Awake: Guilty

Ugh. I can’t, you guys.

See, I made a tactical error this week: I researched. I’d read a very positive review of this episode in advance over at TV Line, and it got my hopes up, and… Look, the episode was fine. Really, it was. In fact, it was pretty good. Quality-wise, this show’s got strong writers and actors, all of whom are doing a bang-up job of selling a cool, hooky premise.

Despite all that, I’m just not feeling it.

It’s not you, Awake, it’s me. You’re a perfectly decent show. I know your ratings have been shaky, but I really, truly hope you find an audience, because you’re much better than much of the stuff on network television these days. But right now, I’ve got the attention span of a hummingbird after a dangerous nectar binge, and vast stretches of this episode -- in which Rex gets kidnapped by an escaped convict in the Green reality and Britten has to cross over to the Red reality to find the key to saving his life -- bored the ever-loving snot out of me. Call it a character flaw on my part, but during that long (looooooooong) sequence where Hannah gives a heartfelt speech about Rex at the Metro Youth Center, I realized Awake and I are not a good match at this point in my life.

Here’s something I genuinely dug about this episode: The key villain turns out to be Britten’s former partner, who is played by William Russ, whom most people probably know best as the nice dad from Boy Meets World. To me, though, Russ will always, first and foremost, be Evan Freed, Sonny Crockett’s tragic, scary, chaotic, awesome mess of a former partner on the classic first-season Miami Vice episode “Evan.” On the strength of that single (amazing) guest appearance almost thirty years ago, Russ has earned a lifetime supply of bonhomie from me.

And with that, I’m going to kick back for the rest of the afternoon and watch some Miami Vice for renewal of purpose. I figure I’ll start with “Evan.” I highly recommend others follow suit.


vallikat said…
It's not you. It was me too. I actually started to read your review about mid-way through viewing the episode on Hulu. It should be a great show, but something's off. It's just not.

What kinda bugged me though, what really shook me a little, was a continuity error. Cooper tell s Britten to meet him at 10. When Britten arrives it s daylight. However it didn't make sense to me that we could be talking about 10 am considering all that had happened thus far on that day. After Cooper is killed, it is clear that it is night. Which means it was 10pm after all which makes sense in the timeline. Yet, as far as I know there is never a time of the year when it is broad daylight in California at 10 pm. I know this is just a small thing, but it bugged me and I couldn't shake it. How can a show this smart make such a stupid error?

After that...the whole episode went downhill. It was wrapped up a little too neatly. After 10 years the former partner could've covered his tracks and even if he hadn't, he still had the "crazy Britten" angle to buy himself some time on. I'm fine with my neat boxes on a family drama like Parenthood (another NBC show incidentally) but on this show it just doesn't feel true to form. or... it doesn't feel like it should be true to form. I have the sneaking suspicion that if I'm going to keep watching Awake, I'm going to have to get used to neat boxes because his realities working in tandem to solve one or both cases during the course of the hour seems to be where this is going.

Also, whatever theory I might have been developing regarding both Hannah and Rex being alone with Cole got blown right out of the water this week. Clearly they can both be alone with others and even end up in danger. So...not sure what's going on with this show.

I was admittedly disappointed that we got a little info about what is behind this on the 2nd episode. However, now that we've gotten a peek I want more. I'm more interested in finding out what's behind all this and why than I am with watching Britten go about his days, solve his cases, and visit his shrinks.
Morgan Richter said…
Vallikat, I completely missed the continuity error. Good catch. My attention kept drifting sporadically throughout the episode, and I'm still not sure how much of that was my fault (I'm distracted these days) and how much was the show's fault.

I liked that Britten deliberately drugged himself so he could talk to Cooper in the Red reality. I think the show's got some smart writers. But... it's not enough. You're right that it was wrapped up too neatly. No twists, no bumps, everything smooth and tidy. And that's okay, to an extent, but I want more.
Carol said…
SO TRUE! I didn't turn it on again after episode 1. And I wanted to. I really, really wanted to. Jason Isaacs? My god - one would think it would be a no-brainer! But I just couldn't muster up enough brain power to put the puzzle pieces together on a weekly basis. I suppose I've used up all of my analytical skills on Game of Thrones and there's just not much left to go around. That leaves The Walking Dead. See zombies eat. See zombies eat people. Run and hide from zombies. The end. ;)
Morgan Richter said…
Carol, seriously, I thought I'd really get into this show. Jason Isaacs! And a complicated, interesting premise! And yet... I lost interest much too quickly. I'm not proud of this. Viewers like me are exactly the reason why so many perfectly good television shows get canceled before their time.

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