Review: Torchwood -- Miracle Day

Imagine a world where you can't die. Sure, you can suffer from disease, be shot, get wounded horribly, but you can't die. You're immortal, just not invulnerable. Now imagine a world where that's the case for everyone in the world. No one can die.

This poses a significant threat to the way the world works. Pretty quickly we'd run out of food, space, medicine, everything.

Well, Rex Matheson, a rogue agent in the CIA played by Mekhi Phifer, believes that the only people who can deal with this threat is Torchwood. Despite an ordinarily fatal wound, he sets out to get the band back together to solve this mystery, by force if he has to.

That's sort of a problem for Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), the adorable Welsh cop and former Torchwooder. She has a baby now and is pretty determined to stay away from any single human being that isn't her husband. And she especially wants to stay away from the former head of Torchwood, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman), because when he shows up people always seem to die.

STARZ is premiering this new mini-series to an American audience on Friday, July 8th, and my guess is that the majority of the audience won't have any idea what the hell Torchwood is. I don't think that's a bad thing, exactly. This show is put together in a way that allows new viewers to learn about Torchwood alongside the American CIA agents and I think people will really love it. They sprinkle in enough information about Torchwood to be a wink to fans and a tantalizing clue for new viewers. In the end, I think even just this first episode will have new viewers scrambling to watch the BBC produced seasons, as well they should.

I've had a chance to watch the first three episodes of this 10 episode story and I think the suspense from week to week through the end might kill me. These first episodes throw a lot of balls in the air and only barely hint at what might be going on. But what is going on seems to be incredible.

One of the most interesting balls in the air is Oswald Danes (played by Bill Pullman who is creepy and will win awards for this part), a man executed for raping a little girl. The problem is that he's executed on Miracle Day and survives and is let loose. The media eats his story up and he's introduced to a PR rep, Jilly Kitzinger (Lauren Ambrose), who seems to be up to no good. It's too early to tell where this is going exactly, but you can tell right off it will play a major part in the unraveling of the Miracle Day mystery, aside from the fact that if it didn't it probably wouldn't be included at all.

It's hard trying to come up with new ways of saying how great this show and the entire Doctor Who universe is. This show has everything a Doctor Who/Torchwood fan could want and it is incredibly compelling to a new viewer. The science fiction concepts are first rate, the acting is top notch, the dilemmas nerve-wracking, and the cliffhangers are nail-biters.

As always, though, the show stealer is John Barrowman's Captain Jack. Captain Jack is an immortal who first appeared in the first season of the Doctor Who relaunch. He's a rogue and a scoundrel and he's a complete omnisexual. If it's attractive, it doesn't matter if it's male or female, alien or human, he is attracted to it. Many were worried that putting the show on American television would require his charisma and sexuality to be toned down. Never fear. He's the Jack we all know and love and somehow he seems even more endearing.

More than anything I can say about the show is that it's just dramatic in all the right ways. It kicks ass. It moves from episode to episode blowing your mind and your expectations out of the water. It's Torchwood, only turned up to 11.

I really hope the series does well and attracts a lot of viewers. Not only do I want to see more seasons of this flawlessly produced show, I want to see more fans of the Doctor Who/Torchwood mythos. And since ALL of it is on Netflix Instant Streaming, there really isn't an excuse for anyone who sees this show and likes it.

The premiere episode, The New World, airs on STARZ Friday, July 8th at 10:00pm ET/PT. As for me, I'll be watching it again, dying for the next new episode.

Bryan Young is the editor in chief of the geek news and review site Big Shiny Robot! and is the author of Lost at the Con and Man Against the Future.