In 2006 the re-vamped return of BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who spawned a spin off drama called Torchwood (which incidentally is an anagram of Doctor Who). It is praised for having everything that makes Doctor Who great, with the addition of it being targeted at a more mature audience. Ever since Torchwood emerged, it has received more and more popularity; peeking at the most recent 3rd series entitled “Children of Earth”, this mini-series maintained over six million viewers for each episode.
In spite of Torchwood’s growing popularity, actors such as John Barrowman showed concern towards the BBC for mistreating the series and creator/producer Russell T. Davies stated his concern towards the 3rd series being given an evening summer slot on BBC One, which is regarded as a “graveyard viewing slot”. Davies stated he had ideas and stories ready to go for the fourth series, and eventually began to look toward US television networks for financing. It was rumoured that Fox would be taking some control and offering full backing financially for a reboot or re-interpretation of Torchwood, however this never occurred and the potential deal with Fox fell through.
Fortunately, Davies found fortune in US television network Starz, who are now the financial backing for the current fourth series “Miracle Day”. This series is a co-production between BBC Cymru Wales and US Network Starz. The show, as a whole, has become a joint US and British venture; although with seemingly more emphasis on the US; as the majority of filming for the series has been done in Los Angeles and California, with some in Wales. This is as opposed to the majority of each other torchwood series being filmed in Cardiff and the rest of Wales. The show airs primarily on the Starz network, with the same episode airing a week later on BBC one.
However, in my opinion, this ‘Americanisation’ of the series is far from a bad thing. Moreover, if the first two episodes of this ten episode series are anything to go by, there is hope for this being one of the best series yet. With US financial backing, we can expect a substantial budget, not to mention a new and differing approach toward Torchwood, making sure it doesn’t fall into a category of being a Doctor Who copycat, something that Torchwood is perhaps a tad guilty of in its earlier series.
The first two episodes, “The New World” and “Rendition”, give a deep insight to the theme of this new series. A genuinely interesting and quite original plot quickly unravels; it is simple yet brilliantly complex, no one on Earth can die. This abnormality only effects humans; pain and healing of people remains the same, but everyone continues to stay alive regardless. Immediately we are unsure if the cause is Aliens, Humans, perhaps a virus, or even some kind of accident. The reason for this occurrence is unsure… is it to overpopulate the Earth? To force humanity into chaos? Or is it all centred around captain Jack Harkness – a man that, before miracle day, could never die, but now seems to be mortal. Torchwood is soon brought in for relocation to the US, as experts on this kind of abnormal activity, but some people seem to want them dead.
Just what plots and outcomes can we expect as this series goes on? Personally, I have a few ideas, but nothing that ties everything together; making for a most intriguing series right off the bat. I, for one, will continue to watch as the series unfolds and I am expecting great things from the BBC and Starz network’s collaboration of Torchwood – Miracle Day.