Russell T. Davies

What if Captain Jack wasn't alone in his immortality? That's the premise of the new season of Torchwood — titled Torchwood: Miracle Day — which will launch on Starz later this year.

"The premise is a miracle happens to the world," series executive producer Russell T. Davies said Friday during the Television Critics Association's winter previews. "The old stay old and keep getting older. The dying keep dying, but no one quite dies. The possibility of death ceases to exist."

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That doesn't sound so bad, except, Davies continued, "globally, it's an instant overnight population boom where, suddenly, the Earth relies on people dying. That's how the whole system works: the food, the room, the temperature. So, suddenly, you've got a crisis affecting everyone on the planet, and that's where the Torchwood team and our brand new characters come in."

For the uninitiated, the British series Torchwood, a spin-off of Doctor Who, follows a crack team of alien hunters who handle all extraterrestrial matter of crises. The group is led by the immortal Captain Jack (John Barrowman), who ran away at the end of the last season, Torchwood: Children of Earth, but will return for reasons yet to be revealed.

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In addition to original cast members Barrowman and Eve Myles, who plays Gwen, the fourth season (previously titled Torchwood: The New World) will star Bill Pullman as a convicted murderer and pedophile named Oswald, and Mekhi Phifer as Rex, a cocky CIA agent trying to figure out what Torchwood is. (Alexa Haven and Arlene Tur also star.)

Whether the new guys will make it through the season is anyone's guess. Per usual, Torchwood won't hesitate to off characters at will. "The show has always had a high body count because I think it makes the story stronger and more dangerous and more frightening," Davies said. "You cannot guarantee who will survive, and I think that raises the stakes for everyone." (Although, with everyone being immortal, offing people might be tricky.)

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Phifer, who had never seen the series prior to joining, says he wound up watching Children of Earth in one sitting. "I actually loved it," he said. "Reading the script was definitely exciting for me because it was just a lot of energy. It read like a film. It felt like an action movie."

Pullman said he first heard about the show two years ago from a comp lit professor. "That's a good credential, isn't it," he said. "He said, 'This is my sin, but I love this series.'"

This new 10-episode season will take place partly in Britain, but mostly in America. "It's strange because this is the fourth [season] I've been involved in, but it feels like the first," Myles said. "We've got a fantastic brand new cast, and we've got a new story to tell again. So it just keeps reinventing itself, and that's what's really exciting... It's always different, and it just keeps getting bigger and bolder and braver."

Torchwood: Miracle Day starts shooting in Los Angeles on Monday. No premiere date has been set.

Are you excited for the new season of Torchwood?