For the love of quality television, watch NBC’s Awake when it airs Thursday March 1st at 10 pm. The peacock’s revered comedy block, though full of the best comedy on TV, is not going to give it much of a lead in ratings wise. While those who read trades, obsess over TV and follow trends are surely aware of it, the show seems to be lacking a wide marketing push and populous buzz. This is a shame considering the show is one of the more imaginative, original concepts to push through on network television in recent memory and deserves to be seen.
Its script is packed to the walls with promise and drops enough of its concept to fascinate, while eliciting the viewer to dream up conspiracy theories. Jason Isaacs is doing a terrific job in his portrayal of the more unfathomable and in some respects carries a Don-Draper-esque quality. The character’s choice at the end of the pilot is the mark of great writing and acting. Where a lesser show would immediately put its hero on a path to normalcy, Awake intentionally throws it out the window. The production design plays wonderfully into the duality of the concept, and brings to life its themes in a stated and noticeable but nevertheless fun color scheme.
Isaacs is portraying a detective who solves crimes, which is a major concern as it lends itself to the procedural. Too many hour long dramas this season have claimed to be high concept and end up just being crime procedurals (ahem Person of Interest, Alcatraz). For now, it’s too early to tell if this is where Awake is going. Also, it’s unclear how its concept will play out long term. The pilot is strong but what does this show look like in episode five?
Awake is a big risk, even more so than creator Kyle Killen’s last flop Lone Star. Its concepts are higher and its network is worse off. There’s a very scary possibility that it will fail and be gone within weeks, which in this broadcast landscape would be a real blow to singularity on network television. So watch it now online or watch it when it airs, tune in week 2. Whatever you have to do, for the love of quality television.
I think this show would do great on cable. Network TV is to ratings driven and if it doesn’t connect with enough people it will only last a few episodes and it is a high concept, complicated show. I think on cable they could at least go a whole season without worrying they would get canceled at any second. This show has a very interesting concept and seems to be very well acted, I just hope it lasts.