The Good: Gween Cooper as per usual. She’s a kick-ass woman who is competent and likeable.
The Bad: Mekhi Phifer’s sub-par acting. I liked him (most of the time) on ER, but I feel like he just didn’t do justice to his role
The Ugly: Russell T. Davies fucked with both mythology and the timeline of Doctor Who. As io9 points out, the period that Miracle Day spans is March-May 2011. This is the same time that we are introduced to Amy and Rory with nary a mention of this global catastrophe. The second screw up (in my opinion) comes with *SPOILERS* Rex becoming (seemingly) immortal by having been infused with Jack’s blood. It was established in Season 3 (“Utopia” I believe) that what Rose did in the season finale of Series One was basically infuse Jack with the time vortex which then made him a fixed point in time. In fact I think in one of the early episodes of Miracle Day Jack even says that it’s not his blood that makes him special. It’s like it’s in the very cells of his being. So it doesn’t make any sense at all for Rex to become like Jack via blood.
I had such high hopes for this 9 part series after Children of Earth. CoE was well paced, well acted, and compelling. I wish I could say the same about Miracle Day. It took about 6-7 episodes for me to really get excited about the show. Part of that was because the lack of what essentially made Torchwood – aliens! Where were the freaking aliens!? 7 episodes and we FINALLY get a glimpse of something other worldly. You know what else made Torchwood? The people. It just felt so lacking. We have Gwen and Jack who are the core of Torchwood and it feels like their presence on the show was diluted by so many other people. I feel like we never really got to see Torchwood at work.
Also, how long does RTD think it takes to fly between America and Wales (especially from the west coast)? Because clearly he thinks it’s a couple of hours judging by the amount of times Gwen and Jack fly back and forth.
It baffles me that RTD created good episodes of Torchwood the series and a couple good Doctor Who episodes, but when he tries to go big it fails (think back to the Series Four finale of Doctor Who. That was a clusterfuck of terribleness). Miracle Day is further proof that he isn’t good at BIG TV. He’s better at smaller and more intimate story lines. There’s nothing wrong with that! We need that. But big spectacle TV is not his forte and I wish he’d stop.
io9 has a great write up of the final episode which highlights the problems I had with this show. Instead of restating what they already wrote take a look for yourself.
Wikipedia quotes a Guardian author who also points out the flaws in this production: “Other criticisms focused on Jack’s relatively minimal role, the unclear direction of the Oswald Danes storyline, the lack of an alien presence in the series, and the show’s expectation that the audience care for Rex and Esther, whom they have not had a chance to get to know. Commenting, “the series seemed to spend weeks looking at the consequences of the Miracle, running away from unnamed baddies, extraditions, deportations, and dangling character arcs” (wikipedia)”
Part of one of the dropped plot lines was the Soulless. I really wanted to see more and know more about this group. We saw the masks a couple times and that was it. Very disappointing.
And one final observation – Captain Jack was introduced in “The Empty Child” as omnisexual. He’s into men, women, and everything in between. He flirts heavily with Rose and alludes to being into the Doctor as well. Yet after this episode it’s pretty much men from there on out for Captain Jack. Oh he had a tiny thing with Gwen with, what I think, was more interest on her end. We know he had a grandson so he was with a woman (presumably long term) in the past. So why do we only see Jack with men on screen? To me it feels gratuitous. I’m thinking specifically of the fight turned makeout session with Captain John in Torchwood Series Two and the pretty graphic sex scenes in Miracle Day. It doesn’t feel authentic. It feels more like RTD getting to play in a big gay playground. I’m trying really hard not to sound homophobic, because I’m fine with Jack’s preferences. I really just want to point out the gratuitous nature of how we see Jack’s sexuality played out on TV.
Regardless, it took me so long to catch up with this now one year old miniseries because Starz pulled out from having their content as a Watch Instantly on Netflix and I never got around to putting it on my queue. So I checked it out from the library. Check it out if you’re a hardcore Torchwood fan, but I kind of wish I skipped it and could still pretend “Children of Earth” was the end.