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TV Wasteland: Brand New Day

Torchwood returns with a miraculous threat to the world.

By Rob Vaux     July 03, 2011


The Torchwood Miracle Day poster
© Starz/BBC

 

The intriguing case of Torchwood presents us with a powerful conundrum this week. It’s always done well for itself, but it remains largely for the fanboys: a solid spin-off of Doctor Who that caters to its core audience without expanding the palate significantly. Starz looks to change that with Miracle Day, a new series that moves the action to America and presents a rather brilliant hook to get newbies interested. One day, everyone stops dying: an ostensibly wonderful prospect that could very quickly spell doom for the planet. Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles) – apparently the only remaining survivors of the Torchwood Institute – team up with a pair of renegade spooks to track down the cause. Their path leads them to a charismatic revivalist (Bill Pullman) who was scheduled to die by lethal injection on the day everything went pear-shaped.
 
It sounds promising, but can it work with larger audiences? Friday remains an open date, and Starz has done well with grown-up entertainment in that time slot. Torchwood is a known commodity, and the moderately large names in the cast suggest that they see something worth doing there. We’ll find out if they’re on the right track this Friday, July 8, at 10:00 PM EDT on Starz.
 
Monday
The Twilight Zone (Syfy, 12:00 AM EDT)
Syfy continues its July 4th tradition by running the classic series all day: letting Rod Serling show us how it’s supposed to be done.
 
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Scott (Tyler Posey) tries to control his transformation in order to spend more time with his girlfriend (Crystal Reed). What, she doesn’t like hairy guys?
 
Splice (HBO, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s about Canadians, not Americans, but it’s pretty cool so we’ll let it slide.
 
Batman (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Adam West has never been finer than he is here, trying to dispose of a giant bomb and various other threats to the world.
 
Eagle Eye (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Shia LaBeouf seems like a nice guy, but he just looks blander and blander with every film he makes.
 
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Because nothing symbolizes American independence more than the vengeful spirit of a child-molesting killer played by someone other than the originator of the role.
 
Tuesday
The Thief of Baghdad (TCM, 10:30 PM EDT)
If you’re in the mood for Old Tyme Movies, check out Douglas Fairbanks at his swashbuckling best in the 1924 silent fantasy classic.
 
The Matrix (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Keanu Reeves would like you to know that he knows kung fu. That is all.
 
The Relic (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EDT)
I have a soft spot in my heart for this pre-millennial bit of fun about a monster running amuck during a museum soiree. Directed by Peter Hyams: king of workmanlike competence.
 
American Psycho (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Who knew you could hack someone apart to the dulcet tones of Huey Lewis and the News?
 
Nightmares (IFC, 10:15 PM EDT)
This forgotten little number stars Jason Scott Campbell as a young man who may or may not have murdered someone… if only he could remember.
 
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
With due acknowledgement to J.J. Abrams, this remains the high point of the entire Star Trek franchise.
 
Star Trek: Generations (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Seriously? This is how Kirk bought it? We’re being punk’d, aren’t we?
 
Wednesday
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
A Connecticut barn and a North Carolina house may both hold spirit-riddled artifacts. Must be why the walls keep bleeding…
 
The Matrix Reloaded (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
In and of itself, the sequel is actually pretty good, with some intriguing concepts that the third film utterly squandered. For all intents and purposes, they shot their load with the freeway chase, and never quite recovered. But damn… what a chase!
 
28 Days Later (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Yes Virginia, Oscar winners do make zombie movies. Really, really good ones.
 
Doghouse (IFC, 10:30 PM EDT)
A group of backpacking buddies find themselves in a remote village full of inhuman women hungering for their flesh. Yes, really.
 
The Scorpion King (Starz, 7:25 PM EDT)
Since he made this movie, The Rock has lost enough weight to build an entire second wrestler... perhaps one with better taste in scripts.
 
Resident Evil: Afterlife (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
The little video-game-adaptation-that-could keeps rolling along with this silly but straightforward fourth entry in the series.
 
Thursday
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Nate’s (Seth Peterson) back, and he needs Michael’s (Jeffrey Donovan) help to bring down a local loan shark.
 
Futurama (Comedy Central, 10:00 PM EDT)
Fry decides to become a cop, in a decision that I’m sure won’t come back to bite him at all.
 
Ugly Americans (Comedy Central, 10:30 PM EDT)
Callie is forced to take care of her baby sister after her parents drop the ball.
 
Wilfred (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
That wallet that Wilfred (Jason Gann) planted in the neighbor’s yard comes back to bite Ryan (Elijah wood) in the ass, “Man’s best friend” my Aunt Fanny.
 
The Losers (HBO, 7:45 PM EDT)
Could someone please tell Zoe Saldana to eat something? Thanks.
 
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (ABC Family, 7:30 PM EDT)
Before the end, ABC Family wants you to remember how it began. Man, that Daniel Radcliffe was a cute little guy…
 
The Matrix Revolutions (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
And… down goes the most promising science fiction franchise since Star Wars. Look at it go! Whee!!!
 
Clash of the Titans (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
God bless BBC America for keeping memory of the original alive amid the tsunami of suck that is the remake.
 
Face/Off (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Travolta. Cage. Who can chew the scenery with more vigor? Place your bets now and may the best delirious headliner win!
 
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
It’s not quite the best of the Star Trek movies, but it’s certainly the funniest and the lightest on its feet.
 
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Chalk this one up to the winner’s circle as well, though it certainly has its share of cringe-worthy moments.
 
Friday
Torchwood: Miracle Day (Starz, 10:00 PM EDT)
The fourth season of the Doctor Who spin-off heads to America with a big new challenge. See the top of the article for more.
 
Push (Showtime, 7:30 PM EDT)
Chris Evans leads a solid cast in a derivative but fairly entertaining riff on the basic X-Men premise.
 
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EDT)
Potter-fest continues with one of the better entries in the series: featuring Harry’s confrontation with a basilisk in the catacombs beneath Hogwarts.
 
Alien 3 (BBC America, 10:00 PM EDT)
Note: killing beloved characters five minutes into a picture does not make you edgy. It just makes you a dick.
 
Inception (HBO, 7:30 PM EDT)
Christopher Nolan is all kinds of cool, isn’t he?
 
Identity (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EDT)
This reasonably entertaining thriller demonstrates the versatility of its director James Mangold (Ray, Cop Land and Kate & Leopold, among others) as well as providing a fairly cool little twist at the end.
 
 
Saturday
Outcasts (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
Forthaven experiences violence when a rogue AC enters town and attacks one of its citizens.
 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (ABC Family, 7:30 PM EDT)
The Potter cavalcade continues with the first official appearance of Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) to challenge our hero.
 
Knowing (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
Nicolas Cage really will appear in anything these days, won’t he?
 
Fail Safe (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Though rightfully overshadowed by the brilliant Dr. Strangelove, this taut thriller about a nuclear attack on Moscow holds up quite well, thanks to crackerjack direction from the great Sidney Lumet.
 
The Indiana Jones Saga (Syfy, 1:00 PM EDT)
Syfy runs all four Indiana Jones films – including the unjustly maligned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull – in order of release, starting at 1:00 PM EDT.
 
Sunday
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Sookie (Anna Paquin) has to deal with a mysteriously debilitated Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), while the witches and the vampires continue to warily eye each other.
 
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EDT)
We’re taking our kids back! And if you’ve been watching, you’ll realize just how dangerous a prospect that is.
 
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ABC Family, 9:00 PM EDT)
All hail Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton). Worst. Teacher. Ever!
 
Batman Begins (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
We’ll always have this one, no matter what happens with The Dark Knight Rises.
 
Strange Days (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Ralph Fiennes has never been skeezier, Angela Bassett has never been hotter, and Kathryn Bigelow continues to prove why she’s one of the most dynamic directors working today.
 
Zardoz (FMC, 10:30 PM EDT)
Whatever you do, don’t drop that acid before turning this one on. Bad things, man.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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jackwagon 7/3/2011 1:19:24 PM

Re: Knowing...

Nicolas Cage most definitely will do anything these days for a buck, considering The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Season of the Witch, and Drive Angry.  And I haven't even seen any of those films.

Re: Torchwood: Miracle Day

I've never checked out Torchwood and I had no idea it was a spin off from Doctor Who, but the concept of Miracle Day definitely has me intrigued.  I'll give it a watch when it premieres.

Anyone else watching Falling Skies at all?  I have the first two episodes on my DVR and haven't watched them yet.  I'm wondering if it's any good or if it's meandering.

SarcasticCaveman 7/3/2011 10:03:56 PM

 Can't speak to Falling Skies, but if you have the right sense of humor, Wilfred is hilarious.  Me and my friend Shelley watched it on demand after the new episode of True Blood tonight.  Also saw a new favorite show on Hub, Dan VS.  Truly hilarious.  In the episode we saw, Dan Vs. George Washington, Dan believes our first president is responsible for chopping down a palm tree outside his house that lands on his car.  He vows to take revenge by blowing up Mount Vernon.  Hilarious stuff.

Wiseguy 7/4/2011 5:54:14 AM

You know what I'm going to agree with Rob when he said " the unjustly maligned Kingdom of the Crystal Skull". I wasn't too happy with this film when it came out because I didn't like the alien thing but after watching it several times at home it has grown on me. Not only has it grown on me but I really really like it now. I never hated it but when you see it along the other 3 I think it stands up well next to the others.

Falling Skies and Wilfred still remain a question mark to me. So far they're interesting enough to keep watching but neither has wowed me. I admit that I tend to thumb my nose at shows, movies or people that make light of drug or alcohol use, just a personal distaste, so that's something that Wilfred has going against it with me.

2 weeks til Breaking Bad. My second favorite running series after Game of Thrones

 

karas1 7/4/2011 6:20:17 AM

Falling Skies isn't bad.  The FX are decent, the actors are good and it has some interesting concepts.  It got much more interesting last night when they tried to communicate with an alien that they captured.  It's not must see TV for me, but it's growing on me.

Sorcerer's Apprentice and Drive Angry were fun films.  Neither was ever going to win an Oscar, but they were worth my money at the theater.  There's nothing wrong with an unambitious film that just wants to entertain.  Just look at the National Treasure movies.

Torchwood:  Gee, I wish I had Starz.  But not enough to shell out for it.  I guess I'll just wait for Miracle Day to come out on DVD.  If you've never tried Torchwood, give it a go and see scifi's first bisexual action hero!

 

Star Trek: Generations (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)Seriously? This is how Kirk bought it? We’re being punk’d, aren’t we?

I don't see why people think this is such an inglorious end for Kirk.  He died stopping a lunatic who wanted to blow up a star and incinerate an inhabited planet with several billion people on it.  And that was after being sucked out into space while saving the Enterprise and all aboard earlier in the film.  Kirk died heroically TWICE in one movie.

AtreyuPrimus 7/4/2011 7:11:24 AM

THANK YOU karas!!!!

Kirk is, and always will be a badass hero! Who despite it all, gives his all for the cause.
Case(s) in point: (TOS: City on the Edge of Forever; ST2:The Wrath of Kahn and ST3:The Search for Spock; ST: Generations)

AtreyuPrimus 7/4/2011 7:12:24 AM

I've recorded Falling Skies, but have yet to watch it... is it living up to the hype so far?

SarcasticCaveman 7/4/2011 10:27:06 AM

 Yeah, Kirk heroically fell off some scafolding that was hastily attached to a mountain.

SarcasticCaveman 7/4/2011 10:28:49 AM

 Everybody else seems to understand that Kirk was supposed to die under a pile or rabid, blood thirsty Klingon bastards.

InnerSanctum 7/4/2011 10:55:33 AM

 SarcasticCaveman:  Agreed.  If it is any consolation, they brought him back in the books.  As a clone spy.  I listened to one of the books on CD.  SPOILER:  He blew up at the end saving the Federation.  I assume he was brought back again since Shatner's name was attached as the writer of furhter adventures (when we know it was actually a ghost writer.  Can't believe people fall for that gimick.)  

redhairs99 7/4/2011 11:40:58 AM

Kara, Capt. Jack isn't so much bisexual as he is "Omni-sexual."  He'll hit on anyone, any gender, any species.

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