Reviewed by Michael Hickerson (Slice of SciFi Editor)
As a single hour of television, Awake is fascinating, compelling television. As a long-term series, there are questions about if and how the show can sustain its premise over the course of a season or seasons. But if you haven’t seen the pilot yet via various on demand services or streaming from NBC’s web site, this is one that’s worth tuning in for when it finally airs tonight at 10 p.m. EST.
Detective Michael Britten, his wife and son were involved in a car wreck. Months later, Britten is shifting between two different worlds–one in which his wife died and his son lived and the other where his son died and his wife lived. Britten switches back and forth each night when he falls asleep. Britten is under the care of a therapist in both realities with each believing the other is a fiction created by Britten and trying to help him understand why he’s created such a vivid, on-going dream.
Meanwhile, clues from each reality are informing cases Britten is investigating in each reality. In the pilot, a series of numbers and situations in both versions of reality provide a clue to solving the case Britten and his (different) partner are investigating.
Created by Kyle Killen and Howard Gordon, Awake has one of the more intriguing premises of any show in recent memory. And while the show doesn’t lean toward one reality being the actual one in the pilot, at some point the show will have to start delivering some answers. And that could be a problem if the series is to run for longer than a 13-episode season.
But don’t let that keep you away from the pilot and considering putting this show into your viewing rotation. The first episode is beautifully filmed and features some solid performances. It’s intriguing, fascinating, compelling and a satisfying hour of television.