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DAY BREAK

Well, as previously mentioned, I think Taye Diggs is amazingly sexy and talented. I haven’t seen the new James Bond movie yet, and I want to like it, but if I don’t, it will be because Bond isn’t more like Taye Diggs – or rather, his character in DAY BREAK.

(His name in the show is Brett Hopper. It’s distracting for many reasons. First of all, I thought for a while that it was Brett Harper, and I really, really like the name Harper for a sexy detective. Second, they call him Hopper too often. He has a first name, but hardly anyone uses it.)

Anyway, Diggs/Hopper/Harper is an amazing character. Strong, manly, sensitive enough, loving enough, but seriously strong. Smart, wry, quick-witted, articulate but not chatty – sigh….

Okay, back to the show. DAY BREAK has a gimmick, which is a problem for me, because so often, a gimmick can undercut the creative energy that otherwise flows from excellent characterization and plot. Therefore, I try not to give my heart to gimmick-based shows or books.

The gimmick of living-the-same-day-over-and-over-again-until-you-get-it-right worked in Groundhog Day. Why? Great performers and interesting twists, plus it was a comedy – in fact, a romantic comedy. So it had a lightness to it that allowed a sense of the absurd to flourish without getting us too frustrated. Did they ever explain why Bill Murray’s character re-lived that day so often? No, but we loved the result, so it was okay.

It’s a little different in a drama. Dramas need to convey a sense of realism. Sure, they can venture into the paranormal, but then we’d better know the rules fairly quickly in the story, or we won’t believe, and the drama will fall flat. Look at Highlander – we’re told that he can survive being killed because a moral showdown has been building for centuries and Our Guy will be one of the representatives. We accept it and move on. (Okay, the jury’s out on whether it was good drama, but I’m a Highlander fan, so obviously it worked for me.)

DAY BREAK is making us wait for the explanation of why Brett Harper/Hopper is living this day over and over again. We know from Episode One forward that some shadowy criminal type has/is giving him injections, so we’re assuming that’s the cause. We don’t know how, we don’t know why, we don’t know if it’s benevolent or evil or just some kind of detached, scientific experimentation (I want it to be that last one!).

So what’s my verdict? I’m hooked on the show because the performances are great, the characters are great, and the evolution of the story is intriguing. We’re getting new information all the time, and so our understanding of the plot becomes more and more sophisticated. The pacing suffers a little, but not so much that it becomes a problem.

The problem is that "the gimmick" makes me fell a little impatient. Not in the anticipation sense, but in the huh? sense. And I’m concerned that I’ll have to watch quite a few more episodes before they tell me what’s going on with the injections. I hope that isn’t the case.

Still, these writers are very, very good at what they do, so I’m trusting them with an hour of my precious time every week. If nothing else, they have invented a character that might just be the best male lead I’ve seen in years. Yep – I’m serious. I’m including movies and TV shows when I say that.

Diggs, Taye Diggs… he’s dynamite. How much of it is the writers, and how much of it is the actor? I don’t know, but I suspect it’s both. An amazing match-up of talent.

What I’m trying to say is that they don’t need a gimmick to make Harper/Hopper/Diggs a hit. Sure, it probably made some/most of its viewers tune in – it was a great hook. And maybe the writers have more genius up their sleeves when it comes to explaining the why and the how. I just hope they don’t drag out the ever-so-slightly annoying part of this show for too long, because people might begin to drift away. And I would hate to see that happen.

Should you watch the show? Absolutely. That's my "review."

P.S. The TV show 24 used a gimmick too. It transcended it, right? I mean, seriously, do you care if he does it in one day? If it took 26 hours next year, wouldn’t that be fine? If it took a week, wouldn’t we all stick with Jack Bauer? Wouldn’t we even applaud him for perhaps taking a freaking catnap ever once in a while? The truth is, we barely remember any longer that it’s all taking place in one day. But with DAY BREAK, you’re reminded every time he wakes up in bed with his girlfriend (which is more than once per episode). So they have a little bit more of a challenge.

But I think they’re up to it.

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