EDIT: Accidentally posted this write up on the wrong blog, but it is entertainment so I will leave it here.
It has become quite rare for me to be excited about any sort of broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) drama these days. We have come to the point that any sort of serialized show is not fit for broadcast television simply because they can’t get the ratings. Something that cable channels such as AMC, HBO, and Showtime don’t have to worry as much about due to their payoffs coming from subscriptions. Since that is the case almost every relevant drama in the past several years has come from a cable channel with few exceptions.
Broadcast dramas tend to be mass appeal shows, and with that the networks assume that all of us are idiots so the shows should cater to that. While there have been several that started out promising, as ratings became a factor meddling has ruined them and made them into cheesy junk drama with no reason to watch. Other than Lost and Fringe I can’t think of many in the last decade on broadcast TV I truly felt were worth watching due to weak writing, acting, and basically falling into the trap of missing the mark completely on what makes some of these shows great. Most of all it all comes down to the fact that they think we are too stupid as a whole to watch a well-written and character driven drama. They are probably right since the highest rated drama on AMC happens to be The Walking Dead, which while entertaining in the Mystery Science Theater 3000 sort of way most of the episodes, it appeals to a wider audience due to it not being so “high brow” I guess you would say. Watching idiots in an apocalypse always has its laugh factor, although many of the characters make you wish you had the chili burn runs rather than listen to them.
“Awake” began Thursday in a rough timeslot on NBC. The 10 PM ET slot with no strong lead in. I watched it nearly 2 weks ago on the NBC website due to the pilot having an online release early to try and stir up word of mouth and get people interested. (Can still be viewed here if you missed it: http://www.nbc.com/awake/)I found it to be a very strong pilot, and one of the better ones I have seen on broadcast since maybe Lost.
It is about a guy who is living two lives. Not figuratively either. He is living one life where his wife has died, and another where his son has died. Neither of which do we know if they are real, or a dream.
What I found interesting about it, however is that when it was over I actually wanted to discuss it, and I wasn’t completely turned off by poor writing, or acting. This, I am sad to say is quite rare for a broadcast drama. I found myself speculating the mystery of it all, which is a fun thing to do of course. It’s definitely worth checking out and getting in at the start. Now we wait and see if they do what broadcast loves to do and try to make it only about the secrets and forgo any real development of the cast.
Ratings were mediocre. a 1.9 in the target demographic, but since many of us already watched the pilot online it is difficult to say what the impact there was. The next episode is Thursday March 8 at 10 PM ET, so we should know much more by then if this show has a chance. On NBC they have nothing to replace it with so I can’t imagine it will get canned too quickly.