Awake trailer straddles two worlds

NBC, which has been making lots of news lately about its new genre shows for next year, has finally posted an extended trailer for Awake.

Now we’ve been wondering for months if Awake is actually a sci-fi show, as we’ve only had the briefest of descriptions so far: a man wakes up from a car accident with his wife and son only to find that one of them has died.

Unfortunately, every time he goes to sleep there is a shift – in terms of who actually died. So, he’s living in one world without his son, and in the other universe without his wife, and can’t seem to figure out which one is real. Sure, it does sound a bit like sci-fi, but could just as easily be a psychological drama. 

Now we get to see for ourselves:

Yes, judging by the trailer, Awake looks like a bit of a crossover, similar toEli Stone or A Gifted Man. In any event, it seems as if we’re supposed to be unsure as to the nature of the above-mentioned “ability.” Is it really happening, or is he generating this all himself? Is any part of it supernatural, or is it just a natural psychological phenomenon?

The trailer primarily focuses on the main character’s role as a detective, and shows that the action of the series will center around different cases each episode. Essentially, he’ll be gathering clues for cases in one timeline based on the events in the other, and vice versa. That’s a really interesting concept, and even if the sci-fi elements turn out to be slight, I think it could still be a really compelling show.

Along with the new trailer, we have the following long-form synopsis:

From executive producers Kyle Killen (“Lone Star”) and Howard Gordon (“Homeland,” “24”), “Awake” is an intriguing drama about Detective Michael Britten (Isaacs) who finds he’s living two parallel lives. He’s involved in a car accident that seems to have killed both his son (Dylan Minnette, “Saving Grace”) and wife (Laura Allen, “Terriers”), yet his mind creates an ingenious coping mechanism in which he now lives two separate lives – one where his wife survived and the other where his son did.

Trying to regain some normalcy, Michael returns to solving crimes in both worlds with the help of two different partners, Detective Isaiah “Bird” Freeman (Steve Harris, “The Practice”) and Detective Efrem Vega (Wilmer Valderrama, “That ’70s Show”). Michael is assigned a different case in each reality and quickly discovers that his dual existence is actually a powerful tool. He begins to solve impossible cases by using his two realities to gain unique perspectives and link clues that cross over from world to world.

Helping Michael to navigate his two realities are his bureau-assigned therapists Dr. Evans (Emmy Award winner Cherry Jones, “24″) and Dr. Lee (BD Wong, NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”). While both therapists work to untangle his two worlds, Michael has no interest in proving either one is false. But when memories of the accident begin to haunt him, he is forced to confront the truth about what really happened the night of the crash.

Awake premieres March 1, 2012 at 10EST on NBC.