The cuts and bruises of Torchwood: Miracle Day

This weekend, we finally got to watch the premier of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Personally, I think it’s off to somewhat of an amorphous start.

The season, and thus the story, is ten episodes long, so this first episode served as our introduction. As such there was little going on. If you saw any of the sneak-peeks or featurettes, then you’ve already seen the episode, as it turns out that almost all of the footage from the sneak-peeks and trailers are from this episode, and almost all of the action shots in this episode made it into the sneak-peeks. 

I suppose that cuts back on spoilers, which is good, but I didn’t feel like I learned anything new from this episode, especially considering that a large part of it was spent exposing the American audience to the details of the British story, which I was already familiar with.

That being said, perhaps a new viewer to the series won’t find it the same level of recap overflow.

As far as the acting, I already knew that Myles and Barrowman, playing Gwen and Jack respectively would be great, and they didn’t disappoint. I was also impressed with newcomer Arlene Tur, playing the pretty, innocent CIA desk agent. She plays it just right. Especially her short conversation with Captain Jack. 

Bill Pullman I’m not as impressed with. He playing this creepy Child molester/murderer, and he playing it up creepy, but he’s almost hamming it. The creepy factor is significantly decreased because he’s just trying a little too hard to get the vibe. I think it would actually havebeen much creepier if he’d played off the character straight, especially after we learn more about him and his crime. Hopefully Pullman mellows out the performance throughout the series.

Mekhi Phiffer isn’t much better about the over-acting, but I get the sure feeling that this isn’t the final intended personality for this character. as his grizzled opportunistic CIA field agent starts to get integrated with the Torchwood team, he’ll settle into a general ‘reluctant team member’ role, which will suit Phifer’s acting capacity much more accurately. 

However, it’s all a bit up in the air, because this episode was so introductory. The mystery has not really begun yet, and the direction of the show has barely been established. It may take a couple more episodes to figure out if this will be worth paying attention to.

If you haven’t already heard: Torchwood, a Doctor Who spin-off, has been a BBC production for a few years, but starting with this story, it has been picked up by Hollywood production company Starz, and the new base of Torchwood will be Los Angeles.

The plot centers  on a strange immortality, which seems to have struck the entire world at once. At first seen as a miracle – thus the subtitle of the series – it soon becomes a nightmare, as the hundreds of thousands of people who are supposed to be dying each day around the world quickly start to overbalance food supplies and other resources.

Gwen and Jack team up with the CIA to solve the mystery of this “curse,” which will span ten-episodes.

Torchwood: Miracle Day airs Friday nights on Starz. BBC viewers will get each episode on the following Thursday.