BBC 1, 9pm
Yeah, yeah, so Bill Pullman’s in it and the budget has been supersized, thanks to the involvement of US channel Starz, but the jury’s still out on this spin-off of a spin-off.
To recap: most of the Torchwood team were killed off in the last series (in other words, they had panto commitments or Starz just didn’t want them any more) which means there’s only Gwen and Rhys left. They’ve been living in a rural Welsh hideaway with their baby daughter Anwen but emerged last week to blow up a helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade.
The cause of all the argy bargy is the strange phenomenon which gives this series its title. In short, nobody is dying. It’s a neat plot idea (just as it was in 1934 when US film Death Takes A Holiday was released) and sets the clock ticking for the human race: with no “natural wastage”, the planet and its resources will soon stop being viable.
In a bid to find out who or what Torchwood is, US spook Rex Matheson has come to our shores and Captain Jack has returned to our planet. And guess what? He’s still in his World War Two uniform. Ironically, however, just as everyone else becomes immortal, he becomes mortal.
In tonight’s episode, he and Gwen are extradited to the US. Still, that’s what happens when your production budgets increase. Along for the ride are Matheson and a creepy CIA colleague with her own motives. Soon, Jack’s expounding his own theories for the so-called “miracle”. “It’s a morphic event on a scale I’ve never seen before,” he tells Matheson. “So whatever’s happening to this planet, it’s massive.”
John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up Show
Channel 4, 11.05pm
Whet your appetite for next month’s Edinburgh Fringe with a showcase of some of the best stand-up New York has to offer. The host is John Oliver, the Brit who features on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and among tonight’s guests are Kristen Schaal (appearing in Edinburgh this year), her Flight Of The Conchords co-star Eugene Mirman, and actress and comedian Janeane Garofalo.
Back in the days when a summer blockbuster really meant something, Steven Spielberg produced this take on Peter Benchley’s bestseller. It holds up pretty well, with Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss playing the leads but being completely outhammed by Robert Shaw’s Captain Ahab character who helps them track down the shark terrorising a seaside town. And who can forget John Williams’s Oscar-winning score?