Torchwood Miracle Day
Categories of Life
By Steven Barber
The fourth series of Torchwood brought the cast and crew to a whole New World: North America. As part of the production deal with STARZ, much of Torchwood Miracle Day would take place in the United States, China, South America as well as the United Kingdom, creating an international scope and scale to the production.
This month we’re again combining two of the episodes because of the limited number of LA locations used by each. A lot was shot, just not in a lot of places.
This month we’ll revisit CATEGORIES OF LIFE which takes us to the rather disquieting Angels Gate Park in San Pedro, a long arm of Los Angeles that drops some 25 miles south to the waterfront as well as back to Venice Beach and the Warner Brothers Studio.
ANGELS GATE PARK, SAN PEDRO
CATEGORIES OF LIFE gives us the first introduction to the three levels of “survival” as assigned by the world’s governments (with nasty input from the PhiCorp crowd). If you are unfortunate enough to be assigned categories one or two, well, you might just end up in Angels Gate Park, in the Los Angeles district of San Pedro — adjacent to the Port of Los Angeles.
The Angels Gate Park area played a government concentration and execution base in which those people deemed Category One were quite literally burned out of existence. (This begged the question whether tiny little semi-sentient ashes continue to flutter around the LA basin, but that’s a question for a different time and website.)
Walking around Angels Gate park, which is a former World War II -era military site, is a fairly creepy affair…at least on an early Sunday morning when few other people are likely to be around. That’s an appropriate response, I think, for a location that for all intents and purposes played the role of an American Auschwitz. Walking around the locale — with virtually no restrictions, unlike the majority of TORCHWOOD shooting sites — you cannot help but recall those scenes in the barracks as the Torchwood members went undercover to discover the secrets of the camp.
Angels Gate has a far less nefarious role in real life, having been reborn in #@$! as the Angels Gate Cultural Center, dedicated to artistic projects and cultural exchange. Visitors are welcome to walk the grounds and check out some of the art classes and installations to be found around the campus.
Complete schedules and a map can be for here: http://angelsgateart.org/visitor-info/
Just avoid the ovens in the back…
For the second episode in a row we’re in Venice Beach, where Torchwood has set up shop on Westminster Avenue. At least that’s where their apartment is supposed to be located, and the location shots show us just how a group like Torchwood can disappear into a community like Venice Beach.
THE FORUM - WEST LOS ANGELES
And finally, another new site as Oswald Danes begins his rehabilitation tour and is confronted by Jack Harkness for the first time. The Forum, a giant concert and sports entertainment facility not too far from LAX.
Jack first meets and attempts to reason with Oswald Danes, who is entirely too caught up in his ego to possibly hear Jack’s words. These scenes were shot in the mammoth hallways in The Forum’s “behind the scenes” walkways and halls. While I could not get access to those areas, these shots show what the exterior of the facility looks like, and generally what visitors may expect to see if they seek it out. A better way to see the Forum, of course, is to take in a concert.
The Forum and a schedule of events and concerts can be accessed here: http://www.thelosangelesforum.com
WARNER BROTHER STUDIOS
And, of course, it’s back to the Warner Brothers Studio in the Valley for on-set shooting.
That’s it for this month. Let us know if you have any questions or clarifications. Otherwise...
Next time we really get into the story and take a trip around LA for the shooting sites of TORCHWOOD, MIRACLE DAY: THE MIDDLE MEN