The first episode of the fourth season of the popular Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood will have its debut in the U.S. on Starz on July 8th at 10pm (ET, PT). Torchwood: Miracle Day features original cast members John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Kai Owens along with new headliners Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman, and Alexa Havins (see “Mekhi Phifer Joining Torchwood”).
The new series, which was co-produced by Starz and the BBC, won’t have its U.K. debut until July 14th, and Blighty fans are not pleased with having to wait. The shoe was on the other foot with the previous version of Torchwood, the Children of Earth mini-series, which debuted in the U.K. on July 6th in 2009 and didn’t air until July 20th in the U.S. (on BBC America). The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper complained about the long delay between the U.S. and U.K. broadcasts, but concluded that answer lies in the fact that “the lion’s share of the money comes from Starz.” The Guardian speculated that ratings for the series, which added two million viewers to its audience when it was switched to BBC One for Children of Earth, could decline if enough fans decide to download pirate versions of the U.S. broadcasts, which are sure to pop up on the Net. Perhaps if they do, the powers that be in both countries will get the message and, like the BBC is now doing with Doctor Who, opt for near simultaneous release in both countries.
Somewhat different versions of the Miracle Day, which chronicles the not altogether beneficial effects of a world without death, will air in the U.S. and the U.K. due to the differing standards between U.S. cable and U.K. over-the-air broadcasts.