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September 20, 2014

Day Break: Pilot / What If They Run (series premiere)

by Jen Creer, posted Nov 16th 2006 6:46AM
Day Break(S01E01 / S01E02) Anna Johns called Day Break "Groundhog Day meets Diehard." Before I read that, I was thinking Groundhog Day meets 24, because we are talking about 24 hours in a man's day that are very important -- essential, even. I would even throw some Traffic and Crash into the mix-- maybe because of the cinematography and direction. I admit that I had preconceived notions going into this because I have seen Groundhog Day so many times.

One of the big differences between Day Break and the Groundhog Day rules (I am fully aware that one is a drama and one is a comedy -- I am just talking now about the framework with which each main character experiences the day over and over again) is that the marvelous Taye Diggs' Officer Brett Hopper sustains from one day to the next whatever injuries he has sustained the previous day. This raises the stakes for his character (and the show is going for 11 weeks-- until Lost comes back February 7-- so if things don't go well...) because Hopper can be injured, can be killed. Bill Murray's weatherman Phil killed himself in many ways and had a much more existential dilemma. Hopper doesn't have time for contemplation because people are literally dying all around him.

Lucky for the people around him, nobody else seems to die from one day to the next. He sees his girlfriend Rita die, but he wakes up with her the next morning. His biggest fear and simultaneous biggest hope is that tomorrow will happen, rather than repeated todays.

Clearly the show's mantra (Note to the writers if you happen to read this: Please don't hammer this into us too much) is that decisions have consequences. Why don't you just call the show The Butterfly Effect and get it over with? We know that small actions lead to unforeseeable consequences-- like when Hopper saves the woman from getting hit by the bus by being in the right place at the right time. At least the show has a sense of humor enough for him to start muttering things on his third day, "I've gotta bet better about that," when he notes her lying in the hospital because he wasn't there to save her. Or, "I'll get here earlier tomorrow," about the mysterious package in his mailbox. The show does raise questions about all of our influences in the world, doesn't it? If we choose not to get coffee in the morning, is somebody going to die? Probably not, but how do we know? We don't have the luxury (or torment) or having to second guess every decision we make, but Hopper does.

At first glance, it seems that the show might have a finite number of options. However, I think I was looking at it from the two-hour movie feature box. The show has definitely laid the groundwork to explore small deviations in Hopper's day. He knows already that he can't run away from his fate. Like the legendary Oedipus, the road he takes to escape his fate leads him right to it. The Garza Goons (as I have dubbed the guys who manhandle Hopper and who are framing him for the murder of the Assistant District Attorney Garza) are buff, bald Cassandras, ominously warning Hopper about consequences. He believes they somehow have the answers as to why he is living this day over and over again.

I expect that as the season goes on, we will find out more and more about Hopper's past, his rocky relationship with his possibly shady partner Angela, his ex-partner Chad (I'm guessing the ex in partner matches the ex in wife, because Rita used to be married to Chad). And we already know that Chad Mr. Internal Affairs, is crooked and in with the Garza Goons.

So, fasten your seatbelts and hang on for the ride. I think this show has promise and I'll be interested to see what they do with it. So far, I am pleased with the sense of humor the writers have displayed, and some unexpected directions (like killing Angela).

What did you think?

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Tom veil

First off- I think it is a great premise and a great show- I'm in.

I do suspect though an upcoming twist where Hopper is not the only one re-living that same day- and that we learn one of the bad guys is too. I am trying to decide if I will like that or not- two opponents each trying to outwit the other each able to use information from previous days- part of me thinks it raises the stakes even higher- but another part likes the groundhog day effect to be limited to him. Thoughts anyone?

November 21 2006 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony C

Usenet? BitTorrent?

November 18 2006 at 2:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Clint

I wish I could watch on ABC.com but its only for people in USA...I am in Ontario, Canada. Any other ideas out there!

November 18 2006 at 12:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rom

clint, you can watch it on abc.com

November 17 2006 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Clint

I missed it, and I heard it was good...anyone know when or if the pilot is on again?

November 17 2006 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David L

Not a bad first two episodes. Only thing that drove me up the wall was when Taye Diggs was trying to explain to his girlfriend what was happening and she was completely lost. I so badly wanted him to just say, "You know that movie Groundhog Day we saw on TBS the other day? Its exactly like that".

November 16 2006 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Darren

I've read a few reviews on Google News, and I think the critics are just way too harsh. It is a good concept, but they just seem to toss the show aside as too confusing. I guess they never saw Lost.

I wrote a review on my blog, and like I said there, you just have to buy the premise and go along for the ride. Day Break can be fun, if you don't think too much.

November 16 2006 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gary Z

I thought the "what happens to him stays with him" twist is interesting, like how he wakes up shot day three...

Although, that could lead to momento type "epidermal stickie notes"

November 16 2006 at 5:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jonathan

Again, awesome review Jen! Like i said last time, you should write more reviews(you're better than Bob but don't tell him :P)! I hope you'll be the one doing the entire Day Break reviews.

Personally i loved it! And the fact that it's only a 13 ep run makes it even better. We won't be getting any 'filler' episodes that's for sure. And the fact that Hopper keeps his injuries is kick ass! I'm hooked already and can't wait for next episode!

November 16 2006 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sam

Dude, I think you meant Cassandra, not Cassiopeia.

November 16 2006 at 3:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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