in Review


Awake is NBC’s latest cop drama series from Kyle Killen, the creator of the ill-fated but well received FOX drama Lonestar. Killen’s latest show premieres on March 1st but the pilot is currently available to watch for free on Hulu. I don’t normally watch basic cable dramas but something about the premise to Awake intrigued me.

Awake stars Jason Isaacs (AKA Lucius Malfoy) as American police detective Michael Britten suffering from the effects of a recent traumatic car accident. “Traumatic in what way?” After the accident Michael finds himself living two different lives. In one life Michael’s son is dead and in the other his wife is dead. Michael switches between the two different lives every time he goes to bed and wakes up. Michael also has different therapists for each life, Cherry Jones plays one and BD Wong the other, as well as different partner (Wilmer Valderrama) in one life while in the other he works solo. To help separate the two lives Michael wears a red wristband (for the world with his wife) and a green wristband (for the one with his son). Michael has different cases in each life but as seen in the pilot there are occasional details that overlap, possibly revealing potential clues between what’s real and what’s a dream.

I think it’s a fantastic premise but I’m going to go right ahead and say this pilot didn’t do much for me. Something about the execution seems very typical. Michael struggles with his case, blah, blah, shares some melodramatic scenes with his wife yadda, yadda. The setup may be new but nothing else about this show is or really stands out. Though I will say that I saw the seedlings of ideas that could have the potential to grow into something interesting.

What I did enjoy is when Michael discovered clues between his two different cases and how they connected between his lives. This whole concept of how these lives are related could equal great television if handled well, but I have the sneaking suspicion they won’t be. Where most people will be watching this show to know what it all means, you know the show runners will want to prolong that for as long as possible. What that means is that this show will most likely drag on in the same way that How I Met Your Mother does in revealing who the mother is.

Honestly, I think Awake would have been a much better idea for a movie. I would imagine it like Memento if it was about cops. The problem here is they’ve given the audience a great question with no intention to answer it anytime soon. Though this is by no means a terrible show and could have the potential to become better as the mystery develops.

One thing I almost forgot to mention was the excellent lead performance by Jason Isaacs. I had no idea he could so convincingly play a hardened American detective. Will I watch the next episode of Awake? Possibly, but it if it’s more of the same I’m going to sleep.