Like a lot of you I’ve been tuning in to Torchwood: Miracle Day. I was a big fan of the original BBC series, which was itself a spin-off of Doctor Who, and now they’ve brought the concept to America in a plot wrapped around this rather simple premise: What if one day, everyone stopped dying?
At first Miracle Day seemed to have really thought this through, the show began delving into the massive societal problems created by a world in which no one can die but people still get hurt and sick. Captain Jack Harkness and the gang ran around trying to save the day… but then something started going wrong.
One of the great strengths of Torchwood has always been its ability to cut right to the emotional core of any situation, no matter how completely bizarre or otherworldly that might be. Suddenly turned into a sex-crazed succubus? Torchwood has always been more interested in how that transformation would feel that the scientific ramifications of such a happening. But Miracle Day has taken that a step too far, and as the series has developed it seems to have abandoned all semblance of reason and logic in favor of shrill, political drum-banging and a clumsy attempt to portray the governments of the world as little better than the Nazi Party.
Here’s how they’ve screwed it up. These are the three worst examples of fuzzy thinking, logical fallacies, and just downright stupidity currently in play thanks to the inexplicably bran-dead, political-agenda driven writers of Torchwood: Miracle Day. Russell T. Davies, Jane Espenson… we expect more from you. Captain Jack Harkness deserves better ideas than these…
Warning: Spoilers follow.
Brain Dead People Should Be Allowed To Live Forever
In a world where no one dies, you immediately end up with a pretty big problem: The hospitals start filling up. The problem in the world of Torchwood is that while people can’t die, they also still get seriously injured. Hospitals are now full to the brim with people who have no hope of recovery and are basically braindead. Worse all these stacks of critically injured, unconscious people piling up in the hospitals are starting to carry disease and, something needs to be done about it before everyone in the world has Cholera. The solution to this problem is obvious, it’s time to redefine what death is. So the government sets about doing just that and, label braindead patients with no hope of recovery as “category 1” and sends their still breathing but otherwise lifeless bodies off to be incinerated. It’s not pretty, but it’s the only real solution to this problem.
The Torchwood gang responds by launching a crusade against the government to try and shut down their program to deal with the ongoing crisis. The entire premise of the show is now basically this: Bodies should be allowed to keep breathing and living no matter what effect it has on the rest of the society. Look, it isn’t pretty, but let’s face facts here: These people may be breathing but they are dead. This would be like keeping your braindead, 102 year-old grandpa on life-support even though it might mean that the 32-year-old woman with a family of six in the next bed over won’t get proper care. It doesn’t make sense.
Keep in mind here that this is a show which believes dirty laundry is a crime against humanity. Tonight on Torchwood crusading Dr. Vera Juarez became so concerned about soiled sheets that someone had to shoot her in the neck. This is the same woman who believes it’s wrong to incinerate the brain dead, and therefore believes it’s fine to just let basically dead people stack up without doing anything at all about it. Apparently she doesn’t mind filthy corpses littering the streets of America, but she has a huge problem with a few unwashed bed linens laying in a utility closet.
Categorizing People Is Inherently Evil
Even if categorizing people as living, likely to recovery, or this guy is basically dead and let’s stop wasting time on him, didn’t lead to incineration… Torchwood seems to have a problem with the categorization of humans in any way. The show treats putting people in these three categories as if it’s some mortal sin against god and country, as if by properly defining what someone is or isn’t, is an infringement of our civil liberties and tantamount to tearing up the Constitution. Except well… everything we do in every part of our life is all about categorizing.
It’s this same sort of bullshit logic that has TSA agents strip-searching grandmas at the airport instead of that sweaty, nervous guy in line behind her. Putting people in categories is what it takes for society to survive. Every part of your life is about being categorized. Once a year the government decides which tax bracket you fit in. When you go to the DMV you’re categorized by the type of license you receive. Doctors routinely categorize patients based on urgent care need. Society is nothing but categories, without categorization the whole bloody thing falls apart. There’s nothing wrong with categorizing people, it’s what you do with those categorizations that matters. Putting people in categories is how we survive, and in a crisis like the one this show has presented, it’s more critical than ever.
People Will Unite Behind A Pedophile If He Says Something Interesting
It’s not just a lack of basic reasoning that’s plaguing Miracle Day, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the human race involved here, somewhere. One of the stars of the show is a convicted pedophile killer named Oswald Danes who, thanks to the Miracle, survives his federally mandated death sentence. Released from prison on that technicality, Danes sets out to become some sort of national hero who people now flock to as if he’s some sort of religions leader. Because he survived death, Danes is now viewed as some sort of hero with insight into the nature of this no one ever dies miracle.
Forget for a moment that Danes is only one of thousands upon thousands of people in the Torchwood universe who have now stared into the face of death and lived, even if he were the only one, he’s still a pedophile. People don’t like pedophiles and Danes is a particularly nasty, unrepentant one who’s really done nothing to win people over beyond a few words. At least 40% of the country still hates President Obama for being a community organizer, what chance does a pedophile have of turning public opinion in his favor just because he starts running around shouting that everyone is an angle? None. It’s a premise so implausible, based on a complete and total misreading of the most basic tenants of public perception. People hate pedophiles. A lot. And Oswald Danes hasn’t done anything to change that.
It’s frustrating really, Torchwood: Miracle Day started out with tremendous promise and, when used properly Captain Jack Harkness is a hellaciously cool character. But with every passing week the logic behind this increasingly slipshod series becomes worse and worse, with the show threatening to spiral out of control in the pursuit of high-emotion low-intelligence moments. This week was enough for me, I deleted Miracle Day from my DVR schedule. Let me know if you’ve done the same.