Mar 02 2012
Readers of the site will know that I’ve been looking forward to Awake ever since I saw the four minute long trailer for it many months ago. It’s rare for a show’s concept to catch my interest in such a short amount of time, but the idea is very unique in an era where shows don’t usually take chances anymore. A man gets in a car accident with his family. His wife survives in one reality, but when he closes his eyes, another begins where his son lives instead. He has two separate lives, and no idea which one is real.
I just finished watching last night’s pilot, and it was essentially a forty five minute extension of the trailer. It began and ended the exact same way, with the rest of the plot details expanded on in the middle. We didn’t learn anything past what the trailer revealed, but the pilot was very effective in creating a mystery and a cast of believable characters.
There’s just something about the show that screams quality. Network TV dramas on the whole usually feel inauthentic in terms of the writing, filming and acting, and are closer to soap operas than say, a gripping drama on a cable channel or HBO. I credit veteran actor Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot) for having a talent level beyond that of most network actors, and the script and cinematography give it a life that most new shows do not have as of late.
As for whether it works as an ongoing series, that remains to be seen. I almost think it’s rather masterful as a one-off episode. A sort of Twilight Zone experiment in grief studies. But this is a full fledged show, not a short story and even a miniseries. I was a bit disappointed to have both of his cases wrap up in one episode, as I hope the show is more than a double feature of Law and Order with a some psychological twists mixed in. I thought the cases might be prolonged and span the entire season, and end up being intertwined with each other more than what we saw in the pilot.
The mystery of what’s going on with Michael is obviously the central premise of the show, and my mind is already trying to figure out what’s happening. Is one of the realities fake, as the show is suggesting. Are both of them? Is he in a coma and will wake up to find BOTH of them alive? Is he in purgatory the way Lost was originally supposed to play out?
One thing I didn’t understand from the pilot that I’m hoping someone will explain to me is the moment where his therapist (the president from 24) has him read a random page of the constitution. She says something about how it proves that this is reality, and it freaks him out, but I didn’t at all understand the point that was being made. Help me out?
Anyway, it’s certainly a show I’ll look forward to seeing again, and I’m curious as to how it’s going to play out as a series.
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