believe that this is a note that the show has played before so I'm interested to see where they take this. Jack is not my favorite character on the show, but he's certainly interesting. Of course he would try to keep Torchwood hidden from the CIA. He cares about Gwen and wants to keep her safe. Also, John Barrowman gives a very convincing performance in this role. He knows Jack and it shows.

I don't think I will write a Torchwood review without mentioning how freaking awesome Gwen Cooper is as a character. In this episode, she didn't get to show off her awesomeness until the end, but it certainly showed. In this episode, we saw Gewn be drawn back into the dangerous world. This was a very exposition filled episode for her character and I hope that she will continue to be awesome. Eve Myles is fantastic in this role, and in general, so this shouldn't be a problem.

Some other thoughts:

  • The last character that we get introduced to in this episode is Esther, who is played by Alexis Havins. She was a perfectly fine character, but she didn't do a whole lot for me.
  • The episode introduces the idea of the miracle being an extremely negative thing, but it doesn't really get into it. It's mainly about finding out about Torchwood. This will be something that this season develops and it should be very interesting. 
  • The visuals in this episode were kicked up to a twelve. It's especially noticeable with the helicopter chase at the end of this episode. So freaking awesome!
  • The scene where they cut of the head of the dead guy and he was still alive after doing so was chilling. It verged on terrifying.
  • Have we met Gwen's parents before the scene in this episode, because the show treated them that way.
  • I do like Rhys quite a bit. Even if he is the nagging spouse, he's entertaining as the nagging spouse. Plus, I have a lot of love left over from Children of Earth for him.
  • This was the only episode that I saw in advance, and it probably will be the only one that I see in advance this season. I will definitely write about this show sparingly, but with the Friday timeslot, I can't guarantee weekly reviews. 
Overall, this was a very strong premiere for Torchwood: Miracle Day. This episode grabbed my attention with its general idea and great characters. If this show ends up being as good aas I think it will, it could very well be in contention for the best show of the year.

What did everyone else think?

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