Sat, 20 August 2011
reprinted from wikipedia with repect and thanks
 Plot summary
In the pre-credits sequence, PhiCorp CEO Stuart Owens (Ernie Hudson) attempts to investigate PhiCorp constructions sites in Shanghai but his hired investigator(Eric Steinberg) jumps off a high-storey building to end consciousness rather than tell him the horror of what is really going on. Jack later confronts Owens and learns from him that the PhiCorp is as much a pawn as any other player in the system, and that whoever orchestrated the miracle has been working towards it for a very long time. He also learns of another term relating to the miracle which Owens' team of investigators have uncovered: "the blessing", dating back to the 1990s.
In San Pedro, Rex finishes his video message contained along with the footage of Dr. Juarez's incineration, and Esther begins to suspect something has happened to Dr. Juarez. Rex attempts to pass himself off as a soldier working at the San Pedro Overflow Camp but is unsuccessful and captured. Juarez's killer, camp director Colin Maloney (Marc Vann), briefly considers using Rex's video to expose the death of Dr. Juarez and become a hero, but then attempts to kill Rex. Esther finds them and is forced to strangle Maloney. With assistance from soldier Ralph Coltrane (Fred Koehler), who had been complicit in Juarez' murder, they are able to escape the compound with the footage. They release it, causing a public outcry, but do not affect the government's stance on Overflow Camps and the life and death category system.
In Wales, Gwen manages to break her father out of the Overflow Camp as Rhys runs over the gates with Geraint in the back of his truck. With the Torchwood contact lenses, Gwen publicly broadcasts a message explaining the purpose of the Overflow Camps shortly before blowing up the Modules (where people are incinerated) at the Cardiff facility. However, touching down again in Los Angeles she is unable to make contact with Rhys. A mysterious phonecall at the LAX white privacy phone tells her to put on her lenses, where she receives a message directly to her line of sight from the conspirators behind Miracle Day: they have her mother, husband and child, and to set them free she must deliver Jack.
Assignment X described the episode as "lackluster", stating, "This story seems to excel in examining all the permutations of its premise in society – such as the intriguing “45 Club” early in this episode – but the further it goes in following the actual plotline with the Torchwood team and their investigation, the more frustrating it gets as a viewing experience".
Thu, 18 August 2011
The Categories of Life
reprinted From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia with respect and thanks
"The Categories of Life" is the fifth episode of the fourth series of British science fiction television series Torchwood, and was first broadcast in the United States on Starz on 5 August 2011 and in the UK on 11 August.
 Plot summary
The government panels are cancelled after PhiCorp and the world's governments implement a categorization system regarding life. Those who should have died and are brain-dead are assigned Category 1 status, and those who have persistent injuries/diseases are to be given Category 2 while Category 3 status are normal people who have no or minor injuries. Category 1s and 2s are sent to Overflow Camps which resemble concentration camps where there are hidden modules not appearing on satellite footage, and Torchwood suspects that these modules have a dark purpose.
Appalled by growing governmental control over life and death, Vera travels to California to assist Torchwood. As he survived a fatal injury, Rex investigates a camp in California as a Category 2 patient while Esther sneaks in and administratively assigns Rex a Category 1 status and smuggles him a camera to film evidence.
Using her medical panel credentials, Vera attempts to inspect the treatment of Category 1 patients and discovers that many conscious people are being assigned Category 1 status, essentially being declared non-living by the government. Vera threatens to prosecute Colin Maloney, the man overseeing the overflow camp after she sees the inhumane conditions which conscious Category 1 patients are enduring. He panics and shoots her. To cover up his actions, he and soldier Ralph Coltrane transport her to one of the modules and place her inside.
Elsewhere, Jack tries to convince Oswald to use his fame to expose PhiCorp's advanced knowledge of the Miracle, but Oswald goes ahead with his pro-PhiCorp televised speech to a packed stadium. Meanwhile, Gwen returns to Wales to rescue her father from an Overflow Camp. During the escape attempt, her father suffers another heart attack and the doctors later give him Category 1 status, which Gwen struggles to challenge. When her husband Rhys reveals to her that the camp's personnel are taking Category 1 patients to the "burn unit", Gwen deduces that the modules are in fact incinerators used to burn the Category 1 patients. This is grimly confirmed when, back in the California Overflow Camp, Maloney activates the incinerator on the module containing Vera. Rex comes across Vera but cannot free her, and is forced to watch her being burned alive, reluctantly video recording her agony.
Writing for the Guardian, Dan Martin describes this episode as the episode in which "Miracle Day finally realised its potential". For Martin, the success of the episode is based on the fact that it revolves around "looking at humanity through a camera contact-lens, darkly". He concludes by opining that although this episode is set in a world completely different to our own this episode has greater verisimilitude than those previous.
AfterElton's Heather Hogan also praised the writing of the episode, stating that although she knew in advance that Vera was going to die, the ending left her with her mouth "completely agape". Hogan felt that the use of Nazi imagery relating to the in-universe use of the final solution was particularly unsettling. She questions whether this is making the show too dark, but ultimately concludes that the reverses applies, as Miracle Day now has her full attention, stating that the final scenes will continue to haunt her.
Writing for entertainment site io9 Charlie Jane Anders also praises the set-up of the episode, stating that it illuminates a basic truth about the perils of rationing healthcare. She also praises the way some of the failures of the protoganists (particuarly Vera and Gwen) play into the episode, stating that "'The Categories of Life' exposes human vanity in the way that only a script by Jane Espenson could".
Wed, 10 August 2011
The Sun Makers
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In the far future, the planet Pluto is habitable, heated by several miniature suns. However, the heat is available only to the ruling classes, the working population being oppressed by the ruthless, bureaucratic and omnipresent Company. When the Doctor and Leela arrive, they help to initiate a rebellion from the Undercity, and stop the evil company's plans once and for all.
The inhabitants of Pluto in the far future are taxed to desperation, not least the functionary Cordo, who is so overwhelmed by the size of his tax bill that he decides to take his own life by jumping from the roof of one of the vast Megropolis tower blocks. He is interrupted by the arrival of the Doctor and Leela from the TARDIS, who save him from his chosen fate, and discover that false suns have been created around Pluto to provide the ability for some of mankind to live. However, the Company which owns the suns and all the buildings on Pluto is using its economic stranglehold over mankind to extort ever growing taxes through an extreme form of usury. The Doctor is concerned at this economic and social structure, where each Megropolis is ruled by a taxation Gatherer, and the entire operation on the planet reports to a malevolent Collector. Some citizens have rejected this social order and choose to live in the dark tunnels of the Undercity. The Doctor, Leela and Cordo venture there and encounter the renegades of the undercity, a vicious bunch of thieves and drop-outs led by the brutal Mandrel. He tells the Doctor that he must use a stolen consume-card to obtain money from a cashpoint or else Leela will be killed.
The Gatherer of Megropolis One, Hade, has been alerted to the arrival of the TARDIS. He uses an electronic tracker to follow K9, who has now departed the craft in search of his master. K9 finds the Doctor and Cordo at a cashpoint where the Gatherer sees them and suspects they must be arms dealers. He orders his private guard, the Inner Retinue, to deal with them. When the Doctor tries the stolen card he is overpowered by a cloud of noxious gas and falls unconscious.
When the Doctor awakes he finds himself restrained in a Correction Centre alongside a similarly incarcerated man named Bisham. They are likely to be tortured, but the Doctor is as concerned for Leela, whom Mandrel threatened to kill if the Doctor did not return. Leela has defended herself though, and Cordo, who evaded capture, returns to the Undercity with news of the Doctor’s capture. This serves to increase Leela’s standing with the thieves and the threat over her life diminishes. The Doctor’s lot improves too when he is released for questioning by Gatherer Hade, but Hade is playing a game of double bluff. He has the Doctor released but orders his movements tracked, believing the Doctor will lead him to the heart of a conspiracy against the Company. Not knowing about this change in fortunes, Leela, Cordo and K9 attack the Correction Centre to try and rescue the Doctor. He has left, but they do succeed in freeing Bisham. As they depart the Centre they find all their possible travel routes blocked by Inner Retinue troopers.
Leela leads her friends in an attack on the guards, but she alone is injured in a skirmish and falls from a troop transporter they have commandeered. The Doctor has returned to the Undercity to find a very agitated Mandrel, who refuses to believe he could have been simply released after such a crime. Once more Cordo returns, this time with Bisham and K9, and defuses the situation when he explains what has happened to Leela. He also uses a stolen blaster to force Mandrel to stop threatening the Doctor. He asserts control and persuades the Undercity dwellers to start a revolution against the Company. Their first target will be the main control area where the Company engineers that PCM, a pacifying drug which helps keep the population servile, is being added to the air supply. Mandrel and his gang are also persuaded to start destroying the monitors throughout the Megropolis and to start spreading the message of revolt.
Leela is now presented to the Collector himself, an odious humanoid in a life-support wheelchair who is even more obsessed with money than Gatherer Hade, who fawns all over him. The Collector deduces from interrogating Leela that Hade’s conspiracy theory was unfounded and orders that Leela will be steamed to death in a public execution. He is especially pleased at a public steaming and arranges immediate publicity, unaware of the revolt spreading through the Megropolis. The Doctor heads off to rescue Leela from the steamer, but is running out of time.
The Doctor manages to save Leela in the nick of time, but the microphones set up to relay her death screams instead relay the sound of Mandrel warning the Doctor of how little time he has left to rescue her. The Collector is incensed and even more troubled when the revolution starts spreading even more quickly. Gatherer Hade is thrown to his death from the top of his Megropolis, and his normally dutiful underling, Marn, joins the revolution.
Leela and the Doctor head for the Collector’s Palace, and there he sabotages the computer system. The Collector arrives and is challenged by the Doctor, who discovers the being is a Usurian from the planet Usurius. He is really a seaweedlike being like a sentient poisonous fungus. The Doctor denounces his operation on Pluto, which consumed Mars as well as the population were moved from Earth. Before the Collector can implement a plan to gas the population of Pluto, Cordo and the lead rebels arrive and help the Doctor defeat the remaining members of the Inner Retinue. The Collector checks his computer to find the Doctor’s input has resulted in projected bankruptcy, and the shock of this causes the Collector to revert to his natural state in a compartment at the base of his wheelchair. The Doctor seals him in to be sure the threat is over, and he and Leela depart with K9, leaving Cordo, Mandrel and the others to contemplate recolonising the Earth.
 Cast notes
 Outside references
 In print
A novelisation of this serial, written by Terrance Dicks, was published by Target Books in November 1982. Dicks chose to tone down the scene in which revolutionaries cheer as they hurl one of their former oppressors from a roof, reducing the apparent horror so that the rebels concerned feel that their actions have gone "a bit too far".
 VHS and DVD releases
 Target novelisation
Wed, 10 August 2011
taken with thanks from wikipedia
Dr. Vera Juarez and several doctors visit an abandoned hospital that is being used to handle the extra surplus of patients but much to Vera's frustration, the plan is a failure as there are too many patients admitted to the hospital and they don't have enough equipment to handle them. Meanwhile, Ellis Hartley Monroe, a Mayor and member of the Tea Party starts a campaign call "Dead is Dead", which aims to segregate the undying from the public until death finally comes for them. Oswald, Jilly and PhiCorp do not like this since her popularity might derail Oswald's and threaten PhiCorp plans. When Ellis makes a speech near the hospital where the extra patients are being sent, Oswald makes a bold move by entering the hospital and meeting the patients there, thus making the press immediately focus on him. Inside, Oswald tells the patients that they all deserve equal medical treatment and that people like Ellis are trying to take their rights away for them as they don't consider them human anymore. He promises to fight on their behalf and instantly the patients, the press and the public call Oswald a hero much to Ellis's frustration. The secret organization that controls PhiCorp drugs and kidnaps Ellis to a car compactor, where they tell her "The Families" will eliminate anyone who poses a threat to them before her car is crushed in the compactor, trapping Ellis inside.
After obtaining information from the PhiCorp's servers, Torchwood learns that PhiCorp are building "Overflow Camps" around the world where extra patients will be sent. However, Rhys calls Gwen that her father is being sent to one of these camps as well and by the time Gwen tells him stop them, her father has already been taken away.
Den of Geek gave the episode a positive review saying "Come the end of Escape To L.A., it feels as if most of Miracle Day’s key themes are now firmly established, even if the detail is yet to come. And the episode is an interesting one. It doesn’t have the lovely smaller moments that really set Dead Of Night apart, and we still think that episode three is the peak of the series to date. But, episode four? It's still strong, and it's still worth tuning in to see."