A Return To Terror--Losing Some Momentum In Season 2, "Sleep
K. Harris | Las Vegas, NV | 12/21/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"After reading some initially moderate reviews of the first season of "Sleeper Cell", I tuned into Showtime with minimal expectations. However, I was pleasantly surprised by an efficient, nicely acted, and timely thriller. I became a big supporter of the show, and felt that it was much better than a lot of people gave it credit for--and eventually it was recognized with some accolades (an Emmy nomination for best miniseries among others).
So, I went into "Sleeper Cell - American Terror" with greater expectations. While, ultimately, I don't feel as if was as taut and exciting as the first season--it is still an intriguing and serious minded look at the world of terrorism. The show essentially revolves around Michael Ealy as Darwyn, an African-American Muslim who is also an undercover FBI agent. He thwarted an attack on Dodger Stadium in "Sleeper Cell." The show picks up with months after that incident with Darwyn looking to distance himself from field work and live quietly with his girlfriend. As a horrific fate befalls his previous handler, he is called back into action to help stop a current and impending threat. Using his previous connections, he not only joins a new cell--but eventually becomes its leader. With an inexperienced handler, he often has to go rogue in order to maintain his credibility within the cell. In concurrent storylines, we follow two other members of last season's cast--Farik, the mastermind of the Dodger stadium attack and another "soldier."
Farik, a great and believable villain, is a bit underutilized here--but Oded Fehr makes him a powerful presence. The action is filmed around the globe, and the scope of the show is ambitious and impressive. I actually liked the members of the new cell, and thought the characterizations were surprisingly detailed. Far from stereotypes, you learn about them as individuals. This definitely raises the stakes. I did, however, think the show lacked some of the propulsive narrative drive necessary to make this absolutely unmissable entertainment. The interplay between Darwyn and his new handler is pretty forced and not particularly believable. It's conflict added for the sake of conflict. But once again (as in Season one), the character that threatens to derail the show is Darwyn's girlfriend. She is incorporated into the action unnecessarily and tediously (she does work for the FBI to conveniently thwart a custody action from her son's grandparents). It's not credible, nor interesting or well played.
I do recommend "American Terror," however. I do like that the show doesn't shy away from real consequences and real tragedy. An insightful look, the show is further distinguished by an ethically questionable ending and an ambiguous final shot. I admired that the show wasn't wrapped up in nobility--for to give this a tidy ending would have been a compromise not worthy of the serious and complex topic. KGHarris, 12/06."
Sleeper Cell - American Terror - The Complete Second Season
Adam M. Donaldson | Atlanta, Georgia USA | 05/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At first i wasnt sure about this show in the first season of the show. My brother had recommended it because he said it was really good. As the episodes went on i realized that to. This show in many ways is even better then 24 just because of the reality of the issues... It shows the struggle inside islam between the true islam of peace and love (the fbi agent muslim trying to stop them), and the extremists who claim they are muslims ( the terrorists), and the struggle with the image of islam in the west, as well as what our country is going through at the moment. In the end the plot, actors, and everything else are great and keep you interested until the very end. I cant wait for the next season."
Darwyn goes Super-Nova
Jane D. | Germany | 09/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you liked Season 1, you'll like Season 2. This is a real thriller.
All the characters that survived Season 1 are back, still as fanatic as ever. The not-too-bright girlfiend is back, along with in-laws that make things complicated. Darwyn's parents make short appearances, either approving or disapproving. The Feds are still powerful but rather inept, and in the end it is up to Darwyn, again, to save the day.
As in Season 1, there is plenty of explicit sex and violence. The bad guys are really bad, although they display an occasional hint of humanity. The good guys do a lot of things that are pretty awful, but they're trying to save the U.S.A., so I guess that justifies everything. The "girls just wanna have fun" and never think about how dangerous it might be. Darwyn looks unhappy and broods most of the time, and finally cracks under the strain. The body count is at least one per hour. A little unrealistic, maybe, but totally gripping.
At the end of every episode, I had an overwhelming urge to immediately watch the next one, because I couldn't wait to see what happens next. Just like Season 1, only more so."