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It's High-Concept, But Will It Keep You 'Awake'?
March 1, 2012  | By David Bianculli
 

(NPR) The premise of NBC's new detective series, Awake, is about as high-concept as it gets. Jason Isaacs, one of the leads of Showtime's Brotherhood, stars as Michael Britten, who survives a horrible car crash intact. Well, his body is intact — but his mind, or at least his subconscious, is split.

He sees a therapist to deal with all this, while continuing to work police cases with his partner and help the car crash's other survivor deal with similar feelings of grief and guilt. But — and this is the gimmick on which the entire series hinges — Michael's existence is binary. In one world, his therapist is played by Cherry Jones, and his wife is dead. In the other, his therapist is played by B.D. Wong, and his son is dead. He's living one existence, and dreaming the other — but which is which? It's so tricky a concept, even his therapists have a lot of questions.

Right away, you can tell this is a lot less straightforward than, say, CSI: Miami. And pretty soon, the pieces of the two puzzles pile up almost absurdly, and even a scorecard won't help keep everything straight... (more here at NPR)

 
 
 
 
 
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Good news, TVWW readers: David’s new book from Doubleday, The Platinum Age of Television: From I Love Lucy to The Walking Dead, How TV Became Terrific is now available in paperback for under $15. Doubleday says: “Darwin had his theory of evolution, and David Bianculli has his. Bianculli's theory has to do with the concept of quality television: what it is and, crucially, how it got that way."

"The Platinum Age of Television is an effusive guidebook that plots the path from the 1950s’ Golden Age to today’s era of quality TV. For instance, animation evolved from Rocky and His Friends to South Park; variety shows moved from The Ed Sullivan Show to Saturday Night Live; and family sitcoms grew from I Love Lucy to Modern Family. Interviews with Carl Reiner, Mel Brooks, Norman Lear, Bob Newhart, Matt Groening, Larry David, Amy Schumer are high points... Bianculli has written a highly readable history." —The Washington Post

 

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