Netflix is the graveyard of canceled TV shows. On the recommendation of someone I sat next to on the airplane back from Chicago, I checked out the NBC police procedural fantasy drama, “Awake.”
The premise of the TV series, is a Los Angeles Police Department detective, Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) has survived a catastrophic car accident. He was the driver. In the car witih him were his teenaged son Rex (Dylan Minnette) and his wife Hannah (Laura Allen). Only two people survived the accident. The question is which one.
Michael has two different realities. In one, his wife has survived the car crash and they are dealing with the loss of their son. In this reality, he’s seeking therapy with Dr. Jonathan Lee (BD Wong). In the other reality, he is trying to raise his guilt-ridden son and get past the death of his wife who held the family together. In this reality, he’s seeking Dr. Judith Evans (Cherry Jones).
In both realities, he’s still working on cases and the cases are often distantly related, giving him hunches he can’t explain to his partners. According to the therapist I met both therapists are portrayed well and it shows how easily one situation, a man coping with the death of a loved one, can result in different treatment. So sometimes getting the most out of therapy means finding the kind of treatment that helps you.
The car accident turns out to be anything but and during the first season the reasons for the accident are slowly revealed. The tone of the series is perhaps to dark and grim for TV. This production benefited greatly from the high caliber performances from Tony Award winners BD Wong (for “M. Butterfly”) and Cherry Jones (“Doubt”). You might be more familiar with Isaacs for his role as Death Eater Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movie series, but his gravely voice and steady manly presence gives this series weight.
If you enjoyed the first season of “Lost” and the whole original “Law & Order” series, give this one-season drama a try. “Awake” is currently available for instant streaming on Netflix.