Greatness in television doesn't come from someone sitting in front of a laptop and hammering out a season's worth of scripts in the time it takes to smoke a pack of Parliaments. It's a near-impossible endeavor that requires the collaboration of many minds, several months of planning, and millions of dollars' worth of takeout food to achieve. So the occasional hiccup can be expected when tackling a premise that's potentially great.
Hiccupping this week is NBC's Awake, a midseason drama from Lone Star (gone too soon!) creator Kyle Killen, which has stopped production five episodes into its 12-episode order. According to the showrunners, the pause is designed to give writers a chance to catch up on scripts.
That may be the way they choose to spin it, but a stutter in production is rarely considered a good thing. Production usually only stops when something is very wrong and a series needs to consider in a new direction. For viewers who can't wait to see this show, the needle on their concern-o-meter just broke. Awake is the kind of series that has the chance to change television for the better, and anything but smooth sailing means it will be that much harder to see it come to fruition.
But really, trouble was expected for a show with a premise as intriguing as Awake's. In it, Jason Isaacs plays a police detective (don't fall asleep yet!) who gets into a car accident with his wife and son. When he wakes up, he's alive in an existence where his son has died, and he and his wife have to cope. When he falls asleep, he finds himself awake in an existence where his wife died, and he and his son have to cope. He bounces back between both "realities," unsure of which is real and which is a product of his damaged imagination. Needless to say, it rips your heartstrings out of your chest.
We likely won't ever know the entire truth of what's going on with the show internally—is NBC not liking the direction it's headed in? Has Killen decided to make some severe late adjustments? The good news is that Awake isn't due out until next year and it already has a head start, so taking a break is a luxury it can afford.
There are a lot of people out there forecasting doom for the show because of the break, but I think that might be jumping the gun a little. If the showrunners think something is wrong (and rumor has it that Killen and fellow executive producer Howard Gordon ordered the shut down, not NBC) and have time to correct it, I say go ahead and correct it rather than put out something they're not proud of.
To see why we're so excited for the show, check out the kick-ass preview below. It's okay to cry.