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Want to live forever??? Think it would be a blessing? What if everyone on Earth lived forever? What would an ever-increasing human population do to the planet and civilization? Would that be a blessing or a curse? Those are some of the questions that TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY ($60) takes a stab at answering across its ten-part miniseries. Unlike the previous two series and third incarnation as a five-part miniseries, all of which produced by the BBC, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY is a British-American co-production between the BBC and the U.S. premium network Starz, hence this production is largely set in America and is replete with familiar American television and film actors.

In case you haven’t ever seen an episode of TORCHWOOD here is a refresher course on the series… The Torchwood Institute was a secret organization founded by Queen Victoria to research and combat extraterrestrial threats to the British Empire, after her encounter with The Doctor in the DOCTOR WHO episode Tooth And Claw. The previous two series and follow-up miniseries were set in present day and featured the members of Torchwood Three, based in Cardiff- a location that happens to ground zero of a space/time Rift, which lends itself to being the source of numerous alien incursions. During the series and previous miniseries run, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) was the team leader of Torchwood Three. Prior to those duties, Jack was a 51st Century con man and a one-time companion of The Doctor, who, as a result of his travels with the Legendary Time Lord, became immortal. Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) was the police liaison, whom Jack recruited into Torchwood to his team to keep him on his toes, while Rhys Williams (Kai Owen); he is Gwen’s husband, who managed to get caught up in their work.

Set after the devastating events of TORCHWOOD: CHILDREN OF EARTH miniseries, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY finds that the Torchwood Institute is no more, with almost all traces of its existence erased or expunged, with the surviving members of Torchwood Three living in hiding… and desperate to remain forgotten. Then something unexpected happens during the very public execution of pedophile murderer Oswald Danes (Bill Pullman)- Danes doesn’t die despite being given a very lethal injection. However, Danes is only the very first highly publicized example of the human race’s newly acquired inability to die. Reports from around the globe show that no one has died during the course of the last day, which is quickly declared Miracle Day. Then another day comes and no one dies, and then another and another… Despite a lack of deaths, people are still getting sick or becoming critically injured, plus people continue to age and suffer from the pains of disease and injury- the only thing that is different now, is that people have just lost the ability to die. With no one dying, the human population begins to explode putting a strain on resources worldwide, not to mention, global healthcare.

Following the miracle, someone attempts to alert every United States Government agency about the existence of Torchwood, only to have every reference to the organization and the word itself deleted by the newly returned Captain Jack Harkness, who strangely finds himself now to be the only mortal man in a immortal world. Meanwhile, after having missed his appointment with death, CIA agent Rex Matheson (Mekhi Phifer) and CIA analyst Esther Drummond (Alexa Havins) follow up the Torchwood lead, via hard copy in the government archives. The paper trail ultimately leads Rex to Jack and Gwen- resulting in an uneasy alliance between the former Torchwood operatives and the CIA. However, members of the new alliance soon finds themselves on their own, and on the run, from the shadow conspiracy responsible for the miracle, a group that has infiltrated all aspects of the U.S. government… With bull’s-eyes on their backs, Jack and company look for the source of the miracle, and a way to restore the balance and natural order of death. The cast of TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY also features Lauren Ambrose, Arlene Tur, Tom Price, William Thomas, Sharon Morgan, Candace Brown, Wayne Knight, Nana Visitor, Paul James, Marina Benedict, Dichen Lachman, Mare Winningham, C. Thomas Howell, John de Lancie and Frances Fisher.

BBC Home Video (via Warner) has made all ten episodes that comprise TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY available on Blu-ray Disc in 1.78:1 wide screen presentations that have been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080i presentations are really quite impressive. The image is wonderfully sharp, highly defined and nicely dimensional. An occasion mildly soft shot shows up, but they are negligible. Colors feature strongly saturated hues and attractive looking flesh tones. Blacks are pure, as are the whites. Contrast and shadow detail are very good for a television level production. The elements from which the episodes are transferred appear very clean. Grain/noise is a tiny bit noticeable in darker sequences.

All of the episodes that comprise TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD High-Resolution soundtracks. While not quite Master Audio, this sound format is a definite step up from lossier soundtrack options. Originating at the television production level, TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY features a very good quality sound design. Directionally is strong and enhances the action oriented portions of the story. Talky moments are more reserved, but provide a good sense of the environments being conveyed. Despite not being lossless, the sound fairly full-bodied and features a solid bass channel. Dialogue is clean, clear and fully understandable. No other language tracks have been included, but English subtitles are provided.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard episode selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the supplemental materials. Starting things off are running Audio Commentaries for the first and last episodes featuring series creator Russell T Davies and executive producer, Julie Gardner. Additionally, there are introductions to all ten episodes by Russell T Davies and John Barrowman. We are also presented with two Torchwood: Declassified Featurettes; one focuses on the special effects, while the other offers a look behind-the-scenes. Web Of Lies is a half hour motion comic, plus there are Character Profiles and Delete Scenes to close out the supplements.

TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY reunites the team and adds some new faces to the mix. The story is interesting, but it falls a bit short of the previous miniseries. The Blu-ray presentation is great. TORCHWOOD: MIRACLE DAY should keep fans going until Russell T Davies can devise a follow-up.


Torchwood: Miracle Day [Blu-ray] (2012)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2012 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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