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‘Torchwood’ Blazes New Ratings High for BBC America

“American Idol” it’s not, but the U.S. premiere of the five-part miniseries “Torchwood: Children of Earth” — already a major hit in the U.K. — produced record ratings for BBC America.

Starring John Barrowman as the ageless Captain Jack Harkness, the sci-fi epic tallied 1.4 million viewers in live-plus-same-day Nielsen ratings for July 20, eclipsing BBC Am’s previous high with the opener of “Robin Hood.” The channel is stripping the project through the week, in advance of what should be a healthy DVD release shortly thereafter.

It’s been interesting, too, to see that die-hard “Torchwood” fans can be every bit as delusional as those for the most fervent core of U.S.-produced series, as evidenced by some of the “the fans hated it” comments registered in response to my rave review. Of course, I was hardly in the minority in terms of U.S. critics, as the program’s Metacritic rating attests.

(A brief Update here about the use of the term “delusional” in this context, responding to the comment below: It has nothing to do with your opinion, which is just as valid as mine or anybody else’s; it’s rather the state of assuming that the world at large shares your views because you happen to have found a couple of other like-minded people in chat rooms. This is an increasingly common affliction, whether the topic is pop culture or politics.)

One more footnote: “Torchwood” creator Russell Davies, exec producer Julie Gardner, Barrowman and director Euros Lyn will be at the Comic-Con session for the series (paired with the BBC’s new “Being Human”) on Sunday, July 26.

Despite the belly-aching from the quirky fringes of fandom, one suspects they’ll receive a richly deserved hero’s welcome from most of those who have had a chance to see “Children of Earth” in its entirety.

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