By Morgan Jeffery, TV Reporter for Digital Spy
Torchwood: Miracle Day has now concluded on both sides of the Atlantic, and it's fair to say that the ten-part sci-fi drama has caused a bit of a stir among fans and critics alike. Some loved it, while others had a shopping list of complaints - it was too American, too long, too slow, too sexual.
Join us as we take our own look at Miracle Day to decide where the series soared, where it went wrong and what we'd like to see in the future.
The New Cast: One of the most successful elements of Torchwood: Miracle Day was the batch of new characters introduced. Mekhi Phifer's Rex got off to an uneasy start, quickly establishing himself as the most unlikable series regular on television with his callous remarks and homophobic behavior.
However, the character grew and developed to such an extent that, by the time 'The Blood Line' rolled around, he was this writer's favorite character. Still gruff and ignorant on occasion, but with real heart and a strong heroic streak, Rex is a fine addition to the Torchwood team and Mekhi Phifer expertly handled the character's transition from anti-hero to just plain hero.
It's also a real shame that we won't be seeing Esther again - barring flashbacks, unexpected resurrections or timey-wimey surprises. Alexa Havins was consistently excellent, bringing a real warmth and likability to her role.
And as for the villains, Bill Pullman made the most of his tenure as Oswald Danes, being both extremely charismatic and utterly repellent throughout. We never like Oswald, but Pullman's layered performance ensures that we do often sympathize with him, before having the rug pulled swiftly out from under us as he commits yet another heinous crime.
Lauren Ambrose was also superb as his partner-in-crime Jilly Kitzinger and we're glad that the character will (apparently) be back in any future iteration of Torchwood - in the early episodes of Miracle Day especially, she bought a sense of fun to proceedings that was absolutely vital.
The Twists: Torchwood has always been good at dealing out the shocks, and Miracle Day was no exception. After a (relatively) cosy first few episodes, this writer's jaw dropped as poor Vera Juarez was shot and burnt alive at the conclusion of 'The Categories of Life' - Arlene Tur was great in the role and her character's violent death gave the next few episodes a terrific jolt.
The last-minute death of Esther was another well-handled shocker. With all signs pointing to an early exit for Rex, it was a cruel trick on the writers' part to off lovely Agent Drummond instead, and all the crueler to keep viewings hanging until that first glimpse of her funeral. But Torchwood has always excelled at this kind of emotional sucker-punch.
The Scale: One of the chief criticisms from some Torchwood fans this year is that the show has become too glossy and 'Americanised'. But the fact of the matter is that Torchwood always had the ambition to be a big, flashy US-style drama and this was the first time that it really had the budget to back up that vision.
If the series had been drastically altered or tampered with by interfering US producers, then the 'Americanisation' argument might hold water, but in terms of style, Torchwood is still the same show it's always been. It just looks better now.
WHAT DIDN'T WORK
The Culture Clash: Maybe it's just us, but the 'culture clash' scenes that dominated the first few episodes of Miracle Day just seemed tired and lazy. And is there even really that much of a massive difference between UK and US culture anymore?
Through the power of film and television, UK residents are more than familiar with the different wordings and phrases used by Americans, and vice versa. Yet viewers were subjected to scenes reminiscent of a 1970s sitcom, as Gwen drove on the wrong side of the road and became flustered with Rex taking off his "pants". Unnecessary and a little bit painful.
The Pace: 2009's Torchwood series Children of Earth was superbly structured - there were some variations in tone and pace, but it ran for five episodes and contained five episodes worth of plot. Unfortunately, it felt like Miracle Day also held five episodes worth of plot, but stretched out over double that length.
It's not that all of Miracle Day was slow, but that the pace was so uneven. Some episodes - particularly around the mid-point of the series - sagged terribly with little to no plot development, while others - especially the finale - were positively stuffed with incident, twists and sudden advances in the story.
Dangling Plot Threads: A consequence of these pacing problems was the number of underdeveloped and unresolved plot threads in the series. Episode 7 - the Jack-centric 'Immortal Sins' - was a nice enough diversion, but the character of Angelo was ultimately rather pointless in terms of the overall plot.
But far worse was Rex's sub-plot in penultimate installment 'The Gathering' - he spends almost the entire episode researching an apparently vital short-story written by one Victor Podesta, before completely dropping his investigation once the rest of the Torchwood team locate the Blessing. This is filler material at its worst - an utter waste of time that is completely irrelevant to the final resolution.
Oh, and having mentioned the Blessing, we can't let that one pass without one final dig. We're sure that the reveal of this mammoth underground crevice was intended to be jaw-dropping, and it certainly was, but in entirely the wrong way. We'll keep it clean, but the resemblence to 'lady parts' was really quite difficult to ignore.
Miracle Day might not have been perfect, but we're hoping that there's life in Torchwood yet. The show has performed relatively well ratings-wise in the UK, but ultimately it's success in the US that matters, given the financial stake that Starz now has in the show.
The cable network's CEO Chris Albrecht recently suggested that Torchwood may not return - at least for the foreseeable future - due to the busy schedule of Russell T Davies, but that would be a real shame. It's this writer's belief that, with a few vital tweaks, Torchwood still has the potential to come back bigger and better than ever.
What were your thoughts on Torchwood: Miracle Day? Fill us in on your opinions below!