Awake is intelligent and complex (spoiler free)

I am fortunate enough to be an avid Hulu Plus subscriber. This means special previews of shows that haven’t aired yet. One such show is Awake, the much-anticipated Jason Isaacs drama premiering on NBC on March 1st. I had the opportunity to sit down and watch Awake and I must say that I am thoroughly intrigued.

The series is difficult to explain, but I will give it a go. Awake begins with a car accident in which Michael (Jason Issacs), Hannah (Laura Allen) and Rex Britten (Dylan Minnette) are involved in. We see the car crashing down, but are given no cause of the accident. Fast forward to a funeral, where Michael, father and husband is attending a funeral. Beside him, his wife. His son has apparently died.

Except that when Michael goes to sleep that night, he wakes up the next morning to an altogether different reality. In this world, his son is the one who survived the accident and not his wife. And so Michael’s nights and mornings continue on.

The beauty of this show is that like Life On Mars, you have no idea if Michael is asleep or dreaming in either scenario. Michael has easily accepted that this is the only way he can have both his wife and his son and wears colored rubber bands on his wrist to keep the two realities separate in his own mind.

There’s just one problem, as there always is with alternate universes: details from one universe bleed into the other. Michael is a detective and details from his case in one reality bleed into the next, helping him to solve both.  So on top of what may be an alternate universe plotline, there’s also a procedural cop show with an extremely unique twist.

See? I told you it was hard to explain. But alternate timelines usually are. Of course, we don’t know that these are alternate universes. Michael could be, in fact, dreaming one of them up.

If the pilot episode is any indication, this show is going to get a lot more confusing for Michael, as well as for us, the viewers. But I’m okay with that. In fact, I love a show that’s complicated and hard to explain. This is intelligent storytelling at its best.

Obviously, Jason Isaacs is brilliant and compelling to watch as Michael, a man who refuses to give up one reality for another and chooses to live in both. I am also especially happy to see Wilmer Valdarama back on t.v., as a police officer who is Michael’s partner in one of the realities.

I’m calling this one a must-see. It’s wonderfully dramatic and yet bizarre enough that most sci-fi genre fans, I believe, are going to love it. I definitely can see endless possibilities with such a convoluted storyline. What if this is science fiction and Michael  can figure out a way to bring the two universes together? Will it cause problems, maybe something similar to what we’re seeing in Fringe? Or are his dreams in fact a part of reality? There’s so much the writers can do with this, it will be easy to sustain the concept as a series.

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