Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Day Break of Excitement


Caught Day Break off the TiVo today. I liked it. I even found it a lot more satisfying than LOST lately. I know, I know, I've uttered a heretical statement.

LOST has just disappointed me since the beginning of the second season, with it moving as slowly as it does and the character development having become so disaparate and, well, uninteresting. At the moment, I really only have an interest in the present day mystery plot rather than the characters, unlike in the first season, when I found my interests in the plot and characters balanced. Yeah, every once in awhile, they have a great, stellar episode. In general, though, I really don't care too much.

Hang me. . ..

Now, Day Break hasn't reached stellar status, in my opinion. As I told someone, it feels like an adrenalin packed thriller, mystery, drama and a little speculative fiction mixed in with it probably somewhat akin to 24 with speculative fiction. Now, the speculative fiction aspect doesn't go much further than the comparison to Groundhog Day so far, but it has plenty of possibilities.

Day Break actually kind of reminds me of Charlie Jade, at least when it comes to a character coming to a realization that something amiss has happened and that it needs to get fixed. For people who have seen Charlie Jade, I'm referring to when Charlie finds himself in a parallel universe, not to the overaching plot.

I only have one big criticism of Day Break that I think the earlier, more disparate parts of Charlie Jade pulled off well at first: the main character, Hopper figured out the Groundhog Day effect too quickly. Then again, I had a friend who saw Charlie Jade that thought Charlie should have known off the bat that he had popped into a parallel universe, despite the fact that in the first couple minutes of the pilot, a Charlie voiceover states that Vexcor pretty much propagandized the population of the Alphaverse into not believing that alternate universes existed. To each their own, I guess.

Overall, though, I think the first couple episodes of Day Break did a good job of introducing the concept and its ramifications along with the major characters who take part in the day. Character development takes a second chair to plot development, world development and resolution of the mystery, which combines an actual mystery of murder and framing, similar to The Fugitive, and the mystery of the Groundhog Day effect. We don't know if something mystical occurs or someone has figured out some way to make it happen. Properly executed, these two mysteries do a good job balancing each other out and not competing with each other.

Also, I think the whole concept won't become stale essentially because of two things: one episode doesn't necessarily come as one iteration of the day and the show will only have a limited run of 13 episodes, total. After last night, we have only 11 episodes left.

I would much rather watch this show than LOST, mainly because of adrenalin packed thriller aspect of Day Break. As shown in one of the episodes and partially throughout both of them, a fair amount of back story filters into the main timeline. We don't have flashbacks, but we get information about the past that effects the present. If a show or piece of work doesn't have great character development, then I, at least, want some good excitement and a good mystery that won't last forever and ever and ever. I'm fine with not liking the resolution taste-wise, even if I want to be overwhelmed or properly whelmed, but I want the mystery to last a reasonable time and not overstay its welcome. I don't want the maintenance of mystery sacrificing character development and advancement of a plot.

And since character development doesn't necessarily rank as hugely and vastly important, acting doesn't necessarily come as the number one factor, either, even though it does have to work well. I can't really provide any acclaim for the quality of acting. It didn't disappoint, but neither did it excite me. For a moment or two, I might have actually felt a little emotion. . .even though I could sympathize with Hopper for any irritation faced while bringing people up to speed, after doing so the day earlier.

One thing that pushes Day Break to a next level of keeping my attention: it has Adam Baldwin in it. Come on, you know him! Jayne from Firefly and Serenity and the second liaison to the Senior Partners from Angel. Yeah, he's had plenty of other roles in non-speculative fiction, but that's from where I know him.

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