Chris Chibnall on Torchwood's Miracle Day.

TV Chris Chibnall has an interview for Starburst during which he's remarkably self aware about Torchwood's numerous problems, and it's entirely possible to infer from what he's saying that it's coincidental that Children of Earth was its finest hour because he had nothing to do with it. He has this to say on the subject of Miracle Day:
"I did a bit of very early storylining with Russell on Miracle Day, right at the start, before they pitched it to Fox, before they pitched it to Starz. I think somewhere along the way it sort of lost a little bit of its Torchwood-ness. Whether you like or dislike Torchwood, it has an essence – of madness and cheekiness and sexiness, and fun and darkness, those sort of polar facets of what it’s about, of putting those things together – and somehow it lost a bit of that somewhere in the process. when we were first talking about it, it was something a bit bolder, a bit cheekier. it may just come back to the fact that one of the great essences of Torchwood was taking those American tropes and doing them in Wales. And in a way, that’s what made Torchwood so brilliantly odd. Once you put it in California, it becomes more like other shows."
The main problem with Torchwood, throughout, was its wilful ignorance of the nuts and bolts of producing a coherent piece of entertainment television.  Chibnall says the brief was to "go and do something that isn’t like anything else" which is fine and they certainly did, but at the same time, as I noted in this analysis written during the first series, it has at least to be coherently structured and watchable in the traditional sense, all of which Torchwood largely failed at, unless you're being deliberately obtuse and avant-guard, which it wasn't.

After the five episodes of proper drama that was Children of Earth, Miracle Day, thanks to, if you listen to the dvd commentaries, innumerable production problems and a loss of nerve, returned to many of the same problems as the first series, with incoherent characterisation, weird plotting and not enough exposition.  It's true that Miracle Day felt more like Torchwood once it was back in Wales.  But putting Torchwood in California wasn't the problem.  Making Torchwood badly was the problem.

[Incidentally, that link via The Mary Sue, where the comments are a pretty good indication as to why Davies advised Chibnall never to read the internet.  Which is good advise.  Except that when working in a vacuum, it's also impossible to know how your work is being received.  If the reaction is overwhelmingly negative, which it pretty much was after the very first episode, you're unlikely to know if you're on the right track.  The trick is not to actively do exactly what the audience is suggesting.]

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