‘Awake: Pilot’ Review – NBC’s New Drama Is As Gripping As It Is Thought Provoking

Photo Credit: http://awaketvshow.com/

Every once in a while a pilot gets made that draws you in and leaves you screaming for more. I won’t be the naive TV critic that immediately compares Awake to The Sopranos or Mad Men, but it sure feels like it. The premise is fascinating. The mood is tense. The style is cinematic. The acting is wonderful. The forty-three and a half minutes that make up the first episode of Awake are absolutely fantastic, and I can’t wait for the next episode.

Awake follows a detective named Michael Britten who, after a car accident, is not quite sure which way is up. In one life his son is alive, but when he goes to sleep, he immediately wakes up next to his wife, and has to look at his son’s empty room. In both lives he has different partners and therapists that he must use to try and figure out which life is a dream.

With a premise involving alternate realities, each with a different set of characters, the show should be much more confusing than it is. But the excellent pacing makes sure that no detail goes unnoticed. No, the only thing about Awake that will make your head hurt is trying to figure out which reality is real. In the pilot, both therapists make excellent cases for their own realities, making for some brilliantly thought-provoking material.

There is a whole other side to Britten’s life, however: his career. Mysterious murders happen one after another in each life and make for some really intense moments when they both reach their climaxes. More interesting is how his mind makes connections between the two realities, causing clues to be present in one case that helps him solve the other.

Britten is a captivating and exciting lead. Jason Isaacs adds a lot of subtlety to the character and makes his emotions extremely believable. The supporting cast does a solid job as well, particularly the two actors who play his respective therapists.

Awake also has a very distinct style. The reality with the son is darker with a lot of blue coloring. The reality with the wife is much lighter and more yellow. The cinematography is fantastic for a television show and adds to the tension just as much as the story does.

There are plenty of pilots that I have walked away from feeling as confident as I do with Awake. One of them was Mad Men, but another admittedly was Heroes. I am confident that Awake will fare better than the latter, but how long can this premise hold audiences’ interest? The first season is only thirteen episodes so my guess is this season will go extremely well, and it’s too early to look past that. For now, I am beyond excited about Awake, and you should be too. (9.5/10)

2 Responses to ‘Awake: Pilot’ Review – NBC’s New Drama Is As Gripping As It Is Thought Provoking

  1. Ben says:

    Damnit just reading about the pilot has drawn me in. I’m relieved someone’s using cinematography for good for once and offering a little relief from all the chaos

  2. ilan says:

    Hi i just wanted to say the pilot is available already on iTunes and hulu depite not premiering until march if anyone wants to see it. I agree with you completely. I felt like i was watching a movie, the quality was so good. And the show really throws all conventions away to tell an original and emotional story, played out by wonderful actors.

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