It's a mystery/conspiracy actioner. Our cop/detective guy Hopper (Taye Diggs) has been framed (or has he?) with a murder and then has to relive one day (or episode) over and over trying to evade capture and dicipher clues as to who set him up and why. That's the hook. And like 'Groundhog Day', the scifi element of being trapped in a time loop seems to be just apparent to our hero, and there are no visual effects to depict this anomoly in the time/space continuum.
The setup was as follows...
#1 PilotI admit I've enjoyed the first four episodes - it's been kinda cool to see the ripple effect as our guy Hopper (Taye Diggs) replays the same day over and over with the knowledge of what he learned from the day before. But that payoff only occurs if you've watched every episode. So give it a point for rewarding viewer loyalty.
Hopper is accused of killing Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza. He offers a solid alibi which no one believes. He realizes he's been framed. And he runs, discovering en route that not only he, but also his loved ones are in danger. He then wakes up and relives the same day over and over again. In order to break the cycle and move on, he has to figure out who framed him and solve the complex mystery surrounding Garza's death. He is also forced to heal the fractured relationships with those he loves. Either Hopper can break this day, or this day will break Hopper.
But if I'm a casual viewer, or just dropping by to check it out, the work that's gone into paying off those repeated beats is lost on them. The show tends to usually try to wrap up something in each episode to reward said viewer, but it's a bit of a wank wrap up. As in, if someone dies or gets hurt or arrested or what have you - when the next day starts again, all is as it was. It's like it never happened, except to our hero. Subtract a point...
Now have a look at the synopsis for the past couple episodes.
#3 What If He Let's Her Go
Hopper discovers that somebody close to him may have had a role in framing him for Garza's murder. Meanwhile, some critical clues come to light that may aid Hopper in making his hellacious day come to an end.
#4 What If He Can Change The DayAnd now the synopsis of tomorrow night's episode.
While trying to break the day, Hopper begins to unravel the mystery surrounding what partner Andrea did that caused her run-in with Internal Affairs.
#5 "What If They're Stuck"Sounds pretty repetitive, doesn't it. Like they are recycling the same story over and over. Which I guess in a way they are. But because each day begins the same way and everyone involved back at the same starting gate (except for our hero who knows what happened the day before so can try to change or influence events), the element of consequence seems to be entirely removed. Save the woman from the speeding bus, but arrive late to the hospital and sister gets taken downtown...bummer. But the next day we're back to square one, so our hero can save the woman from the bus AND get to the hospital or warn his sister - but he isn't able to stop his partner from hooking up with a bad seed. Awww man.
After trying to get some crucial information from Chad that could help exonerate him and end the never-ending day, Hopper finds himself in a hostage situation.
So there are Choices and episode specific Consequences, but those consequences start lose some of their uummph when we see the day start over again. It's like one big do over. And one might begin to cease to care. Take away another point...
Yes there is action, and beautiful people (like Moon Bloodgood...add a point), but it doesn't seem like it has serious episodic legs. It still feels like a cool movie hook.
That said, I'd really like to see the whiteboard in this writers room. Must be HUGE. And extremely COMPLICATED. Usually, when mapping out a season, you create a chart with your character names across the top and the episodes down the side. And you start at episode one and beside each characters name you fill in what happens to them in that episode and how it relates to other characters and their relationships.
And you kinda start at the beginning and the end of a season at the same time - the beginning to give yourself a start (George begins new job at ad agency and meets Marcie in the coffee shop downstairs) and the end to give yourself a destination (George gets fired on same day he proposes to Marcie)...and then fill in the spaces top to bottom and bottom to top in relation to what plot is specifically happening in each episode.
And as scripts get written and shot and you get feedback this board will evolve and change, but a lot of it needs to stay fixed so everyone in the room is grounded and pointed in the same direction.
Now for something like Day Break, I'd presume you'd start at the end and work backwards. But maybe they started at the beginning and said let's see what happens - destination unknown. No idea, but I'd be interested in finding out.
At any rate, since the points kind of cancel each other out, I'm gonna say Day Break doesn't have what it takes to be a successful continuing series. But like I posted last week, I think it would make a great 'maxi-series. Inform the viewers now of a date certain when the mystery will be solved and story resolved, say in episode 13 or episode 22, and hope interest builds to that climax. And then put Hopper to bed and let him wake up to a brand new day.
P.S. And if anyone thinks this was just an excuse to post another Moon Bloodgood photo...well...um...so what!
CROSSOVER ALERT! Callaghan weighs in with a Day Break broadcast schedule update and I know you've all already been there but McGrath writes a nice complimentary post to the above and highlights the importance of the rules of a show (plus more of the hottie factor)
SONG&ARTIST? - "Well, it's a marvelous night for a Moondance
With the stars up above in your eyes
A fantabulous night to make romance
'Neath the cover of October skies..."