The Washington Post

Starz’s ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’ mortality advocates get cold shoulder in Washington

“The Soulless” from “Torchwood: Miracle Day” march in downtown Washington. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)

Pay cable network Starz unleashed a small masked army of The Soulless on downtown Washington – part of a multi-city blitz to promote Friday’s premiere of  its “Torchwood: Miracle Day” miniseries. It’s the latest installment of BBC’s sci-fi drama “Torchwood.”

In this 10-episode installment, something happens on one red-letter day, and everyone stops dying. All around the world -- nobody hands in their dinner pail. It’s the same story the next day, and the next, and the next. Sounds great -- except the people do keep ageing. They just can’t die.

This is, of course, cataclysmic. Movie theater chains and Long John Silver’s Restaurants will go under honoring all their senior citizen discounts. Television networks will crater because advertisers refuse to pay to reach older viewers. Who or what is behind this vast conspiracy? The answers lie within an old, secret British institute, Starz hints.

Anyway, in the series, a group of masked protesters, known as The Soulless, march in protest of this “miracle.”

And, some of The Soulless were sent to Washington on Thursday, where they were met with less-than-friendly response, Yahr reports.

Washingtonians were taking a firm pro-immortality position and letting The Soulless know about it in no uncertain terms as they marched from McPherson Square in downtown, down K Street towards Georgetown, bumping into parking meters and fire hydrants – it’s apparently hard to see where you’re going in a death mask -- and periodically stopping to fix their hair when it got caught in their masks.

The group marches near the metro station. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)

“I'm not interested,” grumbled a guy eating lunch on a park bench in Farragut Square when approached by one of the  mortality advocates.

“BOOO!” roared a herd of prepubescent schoolchildren from their bus careening down Connecticut Ave. These TV critics in the making gave the group a collective hand gesture out the bus windows. On the bright side, it only involved pointing their thumbs downward.

Back in October, another TV network, AMC sent a horde of zombies to terrorize the people of D.C. with an invasion of the Lincoln Memorial, only they were cowed by the park police who politely informed the zombies they could not invade the Lincoln Memorial without a permit. After that, the zombies took a stretch limo to Georgetown to make a light lunch of President Obama. Sadly, the president was not available to be dined on, so they amused themselves by chasing their own limo around the picturesque neighborhood for a while.

The Soulless took a more casual approach to their attire than the zombies that invaded Washington last fall. (Emily Yahr/The Washington Post)

Thursday’s March of The Soulless was somehow less festive; while the zombies had been attired in decaying clothing, hideous wigs, lots of stage dirt, and gallons of stage blood, The Soulless looked more like student protesters –business suits, jeans, khaki shorts, sensible sundresses.

For a bunch of people stressing the advantage of death, they sure did complain a lot about the heat, as they made their way down K St. towards Georgetown, where workers in food trucks, and commuters in cars stuck at traffic lights, read their signs that read “Death Ends” and “Save Us,” and were handed souvenir stress balls.

:”Oh, it's a TV show,” one commuter concluded after studying the stress ball that had the name of the Starz network and “Torchwood” printed on it.  But The Soulless had been told not to respond — as the group leader – The Most Soulless? – reminded Yahr, it was supposed to be a solemn march with souvenir stress balls.

By the time Yahr left the marchers, they were headed toward H&M and Georgetown Cupcake.


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