Two new series: one of these things is not like the other

Published April 7, 2012 by wyldflamingo

Tonight we tried two different new shows via Hulu: ‘Awake‘ and ‘Touch‘.

Awake initially had a lot of potential for me. The concept is interesting–a police detective continues his life after a devastating car accident affects his family. Except he’s not 100% sure HOW–in one “life”, or stage of “awake”, his wife is still alive and his son died in the car accident. In another stage, his wife is dead, and his son survived. He alternates between these two realities, trying to continue his job. Each reality affects the other, as clues slip from one to the other. Intriguing concept, right?

It would be, but for me, a successful series depends on the writing, and “Awake” (three episodes in) is failing me. The main character, Michael Britten, is struggling to manage his day to day existence(s). But it’s not a compelling struggle for me.  The writers have already set up the final “mystery” to be solved by this detective: which reality is the real one? Is his wife dead? Is his son dead?  Is he really “awake”? But Detective Britten has no drive to figure out which reality is true, because if and when he does, it will mean he finally loses his ability to interact with one of his loved ones. If he doesn’t care about being awake, why should I?

‘Touch” takes place in New York City, post September 11. The main character, Martin, still struggles day-to-day, with the loss of his wife Sarah, a casualty of the terrorist attacks. Their son, Jake, is non-verbal, and autistic, and like many children with this disability, seems to largely live in his own world. Despite normal avenues of interaction not applying here, Jake is an active character, and in episode one, leads his dad to meet someone his wife worked with before she died. The story spans the U.S., and Iraq, somehow tying together. While far-fetched, Martin’s struggles to interact and communicate with his son, and my curiousity as to how the multiple story elements will tie together make “Tough” a much more engrossing concept and story. I’m looking forward to seeing the further exploration of Jake’s autism, and how the writers will need to consider it as they work to develop the characters.

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