The British sci-fi series comes to America in an ambitious but sometimes muddled new series
There are two different shows co-existing under the title “Torchwood: Miracle Day” (Friday at 10 p.m. on Starz). The first is a classic kind of science fiction story, built around a simple what if? question: what would happen if every person in the world suddenly became incapable of dying? The second is a familiar action thriller in which a rogue team of government agents try to find out who made everyone immortal, and why.
The second show is the one that Starz clearly signed on for when the pay cable channel became co-producer and American distributor of “Torchwood,” which had been a purely British series in its earlier seasons (and aired in these parts on BBC America). It’s a commercial, easy-to-sell idea, one featuring a few characters who will be familiar to hardcore fanboys and girls, as well as recognizable American faces like Mekhi Phifer and Bill Pullman. If this wasn’t a show about Torchwood was investigating the miracle, getting into gunfights and trading banter, it wouldn’t exist.
And yet, even as a fan of the 100% British incarnation of “Torchwood” (particularly the 5-part “Torchwood: Children of Earth” miniseries from 2009), I couldn’t help wishing that “Torchwood: Miracle Day” spent a little more time on the miracle and less on Torchwood.