First Impressions: ABC's Daybreak

(Shown Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Channel 7)

Reviewed by Jon Minners

Every week, I look forward to Lost, but in what has become a new and actually intriguing practice, most major networks are giving their top shows a multi-week repeat-free run in the beginning of the season before giving the show a break and replacing it for some time with another show that they would like audiences to give a try. 

Lost will be back in February, but in the meantime, we have been given an interesting concept-show from ABC called Daybreak.  The show, which stars Taye Diggs of The Wood and Brown Sugar fame, is a dramatic version of Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day with Diggs’ character, Detective Brett Hopper, reliving a horrific day over and over again trying to get it right and get his life back on track. 

In an almost cheesy manner, the dialogue at the beginning of the show between Hopper and his girlfriend Rita Shelten, played by Moon Bloodgood of Eight Below, explains almost everything you need to know about the back story for this show.  Hopper’s sister is in an abusive relationship.  Hopper’s girlfriend used to be married to Hopper’s former partner, Chad Shelten, played by Adam Baldwin, of SerenityHopper’s current partner, Andrea Battle, played by Victoria Pratt of Mutant X and Cleopatra 2525, is up to her nose in shady dealings. 

On this particular day, 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.

This is an interesting premise and I have to admit that while the two-hour premiere was just a bit long to sit through, the show was interesting enough to give another go, but 13 episodes of the same day repeated all over again worries me a little. 

On one hand, if the show provides us with the very same day over and over again and a lot of repeated moments, then we are in for a complete bore.  Little changes here and there will not take away from the fact that we are essentially watching the same show over and over again. 

At the same time, if each episode skips some of the familiar and instead delves into the differences that provide clues into the ordeal, as was done in the premiere, then each episode will move us closer to solving the mystery and will be enough to pull us in and leave us wanting to discover more. 

This is the kind of show you need to give a little time to find itself.  We either have a supernatural show where somehow Hopper has the power to relive a day until he gets it right, allowing for a second season and a different day or we have a show where Hopper is part of some twisted experiment, forcing him to relive the deaths of those closest to him over and over again until he breaks and provides some sort of information he may have about some sort of global conspiracy. 

I think the latter may be true, considering that Hopper wakes up to relive the same day with injuries he suffered from his previous experience.  If the latter is true, this show, sort of like Nowhere Man, is only good for one season.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  Sometimes good shows just need to know when to call it quit.  Whether or not Daybreak is one of those shows can’t be decided on one day’s viewing -- it’s dependent on what the next day brings. 

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