In DAY 5, it takes Jake (Jesse C. Boyd), about 24 hours for it to dawn on him that he is one of the few living humans in town and just a little longer to discover that whatever is killing the population consumes you just moments after going to sleep.
Basically, if you weren’t already snoring when the ‘sleep bomb’ dropped at around 3am, you will survive until you eventually nod off through the sheer fatigue, not to mention boredom, of trying to find a chemist that hasn’t been looted of its stock of caffeine-rich drugs.
Personally, after witnessing the decaying remains of my immediate family in their beds and several rotting corpses in the deserted local park, I’d be inclined to snuggle up with a cup of Horlicks, a copy of Hello and let nature take its course.
Jake, on the other hand, has a more robust survival instinct and manages to find some other survivors to join him in his task of enforced wakefulness. They achieve this, not by commandeering an empty branch of Starbucks on behalf of the Republic of Insomnia and consuming endless free Espresso, but by periodically shooting a cocktail of weapons-grade adrenalin directly into their hearts.
The plot is full of gloriously expansive holes and the genre wobbles uncomfortably between apocalyptic drama and comedy but by the end of episode one, a small posse of relatively sympathetic characters has been assembled to go out in search of the origin of the epidemic.
As somebody who gets ‘grouchy’ without a full 8 hours kip every night, I can’t imagine the consequences of working in close proximity to a half-a-dozen complete strangers who haven’t slept for three days.
The mounting tension over the remaining 5 episodes should primarily be created by the ever-shortening fuses of the cast as they try not to become obsessed with each other’s irritating shortcomings.
By episode 4 the entire team will be avoiding any sort of verbal communication whatsoever as the mere sound of each other’s breathing stirs up latent psychopathic tendencies. Jake’s precocious 13-year-old companion, Sam (Walker Satterwhite), would be high on the list for a good slap if he started effing and jeffing at me after a sleepless night.
With ‘Day 5’ running for at least another season, and given that they can’t stay awake forever, subsequent episodes will either have to extend to represent ‘real time’ - or be crafted in such a way that each 45 minutes of television will represent one minute of real life.
Until finally, a whole episode will feature Jake taking a single blink with the cliff-hanger ending being, will he actually open his eyes next week. I’m not sure I will.
- Watched on Pick. 28/08/2018