Sleepers Awake!

February 29, 2012

NBC’s “Awake,” premiering tonight at 10, challenges the viewer with its title and time slot. Will your eyes stay open as you watch this weird drama?

The premise: After a car crash with his wife and teen son, cop Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs, above) toggles between two realities. 1: Wife lives, son dies, his partner is Wilmer Valderrama (of “That ’70s Show” fame), his therapist is a confrontational Asian male. 2: Son lives, wife dies, his partner is Steve Harris (“The Practice”), his therapist is a gentle Caucasian woman.

Sleepy factors: Therapist dialogue is dull (“There’s no therapeutic value in allowing you to pretend that your realities are interchangeable.”). Wife and son are boring. Valderrama is a boring actor. Harris has a soothing voice.

Awake factors: The cop’s anguish will jar your soul. Two “realities” equals two heart-stopping crimes to solve per show. Tonight, disguise-wearing man kills cabbies; intruder slays family and kidnaps the daughter. The cases have creepy connections! HOW CAN THAT BE?!?!?

Conclusion: Trying to determine which reality is real and which is a dream will keep you awake during the show — and maybe for the whole night.

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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