New show ‘Awake’ will not put you to sleep

You are in a major car accident. Either your spouse or your child was killed. How do you feel? Now imag­ine you do not know which one was killed – that you could live every day with both your spouse and child individually, but never with the three of you together again. On one hand, you will always question your sanity and live in a world where one of your family members is dead. On the other hand, you will still have some sort of a life with your loved ones. But is it worth it?

This is the premise of the new series “Awake,” which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on NBC. The show stars Jason Isaacs as detective Michael Britten who, following an accident with his wife and son, awakens into two different realities every other morning. In one reality, his wife survived the crash, in the other, his son survived. Britten must now adapt to his new lives, all while solving murders for the LAPD.

“Awake” certainly has an original concept, which is effectively carried out by brilliant writers. Each epi­sode is engaging, with enough twists that leave view­ers wondering which of Britten’s lives is the true reality. An interesting plot device is the fact that Britten can see connections between his lives, so he can use information gathered in one life to solve the murder he is investigating in the other. This also further blurs the line between Britten’s reality and delusions, even raising the possibility that both lives are somehow real.

The show also features a very talented cast, espe­cially the actors who play the Britten family. Isaacs flawlessly blends hard-nosed cop with grieving hus­band and father for his portrayal of Britten. Laura Harris, as Hannah Britten, plays a mother getting her life together after the death of her son with power and emotion. And Dylan Minnette, as Rex Britten, cap­tures a teenage boy struggling to know his father in the wake of losing his mother.

At some points, “Awake” seems to cram multiple storylines within a short hour, with Britten’s police work reduced to less time than it should. But this problem can easily be fixed once the writers have fully established the show’s characters and plot.

Future episodes look promising, especially with the revelation in the second episode that there is more to the Brittens’ crash than an accident.

Sean Quinn can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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