'Awake' Season Premiere Review & Recap

So is NBC's Awake as good as it looks, or were you teased for no reason?  In a word or two, Awake is a series of excellent conundrums you will love watching!

I've been eagerly awaiting this new show, Awake, since I caught wind of it more than a year ago.  The premise sounded incredible back then and all I was worried about was how it would be delivered to the fans.

After watching the season premiere of Awake, I have to say, they took a potentially complicated story and made it digestible, more or less.

NBC's Awake comes from showrunner Kyle Killen (Lone Star), and produced by Howard Gordon (Homeland, 24, Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  The show seems in good hands from the production side of things.

The cast includes rugged, good-looking Jason Isaacs (Brotherhood) as Detective Michael Britten.

In the opening scene of the season premiere of Awake, the show starts with us watching the accident where their minivan is rolling down a hillside.  In this accident, Britten's wife and son die.  But that's the trick to the show.

After the accident, we watch Britten talking to his male shrink,  addressing the issue of his wife having lost their son.

We then slip into Britten answering another question, and his answer is addressing how his son is dealing with the loss of his mother.  The shrink here, is a woman.

The show has Britten in an interesting quandary...


He has two realities... one where his son lived through the accident, and when he goes to sleep in that reality, he opens his eyes to another reality, where is wife is alive and is dealing with the death of his son.


The beautiful Laura Allen (Old Dogs, "Terriers") plays his wife, Hannah and Dylan Minnette (The bully in Let Me In, "Saving Grace") plays his son, Rex.

His shrinks are played by BD Wong (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Cherry Jones (Ocean's Twelve, "24").  In IMDb, it suggests they will only be in a few episodes, but I can't imagine the chemistry of the two halves getting on without his shrinks!

Awake also stars Wilmer Valderrama (All grown up from That 70's Show... didn't even recognize him!) and the beautiful Michaela McManus (The Vampire Diaries, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and Steve Harris (Friday Night Lights, Heist, The Practice).

The show has pulled together an impressive array of talent that brings the story to life.


The premiere episode segued between realities in a very easy to digest and charming fashion.  Each reality has its own crime scene to solve and different situations.  he has different partners but in an odd fashion, the different crimes share a common thread that is also interesting.

What's fascinating is that he communicates to each shrink what the other one is saying and at some point, his wife, knowing about his dreams, tells him to tell their son she loves him.

It was very touching actually.

But his dreaming is also a source of confusion.  He has certain clues to let him know which reality he's awake in and his "dreams" also help him with his crime.

But being that there are two crimes, there's less time spent on solving the crime than there is time spent talking to his shrinks and spending time with his family.

The scene where he says if he had to choose between emotionally healing and never seeing one of his family or living with both his son and wife, he'd rather not be healed.


Check it out!  Kevin Chapman and Jason Isaacs in a still from Brotherhood. I recently posted an exclusive interview I had with Kevin.

For me, I can't wait to see how this entire series pans out.  Which reality is real, which one is in his mind.  But that answer isn't going to come for a very long time.  And if they ever present an answer, I bet it will tick off some demographic of the audience.

This season premiere of Awake was an awesome display of intrigue, loaded with questions that beg to be answered. And yet, the nexus of this show will be the questions it creates.

Like I said, Awake is a series of excellent conundrums that will be very entertaining to watch!  I just hope the Nielsen families can keep up with the changes of realities!



  1. I guess you've convinced me! I was thinking about this show yesterday, not sure if I would hop on that train or not. Was actually waiting for a review on this one to help me decide. So...I'm going to squeeze it in among the other shows I watch :-)

  2. Maybe I was brain dead last night from a long week. Plot seemed a bit convoluted made me work to follow it. Think I fell asleep during one of the commercials. Guess what I'm saying is it's a me not you kind of thing. I'll watch again when I'm not as tired.

  3. Actually Tim... you hit a point I missed, and that yes, AWAKE is something you have to really pay attention to, to follow.

    Which worries me... because the Nielsen families don't want to come home and think. They want to sit and stare. Look at what shows top the charts most weeks.

    AWAKE won't let you sit and stare. So no... I phased out at some point too, but I trusted in the story to bring me back to what was what.

    And that will be the Achilles heel of the series, despite the quality of the show.

    Yes Wolfke, it is smart programming worth giving a shot. And yes, trying to squeeze out that 25th hour of the day to add something to the schedule is crazy!


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