How often do I come to this blog with hat figuratively in hand to tell you -- my few precious readers -- that there is a show on NBC on a Thursday that is not "The Office," "30 Rock" or "Parks & Rec" which is absolutely worth checking out? In fact, I haven't done this in years, since "Southland" made a brief stop here before heading off to Nowheresville (smart move, that, NBC). But tonight, a drama of quality finally returns to its rightful place on NBC at 10 -- one of the great time periods in TV history. I dutifully note, that time slot has been sullied of late.
The show is "Awake." I imagine you've already seen the pilot -- it's been everywhere, for weeks. Why I wouldn't be surprised if NBC's even screened it on the JumboTron at Times Square. But being a TV critic has it's privileges, and this happens to be one of 'em: The network sent us the first four episodes. And lemme tell you, this show has promise.
Will "Awake" be a hit? It's a question keenly pondered by producers Kyle Killen and Howard Gordon. Gordon needs no introduction, while Killen was behind Fox's short-lived "Lone Star." As a follower of this medium for many years, allow me to offer a bold and declarative answer to this question: I don't know. There are too many variables involved here, along with creative challenges that -- while adequately addressed in the first four episodes -- may not be adequately addressed in the minds of millions of viewers who have so many other distractions before them.
But the especially good news about "Awake" is that it is so very good. We all love TV but it's heartening to see the medium make such big strides (or at least on other networks besides, say, FX or HBO), and especially at a place that has been in the gutter for so long. Here's my review and a quick network-supplied interview with Jason Isaacs, who is excellent on the show.