Torchwood Miracle Day

You know that feeling when everything seems to come together, everything just clicks and you just know you’re witnessing something great? That’s how I felt when watching the the first episode of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY.

You know that feeling when everything seems to come together, everything just clicks and you just know you’re witnessing something great? That’s how I felt when watching the the first episode of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY.

Just so you know, I’m not going to reveal any big spoilers but I will be talking about basic plot elements. If you’re especially sensitive, feel free to read this after you watch “The New World.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the concept by now but I’ll remind you just in case – one seemingly normal day on Earth, no one dies for any reason. Not illness, not age, not greivous injury. And that continues the next day and the day after. Most are marveling at the epononymous Miracle Day but others are realizing the darker implications including a sudden population boom, scarce resources, and the possible collapse of the human race.

Torchwood Miracle Day

We’re introduced to the craziness at hand through two CIA agents – field agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and his tech support/info maven Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins). Through a convergence of events, the two begin investigating both the alleged miracle and the mysterious, document-redacted, defunct Torchwood Institute. Naturally this leads to Torchwood’s only surviving members – Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) and Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman).

Phifer does an excellent job of quickly establishing the kind of guy Rex is, both the written stuff and the unsaid. Generally, he’s looking to advance his career, he’s dedicated to the job, and kind of self-centered. I’d say the last trait plays the biggest part in him pushing ahead with investigating. I very much like what I’ve seen from Havins as Esther. She’s naturally curious and very good at her job.

We also briefly see Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman), a particularly awful man who’s being executed for his crimes…at least he’s supposed to be. There isn’t any clue to what part he’ll play in everything but I can’t imagine it’ll be anything good. Pullman is perfectly creepy as Oswald, so much so that I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to see him in NEWSIES the same way again. There’s a distrubing mix of intelligence and cruelty in his eyes and he definitely makes you feel uneasy every time he’s on screen.

As a fan of TORCHWOOD, I’ve always loved Captain Jack and felt ambivalent towards Gwen – it had nothing to do with Myles, whom I enjoy, but something has always been off for me (I feel that way with many of Russell T. Davies heroines but that’s a subject for another time). Any ambivalence or feelings of “meh” I previously had have now been replaced with warm fuzzies. I totally get Gwen now, all the pieces have finally fallen into place. The new writing staff is amazing (it includes Doris Egan – NUMB3RS, HOUSE, TRU CALLING; John Shiban – THE LONE GUNMEN, THE X-FILES, SUPERNATURAL, BREAKING BAD; John Fay – CORONATION STREET; and of course Russell T. Davies) but I’m going to give credit for this bit to Jane Espensen (GAME OF THRONES, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER). She has a clear track record of successfully writing complicated women and no doubt her magic is at work here. It also helps that Myles is acting the beejeezus out of it. Gwen also gets to fire big whomping guns which is always a plus.

Now let’s talk about our dear Captain Jack. First, I adore every entrance he makes, my favorite being the last big one. It’s really really good. Plot-wise, we get a lot of hints (and one giant arrow) at what Jack will be dealing with this season, both emotionally and in terms of the big picture. Argh…I can’t say anything more than that without unleashing potential spoilers but I will say this: Barrowman has a lot of juicy matieral ahead of him.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Kai Owen, who plays Gwen’s husband Rhys Williams, and Arlene Tur who plays Dr. Vera Juarez. They both derseve accolades as well. Owen has some great moments, though I imagine the best is yet to come, especially considering how motivated Rhys is to protect his baby. Tur serves as a bit of a lynchpin of information for many characters initially but expect her to get pulled into more of the action.

“The New World” is like a perfect symphony of echoes of TORCHWOOD’s past and the melodious strains of what’s to come. The pace is great, the way the plot unfolds is fairly flawless, there are already “gasp” moments…I’m truly geeking out over it. It’s an addictive start to what may very well be the best season of TORCHWOOD yet.

TORCHWOOD : MIRACLE DAY Series Premiere on STARZ Friday, July 8th 10pm ET/PT