NBC's Awake: Putting Viewers to Sleep

May 5, 2012
Jason Isaacs as Detective Britten

NBC’s Awake would have to do a lot more to keep me up. I generally like watching smart television shows, and Awake did very well with its pilot episode to show a pretty clever premise well executed, with promise of good things to come. Hook was firmly in cheek. But after 10 episodes of tugging and pulling, I’m close to cutting and running.

And I’m not the only one.

An article by Robert Seidman is already predicting a season one cancelation (and this was written mid-April), as viewership has been dropping ever since the well-received (and highly viewed) pilot. Thursday’s episode saw an even greater drop.

NBC's AwakeAnd it’s too bad. The show does have a lot of promise. Jason Isaacs, who plays Detective Michael Britten, does a wonderful job at portraying a man trapped between two dream worlds, unable to ascertain which one is real.

I do think that Laura Allen, who plays his wife, was a miscast, though. Her nuances just don’t fit. It’s hard to see why a guy like Michael Britten would put up with her. But oh well. For the most part, the rest of the cast does very well, even the surprising performance of That 70’s Show star Wilmer Valderrama (playing Detective Vega).

So where has the show gone wrong?

Well, considering that the protagonist is living in two separate worlds, it is only a matter of time before that issue is addressed in some form or another. At the end of episode 2, there is an allusion of some conspiracy theory behind the hijinks, and then… nothing.

What we get between then and now are only vague references to this elusive conspiracy, and are mostly left with an average police procedural, with the added benefit of a detective who gets hunches from the other side of his reality. In episode two, it was fun and clever. In three it was maybe a little neat. Then it was alright, but expected. Then it was kind of run-of-the-mill. Now, the little flashes of clues that help him solve cases leave me with one raised eyebrow, a sigh, and a disapproving head shake.

Yes, I know that the guy you first caught is the wrong guy, and that the guy you showed at the beginning of the episode is the real culprit. I got that. But showing me that little flash of something in the other world kind of insults my intelligence.

Not that I claim to be very smart or clever, but clearly, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if your ratings keep dropping, you won’t last much longer, and we’ll be left with another unfulfilled ending to a show that should have been much better.

I want to like the show, and maybe I’ll keep watching it begrudgingly.  The pilot had such a strong hook, it’s still lodged in my cheek.  I hope it doesn’t stay too sore when it’s all said and done.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Richard Sanchez May 6, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    This is too bad. The concept seemed so fresh. Like Baja Fresh. But fresher. Sigh.

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