A quick review of tonight’s “Torchwood: Miracle Day” coming up just as soon as I compare our situation to a passage from “Middlemarch”…
More and more, “Miracle Day” is starting to feel like “24” in a couple of key ways:
First, it’s allegedly one continuous story, but Russell T. Davies doesn’t have quite enough material to fill out the long running time, so we get these weird self-contained missions and one-shot villains, like Dichen Lachmann on the plane in episode 2 and C. Thomas Howell disrupting the computer caper here.
And second, it’s trying to make a bunch of political points in the middle of a serialized action thriller, and is making them in an incredibly obvious, ham-fisted style. I’m really reluctant to even step within spitting distance of this blog’s No Politics rule – and I will absolutely shut down discussion of this episode if things get out of hand in the comments – but here’s a case where I imagine I agree with a number of Davies’ positions in the abstract, yet cringe at the way he presents them here.
Case in point: of course the evil politician played by Mare Winningham isn’t just a conservative, but a member of the Tea Party! And yet, as I recall from all the “death panel” discussion during the ’08 election(*), the Tea Party is pretty much diametrically opposed to every single thing the Winningham character suggests before she’s crushed inside a car in a post-miracle fate worse than death.
(*) Again, I’ll probably regret even bringing this up, but I want to ask you to please please PLEASE try to keep the discussion in the comments to “Torchwood” itself and not to various political movements in and outside of the United States.
As we saw frequently on “Doctor Who,” and in some of the earlier periods of “Torchwood,” Davies likes to make his points as big and loud and bold as he possibly can. It felt like he was able to tone that streak down a fair amount with “Children of Earth”(**), but the story, and the format, of “Miracle Day” are both just so damn big that it’s impossible for him to be restrained, and much of the series so far has showcased the parts of his writing/producing style that I enjoy the least.
(**) Though I say that writing from an American perspective. It’s entirely possible that our British friends found all the stuff about cold and evil civil servants to be pretty silly, and that non-Americans may have a different reaction to the Tea Party stuff. I don’t know.
Again, trying to keep our comments focused on the work itself as much as is humanly possible, what did everybody else think?