When a new show comes along that blows you away with its risk-taking originality, like NBC’s haunting Awake, it’s almost inevitable that one of the first impulses is to wonder if and how they can pull it off on a weekly basis. And few things are trickier than delivering that second act, or episode. (The previous drama by Awake‘s creator Kyle Killen, Fox’s very short-lived Lone Star, was already showing serious signs of strain by its second hour, even if the ratings hadn’t been in free fall from the get-go.)
Much of tonight’s episode (10/9c) lives up to the tantalizing premise established in the pilot, as Michael Britten (the stoic, soulful Jason Isaacs) navigates between two realities following a terrible car accident: one in which he lives with his wife Hannah (Laura Allen, fragile and beautiful), who grieves for their lost son; one in which he cares for his aloof son Rex (Dylan Minnette), who can’t get over losing his mother. In both worlds, Michael is a detective, and the cases he works on either side have a way of commenting on each other. Eerie and often very moving, Awake is a find for the discriminating viewer.