TV REVIEW: Awake
Alternative Reality cop drama, Awake, premieres March 1st on NBC
This March, two television shows from two different creators are coming to television, and boy do they seem familiar. Not familiar to each other though, just familiar to things we’ve seen in the past…from the same creators. The second show coming out at the end of March is Touch by Heroes creator, Tim Kring. It essentially follows the same story as Heroes but stars different people and is his second shot at making Heroes right.
The first show, debuting on NBC March 1st, is Awake. Created by Kyle Killen who wrote the cancelled-after-two-episodes critical hit Lone Star last year, Awake is a repackaged version of that show, and is Killen’s chance to find an audience and last more than two episodes.
Awake stars Harry Potter’s Jason Isaacs and follows his character’s life after a tragic car accident that took the life of his son. However, that same accident also took the life of his wife, but not really.
Confused? That’s because Isaacs’ character, Michael Britten, is living two separate lives. One where his son survived, and one where his wife survived. The problem is he doesn’t know which is real and which is a dream.
The pilot focuses on Michael’s visits to therapists in these different realities in an attempt to determine which of his lives is real. As Michael tries to sort out what happened in the car accident and keep both of his new lives in check, he is also trying to maintain his sanity and keep his job as detective on the police force.
Working with a different partner in each of his realities, Michael is trying to sort out the different cases he is working on while clues from both seem to intertwine with each other.
While police procedurals are done to death on TV and might turn some viewers away, Awake’s approach in terms of having two separate yet connected cases each week should keep things fresh and interesting between the personal story of Michael’s new lives.
As far as the concept goes, it works well in the pilot and is executed with as little confusion as possible. Killen clearly knows what he is doing and if given more than a few episodes this should turn into a show that’s really worth watching every week.
Awake has every element of a successful pilot- interesting and authentic characters, an introduction to settings, themes, and plotline, and enough suspense and adventure to hook an audience to return for the second week.
After this year’s pack of high concept science fiction type shows that have failed to really land any critical acclaim or commercial success, Awake should at the very least receive the former, and in a perfect world would earn the latter as well so that audiences can see more of this show for years to come.