In addition to being incredibly banal at times, the Internet still had moments where it can be incredible.
Upon getting home from work this morning at 2:45 am I had the misfortune to notice that the pilot episode for the new NBC drama “Awake” was available online. Not ready to sleep and counting the days until its premiere it was decision time: “Do I start watching it, knowing that while my intentions are to stop at any break that the show will likely hook me to the point that is 3:30 at the earliest before my head hits a pillow?”
It was more like 3:32 am, due to a bathroom break. The pilot for “Awake” has me frustrated: I have three weeks until I can see the next episode. Assuming that the show will maintain the same quality for at least a while, it will be the first show since “Lost” that will get viewed after work on a consistent basis. My Friday mornings are going to be brutal.
In order to not throw any potential spoilers out there that are not already readily available here is the official NBC synopsis:
“Awake” is an intriguing drama about a detective (Jason Isaacs, “Harry Potter,” “Brotherhood”) who finds he is leading an arduous double life that defies reality.
Following a tragic car accident, detective Michael Britten finds himself awake in two separate realities: one where his teen son, Rex (Dylan Minnette, “Saving Grace”), died in the crash and his wife, Hannah (Laura Allen, “Terriers”), survived and another where Hannah has perished, leaving Michael and Rex to pick up the pieces. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive, Michael begins living in two dueling realities, churning up confusion. In one reality, Michael and his wife debate having another child, while in the other, his son Rex is turning to his tennis coach, Tara (Michaela McManus, “The Vampire Diaries”), to fill the void from the loss of his mother.
Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to solving crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners, Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, “That ’70s Show”). Michael is assigned a different case in each reality and quickly discovers that his dual existence is actually a powerful tool. He begins to solve impossible cases by using his two realties to gain unique perspectives and link clues that cross over from world to world.
Helping Michael to navigate his two realities are his bureau-assigned therapists Dr. Evans (Emmy Award-winner Cherry Jones, “24″) and Dr. Lee (BD Wong, NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”). While both therapists work to untangle his two worlds, Michael has no interest in proving either one is false. But when memories of the accident begin to haunt him, he is forced to confront the truth about what really happened the night of the crash.
Jason Issacs is as always, great. His delivery and American accent had Dustin Hoffman/Liev Schreiber riffs. The pain and loss in both worlds resonates, both feel all too real. His character is living the worst fears of anyone with loved ones without going into Nic Cage mode.
Across the board the acting is amazing. Even Wilmer Valderrama. I know, it seems impossible. He works in this show.
Right now I feel like firing up this pilot again tonight. The nagging fear echoed by many online that the premise is not sustainable is shared. Then the brilliance of how the pilot was constructed comes back to me and… I owe this show the benefit of the doubt. It certainly has earned it.
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