I’ll be honest, I’ve been very critical of Torchwood for a long, long time. It was over-sexualized, it was illogical and once they killed off most of the cast, it should have died. I celebrated the departure of Russell T. Davies because he was the major problem with the show and, at least in my eyes, the cause of most of the issues.
And so, Torchwood died and good riddance to it. However, now it’s back, at least a vaguely familiar incarnation of it on American television.
The problem is, it’s just not Torchwood. Now that might not be a bad thing, but not only is this not Torchwood, It’s really not good not-Torchwood. About the only good thing I can say about it is the absence of the over-sexualization of the show, mostly because it’s on American TV now and they can’t show everyone getting it on every 5 minutes. However, that’s not really a positive, it’s the absence of a negative, so I can’t give them too many points for it. Torchwood was always trumpeted as a “more adult” version of Dr. Who, but to be perfectly honest, it seems to be even more immature, catering to the high school crowd and their giggling about sex than to actual adults who aren’t impressed by such things.
The story is this: One day, death stops for the human race. People just stop dying, in fact, you can’t kill them no matter what you do. People still suffer, they still get maimed, they just can’t die. The last two surviving members of Torchwood, Rhys and Gwen are in hiding with their newborn daughter, afraid that their involvement with Torchwood makes them political targets. However, when the bad guys come for them, Captain Jack reappears to save the day. However, they are soon captured and thrown on a plane for the U.S. by the CIA, in hopes that they know something about the “miracle”. It’s a race against time to find out how this miracle happened before the big “conspiracy” gets to everyone involved. While no one else can die, suddenly the normally-immortal Captain Jack is now mortal. Can the remaining Torchwood team, along with their new American allies, CIA agents Esther and Rex, figure out who has caused the “miracle” and for what nefarious purpose?
The problem is, these just aren’t the characters we know. It’s just not Captain Jack. It’s just not Gwen. This could be an entirely different story that has nothing to do with Torchwood and I don’t think it would make a difference. Granted, it’s not the mindlessly idiotic “Children of Earth”, which was just painful to watch in it’s stupidity and lack of common sense, but it’s just not as good as, say the first series of Torchwood. There’s virtually no character development for any of the newly introduced cast. Jack and Gwen are just… off. Rex Matherson, while I suppose a good attempt, feels half-done, like he doesn’t really inhabit his own skin, he’s just a caricature. The same goes for Dr. Vera Juarez, who feels like a pencil sketch of a real doctor, not fleshed out, just hanging around for when the story needs some medical jargon. Perhaps the most disturbing character in the whole show is convicted murderer and pedophile Oswald Danes, played by Bill Pullman. While I usually like Pullman, he does nothing for me in Miracle Day. Beyond being a completely reprehensible character in every way, I don’t buy that anything he says is believable. How anyone is supposed to believe that a convicted murderer who said openly that his victim “should have run faster” is going to become the spokesman for a major pharmaceutical company is beyond me. Someone should have put a few bullets in his head in the first episode and been done with it, who cares if he actually dies or not?
In fact, that’s really the biggest problem I have with the whole thing, nobody is really acting like the “miracle” happened. They make a big deal over the fact that we start running out of food in 4 months due to overpopulation and everyone will starve, even though nobody can die. Is this being kept a secret from the general population? Are they unable to think or do research for themselves? Why aren’t there riots in the streets? That should be going on worldwide, everyone ought to be hoarding food, yet Gwen was able to grab a couple of bags of chips from a local gas station. In reality, this whole thing looks like a screed against Big Pharma, it’s a political statement, not a TV show. Oh no, aren’t they horrible for making a profit selling drugs? Oh brother.
I’m going to watch to the end, not necessarily because I care what happens, but because it’s like watching a train wreck. You just can’t look away. I hope it improves but I’m not holding my breath. After this, please, can we just let Torchwood die a well-deserved death and never bring it back again? This isn’t interesting and it isn’t Torchwood, it’s a sad, shallow version that has the same name and a few of the same characters, but just isn’t the same show. Bringing it back again and again to make a buck isn’t a good idea, it’s cruel.