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The 3 Worst Logic Failures Of Torchwood: Miracle Day And Why I’ve Stopped Watching

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.

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Review: 5 Nights With Torchwood Children Of The Earth

torchOne of the strengths of the BBC’s Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood has always been its ability to get right to the point, without sacrificing character development. By delivering the next installment of the show as a 5-part miniseries, they’ve attempted to go in the other direction. Rather than squeezing a two hour story into a forty-five minute episode, Torchwood: Children of the Earth feels like they squeezed a two hour story into forty-five minutes, and then stretched it out into a five hours.

As a result, Torchwood: Children of the Earth ends up being about a lot more than your usual Torchwood episode. The focus here isn’t really on the Torchwood team as much as it is on a series of new characters brought in to flesh out their extra running time. At times you’ll be left wondering when they’ll get to the point, but for the most part it works, if only because those new supporting characters are so good.

In particular there’s John Frobisher, a civil servant, the equivalent of government middle management. Late in the story we’re told by one of his loyal underlings: “John Frobisher was a good man. Always remember that.” And that’s the real tragedy of his story. He is a good man, a hard working man, a uniquely British man who puts his head down and simply tries to get done what needs to get done. But when the unthinkable happens he’s forced into a series of horrible, hopeless choices.

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Do Yourself A Favor: Watch Torchwood

1Why aren’t you watching Torchwood? Because it’s buried at the bottom of your cable dial on BBC America, most likely. But whether you simply didn’t know it exists or because you dismissed it as a lame, Doctor Who spin-off: reconsider. In a post-Battlestar Galactica world it just may be the best science fiction on television. It’s everything shows like Fringe wish they could be, but can’t under America’s restrictive environment of censorship.

The premise is familiar. A team of professionals work for an organization which investigates alien activity on Earth. Their goal is to protect and prepare. You never know when some half-crazed, energy-based psycho from outer space might decide she’d like to dine on Earthings by using sexual orgasms to suck people dry. From the premise you’re probably ready to dismiss it as CIS meets the X-Files, but Torchwood is so much more than it’s find the paranormal clues premise. You’ve never seen anything on network television like this.

It stars a bi-sexual immortal who dresses like a dashing, off duty Civil War cavalry officer. It tackles any and all issues with unflinching zeal and when called for isn’t afraid to drench them in sex just for the hell of it. The show’s female cast members for instance, regularly find themselves lured into lesbian make-out sessions, yet somehow it’s never gratuitous. How can so much lesbian fucking actually work within the context of a great plot? It just does. It works when a hot lesbian alien and Torchwood’s awkward, straight female computer geek fall totally in love.

Most importantly every episode has consequences and impact. Torchwood cuts right to the heart of even the most bizarre and terrifying circumstances. A lesbian mind-reader who rips out hearts is someone you can, surprisingly, identify with. When people die, it hurts. When the cast gets in trouble, the danger feels real because you never know when one of them might end up really and truly dead. There are victims. There is pain. There is no magic button at the end of every hour which someone pushes to put it all back to normal. Every moment has meaning, emotion, and tears are not uncommon. It’s science fiction for adults. How much of that’s left?

It’s sleek, it’s sexy, and it’s unlike anything else you’re wasting time with. Do yourself a favor and try out Torchwood. You’re missing the best science fiction left on television.

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