Awake is a good concept – a cop has a car accident, and finds himself awaking in two worlds – one in which he and his wife survived, and one in which he and his son survived. But which one (if either, but that question goes unasked in the pilot) is real?
Yes, that’s a good concept… for a movie. The problem as a TV series is that it creates the promise of one of two paths:
- It will be a constant dabbling into the mystery of “Which one is real”, never really deciding, so it leaves us with two scenarios to not invest ourselves in.
- It builds into a more-complex Rich Real World Mysteriously Revealed, without the textural fun of a Twin Peaks or the absurdity of the conflicts of Life on Mars.
Neither sounds inviting. For the pilot, we have the central conflict set up, and then within that context we end up having to have two fairly basic cop stories, one in each world (trying to wedge two of those into an hour with other stuff requires them to be terse.) If this was a movie, we could be looking to some revelation or some emotional settlement at the end of our two hours, but no such release seems to be coming soon here.
The cast is good. The tone kind of has to be somber – you are after all dealing with dead wife/dead kid scenarios – but if they’re wise, they’ll find some things perhaps in supporting characters that allows them to have some small amount of fun in the mix. (I’d love to see one character, aware of what our hero is going through, sending messages to his other-timeline self…. perhaps a game of trans-reality chess.) I don’t suspect I’ll be along for the ride.