Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
Producers and stars of the new series Awake, created by Kyle Killen (Lone Star), tried to reassure journalists today at TCA that the storyline — about a detective living in two realities where clues to his cases overlap — will not be overly confusing. NBC appears convinced that audiences will get it — the network in May ordered 13 episodes of the drama, executive produced by Howard Gordon, but its premiere date is still TBA. Gordon said that a three-week unplanned production hiatus in October was not an indication the show was going off-track. “We were very lucky that we didn’t have an airdate, this was a challenging show for us to figure out,” he said. “We could have kept going, but the three-week hiatus gave us a chance to sort of get our heads together and learn from the distance we had traveled.”
A little more plot: After a car accident Jason Isaacs’ detective Michael Britten finds himself awake in two worlds. In one, his wife survives. In the other, his teenage son is the one who lives. The detective doesn’t know which world is real. BD Wong and Cherry Jones portray his therapists in these parallel worlds, each trying to persuade him the other world is not real. Isaacs insisted the story is simple enough for a child to grasp. How does he know? He said his 5-year-old daughter managed to send the plot to a friend on her iPhone, and the friend understood it. Gordon chimed in, “It’s a fairly get-able concept.” Killen described the writing process as akin to “putting together a Rubik’s Cube every eight days.” But he also said each episode would be able to stand alone. “It’s a dramatic procedural, a puzzle every week,” her said. “At its heart, it’s a unique twist on the procedural dramas that you are actually very used to.”
One thing’s for sure: The show will not end with the lame “It was all a dream.” Said Killen: “There are 100 ways out, but 99 of them are probably unsatisfying to most of the population. I personally believe ‘It was all a dream’ is not particularly satisfying. We will work hard to avoid frustrating ourselves and you if we have the opportunity to wrap it all up 8 or 9 years from now.” Isaac added that the producers and cast know more about what’s imagined and what’s not than they are letting on. To the question of whether they know how the story will resolve, Isaacs replied, “The answer, I’m afraid to say, is we do. We have a plan, and we’re never going to tell anyone, so stop asking us.”