Day Break: The Complete Series – DVD Review

Day Break DVD
Available at Amazon.com

Another victim of the television ratings game.

These days TV shows live or die by the number of viewers it gets on a weekly basis. There are some exceptions, for some extremely critically-acclaimed shows, but for the most part if the networks don’t think a show is getting the ratings it wants they will cancel those shows without a second thought. This is especially true with new shows that have premiered over the last 5 years. Take a show like Day Break, which featured great actors and had an interesting and somewhat unique premise as well. But poor ratings shot this show down before it even got a chance to succeed.

Day Break follows Detective Brett Hopper (Taye Diggs), who is having a very bad day after being accused of killing Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza. He is being framed, of course, and to make matters worse he soon realizes that he is stuck reliving the same day over and over again. Every day he wakes up is the same, and in order to break this cycle and move on, he has to figure out who framed him and solve the mystery surrounding Garza’a death. Stuck in the same day with Brett are his girlfriend, Rita (Moon Bloongood), Brett’s ex-partner and Rita’s ex-husband, Chad (Adam Shelton), Brett’s sister, Jennifer (Meta Golding), Brett’s new partner, Andrea (Victoria Pratt), and reputed gang leader, Damien Ortiz (Ramon Rodriguez).

The premise of the show is not that unique. It follows the same basic plot of the movie Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. But then there are elements of Lost and The X-Files thrown in for good measure. With that being said, the way this show is presented actually makes Day Break seem fresher than it is. The overall storyline of the series ends up being intriguing enough, but you can really tell that towards the end of the series the writers really ran out of steam and just wanted to end this show without a truly satisfying ending.

What elevates this show above it’s somewhat unoriginal premise is the acting. Taye Diggs is a great leading star. He plays Brett Hopper flawlessly. The cast surrounding Taye is equally on par in their respective roles as well. For a show like this to work, there has to be great acting involved. You can’t fault the actors for this show not succeeding.

Unfortunately, the show was a ratings failure. It was pulled from ABC only after 6 episodes and the remaining episodes were put on ABC.com. If you are a fan of this show, then you have been waiting for this day. The complete series is here and it features some great performances. It’s neither the greatest television show ever created nor is it the most original, but it is interesting. That is a lot more than half of the shows still currently on network television can say.

Episodes:

Disc One:

Episode 1 – Pilot
When Detective Brett Hopper woke up this morning he thought it was a normal day, a day like any other one, but he rapidly find out that he is accused of killing Assistant District Attorney Alberto Garza. Even after offering a solid alibi, no one is believing him. The next morning, when he wakes up, he finds out that he is reliving the same day and that his loved ones are in danger.

Episode 2 – What If They Run
Brett makes the decision to take Rita and try to make a run for it by getting out of town, in an attempt to escape the day. But he soon discovers the disastrous consequences of his rash actions on others.

Episode 3 – What If He Lets Her Go
Hopper learns someone close to him may have been involved in framing him for Garza’s murder. Meanwhile, some critical clues are revealed that could assist Hopper in making his nightmarish day finally end.

Episode 4 – What If He Can Change The Day
While trying to find out who framed him, Hopper is starting to figure out what his partner, Andrea, did that caused her disagreement with Internal Affairs.

Disc Two:

Episode 5 – What If They’re Stuck
To prove his innocence, Brett visits the Internal Affairs office, twice, in search of the murder book. During his first visit, things aren’t going like he planned but his second time isn’t better when he doesn’t have any other choice than taking someone hostage.

Episode 6 – What If They Find Him
Hopper tracks down a major player in the conspiracy to frame him for Garza’s murder. He also learns he must weigh the consequences of his decisions after he sees the results of his actions affect the day with adverse results.

Episode 7 – What If He’s Not Alone
Hopper unexpectedly meets again with Jared – the guy who bit him in the first episode – and finds out that he is not the only one reliving the day over and over again. He also finds out that there was an eyewitness and that he was identified as Garza’s murderer, while realizing that he has to deal with very powerful people. He also learns that people that are close to him might know more than they say they do.

Disc Three:

Episode 8 – What If She’s Lying
Hopper fears that his sister, Jennifer, is mixed up in the plot against him, but he must first visit his mother to find out the connection. He suspects that his late father’s involvement in the Contreras murder is at the bottom of it. Meanwhile, Andrea tries to find Fencik and Buchalter’s ties to the plot, and Chad meets Buchalter. The meeting doesn’t go well.

Episode 9 – What If They’re Connected
Hopper struggles to find the connection between Booth, a city counselor, and Garza. That connection seems to lie in the role Luis Torres, Booth’s assistant, has.

Episode 10 – What If He’s Free
After some more research Hopper finally discovers who the real murderer of Alberto Garza is.

Disc Four:

Episode 11 – What If He Walks Away
To his disappointment, Hopper wakes up to the same day although the case had been cleared the night before. He decides to take a break for two weeks only to learn the case has become even more mixed up.

Episode 12 – What If She’s The Key
Hopper finds out that his girlfriend Rita plays an important role in the whole conspiracy.

Episode 13 – What If It’s Him
Hopper finally breaks the day and sees “tomorrow” only to find out, that the next day brings some more problems with it.

The video is given in widescreen color with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, which is enhanced for 16X9 TVs. The transfer is good and a little better than average even for new shows today. No major problems here.

The audio included is English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround sound. No major problems here either. The dialogue comes out loud and clear.

Audio Commentaries

There are commentaries for every episode of this show. Cast and crew are all involved here, so that’s a good thing. A nice mix of entertainment and information overall. Here is the list of commentaries for each episode:

“Pilot”
– Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer), Jeffrey Bell (showrunner/writer/executive producer), Rob Bowman (director/executive producer), and Matthew Gross (executive producer)
– Rob Bowman (director/executive producer) and Marta Evry (film editor/co-producer)

“What If They Run?”
– Taye Diggs (actor), Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer), and Rob Bowman (director/executive producer).
-Rob Bowman (director/executive producer) and Marta Evry (film editor/co-producer)

“What If He Lets Her Go?”
– Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer), Rob Bowman (director/executive producer), and Steven Maeda (writer/co-executive producer)

“What If He Can Change The Day?”
– Victoria Pratt (actress) and Henry Alonso Myers (writer/supervising producer)

“What If They’re Stuck?”
– Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer), Taye Diggs (actor), and Adam Baldwin (actor)

“What If They Find Him?”
– Ramon Rodriguez (actor) and Rob Bowman (director/executive producer)

“What If He’s Not Alone?”
– Jeffrey Bell (showrunner/writer/executive producer) and Steven Maeda (writer/co-executive producer)

“What If She’s Lying?”
– Victoria Pratt (actress), Meta Golding (actress), and Henry Alonso Myers (writer/supervising producer)
Single Scene Commentary: Marta Evry (film editor/co-producer)

“What If They’re Connected?”
– Rob Bowman (director/executive producer), Mitch Pileggi (actor), and Ian Anthony Dale (actor)

“What If He’s Free?”
– Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer) and Steven Maeda (writer/co-executive producer)

“What If He Walks Away?”
– Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer), Taye Diggs (actor), and Moon Bloodgood (actress)

“What If She’s The Key?”
– Mitch Pileggi (actor), Jeffrey Bell (showrunner/writer/executive producer), and Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer)

“What If It’s Him?”
– Taye Diggs (actor), Paul Zbyszewski (creator/writer/co-executive producer), Jeffrey Bell (showrunner/writer/executive producer), Rob Bowman (director/executive producer), and Matthew Gross (executive producer)

“Behind the Scenes” Footage – This is 4 minutes worth of “behind-the-scenes” action. Really not all that interesting.

Cast Interviews – There are 12 minutes worth of interviews with the main cast. They talk about their respective characters and the show in general. Somewhat insightful but really nothing more than a hype-fest for the series.

Producers Interviews – The main creative people behind the show dispense their two cents worth of information. They try to answer the main questions that everyone has about the show. Too short, but it does answer some questions about the series.

A Photo Gallery is included as well.

Not that unique of a premise, but Day Break does feel like it thanks to the fantastic acting on display. The entire series is interesting and if you liked the show while it was on ABC for a month or so, you will want to run out and buy this set. For those you haven’t seen the show, it’s worth at least a rental to check out another casualty of the television ratings war.

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BCI Entertainment presents Day Break: The Complete Series. Created by Paul Zbyszewski. Starring Taye Diggs, Moon Bloodgood, Adam Baldwin, Victoria Pratt and Mitch Pileggi. Running time: 546 minutes. NOT RATED. Released on DVD: March 25, 2008. Available at Amazon.com

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