I have to admit. I am probably one of those people who help to screw over new TV shows every season, particularly the ones with mid-season premieres. It is just so hard to fully get a grip on what a show is all about within the first few episodes (the pilots alone rarely do the shows justice) and, therefore, makes it pretty difficult to fully commit to it while other, proven shows are demanding attention. So, I wait until the season ends and when I have more time then take the new show for a spin all the way through. I think it helps me get more into the guts of the show and lets me decide whether I like it or not more accurately. And I’m pretty sure (at least I hope) that I’m not alone. While the practice is beneficial to the viewers, the show often gets the short end of the stick because, even if they rock, they may not get the high viewership numbers they need to be a viable contender then get axed. So that being said, if you aren’t doing so already, you have to watch Awake. DO. NOT. WAIT!
There was a great deal up hype leading up to the March 1st premiere, so I abandoned my usual new-show-routine and gave it a go. And I’m glad because Awake is good. Like, really good. The story follows LA detective Michael Britten (played by the one and only Lucius Malfoy, Jason Isaacs) who finds himself leading an arduous double life that defies reality. After a terrible car accident, Britten begins to experience two separate realities. In one, his wife, Hannah (Laura Allen, “Dirt”), had been killed in the crash and his teenage son, Rex (Dylan Minette, “Saving Grace”) had survived. In the other, Rex had perished and Hannah had survived. Every time he wakes up, Britten is in a different reality, differentiating between the two with the rubber bands on his wrist: red for life with his wife and green with his son. Trying to regain some normalcy, Britten returns to work, solving crimes in both timelines with the help of two different partners Detective Freeman (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) and Detective Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, “Handy Manny”). His existence in both realities proves to be a powerful tool in solving impossible cases, giving him unique insights and linking clues that cross between the worlds.
I know. The premise sounds like a bit of a brain-melt, but I assure you, you won’t get too confused actually watching the episodes. The storytelling is clearly written and well-defined (plus each timeline has a different tint to it, so you’re all good). The show is absolutely captivating. It isn’t only about the question of which world is real and which is a dream, though it is an extremely intriguing aspect of the show. It’s also about the emotional struggles of this man and how the individual realities question his sanity and behaviour. Isaacs delivers consistently strong performances, undergoing wide ranges of drastic emotions and making viewers feel the weight and complexity of his situation.
The show hits a lot of great points. There’s the action and the crime-solving, the double reality, the emotions, the mystery. I can’t even begin to do it justice. It is seriously the best show on NBC right now (after Community). Even if you are a little iffy about being a dedicated viewer, give the pilot a shot. It is amazing enough to be treated as a standalone short without needing to be followed by a full season. That being said, if it continues on the way it’s been going, Awake is going to keep us craving more.
Have you watched Awake yet? What are your thoughts?