Reader Request: Awake Part 1

I will do a Part 2 when I finish the season (or get to a point where I don’t care anymore).

Cop shows are popping up everywhere you look on TV these days. We’ve got beat cops like in Southland and that string of failed [City] [#] shows, and we’ve got the typical detective ones that range from the classic, Law & Order, to Blue Bloods. Then people decided to try to spice up the genre with small wrinkles, like Castle, and now we have Awake.


Detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) was in a horrific car accident that seemingly killed his wife, Hannah (Laura Allen), and son, Rex (Dylan Minnette). Except, now when he wakes up he can be in one of two worlds. One – we’ll call it Hannahland – is where Hannah survived but Rex did not. The other – Rexville – is the opposite: wife died, kid survived. Michael goes back and forth between “realities” working with a therapist in each to decipher which world is real and which is a dream. All of this while working a case in each that usually overlaps in some way.

When I watch Awake, I get the same sense I did when watching the first two seasons of Lost. People will talk and talk, but never really get anywhere when discussing the potential realities. Meanwhile, the show will be forced to provide answers and new twists to keep the audience on edge, but as the episodes add up, the answers will most likely get more and more farfetched and it will lead to most – like me with Lost – ditching the show and waiting to hear the simple answer to the only important question in the final episode.

The aforementioned question is: which world is actually real for Michael, or is he actually dead and this is a completely irrelevant show? Let’s assume for a second that they are both coexisting worlds that move along simultaneously. Immediately we run into a problem. What does Michael’s body do while he is in a different world? Before you say, “He only spends a certain amount of time in the other world so his body is asleep”, it should be pointed out that he’ll spend seemingly days in Rexville, learn something, then move on to Hannahworld and utilize that information. So there is a big chronology issue that comes into play.

Back to reality (maybe?). We have to assume one is a fictional world where his subconscious creates everything, but then how does he keep gaining new information for the cases. By now you are seeing the type of cyclical argument fans of Awake will no doubt get into as the show progresses. This is the best part of the show, but also the worst. Like I said, this constant battle will keep you interested, but it could also push you away until the final episode because ultimately, everything in between will be irrelevant. They have tried to give a hint to this being a government-instituted ability, but I feel that will just alienate the audience more than provide closure.

I am only five episodes in and the constant barrage of “no, this is reality” from the therapists is getting tiresome. That being said, I like Isaacs, Allen and Minnette. They all do well in their respective roles and for the most part, the supporting cast is just as strong. Despite the never-ending feeling that something is missing, I will continue to watch and I would suggest you guys at least check it out. If nothing else, you can boost your self-esteem by figuring out the cases early on (they are quite simple to follow and solve early).

    • sheila
    • May 12th, 2012

    I am devastated that this show is getting canceled

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