Saturday, 16 July 2011

Torchwood: Miracle Day (2 of 10) Spoiler-free review!

It’s impossible to watch Miracle Day without thoughts of comparing is to 2009’s epic ‘Children Of Earth’ mini-series but I’ll do my best to steer clear of that angle, as it’s being talked about so much and we all know it’s impossible to live up to. What MD is, however, is a big step up from the first two series of the show and episode two pushes past the series premiere with how good it was.

Sadly, however, it’s still not really living up to the expectations Torchwood has, quite rightly, earned. Jack and Gwen don’t really feature in this episode much at all, being more side characters of their own show now, which is a real shame, as their loss is felt at times through the episode. To compensate, there’s a fantastically emotional scene between the two in the first five minutes of the episode, building on the ending of Children Of Earth and showing how much has changed for our pair of heroes in the past couple years.

In the more centre-stage story of episode two, the CIA scenes are boring, acted out with so much wood it feels like a carpenters workshop and a great deal of horrible editing to match. The best scene of the series to date is a truly heart-wrenching scene with Bill Pullman’s character, but its ruined with cutting between that and some poor reactions from CIA workmen, almost ruining what has been built up by Pullman. I can certainly see why the scene was played out the way it was, it makes perfect sense script-wise, but it’s such an old and tired format it takes away rather than adds to this.

Sticking with the CIA storyline for the moment, (after all, the writer did), and the majority of it feels like Starz input, as they try to make a low-budget episode of 24 with small set space and low-level characters we don’t know enough to care about. Also, look out for a really stupid ‘key card’ moment, which is truly the end of all things sane.

I can’t help but feel Russell T played a big part in this script, despite not being credited as writer, with some more pathetic and obvious Welsh/American jokes being inserted at every opportunity, along with a ‘gay or not gay’ flight attendant, which is another of Russell’s overused story ideas. I don’t want to knock RTD too much as he is a scriptwriting legend and one of my favourite writers, but I can’t help feeling he should’ve left Torchwood in the UK. But if the show had to be made in America, I’m glad he was on board.

Despite all these negativities, the overall plot takes a few more (small) strides and some strands are pulled together, such as the Oswald Danes plot becoming more relevant, it’s very clear to me this is going to be the memorable and best storyline through the show, but then from the “next episode” trail it looks as though it may be abruptly cut short.

I am enjoying the new series, but it feels like there’s so much going wrong with it, such as a silly ‘formula on a plane’ thing and spies in the CIA and set ups which has all been done in countless shows before. With ‘Children Of Earth’ we got something new and original, with ‘Miracle Day’ it’s a new story packed with old tricks.

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