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Revisiting Taye Diggs In 2006 Canceled ABC Series 'Day Break'

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 27, 2012 at 4:32PM

I didn't watch this TV series when it originally aired in 2006, and I stumbled across it this weekend, while browsing through Netflix titles. And, remembering it, I decided to watch it, and ended up watching all 13 episodes over the weekend. 
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Daybreak

I didn't watch this TV series when it originally aired in 2006, and I stumbled across it this weekend, while browsing through Netflix titles. And, remembering it, I decided to watch it, and ended up watching all 13 episodes over the weekend. 

It's not often that a major TV network like ABC, airs an action/suspense/drama series, featuring a black man as the central figure. So, I had to check it out, if only to satisfy my curiosity. 

And I must say that I actually enjoyed the series, despite all the negative reactions to it. 

In short, in Day BreakTaye Diggs starred as Detective Brett Hopper; and let's just say homeboy is having a really bad day - one that keeps repeating, over, and over, and over again, as he works feverishly to uncover a vast political conspiracy, with him at the center of it all.

Accused of killing Asst. DA Alberto Garza, he has an alibi, but no one believes him. When he realizes that he has been framed, he tries to run away but has to stop when he learns that his loved ones are also in danger. But one morning, he wakes up and relives the same day over and over again.

To stop this cycle, solve the mystery and have a normal life, he must find out who framed him.

Caught in this vicious, seemingly never-ending cycle, are his girlfriend Rita Shelten (Moon Bloodgood), her ex-husband and Hopper's ex-partner, Chad Shelten (Adam Baldwin), Hopper's sister, Jennifer Mathis (Meta Golding), Hopper's partner, Andrea Battle (Victoria Pratt), gang leader Damien Ortiz (Ramon Rodriguez), and other co-conspirators - each with their own secrets that are all connected to Detective Hopper's attempts to uncover the truth, free himself, and see tomorrow.

The series' seemingly complex structure, gradually comes together with each successive episode, and I must admit that I was engaged. The first episode didn't immediately hook me, but I decided to stick with it, and see how it all develops. 

And I'm glad I did, because it got better with each episode. The audience knows what Hopper knows; as he discovers new truths with each repetition of the same day, we also discover the same truths, and it's almost as if we are all working together to get to the bottom of it all.

There was enough intrigue and suspense to keep me watching from one episode to the next, and the entire production was well put together, from the acting (Taye Diggs as everyman, Joe-cop, caught in a wide, messy web of names, faces, actions, words, trying to link them all together; it took a couple of episodes for me to start believing he was this Fugitive-type tough guy character, likely because I'd never seen him in a role like this prior; but eventually, I bought his performance), to the show's production values, the writing, etc.

It all worked for me. But apparently, it didn't for those who were watching it when it was on the air, because ratings for the series reportedly rapidly declined with each episode, and it was canceled by ABC after only 6 episodes; the remaining episodes were subsequently made available online at ABC.com.

Viewers for the show averaged 6.5 million, which wasn't super, but not shabby either. By comparison, Shonda Rhimes' Scandal averaged around 7 million viewers during its first season. So, would Day Break's 6.5 million be enough to keep it on the air today?

Interestingly, TV One picked up the series, and aired all 13 episodes from March through April, 2008 - including the remaining 7, which had never been seen on television, since ABC canceled the series after 6 episodes, and aired the rest on its website.

The season wrapped up quite nicely, so I don't immediately see what they could've done with a second season, if one was greenlit, had the show been a bigger hit for ABC. The mystery is solved, Detective Hopper's Ground Hog day drama ends, as he eventually wakes up *tomorrow,* and all seems well. There were a couple of loose ends, but I'm not sure there was enough there for another 13-episode season.

However, maybe the creators already had ideas for a season 2, just in case...

But, as I said, I dug it. Nothing mind-blowing, but good enough to hold my interest. It's certainly much better than NBC's stale Undercovers was. Definitely more edge, and, overall, better-written and acted.

Maybe watching it today, after 6 years, makes a difference... I don't know. But I didn't catch it back in 2006, so I can't compare experiences.

If you skipped it, I say give Day Break a look; it's streaming on Netflix right now. And if you did see it - whether only 1 episode, or all 13 - what did you think of it?

Here's a look (I believe this was the intro for episode 7):

This article is related to: Television, TV Features


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