Have You Been Watching.. Awake?

July 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Features

Awake eh? The name doesn’t drop any hints as to what it’s about, not like Lost, or Neighbours, or Border Force, or…
Enough. Awake’s essentially a police procedural about a damaged detective. It’s got Jason Isaacs in it and everything.
Lucious Malfoy? Police procedural? Damaged detective? This is going to be awesome! What’s his issue then? Post-Death-Eater stress syndrome? Or does he just shag people he shouldn’t cause he’s a bad man with a badge?
Well, he hasn’t shagged anyone he shouldn’t… yet. Unlike other detective shows, Awake has a pretty big twist to make it different. Jason Isaac’s character was in a car crash with his wife and teenage son. Since then, he’ll wake up and his wife has died but his son has survived. Then he’ll go to sleep, and when he wakes up again, it’s vice versa.
So he’s living in two worlds?
Well, sort of. He can tell the difference between them for obvious reasons, but cause he’s a bloody great bloke that cares about audience comprehension, he wears a different coloured elastic band around his wrist. In a cool stylistic addition, each world has a different colour hue, one is a bit richer and warmer, and the other’s a bit more cold and grey.
My melon has just been well and truly twisted… But in which world is he dreaming?
Well, we don’t know. It’s all quite ambiguous. Isaacs’ character is undergoing therapy, in both worlds and he’s getting conflicting information. Each of his therapists are telling him that the one they inhabit is the real one and that the other one is a dream, a psychological mechanism which is preventing him from “letting goâ€?, which is a phrase you hardly ever hear in TV therapy scenes…
Has he tried pinching himself?
Yes. It didn’t work, which is why we have a season’s worth of head-twistery and not a standard detective show that starts with him having a weird dream.
Fair enough. It’s not a therapy drama, so where’s the action?
There’s plenty of action. Without giving too much away, quite a few people are killed in the first episode. He’s still a detective despite the tragedy of losing his son/wife/both/neither, so in each world he has a different case to solve, and a different partner to help him. It’s like a buy one get one free deal for murders and abductions. Of course, things get complicated when events in each world start crossing over…
Are there different cases each week?
Yup, it’s like epistemological scepticism meets Law and Order, meets that “Daddy or Chipsâ€? advert. You’ve got the individual crimes that need to be solved, and tying it all together is the plot arc of what is real and what isn’t. It’s the best of both worlds…
Very funny.
I know!
Anything else you can tell me?
In the interests of full disclosure, Awake wasn’t given a second season, which is a shame cause it really is quite good. Jason Isaacs is a great leading man and it’s got some interesting concepts. It could be that the lack of a second season isn’t really a stupid move by the Network, but in fact a post-modern, meta take on themes such as limbo and purgatory. Although, it’s probably just a really stupid decision by the network.
Should I watch it anyway?
Hell yes! It’s Jason Isaacs! In two parallel worlds! Does it really matter if things are left ambiguous? You didn’t write angry letters to the writers of the Italian Job, did you? Although to be fair, if it came out today, you probably would. On Youtube..
Maybe, like Jason Isaacs, I just need closure.
I think this concludes our session.

AWAKE Series One continues on Sky Atlantic on Friday 6th July on Sky Atlanntic. Catch-up on the Sky Player.