If there was ever a US show that should've been done like a UK (mini) series, it is this show. There are probably 8 to 12 fantastic episodes out of this concept. This system will make them aim for 100. It will not end well. Doesn't really matter for this episode, it's pretty compelling regardless of what's next.
The high concept here is a police detective and his family (wife, son) run off the road in a horrible car accident, one of the family member died, but he (and we) are not quite sure which one. Every time he goes to sleep, he switches reality: from one where his son survived and his wife died, to one where his son died and his wife survived, and back again. It sounds gimmicky, but comes off well. There's a lot of cross cutting between the reality, highlighting differences between the reality (different partners, different cases, different psychtrists.) Both the realities seem to think he's lost his grip, but it holds together looking thru his mind. At least thru one episode, it mostly holds up (and shows how close he is to losing it completely.) If there's even a tiny hint about which reality is real, it's one I did not picked up.
The cases here were ordinary Police on TV stuff, and maybe that's all they needed to be for a pilot. I'd guess they'll need to be stronger, because they don't seem interested in solving the central mystery for now - the character explicitly ends the episode by saying he'd rather go/(stay!) crazy than believe either reality is false. There are other big puzzles to solve - there's hints the car accident itself has some yet to be discovered backstory (tests say he was drunk, he says he didn't drink), and his supervisor wants him out for some reason. And then there's the elephant in the room Lost-ish question: are we sure the lead isn't the one who's dead?
Still, it's the "which reality is reality?" question that made the pilot compelling. They kind of have to deal with the living two lives thing, and I'm not sure how much more you can advance that without actually resolving it (and if you resolve it, you have no show.) I don't know that there's a nice routine pattern for this slip into.
Maybe it doesn't matter. The debut got a 2.0 rater, slightly higher than Prime Suspect started in the same slot earlier this year (Awake had the advantage of no reruns.) and Prime Suspect is no longer a show in production. Maybe if they figure this out for in advance, they can do the 8/12 episodes. If that's the way they go, and they pull off the finale just as well as they started, this has the promise of a great show to watch in one marathon via DVD or streaming. I'd need to see episode 2, 3 or 4 before I know if it's good for longer than that.
Loved this show! Jason Isaacs was incredible on Brotherhood (which never got a proper finale) so I was really looking forward to it. The pilot did not disappoint in the slightest. The scene where he couldn't find his wife, and his son wasn't in his room showed just how fragile this guy is. Perhaps its both wife and child that died, and different parts of his head/heart bring each back in alternate universes. But the most likely scenario is that he's in a coma and they pull the "it was just a dream" scenario, which would totally piss me off. I think the crimes will definitely become very secondary and only there to feed the premise of the show. It wasn't until the end of the show that I realized one of his partners was Fez, but I guess he will be okay in very short doses. Overall I was very intrigued with the debut and can't wait till Thursdays.
I really enjoyed the pilot episode, although watching the various characters handle their grief made me so tremendously sad.
I agree with the opinion that hopefully there's a planned ending to this show and that NBC doesn't try to drag it out. The show has a lot of promise and I'd hate to see it ruined and/or cancelled before the conclusion.
Originally posted by thecubsfanIf there was ever a US show that should've been done like a UK (mini) series, it is this show. There are probably 8 to 12 fantastic episodes out of this concept.
It was interesting. I'm not really hooked, though, I found that I was spending a lot of energy on the details of the "context switch". ("OK, this is the green one with the kid & the female psychiatrist & the tennis teacher, & is it the young partner detective or the older one (?) & they're investigating which crime with ...") In so doing, I know I was missing other details & nuance. (For example, did they establish that the kid's tennis teacher was a friend / acquaintance of the dead wife? I'm pretty sure I missed something in there.) Maybe over time I'd get more facile about this.
For whatever reasons, it made me think of the BBC version of Life on Mars, which was very good. I was also thinking about that multiverse concept where different universes occasionally bump into each other (Is that "branes"? I don't really grok all that, but it was part of the Lost catalog.), & perhaps our hero is the lucky intersection point.
So one question to watch for: Before the crash was there really one world, which then split somehow. Or, were there always 2 separate worlds, which up to that point were very, very similar. Another way to think about that might be: a) One reality with one hero trucking along til the event, resulting in one hero living in parallel in 2 separate worlds. Or, b) Two separate worlds rolling along right next to each other, pretty much in parallel until the event, when the 2 copies of the hero experience some sort of "merge".
Over time, it would be normal for the 2 worlds to diverge so radically that it'd all be totally unmanageable. So you almost have to figure that it'll be a plot element that they (the 2 worlds) end up "course correcting" back into each other. The main question there is whether the universe does the "course correcting" or whether it's all up to our hero. There was a bit of business when we were first meeting the young detective partner, where he was thanking our hero for acquiring him. Our hero said he didn't have anything to do with it, & then everybody seemed confused. So I'm quite certain that, in the other world, our hero will request the young guy as replacement for his departing partner. Similarly, as much as it would be better for the wife to move & go back to school, & to generally change things up, our hero will have to interfere with all that in order to "keep it together". (Which, I predict, will cause him to "lose" the wife anyway ...)
(How can I possibly type so much about something that "I'm not really hooked"??)
It occurred to me later that the best part of the show was when the psychiatrist randomly made the detective read part of the constitution and that psychiatrist happened to be the third best president from 24.
(For example, did they establish that the kid's tennis teacher was a friend / acquaintance of the dead wife? I'm pretty sure I missed something in there.)
Yes, back when they were watching the kid's tennis match. They were doubles partners, but the dead wife gave it up while the tennis teacher tried going pro (and didn't end up liking it.)
It's very clear that by episode 6 or 7, they're going to explore the age old question of "are you cheating if you're doing it in another possibly fictional reality?"
Or maybe not, since his dead wife seems to want a new life herself and he may not part of it. Though if he loses his wife in that reality too, maybe that reality ceases to exist, so he can't let that happen and - this is really going to frustrating.