PURE GOLDER: A Heads-Up For Torchwood Waverers

If you’re enjoying the new series, congratulations, but move along, nothing to see here. But if you’ve been a little disappointed so far, sfx.co.uk editor Dave Golder has some encouraging news…

This is guaranteed spoiler free!

As anyone whos’s been reading my reviews of Miracle Day will know, I’ve been slightly non-plussed by the series so far. There’s been lots to admire, not least the enticing central concept, but – for me – the uneven tone ( Warehouse 13 meets 24 ), listless plotting and lack of focus has been ebbing my enthusiasm.

What the show seemed to be lacking was a sense of direction and a few OMG Twitter moments (that’s modern parlance for watercooler moments).

Thankfully, episode four has largely restored my faith. And bizarrely it’s done it without actually having much more direction or that many OMG Twitter moments (although there is one cracker right at the end).

Now, don’t worry. I’m not going to give away anything about the plot. All I’m going to say is that tone felt tighter, more consistent, more “adult” and more like it was taking place in a world where some major shit is going down. That doesn’t mean it’s all people running around screaming, “The sky is falling!” It does mean society changing to cope. Oh, and by “adult” I don’t mean random shots of Jack boffing a barman; I mean it feels more like it’s tackling its central ideas with a “Children Of Earth”-style depth, and gives some characters some proper “grown-up” dilemmas. There's even a little bit of politics.

Certain plot lines develop in intriguing – and yet logical – ways. You will begin, for instance, to truly understand how Oswald can bring people to his side. It’s a pivotal episode for him and another stunning performance from Bill Pullman. There are also some tantalising revelations about who is behind Miracle Day.

It’s not all grim and gritty, though. There’s still room for some outrageously silly moments, but they feel more organic and grow from the story rather than being grafted onto it.

There are still irritations: the new Torchwood team prove as unprofessional as the old one; the writers seems to have more fun with the new characters than the established ones; a couple of character moments feel forced and awkward; there still seems to be a competition see who can say, “PhiCorp” the most; a guest character of the week seems to have learnt everything he knows from Henchmen For Dummies .

But I dunno. Maybe I was in a good mood when I watched it. Or a bit pissed. Maybe it’s not that good. All I know is that instead of watching it and having to dredge out the bits I’m enjoying (as with the last couple of episode), I found myself actually able to just sit back and enjoy it. Certainly I’m actually looking forward to the next episode more than I have for the past few weeks.

I hope you feel the same.

One final thing: I’m beginning to think the best new character in the whole show isn’t Rex, or Esther, or (in a warped way) Oswald. It’s Dr Vera. More than anyone else, she truly is experiencing the aftermath of Miracle Day, rather than just talking about it. I’m loving all of her scenes.

Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.