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TV Review: NBC's 'Awake'

NBC premiered its dual-reality drama, Awake on Thursday, March 1 at 10 p.m. ET. The following are reviews from TV critics around the web, compiled by B&C.

“While the premise sounds confusing, and sometimes is when it comes to the details of the dueling crimes-of-the-week, the producers and writers do a good job of keeping the worlds distinct and vivid, including some neat visual flourishes and subtle color coding.” Sarah Rodman, Boston Globe

Awake — a high-concept drama about a man occupying two different realities, one in which his wife died in a car crash and one in which his teenage son did — manages something impressive: it focuses unflinchingly on the subject of loss, yet manages to be not a downer or painful to watch, but moving, absorbing and even hopeful.” James Poniewozik,TIME

“What makes Awake work is the poetical idea, or a philosophical one, that underlies the narrative. It’s a thought experiment expressed as a drama, as Groundhog Day was as a comedy, and doesn’t need a rationale. The story’s best elements are domestic and personal, in any case: the balancing of sadness and joy, grieving and relief, shut doors and new possibilities his condition demands and affords.” Robert Lloyd,Los Angeles Times

“Despite exceptional buzz from several critics, NBC’s drama Awake – about a detective who doesn’t know whether he’s asleep or awake because he’s living different lives in each world — always seems to carry a caveat with the praise: It’s too complicated for the masses.” Tim Goodman,The Hollywood Reporter

“Among the smartest moves [creator Kyle] Killen made was starting the series some time after the accident, so that Britten has already adjusted to this fantastic situation, and even attempted to discuss it with [his wife] Hannah.” Alan Sepinwall,Hitfix