Major spoilers inside…
This past Thursday marked the season one finale of NBC’s unique drama Awake. Unfortunately for the show’s small but rabid audience the episode also served as the series finale; the cancellation was announced weeks ago. But how about that mind-bending, Inception-like conclusion? After an impressionable pilot and a handful of procedural installments, Awake managed to tell an extremely compelling story that left its viewers wanting more when the grand finale closed one chapter and opened the door to a shiny treasure chest of possible season 2 storylines. Detective Michael Britten (played by the gifted Jason Issacs) figured out that Harper was the one behind his life-altering car accident, and shortly thereafter he created a third (dream?) reality in which his son and wife survived.
So what the hell happened? (Click here for more…)
From creator Kyle Killen (Lone Star) and executive producer Howard Gordon (24) comes an inventive new series starring Jason Issacs (Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter films) as Michael Britten, a detective who lives a double life in two separate realities. In tonight’s pilot episode, Britten will survive a tragic car accident while his wife played by Laura Allen (Terriers) and son Dylan Minnette (Lost) will go on to distinctly define the alternate realities Britten experiences after the crash.
If this sounds confusing to you, after you watch the pilot things should become clearer. Recently at the Winter TCAs Gordon casually explained the concept: “[Britten]‘s a guy who goes to sleep, wakes up, he’s with his wife, goes to sleep, wakes up, and he’s with his son. And he’s a cop who sees clues and details that crossover from one world to the next, and he uses that insight to solve crimes.” There you go. In each reality Britten has a different partner–Steve Harris (The Practice) in one and Wilmer Valderrama (That ’70s Show) in the other; and he also sits down with a therapist in each reality (Cherry Jones, 24 & BD Wong, Law & Order: SVU) to deal with the ramifications of his dual existence.
Killen has confirmed that the show will not be taking the easy way out and wrap up by saying “it was all a dream.” One (or potentially both, or neither?) of these realities is in fact real and over the course of the series the mystery behind that pivotal car crash will reveal itself.
I say take a chance and tune into the series premiere of Awake that airs tonight (3/1) at 10PM on NBC.
After Detective Michael Britten wakes up from a car accident with his wife and teenage son, he learns the devastating news that his wife died in the crash. Trying to put the pieces of his life back together, he wakes up a few days later to realize that his wife is very much alive and his son died in the accident! Did he lose his wife or his son? Or neither of them?? What if your life split in two in the face of a situation like this, and you could actually have everything you wanted, just not all at the same time? Michael goes back to work solving crimes while trying to put things back on a “normal” track, alternating between realities.”
At the TCA winter press tour, creator of the ill-fated FOX series Lone Star Kyle Killen talked up his latest project Awake. After reading the summary above above, do you feel confused? The creative team behind the sci-fi crime drama assures once you see the pilot and fall into the groove of the show confusion will not be one of the feelings you’re left with each week. “It is a fairly gettable concept once you sit down and actually pay attention to it,” executive producer Howard Gordon (24) said. “And whatever learning curve there might be, we hope it’s a shallow one.” Gordon went on to give his even briefer summary of the show. “He’s a guy who goes to sleep, wakes up, he’s with his wife, goes to sleep, wakes up, and he’s with his son. And he’s a cop who sees clues and details that crossover from one world to the next, and he uses that insight to solve crimes.” Not that doesn’t sound so confusing, now does it?
Killen compared the writing process for this show to “putting together a Rubik’s Cube every eight days.” Intriguing. “It’s a dramatic procedural. On a week‑to‑week basis, there is a self‑contained question and answer. There’s a puzzle every week. At its heart, it’s a unique twist on the procedural dramas that you are actually very used to.”
He doesn’t make it a secret that he’s learning from his past mistakes, too. “I think there were aspects of Lone Star that were more difficult to get a wider, broader audience interested in. [The main character] was somebody that you couldn’t decide if you liked or hated, and I think that [Detective] Britten’s dilemma is something that we’re not only sympathetic for, but somehow we want him to win.”
The series creator concluded the panel by saying that the show will not end like this: “It was all a dream.” He went on, “There are 100 ways out, but 99 of them are probably unsatisfying to most of the population. I personally believe ‘It was all a dream’ is not particularly satisfying. We will work hard to avoid frustrating ourselves and you if we have the opportunity to wrap it all up 8 or 9 years from now.” Awake star Jason Isaacs confirmed that they do know how things will end. “We have a plan, and we’re never going to tell anyone, so stop asking us.”
Awake is set to premiere this midseason on NBC; a specific date and timeslot still haven’t been confirmed.