Awake

 
Very high concept elevates somewhat violent cop procedural.

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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.).

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Cast:B.D. Wong, Jason Isaacs, Steve Harris
Network:NBC
Genre:Drama
Topics:Adventures
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:Streaming

This review of Awake was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byalicia37 March 20, 2012
age 13+
 

This show is great!!!!

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old March 6, 2012
age 12+
 

GREAT SHOW

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. All we can see is their heads. A few mild cuss words. A bit of product placement. A substantial amount of violence. Still sound OK? This is a great series for teens and adults. Give it a try; you'll love it!

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