staying awake for “awake”


There might be too many puns available for NBC’s newest 10PM drama Awake. But rest assured, this is not a show to sleep on. Hopefully NBC’s ratings dreams might come true with this one. Okay, I’m done for now.

Seriously, from the pilot episode alone, I’m hooked onto this show. I’ve been waiting for this show to air since I saw trailers last summer but having seen an episode, it makes it all that much more official. Maybe I’m still going through an Inception thing, but dream studies have always been an interest of mine.

Before I get into ratings jargon or what it means for NBC, I’ll explain what the show’s about and why I think you should watch it. First of all, I’m bored with cop shows in general. I would want to assume most of the world is too, yet they keep being made over and over again. Sometimes, spin-offs/reboots/remakes/CSI/Hawaii Five-0, etc. But whenever there’s an interesting spin on one, I’ll give it the benefit of doubt and see if it’s worth sticking around, like Person of Interest. Although, is it fair to call that a cop show? I digress.

Awake is about a family man detective who, after a fatal car crash, wakes up to learn that he lives in two realities. In one reality, his wife survives the car crash but his son dies. In the other reality, his son survives and his wife is dead. Every time he goes to sleep in one reality, he immediately wakes up in the other as if he had been dreaming. That is essentially the main premise of the show. To help him tell the difference, he wears a colored rubber band so he knows where/when he’s “awake.”

But as I started out saying, he’s detective, so he has cases to work each episode. Yes, plural. Both cases are seemingly unrelated, but our hero finds clues from both realities to solve both cases. He also has different partners. What’s interesting is how this is a cop drama, but there’s so much more going on.

The major piece of the puzzle that really helps ground this guy, the show, and us as an audience are the shrinks he’s required to talk to in both realities. Both are different, and have different methods. Both also try to convince him that the other reality is a dream. It’s pretty trippy, to say the least. And it’s a vast understatement to say how emotional this story can get when a family man is torn between two people that he truly loves. Folks, heartstrings were plucked. I wasn’t expecting that. No tears were shed, but I felt for this man.

Probably the most nerve wracking scene, and it was actually something I was wondering about, was what would happen if he woke up and didn’t have either red or green rubber band? Another thing to notice are the colors, when he’s in his wife’s reality, there are lots of reds, warm and earthy colors. When he’s with his son, it’s green/blue, colder colors. This scene I’m referring to is neutral and is mostly white.

There are a bunch of theories I’m entertaining about what’s the deal with this man and how this series can end some day (hopefully not anytime soon). There are lots of places this show can go but I’m signing on for the ride and to see these characters develop.

Jason Isaacs is Det. Michael Britton. He reminds me of Jon Hamm’s Don Draper, but as a cop. Laura Allen plays his wife Hannah, she’s quite beautiful and I’d be quite upset too if I woke up and she wasn’t there. His son Rex is played by Dylan Minnette, the same dude who played Jack Shepherd’s son in the last season of LOST. In fact, he kinda acts like him too. Cherry Jones and BD Wong play his shrinks and Steve Harris and Wilmer Valderrama play his partners. Creator Kyle Killen is most known for his other critically acclaimed but early cancelled show Lone Star. I didn’t watch it either.

The show doesn’t start until March, but you can see it now on Hulu. Fortunately, NBC picked Thursday night for this show, which works for me because that’s what my DVR is recording all night anyway. They also seem to be having a hard time finding a show to fit the comedy block before it, so hopefully this is a keeper. See you all March 1st!

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Posted in dreams, review, sleep, tv

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