Awake (2012 TV Series)

awake-nbc-tv-show-poster4 Kernels

Just finished watching thirteen episodes of Awake on Netflix, which at one time was an NBC television series that came to cancellation after one season.  Nevertheless, it has an intriguing premise that makes your head spin as you try to keep up with the scenes.  You almost need to look at what color rubber band is around your wrist to discover what world you’re in at the moment.  Here is why…

It’s about an LAPD police detective Michael Britten (played by Jason Isaacs), who is in a car accident with his wife and son. The tragedy leaves an aftermath of split realities. When he sleeps, he wakes up in one reality where he lost his wife in the accident and lives with his son who survived (played by Dylan Minnette). Then he retires for the night and wakes up in another reality where he’s lost his son and lives with his wife (played by Laura Allen). In each reality, the ones who survive the accident are faced with grief and loss that they try to overcome through various means.  He knows which reality he’s in when he awakens by the color of the band around his wrist.

Even though Britten is keenly aware of his strange experience when in either reality, he does not share what is happening to either his wife or son.  The only ones who do know are two psychiatrists that he sees in each world.  They attempt to convince him that he is in their reality and that the other is a dream, which they contribute to a coping mechanism because facing the truth is too painful. Britten does not reveal his odd life to anyone at work, but his split worlds help him solve crimes.

It’s a good show that keeps you guessing and in the counseling chair with Britten. You’ll hear plenty of psychological mumbo-jumbo explaining why this is happening to him.  Britten, on the other hand, wants to keep things as they are because he can still have his wife and son in his life. Nevertheless, as the show continues, the terrible truth of why the accident occurred and that a criminal police cover-up is part of the reason, brings havoc. His mind begins to break and reality turns delusional at both ends of the spectrum.  At one point he’s stuck in one and desperate to get back to the other.  He begins to hallucinate seeing odd things like penguins and characters who are not there.

Issac Jacobs does a wonderful job acting this convoluted existence on screen, and it is a shame he didn’t receive any recognition.  The writers, knowing that the show is to be cancelled, brings the audience a totally mind-blowing ending that will have you scratching your head.  As Britten’s psyche breaks further, you can only conclude that he’s conjured up a third reality to make sense of the past two versions filled with undeniable heartache and betrayal.  It’s the reality he wants above all else, and probably that of the audience too.

It’s a good show, worth a Netflix binge.

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