What would happen if you were granted the opportunity to rise from the dead? Would you squander it or use it to your advantage? That’s the premise of Starz’s Torchwood: Miracle Day which depicted immortality with devastating results.
Torchwood: Miracle Day followed how on one random day that everyone stopped dying. The sick and the fatally injured somehow managed to get better overnight. All around the globe death seemed to be at a standstill. The planned execution of convicted murderer/rapist Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman) goes awry and he survives it unscathed. He uses his survival to extort an early release in an effort to become infamous with the help of a scheming PR expert named Jilly (Lauren Ambrose). In the same instance, CIA agent Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) was talking to her friend/colleague Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) just as he got into a fatal car accident that should’ve killed him. He turns to Dr. Vera Juarez (Arlene Tur) for answers and finds none from her. Instead, Rex searches for the two remaining survivors of the now defunct Torchwood unit from the U.K. He comes across Former Torchwood Agent Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) living off the grid with her husband Rhys Williams (Kai Owen) and their newborn baby. Of course, they immediately come under fire, but they are saved by Gwen’s friend/former colleague Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) who was also greatly affected by the declared “miracle day” as well. Harkness was once immortal and now has been rendered mortal by this supposed miracle. A simple cut doesn’t heal right away and he could even die if possible. Will Harkness and his new team be able to figure out what’s wrong before the world ends from it?
In terms of plot, Torchwood: Miracle Day has plenty of it. Will viewers unfamiliar with the Torchwood background be able to follow some of it? Let’s face it. If they watched the premiere of Miracle blind, they wouldn’t know who Harkness or Agent Cooper was. The idea of not allowing viewers some background information is a gamble that could prove costly for a future season. Overall, the series has some huge potential to be a Sci-Fi show that could rival Fringe in terms of conspiracy theories and world ending mysteries. The show has some cheeky humor that mostly comes from Myles and Barrowman as they provided some levity to what could be a rather downbeat subject of how death no longer existed. The only weakness was that the premiere didn’t focus enough on them. Hopefully, future episodes will remedy that pretty quickly.
In terms of the cast, there’s a wide variety of talent to choose from. Phifer has more to do here than on Lie to Me with his emotions about surviving that fatal car crash. In one scene, he went from joy, confusion, sadness and irritation all in a few minutes. Hopefully, he still gets to display some attitude as well in future episodes. Alexa Havins has some potential as the show’s eternal optimist as she prepares to spread her wings and do some field work. Although it’s nice to see Ambrose back on television, her part appears to be a little sketchy at best and how she’ll impact the overall coarse of the show. It also doesn’t help that her character is connected to the show’s one weak link in Pullman’s resident villain plot. Although Pullman gives a valiant effort, his scenes usually leave the audience wanting to take a shower rather than a lasting impression, which isn’t what Starz probably had in mind for now.
Torchwood: Miracle Day premiered on July 8th and airs Fridays at 10:00 pm on Starz.
Verdict: A show about the end of the world that adds some much needed levity to a sometimes downbeat premises.
TV Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars (For everyone else)
4 out of 5 stars (For Torchwood fans)
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)