There have been a few episodes of Torchwood- Miracle Day now, and it is still pretty dire.
As a show, Torchwood has always been hit and miss. The first series was excusable, but to make it adult there were totally pointless statements- "I can feel your hard-on" being the worst- but overall there were a few passable ideas to keep people watching. The second series was a little better, but for some reason it was felt that to make it more adult they should keep killing off characters who had a lot left to give whilst retaining those who we already knew all about.
Children of Earth was actually rather good, until the end- more on that later
So what is my problem with Miracle Day?
Firstly, Gwen. My problem with all Torchwood. A woman who went quite rapidly from normal person to superspy in an ill fitting catsuit. For some bizarre reason she is centre stage throughout, displaying a startling lack of emotion or charisma (any emotion will be displayed by the music- her tone of voice remains at either normal and robotic or angry and annoying)
But Gwen isn't all that is wrong with it. The horrendously slow pace of the series is making it a chore to watch- did episode two really need to spend so much time trying to save Jack's life? No. Do we need to have unnecessary sex scenes that add nothing to the plot? No. I know Starz are co-producing, but in the two other shows of theirs I have seen, sex scenes have either been kept to a minimum and used for plot advancement (Camelot) or the participants happily have a plot advancing conversation during the act (Spartacus). In Torchwood it was "Look, they like sex!"- I read this as "look, we're filling up space"
The two main American actors are both pretty good at conveying emotion- unfortunately the script calls for that emotion to be 'Mopey' or 'In pain'. Claire from Six Feet Under is very good too, and her character needs more screen time- I fear that more time on screen means more of a boring part though. Bill Pullman is excellent as Oswald, but his plotline seems too far fetched- however the fact that he now seems to be investigating things for himself was a nice development- though in true RTD style it may come to nothing.
A lot of people complain about Moffat writing Doctor Who. I think (controversially) that Moffat is a superior writer and show-runner to Russell T Davies. True, Moffat sticks to a formula and is stuck as a comedy writer but RTD is naturally a childrens writer and sticks to the formula of "all hope is lost.... here's a big red button, the day is saved!". It is his history as a low budget childrens writer that I feel has ruined Torchwood- that is the only reason I can see for the wholly unnecessary "look at the English and Americans doing stuff different" routine- do we really need to be told that petrol stations are gas stations? And the scene in which Gwen is told she is driving on the wrong side of the road seconds after being told that the roads are empty was just pointless.
Then there is the predictability of the plot. Deep down I hope that it is the Silence, or the Time Lords. But I am 90% sure that the end episode will go something like this.
Jack- Aha, Alien that has never been seen on screen before- it was you! I know you from offscreen!
Gwen- Look out Jack they will kill you!
Jack- Oh no they did killed me I love you Gwen despite your inability to act
Rex- This machine with the stop button, if I press it this will all stop but I may die
Gwen- Do it
Rex has a moment- does he save himself or the world?
Gwen presses the button
Rex- Noooooo, Do not want!
Enter Esther and Dr. Vera, who rush over to dying Rex
The Alien looks triumphant
Alien- we only really wanted to kill Jack, cos he was a wrong'un
Jack- I'm totally alive again, I'm gonna kill you aliens
Alien- Noooooo, Do Not Want!
Rex- thank you doctor I'm alive
Oswald- I'm dead, that makes me happy
Jack and Gwen do what they always do and ignore the fact that they love each other.
I hope I'm wrong- but throughout the children of earth series people were expecting the aliens to be something we had seen before- and it wasn't. And Jack just happened to have a grandson with the power to save the day at the cost of his life. Which was, frankly, stupid