TV review by
Matt Springer, Common Sense Media
Awake TV Poster Image
Very high concept elevates somewhat violent cop procedural.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show features police detectives who work hard to solve crimes at personal expense. The idea that people deal with grief in different ways comes across, as does the importance of loved ones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters respond to difficult circumstances with bravery and strength. The lead character and his colleagues in the police department are good examples of hardworking, honest cops.


Occasional moments of graphic injury as part of murder investigations and autopsies. Some violence when crimes are depicted. The lead character is significantly impacted over the course of the series by a violent car crash, which proves fatal to one of two passengers.


Two married lead characters have sex; there's no nudity, but there are some suggestive movements.


Occasional use of "damn" or "hell"; rare use of "pissed."


Microsoft's sponsorship is made obvious by clear appearances of their logo on the back of all computers seen on the show.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this high-concept police drama features occasional criminal violence and scenes of graphic injuries. The plot revolves around the main character's grief after losing a family member (or two) in a violent car crash. The show also features occasional sexuality, including simulated sex between a married couple, and some mild language ("damn," "pissed," etc.).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byalicia37 March 20, 2012
Kid, 11 years old March 6, 2012


Great show, even just judging from the first episode. Yes, there is a scene with sex, but it's short. The characters are married and there is no nudity. Al... Continue reading

What's the story?

As AWAKE begins, police detective Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs) has just suffered a catastrophic car accident. He survived, but he now lives an intense double life that defies explanation. In one reality, his wife has survived, but his son has died; in the other, it's just the opposite. Other details vary, such as his partner on the police force and the crimes he's investigating. Suddenly he notices unexpected clues in each reality that help him solve impossible cases in the opposite world. As he works with two different psychologists, Michael struggles to piece together what's a dream and what's actually happening, all while trying to preserve every second he can in each reality with both his wife and his son.

Is it any good?

As high concepts go, Awake has a doozy -- one man who lives dual lives after a tragic car accident, one in which his wife survived, and the other in which his son did. It's a fascinating psychological twist to unravel, and it's admirably executed by the show's producers and some top acting talent, including Harry Potter vet Isaacs and network TV stalwart Steve Harris.

Unfortunately, the show's ongoing mystery is bogged down by the need to fill an hour of airtime each week with relatively pedestrian police procedural storylines that might fit just as well on an episode of Law & Order or CSI. When the focus rests on its main characters and their extraordinary circumstances, Awake shines, but when it becomes just another cop show with an eccentric lead, the storytelling falters. Ultimately, Awake is worth watching for the quality of its actors and the moments when the high concept truly pushes through.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Awake's approach to violence. Is it necessary to the story? Do all police procedurals handle violence in the same way?

  • How does this show set itself apart from other cop shows? Do you expect to find out the answer to the central mystery?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love drama

Themes & Topics

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