So, over at Arts Hub I've written up a review of Torchwood: Miracle Day. As is my habit, I'll post an except here, but if you would like to read the whole thing, get thee to Arts Hub!
Newcomers to Torchwood need not fear they’ll be lost in the usual convoluted back stories and continuity references of a successful TV series, for Miracle Day is at pains to introduce viewers to its world and its characters through the eyes of Matheson and his CIA assistant, Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) – indeed, for long term fans, the drip-fed details may be occasionally irksome. That said, the pace of the first episode (written by Davies, the showrunner, and the only episode that has been provided for review) is generally excellent: it’s a fast and thrilling ride featuring a large cast of well-detailed characters, and with scenes rapidly cutting between numerous locations on both sides of the Atlantic.
Davies has a deft ear for dialogue, and the script for this first episode sparkles, featuring both one liners, and in-jokes for long-term fans of the show. It also establishes a number of plot threads to be explored in the remaining nine episodes of the season, and in the tradition of speculative fiction, raises a number of philosophical questions around the central theme of life, death and immortality that will no doubt be explored over the coming weeks.
The budget for Torchwood: Miracle Day is clearly larger than most BBC productions, given the influx of US funds from Starz, and it shows: this is a good-looking piece of television, full of swooping helicopter shots and luscious cinematography that makes the most of the show’s various locales.
The most obvious US influence is apparent in the episode’s action sequences: there are more guns, and bigger explosions, than Torchwood has ever seen before. At its heart, however, it still feels like Torchwood, albeit on a larger, more expansive scale.
Rating: Four stars
Torchwood: Miracle Day
Saturdays at 8.30pm from July 9 on UKTV