Shepherding a show about a man who lives in two different realities brings a big challenge to the showrunners. In a recent interview with Zap2it, "Awake" creator Kyle Killen admits that making the new series is "like solving a Rubik's cube every week, but first you have to make it, then solve it."
"It's been extraordinarily complex to piece together stories that feel like a weekly puzzle," he continues sharing his experience in presenting the drama series, which maintains a not-so-high-concept so that viewers will still be able to follow it. "But it's also been really rewarding when we get that right."
When asked which one of the two realities the lead character Michael will choose, Killen says, "He remains 100 percent adamant that he doesn't want to give one or the other up." However, as fellow showrunner Howard Gordon points out, Michael will face the price of living in two worlds.
"I think what we're exploring in the first season is the price of needing to figure out what happened that night," Killen continues explaining. "How it was he came to be in that accident means looking back at the very thing he's trying to avoid, which is the issue of what happened. And when you talk about what happened you risk knowing who lived and who died.... He's conflicted about how much he wants to know and how much he needs to avoid knowing."
The show will support Michael's decision to maintain a double life since Killen insists that they "play what the character is protecting, which is the idea that there are always equally good arguments why either world could be real." He adds, "That's what he's struggling to hold onto, and that's what we embrace. We treat both like they're real."
Although Michael is the only one who lives in both worlds, some other characters will notice the existence of the two realities. "His shrinks [played by Cherry Jones and B.D. Wong] are aware of it, but yes, he's the only one who traverses them," Gordon states. "Everyone who lives in the respective worlds is obviously convinced theirs is the real one."
While "there are things that do influence and appear from one [world] to the other" on the show, Killen reveals that if Michael broke his arm in one world, "it would only be broken in the one." He additionally confirms that Michael's mental state is in question by people around him in both realities.
Asked about the show's ending, Killen teases, "We have an ending for the first season. There's this sort of meta-serialized story that we're trying to tell. It really comes down to what happened to him that first night [of the accident] and him confronting and understanding that." As for the end of the series, he says with a laugh, "It's so many years away [laughs]."
"Awake" stars Jason Isaacs as Michael, a detective who leads an arduous double life that defies reality after an accident involving his wife and son. In order to keep both of his loved ones alive at one time, he begins living two dueling realities, dealing with different personal conflicts.
The show will premiere Thursday, March 1 at 10/9c on NBC.