Why am I ambivalent about Awake?

March 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm (Things I Want) (, )

I want to like Awake. I want to like it a lot more than I do.

I mean, I was really looking forward to this show. Really looking forward to it. Back when they showed the 2011-2012 season previews, Awake was the only thing I was excited about.

“Ooooh,” I said. “A man gets in a car crash and, in one version of his life, his wife is killed, and in the other, it’s his teenaged son instead? And he’s living out both versions of his life, and one of them is possibly a dream? How interesting!”

I see what they're going for with this poster, but I don't like it one bit.

(I often recap things when exclaiming in wonder to myself.)

So, with bated breath and all, I awaited the pilot episode, which finally aired, like, 27 months after the trailer. Or only five or something, I don’t know. And the pilot was awesome. The main character (a detective played by the very excellent Jason Isaacs) explains his predicament to two different psychiatrists, both of whom are convinced the other psychiatrist is the dream, deals with losing his wife, or his son, except actually not at all.

In the world where his wife is alive, he wears a red rubber band on his wrist, and it’s all shot in shades of gold and red, and Fez from That ’70s Show is the rookie partner who’s been assigned to spy on him. In the world where his son is the survivor, he wears a green rubber band, and everything is shot in shades of blues and green, and his partner is Steven Harris, who is just as scary as ever and also, I think, doesn’t age.

I mean, look at him! He looks exactly the same as he did when he first showed up on Homicide back in the last millennium! I mean, FEZ looks older than him! (And, yes, I'm calling him Fez because I can't spell Wilder Valderrama's last name. Double letters are my Kryptonite.)

My favorite bits in the pilot episode come near the end.

The first is that the main character’s wife is aware he’s been dreaming (?) about their son, and in his dreams (?), their son is alive and well, and moving on with his life. And she doesn’t want to hear about her husband’s dreams (?), because, to her, their son is dead. But at the end, as they get into bed for the night, she turns to her husband and asks him to tell their son she loves him. It’s a really beautiful moment.

I'm also very fond of the robe they keep putting her in. It looks so soft!

And the other is when the psychiatrists are trying to “cure” Michael of his split realities, and he’s like: “Um, look, I don’t want to be cured, because if this is some sort of mental illness, it’s one where I still have a wife and a son, so, you know — I’m good.” (Only he says it more moving than that.)

So, yeah, the pilot was supra-great!

And then it gets all kind of mediocre-y after that. Like, not living up to the promise of its premise, and other slant rhymes, I’m sure. And I keep waiting for it to be as awesome as it could be, instead of a kind of boring procedural with some rather obvious plot points (like the son beats up his friend after the friend accidentally breaks the son’s tennis racquet and no one can figure out why he would do such a thing, and I’m all like, “Duh, characters on television, it was obviously his mom’s tennis racquet!”) and a few places here and there where the different worlds seem to leak into one another. (And this leaking doesn’t have as dire of consequences as on, say, Fringe. It’s more like the main character sees something in one world and it helps him solve crimes in the other world! And then everyone’s like, “How did you think of that?” And he’s like, “Uh, I’m Batman?”)

"You know, because that sounds less crazy than 'I saw it in a dream.'"

So, yeah, I want to like Awake as much as I was hoping to like it, but it’s really got to work a lot harder to earn my love.

Like, B.D. Wong and Cherry Jones could meet in one of the worlds and totally fist-fight over who's a better psychiatrist.
Yeah, I'd watch that show.

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