Premiere of TV’s “Awake”: What I Thought

I watched the new NBC drama, “Awake,” which has its broadcast premiere tonight, online. The show has received strong advance notices, yet one complaint is being chorused: the show may be too complicated for the masses. The story involves detective Michael Britten: Jason Isaacs, pictured: another Brit actor doing an American accent as the lead in an American TV series. (Is this neo-colonialism? There aren’t many American actors given plum roles playing Brits on Brit TV.) Isaacs’ character was in a horrific car crash with his wife and son. In one world, his wife is alive, but his son is dead. In the other world, the opposite is true. Awake’s conceit is that the viewer, like Michael, doesn’t know which is real. Michael is seeing two separate shrinks. He’s got two different partners on the job. Other people appear in both worlds. Michael wears different-colored rubber bands on his wrist so he can figure out which world he has just woken up in. The pilot cuts between these worlds quickly. I’m not sure that a significant portion of the mainstream viewing audience will make it past the second commercial break. With its exceptional cast and fascinating, alternate-reality premise, however, “Awake” deserves watching for three or four episodes before I even think of rendering a firm verdict.

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