Sleeper Cell : Season 1

  • Network: Showtime
  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 4, 2005
Season #: 1, 2
Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 26
  2. Negative: 2 out of 26

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Critic Reviews

  1. Most of the time, it's... pretty gripping.
  2. 60
    If one is looking for a TV drama that earnestly tries to reflect and speak to our lives and times, it would be hard to do better than Sleeper Cell.
  3. 60
    Despite the mostly awful dialogue, “Sleeper Cell” succeeds on the strength of its plot.
  4. Entertainment Weekly
    Reviewed by: Gillian Flynn
    58
    All of Sleeper Cell's didacticism would be forgiven if it were more entertaining. [2 Dec 2005, p.67]
  5. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    50
    Despite laudable elements -- particularly the magnetic Oded Fehr as the cell leader -- [the] series is too uneven to dub this ambitious mission a complete success.
  6. Fehr's performance is worth noting, if only because his cool demeanor is frighteningly at odds with the insane rhetoric pouring out of his mouth. His portrayal may be the show's greatest point of interest -- that is, if you aren't annoyed by Shields, or hypnotized into a slumber by Ealy's never-ending "haunted past" routine.
  7. 40
    Sleeper Cell moves way too slowly to get anyone's pulse racing—except maybe the Arab American community, which will almost certainly protest, despite the writers' awkward attempts to give equal screen time to "good" and "bad" Muslims.
  8. Sleeper Cell tries laudably to entertain us and to complicate us simultaneously. But we also experience the Stockholm syndrome in reverse. The more time we spend with these people, the less we care about them.
  9. For all its putative complexity, then, its passing examination of radical Islam versus peaceable Islam, its allusions to Guantanamo Bay and the Iraq insurgency, "Sleeper Cell" feels more like "The Shield," the L.A.-based cop drama on FX, the characters talking in overly stylized, expository quips, the L.A. cityscape whipping past in convincing fashion.
User Score
7.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 57 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 36
  2. Negative: 4 out of 36
  1. Dec 7, 2014
    8
    It is a common misconception that Sleeper Cell was cables first failed attempt to recreate the hit show 24, in a more extreme format, and thatIt is a common misconception that Sleeper Cell was cables first failed attempt to recreate the hit show 24, in a more extreme format, and that Sleeper Cell was the precursor to the smash hit Homeland. In reality, Sleeper Cell was a highly rated mini-series that was picked up for another year. The show was actually the inspiration for Homeland, as if one were to take Sleeper Cell and mix it with 24, the result would be Homeland.

    The story follows Darwyn Al-Sayeed (Michale Ealy), the FBI's best undercover agent, who also happens to be a Muslim, making him the perfect choice to infiltrate the domestic side of Al-Queda. Darwyn poses as a recently paroled Islamic militant, who wants to strike a blow against the country that imprisoned him.

    Through his prison contacts, Darwyn is connected to a mysterious man named Farik (Oded Fehr), who even the FBI can't identify. Through a series of tests, Farik introduces Darwyn to the rest of his cell and together they start to plan an attack on Los Angeles.

    Michael Ealy stars and played the role of Darwyn as if it were specifically written for him. Ealy is the kind of actor who is easily recognized from dozens of minor movie roles, but I've never seen him star before. The character he's playing, Darwyn, is basically Jack Bauer with a lot more self-control. He's cool and collected, but ready to take action at a moments notice, making for a great character.

    Ealy is paired with Oded Fehr, of the Mummy series, and he too was terrific. Obviously you need an actor with a Middle Eastern background to play this role, but Farik isn't you're typical Al-Queda, as he is able to easily fit into the suburban community. Farik is a ruthless killer, but also has a peaceful, caring side, that really comes across in the episode where they go to Mexico.

    Sleeper Cell has all the action and edge of your seat drama that 24 had, and more, because let's face it, This was a cable show. Thanks to a top notch cast, some well known Directors, and a great team of Writers, Sleeper Cell was a sleeper hit on Showtime, that was easily overlooked, because it was only on for a short time. Besides only having 18 episodes, Showtime originally presented the show in a very strange way, airing all the episodes on back to back nights. This means that combined, both seasons were on the air for less than a month, and in a time before on demand had gotten popular. That is why this series was so overlooked, but thanks to Netflix, Me and thousands of others have been exposed to this hidden gem, that is worth every second that you put into to watching it.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 15, 2012
    1
    What a bad show. The dialogue, acting, plot and music is all just horrible. Beyond unrealistic (in the worst ways).

    A friend recommended this
    What a bad show. The dialogue, acting, plot and music is all just horrible. Beyond unrealistic (in the worst ways).

    A friend recommended this and said it was similar to Homeland. This show is much worse and a far cry from Homeland. I'm surprised that the ctritic's and user reviews are so high.
    Full Review »
  3. DQS
    Jul 20, 2007
    5
    Wildly uneven episode to episode, and character to character. The dialogue seems borrowed from Tom Clancy novels (which is not a compliment) Wildly uneven episode to episode, and character to character. The dialogue seems borrowed from Tom Clancy novels (which is not a compliment) and most of the characters are two dimensional (some less than that). If you're watching just for action - search elsewhere. If you're watching for a dialectic on America's confusion of Islam with Terrorism - search elsewhere. Full Review »