Male Therapist: “So tell me how this works?”

Detective Michael Britten: “I’m awake with my wife and I close my eyes, I open them and I’m awake with my son.”

Female Therapist: “And this has been happening since, the accident?”

Male Therapist: “So you begin working on one case here, in reality, and then suddenly you begin working another case there, in your dream.”

Detective Michael Britten: “It completely feels real to me.”

Male Therapist: “You can’t tell whether you are awake or asleep at this very moment.”

Female Therapist: “Oh, I assure you Detective Britten, this is not a dream.”

Detective Michael Britten: “That’s exactly what the other shrink said.”

Thus begins every episode of a new television series called Awake, giving the background to newcomers and refreshing the memory of returning viewers as to the premise of the show.

I heard about Awake in the weeks leading up to its premiere last month. As a bereaved mother, I was intrigued by the concept and curious about how the story lines would play out. Awake depicts two perspectives on grief, as lived through by one person (a husband and father) experiencing two simultaneous and yet very different realities after a tragic accident. In one scenario his wife Hannah survives a car crash and their son dies. In the alternate scenario his son Rex survives the same car crash and his wife/Rex’s mother dies.

Every time the main character Detective Michael Britten goes to sleep and opens his eyes, he awakens to one of the two realities he believes that he is living. The police department that he works for sent him to therapy in both realities because they are understandably concerned about his mental health after losing his wife and their son (depending on the reality he is awake in) in the car crash. Both therapists try to convince Detective Britten that when he is meeting with them that their reality is truly real and the other version he claims to be living is actually a dream that he is using to cope, grieve and make peace with the death of either his wife or son (depending on which therapist he is talking with and which reality is he “awake” for).

Is your head spinning yet?

Bob and I watch almost all the TV programs that we enjoy together every week, whether we do so live or wait to see them on DVR. But he has no interest in watching Awake and outright refuses to see it when given the choice to watch or do something else. He is not a big fan of science fiction (which he considers this to be). He also doesn’t buy into and/or is not willing to suspend his disbelief to watch this program and find out where the creators and writers want to go with it. So I rarely *get* to see Awake episodes when they air at their regular time on Thursday evenings on NBC. Rather, I try to find some time during one of Abby’s naps each week to catch up while folding laundry or eating my lunch.

So far there have been four episodes of Awake. Each one has taken us through the grief and healing process that Detective Britten and his wife or son (depending on which reality is being shown at that moment in time) are going through. Each story line also shows Detective Britten working two separate cases for the police department, which interestingly often overlap in some way between his two parallel realities.

I find all of this so incredibly creative, fascinating and mind-boggling.

There is so much about the show that I am still chewing on and digesting, so I don’t have a lot to share in regards to theories as to where the writers are going with the two interwoven story lines.

However, I am very curious if any of you are watching too, especially those who have lost a loved one (of any age).

Have you seen any or all of the episodes of Awake?

If so, what do you think about it? Why did you choose to watch it?

If not, why? Did you make a conscious decision not to check it out? 

Thank you for reading and sharing. I may write about Awake again in the future after I have had more time to process it and to see what happens going forward with Detective Britten and his loved ones.

Lastly, I rarely post more than once on my blog in a given day. But I was catching up on Awake episodes this afternoon during Abby’s nap and felt inspired to write this. I know I could “schedule” it to post another time/day, but since the next (5th) episode airs tonight, I am going to go a head and share this now, so that anyone else out there can share your thoughts and impressions of Awake. Also, if you haven’t watched it yet and want to, you can tune in or at least set your DVRs for tonight and the other four episodes are still available here online.

Cross-posted on BlogHer.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mel March 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Every time I see the commercial, I am totally drawn to this show AND I also fear that it would upset me too much. Do you know what I mean? Like the movie Contact — I wanted to see it and it upset me to no end. This one I’ve been avoiding so far though I’m so interested in the premise.

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2 marwil March 30, 2012 at 5:22 am

Oooh sounds interesting. We saw the movie Awakening yesterday and I like them ghost-stories or a bit of science-fiction/mystery series. If it’s a new in US I think it will take a while to get here though.

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3 Heidi May 20, 2012 at 6:35 am

I JUST STARTED WATCHING AWAKE ON DEMAND. I AM HOOKED! I READ ON ANOTHER BLOG THAT IT IS CANCELLED. i HOPE THIS IS NOT TRUE. THIS IS AN EXCELLENT SHOW ITH AN ORIGINAL CONCEPT. I WOULD HATE TO SEE IT CANCELLED BEFORE IT EVEN HAS A CHANCE TO GET A FOLLOWING.

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