Tubegazing: Day Break

The ABC drama on borrows the 'Groundhog Day' conceit and turns it into a tragedy.

Day Break (ABC, Nov. 15, 9 p.m. EDT): ABC obviously has high hopes for this extremely high-concept, midseason entry in the slot previously occupied by its ratings juggernaut, "Lost." The good news is that the premise of this crime-solving/time-shifting/mind-bending hour-long dramatic take on the comic "Groundhog Day" – repeat your life until you get it right – delivers on many of the same fronts as the series it replaces. Los Angeles detective Brett Hopper (Taye Diggs) begins an average day of complex personal and professional challenges – his partner may be crooked, his sister is married to a wife-beater, an informant may have been killed, and a safe house compromised. But these problems pale in the face of what comes next. He is framed for the mysterious death of an assistant district attorney, his girlfriend is killed in cold blood, and he is beaten senseless by mysterious men who may or may not be the key to his salvation. Then, just when he thinks he might be getting a handle on his day, it abruptly begins again. And then, again. But it's not fair to call this a crime version of the Bill Murray flick because so many elements of this tale are different and ambitious on their own terms. Some events repeat, some change. Some occurrences reappear, such as wounds. And when Hopper tries to take control, say, to prevent his girlfriend's death, new consequences pop up. It's good, complicated drama, sometimes hard to watch, but more compelling evidence that the best storytelling for adults these days is on the small screen. Grade: A

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