March 2nd, 2012
09:32 AM ET
Thursday night's series premiere of "Awake" – which, like "New Girl" and "Smash," was also streamed online, as you can see below – left me with a similar reaction to the one I had after watching the preview of "Touch."
As with "Touch," there are lots of interesting elements in "Awake," but I wonder if a large network audience will stick around to unravel it.
For those who haven't seen all the promos, Jason Isaacs (best known as "Harry Potter's" Lucius Malfoy) plays a detective named Michael who got into a horrible car accident with his family.
His son died... but then when he goes to sleep, he wakes up to see that his wife is the one who died instead.
There's something of a "Sliding Doors" feel to this, but I also have to admit that the bouncing back and forth between his two realities led to a bit of confusion. I had to constantly remind myself which of Michael's realities I was watching, which therapist went with which one, and so forth.
And yes, Michael is getting treatment in both realities. Each therapist tries to convince him that the other one he is seeing (as well as the other reality) is the dream.
Then there are the cases Michael works. One kidnapping of a small child was pointed out by Dr. Lee as a clue that his son died, and in his "dream," he is trying to solve a mystery (which would make the death something he could "solve"). Not to mention, the mysterious appearance of the number 611 being crucial to both cases.
Plus, it's worth mentioning that his partners, played by Steve Harris and Wilmer Valderrama, are different in each reality. This, to me, was the only part of the story that didn't quite seem to work so far.
As it looked like both worlds would begin to overlap, Michael woke up one morning unable to find either his son or wife, and soon cut into his hand to make sure he was awake (he was).
When Dr. Lee warned him that this constant back-and-forth could take a toll on his sanity, Michael replied that it was a good price to pay for having his entire family back in his life.
So, the concept is handled brilliantly thus far (I especially like the subtle changes in color between the two realities – one has a green tint, while the other's is red), but what about future episodes?
Executive producers Howard Gordon and Kyle Killen recently told reporters that there would be stand-alone episodes, but obviously the new wrinkles to the overall story arc would be added.
Killen also clarified that there's more to it than the question of which reality was a dream: "The show is really about a man who has decided, and desperately wants, to live in both of these worlds...And as you try to live two lives in parallel, you see them start to go in dramatically different directions. I think the idea is that hopefully the audience, like the character, becomes invested in not wanting to let either of those go."
Isaacs even hinted that Michael may even stop acknowledging to his therapists that a person has even died.
At the same time, Gordon said, the circumstances of what happened the night of the crash will be explained by season's end.
So, has "Awake" hooked you? Will you keep watching? Share your thoughts on an iReport video or comment below.
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