|Strangely Familiar: TV's Parallel Universes|
|A look at shows that juggle dueling realities
By Dave Lake
In NBC's new series "Awake" (premiering March 1 at 10 p.m. ET/PT), a detective (Jason Isaacs) gets into a car accident with his wife and his son. Though he survives, it subverts his reality. Each time he goes to sleep following the crash, he wakes up in one of two parallel realities, one where his wife survives and a second that finds his son alive. The trouble is, the detective can't figure out which one is real and which one is a construct. To further complicate things, the cases he's working in each reality begin to cross over as clues to one start showing up in the alternate world. The pilot episode, which is available online in advance of the premiere, is a taut, smart mind-bender that combines procedural with psychological thriller, "Inception" with "Fringe." Though juggling multiple realities within the same series isn't a new idea, it has rarely been the focus of a series. Plenty of shows have explored this idea over the years, however, and it takes a skilled creative team to really make the concept work. Here's a look at some of the notable examples.
Bing: More about 'Awake'
"Awake" premieres Thursday, March 1, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.