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Friday, July 08, 2011

"Torchwood: Miracle Day" Review: Downright Fascinating

What if there was a day when no one died?

That’s the premise of “Torchwood: Miracle Day,” the 10-part series that brings the BBC smash, “Torchwood,” to American TV.

At first, it sounds like a good idea. But what will happen to the Earth’s resources with such a population boom? Who’s behind this miracle? And what happens to all the people who didn’t die if the miracle ends?

Those are all the questions being posed by CIA agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer), who himself should be dead. But there’s also one other question—What is Torchwood?

Fans of the “Torchwood” series on BBC America know that it’s a super-secret British unit designed to investigate the paranormal. But it no longer exists as Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) is nowhere to be found and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) has gone underground with her husband and daughter. However, the connections between Torchwood and this “Miracle Day” cannot be ignored and Captain Jack and Gwen find themselves getting involved.

The premise of this series is fascinating enough, but it’s made even more fascinating by the characters. Bill Pullman is downright scary as Oswald Danes, a convicted killer who does not die from his execution. And Barrowman, who gets limited air time in the premiere episode, makes the most of every minute he’s on screen. It reminded me of how great he was on the short-lived NBC primetime soap, “Titans.”

Since I didn’t watch the British version, I can’t speak to what changes in dynamics Phifer brings to the cast. But from what I saw in the first hour, I think he brings exactly the right tone of good old American skepticism and street smarts. Alexa Havins is also excellent as Rex’s right hand woman at the CIA.

If you’re a fan of “Torchwood,” you’re going to be a fan of this. But you honestly don’t have to know anything about the other series to enjoy this one. And if you’re a fan of sci-fi with great characters, you will definitely enjoy it.

“Torchwood: Miracle Day” premieres Friday, July 8th at 10 p.m. on Starz…

Photo Credit: Starz