Torchwood, the BBC sci-fi show, and Doctor Who spin-off, returns to our screens soon for a fourth series entitled Torchwood: Miracle Day. Having previously been set largely in Cardiff for it’s first three seasons, this new ongoing story sees some significant changes. It moves on to a global stage, with adventures set this time in America and further afield. The core of the show looks set to remain similar, with the three main characters that survived the events of Children Of Earth all returning. And the writing duties being led and overseen by Torchwood‘s original creator, and previous Doctor Who showrunner, Russell T. Davies.
Torchwood originally aired back in 2006 on the digital channel BBC Three. The success of that first season prompted the BBC to ‘promote’ it to the BBC Two schedules for it’s second run. Again, due to it’s success there, the third series (entitled Children Of Earth) made it’s debut on the main BBC One channel. There it’s five episodes were stripped across five consecutive weekday nights. Here it received it’s biggest viewing figures yet (around 6 million for each episode), and also attracted much critical praise. In it’s immediate aftermath though, it wasn’t certain that there were any plans for the show to return at all. Many months passed before news broke of the new series – in a co-production deal with the US network, Starz.
The co-production deal with Starz is showing bigger ambitions and opportunities in the writing and casting of Miracle Day too. Joining Russell T. Davies on the writing team is Jane Espenson. She is a well known US tv writer, who wrote many episodes of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She will write four of the ten episodes, and sharing the writing credits on the final episode with Davies.
And the casting can hardly fail to raise the odd eyebrow, or two. Heading a surpsingly impressive list is Bill Pulman (Independance Day). In addition are quite a few well known names from US television such as John De Lancie (‘Q‘ in Star Trek: TNG), Nana Visitor (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Mekhi Phifer (ER), Dichen Lachman (Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse) and Lauren Ambrose (Six Feet Under). And as mentioned above, John Barrowman returns in the main role of Captain Jack. He is joined by Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) and Kai Owen playing her onscreen husband Rhys.
Whilst the excellent Children Of Earth constructed a global catastrophe to great effect, it looks like Miracle Day will follow a similar path. But with an added twist from Davies. The ‘miracle’ of the title refers to when all of a sudden, no-one on Earth dies. This naturally creates problems of it’s own, with mixed reactions from the population as it starts to soar in numbers. What will society do about this, and why has it happened? The Torchwood team, unheard of since their last mission, have to work with new agencies and departments to solve this mystery.
This YouTube trailer gives you a nice taster of the events and actions to come in Miracle Day…
The US air date of Torchwood: Miracle Day on the Starz network is set to be 8th July 2001. A UK transmission on the BBC still to be confirmed, but it is expected around the same time. Clips of it have already surfaced in a new BBC drama trailer. With no more from parent show Doctor Who until later in the autumn, Miracle Day will hopefully fill the gap left in the schedules.
I genuinely hope it’s a success, as I think it’ll be a good thing for the BBC to forge strong relationships in America. It’s starting to look like Sky are going to buy up every successful show from that side of the pond otherwise. Above all that will leave those who prefer free-to-air television with much less variety and choice.
For more information on Torchwood, please visit the official BBC site here