‘Doctor Who’ thing of the day: in which we see the violence inherent in the system (re ‘Torchwood’: “Miracle Day”)

There’s a lot of disturbing news about Torchwood: “Miracle Day” in recent days, and all of it is connected to the fact that this season, the show is a joint production with an American network.

I apologize in advance on behalf of my nation.

First, Den of Geek confirms that the airdate in the U.K. for “Miracle Day” is nearly a week after the Starz debut in the U.S.:

[W]e’ve finally got a confirmed date, direct from the BBC. Torchwood: Miracle Day will screen in the UK on BBC One, on Thursday nights. The series will kick off on Thursday 14th July, at 9pm.

That’s still a full six days after the US transmission, although given that Starz is paying the lion’s share of the show’s budget, that’s perhaps to be expected.

Well, actually, no: that’s bullshit. What possible benefit can accrue to Starz by making U.K. viewers wait a week to see the show? In fact, if anything, it jeopardizes the U.K. airings of the show, because we know that U.K. viewers will, in fact, resort to, er, alternative means to see the show.

Although, as one commenter at the Guardian’s TV & Radio Blog post on the topic notes:

As I pay my licence fee, if I download this in advance, is it really illegal downloading? Surely it is just a more pro-active form of time-shifting?

Actually, that seems extremely reasonable. Also too: There’s no reason why someone who downloads the episodes in the U.K. wouldn’t also want to watch them once they air on BBC One. Especially because of this (via The Escapist):

US and UK Getting Different Versions of New Torchwood

Miracle Day, the fourth season of the Doctor Who spinoff Torchwood, will be different depending on whether you watch it in the UK or the US. That’s according to the editor of the official Doctor Who Magazine, Tom Spilsbury.

Posting on Twitter earlier in the week, Spilsbury said that some content would be removed from the US version because of episode timing, while other content would be excised from the UK version because it was unsuitable to be shown on the BBC. Spillsbury said that the BBC version wasn’t being censored per se, but didn’t expand on what was actually going on. He also baited the hardcore fans by posing the question of which version would be the “proper” version, and entreating them to “PANIC!”

What. The. Fuck.

Of course, the same thing happens, to varying degrees, with the American broadcasts of Doctor Who. I remember watching the Christopher Eccleston episodes for the first time on DVD — after having previously seen only the Sci Fi Channel (now Syfy) cablecasts — and saying to myself, “I know I didn’t see that scene before…”

Great. Now I’ve got to watch two different versions of each episode of “Miracle Day” and compare-and-contrast them. *grrr*

(Thanks to Darryl, Jennie, and Doctor Who Store via Twitter. If you stumble across a cool Doctor Who thing, feel free to email me with a link.)

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