Awake pilot teases two worlds

Posted by CB Droege

In anticipation of the March 1st premier of Awake, NBC has posted the entire pilot on YouTube.

Awake tells the story of a man who wakes up from a car accident with his wife and son to find that one of them has died. Unfortunately, every time he goes to sleep there is a shift - in terms of who actually died. So, he’s living in one world without his son, and in the other without his wife, and can't seem to figure out which one is real. 

Is it a sci-fi show or just a psychological crime drama? Now we get to see for ourselves:

True, a pilot is not always a good way to judge the look and feel of a series, but it seems like the main action of the show will revolve around a new case or two each episode - which the protagonist must solve by looking at clues in one world to solve the case in the other.

Unfortunately, it’s yet to be seen how heavy the sci-fi elements will be, as this episode is mostly exposition, but it does seem like they will be very light. We may never get an explanation as to what is going on, and in fact, that may or may not be the point.

When I first saw the promo material and trailers for this show, I figured the focus would be on determining what happened to the protagonist to create his odd situation. Now it seems like he really isn't all that interested in exploring an origin story and may be content to simply leave things as they are. Nevertheless, we’ll see if the protagonist begins to investigate further or, perhaps more likely, if he makes a breakthrough, perhaps even locating other people who also live in both worlds.

In the meantime, even though it's not officially sci-fi, Awake is still a cleverly written and engaging crime drama, so you should check it out. Here’s the synopsis again, if you want to read that first:

From executive producers Kyle Killen (“Lone Star”) and Howard Gordon (“Homeland,” “24”), “Awake” is an intriguing drama about Detective Michael Britten (Isaacs) who finds he’s living two parallel lives. He’s involved in a car accident that seems to have killed both his son (Dylan Minnette, “Saving Grace”) and wife (Laura Allen, “Terriers”), yet his mind creates an ingenious coping mechanism in which he now lives two separate lives – one where his wife survived and the other where his son did.

Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to solving crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners, Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, “That ’70s Show”). Michael is assigned a different case in each reality and quickly discovers that his dual existence is actually a powerful tool. He begins to solve impossible cases by using his two realities to gain unique perspectives and link clues that cross over from world to world.

Helping Michael to navigate his two realities are his bureau-assigned therapists Dr. Evans (Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones, “24″) and Dr. Lee (BD Wong, NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”). While both therapists work to untangle his two worlds, Michael has no interest in proving either one is false. But when memories of the accident begin to haunt him, he is forced to confront the truth about what really happened the night of the crash.

The official premier of the Awake pilot will be shown on March 1, 2012 at 10EST on NBC.