"Awake" Pilot Review: My Kingdom For A Kiss Upon Her Shoulder

By TK | TV | February 22, 2012 | Comments ()

By TK | TV | February 22, 2012 |

The pilot episode was a strong one, if a bit somber and sad (not to mention mostly humorless) for prime time television. The duality of Britten's existence is a painful one to contemplate, a bittersweet examination of loss, and a peculiar yet intriguing family dynamic. What keeps it interesting and from getting too mawkish or maudlin is the procedural aspect of it, which is heightened by the fact that details from these disparate universes begin to puzzlingly bleed into one another. This has mixed results, though -- at times it's a nifty plot device, but at other times it seems like a clumsy contrivance as Britten comes to wild conclusions that, to his peers (and unfortunately in some cases to the viewer as well), can't possibly be drawn logically, yet seem to pay off regardless.

The show is certainly bolstered by some solid performances, most notably Isaacs as the tormented yet strangely happy Britten. Yet equally critical are the strong showings by B.D. Wong and Cherry Jones, veteran actors in their own right who hold their own well as the caring yet concerned (not to mention incredibly skeptical) therapists.

Unquestionably, "Awake" would make for a fascinating movie, but whether it can sustain itself as a TV show remains to be seen. It'll be interesting to see how the showrunners develop the story -- part of me wants them to avoid any semblance of resolution, and simply have Britten wander through this baffling duality and either come to grips with it, or be torn apart by it. But that seems the unlikely scenario -- at some point it's going to need to begin to answer the question of why it's happening, and that may ultimately be its undoing. Similarly, it's already rife with some weird plot holes and inconsistencies that mar an otherwise enjoyable viewing experience. Just as people were unsatisfied with the answers given to them in shows like "Lost," it appears that it may be difficult to satisfactorily resolve the human mystery that is "Awake."

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