Friday, February 24, 2012

Review: Awake

I gripe that I pay for Hulu Plus and still have to watch commercials, but Hulu Plus has show previews sometime which is totally worth it (also worth it bc I don't have a TV in general).

Last week Hulu put the premiere of Awake up which shows on March 1. I've been waiting for forever for this show and it didn't have a definitive premiere date until its commercial aired during the Super Bowl. Well well well, look who watched it last night instead of waiting until March 1. Awake stars my favorite, should-always-have-long-hair British actor Jason Isaacs. Most recently in Case Histories as hunky P.I. Jackson Brody, you'd most likely know him as Lucius Malfoy, Col. Tavington from The Patriot, and Captain Hook in the live action Peter Pan. He's hunky, but onto Awake.

Awake centers around detective Michael Britten whose son has died in a fatal family car crash leaving him and his wife (Hannah) bereaved. When he goes to sleep however, he lives in a world where his wife was killed and his son Rex survived, making it impossible for him to know which world is reality and which is a dream. In each scenario he has different partners at work, played by Wilmer Valderrama and Steve Harris, and different shrinks, played by B.D. Wong and Cherry Jones. His cases in each cross over and more and more evidence supports and breaks down the reality of each world. At the end of the pilot he decides that he has no desire to be "cured" of this intense coping mechanism since it would mean losing either Hannah or Rex.

Oh Jason Isaacs, how I love thee. While the success of Awake would most likely mean no resolution to Case Histories it would replace House as the compelling drama starring a dreamy eyed British actor with a spot on American accent. I mean, so many great shots of Isaacs' eyes, and B.D. Wong's office is the exact same color as Isaacs' sage green augen. Ok, the actual merits of the show. The story is of course very compelling. The writing spends equal time in each reality and keeps them clear with a few devices (Britten wears different colored rubber bands, the house is getting redecorated in one, different partners and shrinks, he only wears a suit coat in one). At times these devices were less obvious and so panic about which reality I was watching ensued, but that's what's supposed to happen. It was a ride and a great one at that. Jason Isaacs is phenomenal overall and has some really genuine and heart-wrenching moments.The wife really bugged me at first, but not so much by the end of the episode. The shrinks are both rather lovely.

Production design overall is pretty great. It's a cop show with a dark plot so the colors are rather dusty and diluted, but there are some moments of light and beauty. Particular attention has been given to colors in general as this is one of the ways Det. Britten uses to set the realities apart from each other. His son's reality is green, with almost all the extras in non-distracting shades of it in one particular scene. His wife's is red, the color she wears to their date. I'm very excited to look for other clues like this.

The pilot was a really excellent piece of television in my opinion and I'm very excited to see how the series continues. Yes, one more cop drama, but with a very captivating and horrifying twist!

1 comment:

  1. I'm really excited about this show--I love Jason Isaacs, so though I'm mourning the loss of the hair and the accent, I think he will be great in this show---although as you said, it has lots of heartbreaking potential.