Awake (NBC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
‘Awake’, formerly known as ‘REM’ replaces NBC’s John Grisham flop ‘The Firm’, starting on March 1st. The pilot episode is already available for free on the NBC website, Hulu and iTunes.
The show stars Jason Isaacs (‘Harry Potter’), and the role of showrunner is taken on by Howard Gordon, who has written for FOX’s ‘24’ and is currently also writing on Showtime’s hit political drama ‘Homeland’. In ‘Awake’, the theoretical issue of quantum immortality is taken on; when someone dies, there is an alternative reality where that person survived. One person, however, is able to cross over between realities by falling asleep.
Michael Britten (Isaacs), his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, ‘The 4400’) and their son Rex (Dylan Minnette, ‘Prison Break’, ‘Lost’), get in a serious car accident. From that moment on, Britten starts to live in two separate realities, which he labels by wearing a green rubber band in one reality and a red rubber band in the other. In the green reality, his wife died in the car accident, and Britten and Rex are trying to cope with that loss and are also struggling with their father-son relationship. In the red reality, on the other hand, Rex didn’t survive the accident, and Britten and Hannah are mourning the loss of their only son.
In both realities, Britten is forced by his captain (Laura Innes, ‘ER’) to take counseling following the death of either his wife or son, to make sure he is still fit for his job as police detective. In the green reality, Dr. Judith Evans (Cherry Jones, ‘24’) is a kind and understanding shrink who tries to help Britten to find out what exactly is going on. Dr. John Lee (B. D. Wong, ‘Law & Order: SVU’) in the red reality, on the other hand, is a lot less considerate and tries to convince Britten that it is all just a bad way of him trying to cope with his son’s death.
At work, Britten works on a case of killed cab drivers in the red reality, while in the green reality, he’s working on the case of a missing girl. After a while, he starts to see strange parallels between the two realities, and these parallels appear to give him new insights in both of his cases.
Because this show works with two different realities it can be hard to keep them apart, especially in the pilot episode when you’re still getting to know all the characters. When Britten is with his wife or his son it is obvious, but when he is at work it can be confusing. Because we can’t always see Britten’s system of the rubber bands, the series has also incorporated green and red hues in the screen. You have to really look closely to see those, but you can use this system, together with the rubber bands, to keep track of the realities.
Something that is quite strange is the way Hannah and Rex act during the episode. Hannah is redecorating the house, doesn’t want to talk about Rex at all and impulsively wants to get pregnant again. These aren’t really strange things to do or want for a grieving mother, though because of the way they are presented right now, it feels like something is up. Rex, on the other hand, starts as a typical teenager, though not really impressed by his mother’s death, apart from her not being there. Later on in the pilot, he finds a mother figure in his tennis coach Tara (Michaela McManus, ‘Law & Order: SVU’), and acts exactly the way his father needs him to be: kind, understanding and forgiving. However, those are not really personality traits that characterise the average teenager.
What do you think about 'Awake'?
‘Awake’ is a series that grabs your attention from the moment you start watching. After seeing only two minutes you immediately want to know what’s going on. The pilot eases you in the story and the show will unravel the mystery piece by piece. With this strong episode, ‘Awake’ makes a really good start; it’s a good sign if the viewer is grabbed by the story and can’t wait to see the next episode. I’m really looking forward to seeing more from this show.
Are you going to watch Awake?
- 86% Yes, it seems great!
- 5% Yes, it seems ok
- 5% I'm not sure yet
- 4% No, it doesn't really interest me
This poll is now closed to voting.