8 Problems With Torchwood: Miracle Day

Torchwood’s always been a strange programme. Fittingly described by Charlie Brooker as being like “a hitherto secret episode of Postman Pat...

James T. Cornish

Contributor

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Torchwood’s always been a strange programme. Fittingly described by Charlie Brooker as being like “a hitherto secret episode of Postman Pat in which Pat runs down fifteen villagers while masturbating at the wheel of his van” it began life desperately trying to distance itself from its mother programme Doctor Who by being sexy and violent. It started life on BBC3 and BBC2 for its first two series, eventually graduating to BBC One in 2009 for the critically acclaimed five part miniseries Torchwood: Children Of Earth. After that, the series more or less fell off the radar with plans for an American remake on Fox luckily being axed. Then came the news that there would be a Series Four.

Co-financed by American cable network Starz, Torchwood: The New World (its initial title) was promoted as a globe-trotting ten part thriller set in a world where suddenly, nobody is able to die, something that is initially referred to as “the Miracle” but eventually sees the world fall into hell. Fans were hyped and the day of the first episode came. But as the new series wore on, it showed signs of fatigue and it was evident that the programme had taken a downward turn since Children Of Earth. Why was Miracle Day so flawed? Let’s look further into it…

 

8. It’s Too Americanised

TorchwoodMag

One of the more quirky facets of Torchwood is that always been very Welsh. It’s set almost exclusively in Wales with a predominantly Welsh cast and the occasional good natured dig at the country and its people through the dialogue.

But because Miracle Day is partly financed by an American cable network, they’re suddenly able to call some of the shots, leading to the bulk of it being set in America. Children Of Earth was largely set in London but that makes sense as Torchwood’s base is destroyed after the first episode and the attention of alien menace the 456 is on the UK government because of their previous dealings with them. But there’s not really an explanation for most of Miracle Day being set in America other than that old adage of American network executives that people don’t want to watch something that’s outside of their frame of reference. So because of that, the series gets relocated wholesale to America with the flimsy explanation of the CIA rendering Torchwood, which makes no sense since the CIA has no connection to or authority over Torchwood especially since that, at the start of Series Four, it is defunct. But to keep established fans watching, there’s the need to have parts of it set in Wales which leads to a ridiculous amount of continent hopping whenever a subplot in the UK needs advancing.

Also, at 50 to 55 minutes long, each episode’s five minutes shorter than it would have been had this been a series made with the BBC put first. Then again, this may not be such a bad thing given that probably the worst thing about the series was…