Thursday, 19 January 2012

Torchwood Miracle Day: Episode 1: The New World. The Day Begins

(Originally posted on Nik Nak & Grub’s Who Peculiar, on 14 July 2011)

Hmmm …

You know, I’ve got to admit, I’m possibly going to go into Rant mode at some stage during tonight’s post, I really am … !

You see, I’ve just had a quick virtual natter with my former co-author, Grub, about DVD prices.

He’s thinking about investing in the DVD of the first half of this year’s series of Dr Who.

As you may or may not know, the series has been split into two halves, with the first 7 episodes having been shown earlier this year, and the last 6 due to be broadcast in the autumn.
Grub, like me, is on something of a restricted income.

So tends to be a touch careful with his DVD purchases.

The fact that the BBC has released those first 7 episodes to DVD, a short time after their broadcast caught his attention: especially as the the recommended retail price of £25 seemed fair enough.

However … ?

Well …

I don’t think Grub was impressed with the lack of extras.

By the sound of things, it’s an extremely vanilla release, at a price he — and I, I should add — felt a touch too high, for just the first 7 episodes.
The Confidentials, as well, would’ve been appreciated.

As I pointed out … ?

I could do better, myself.

I’m not kidding, either … !

Especially given the fact that HandBrake — the freely available open source DVD ripper — is capable of copying the contents of a programme recorded onto a blank DVD by a home DVD recorder as well as it can copy a commercial DVD.

You can take my point, there, I think.

Not that I’m advocating outright video piracy, there: never have and never will.

However … ?

I’m AM suggesting that the BBC should really think about their pricing policy.
Especially when you consider that any of us reading this either have — or can easily get — the basic tools* to make the equivalent product for ourselves.


Actually, there’s a reason I’m burbling on, like this, there really is.

You see, I’ve just seen — and happily recorded‡ — the first episode of Season four of Dr Who spin off, Torchwood.

Torchwood’s fourth series — or Miracle Day, as I should call it — opens with Owen Danes — Bill Pullman — a convicted child abuser, rapist and murderer who survives his execution by lethal injection.

And with CIA agent Rex Matheson — Mekhi Phifer — surviving a car crash that should have killed him.

A car crash, I should add, that takes place whilst Rex is talking on his mobile phone to workmate, Esther Drummond — Alexa Havins — who’s noticed some that the CIA computers have ALL had an email consisting of just one word.


That’s where thing’s start to get Hairy … !

Because, as event’s unfurl, we find that Agent Matheson and and Owen Danes aren’t the only ones to have been affected by what the press quickly terms Miracle Day.

The day, in other words, when everyone — everyone — stops dying …


Meanwhile, back in Wales … … ?

Back in Wales we find that Gwen — Eve Myles — and Rhys — Kai Owen — trying to raise their daughter, Anwen, in the Welsh backwoods.

And seriously scared for their lives, after the events of Children of Earth.

It’s only when Gwen’s former fellow officer, Andy, gets in touch to let her know her father’s had two serious heart attacks that she and Rhys find out that heart attacks needn’t be fatal.

As they’ve taken place on a day like this.

A day when the last thing one needs is trouble


Now, I’ve got to confess, I’ve actually enjoyed this opening episode of Miracle Day.

I’ll admit, I don’t think it’s on quite the same par as Children Of Earth. But then, very few things are: I happen to personally believe that Children Of Earth was Torchwood’s equivalent of Genesis of the Daleks. The story, in other words, that leaves an LASTING imprint in people’s memories, and on subsequent stories in the series.

And, granted, I’m thinking that Jack’s newly found vulnerability will be the key to the whole plot.

But I do think Miracle Day to have a rock solid opening episode: with enough references to keep old fans happy, and attract a new bunch of US fans.

Granted, I’ve felt some recent TV sci-fi hasn’t made the grade: the remake of The Prisoner and Outcasts in particular.

But I’m also thinking, here, that Torchwood is not going to suffer the same fate.

Especially given that Miracle Day — going on its opening episode — shows us the series is as solid as ever.

* A copy of HandBrake, or other DVD ripper, a DVD or Blu-ray recorderº, a home computerª … and a pile of blank optical discs^.

º Such as can be bought from Argos at a reasonable price.

ª SENSIBLE people, like me, get them from Apple stores. Cheapskates like Grub get any old Windoze-based thang from the back of a lorry. A smelly lorry. That has bits that fall off. On a regular basis. Ever get the feeling you’ve walked into an on-going domestic incident … ?

‡ For my own personal use, I should add: I’m going to keep that recording, until Miracle Day’s official UK DVD release, which is when it’ll get replaced.

^ Available in many local shops. Chuck a brick.

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