Briefly on TV shows. The last episode of Fringe (4×14) was fine and made the plot move a bit, but it also shot itself in the foot by explaining Observers as a gimmick. I don’t think that mysteries to be effective have to stay unsolved, so it’s not that Observers were overexplained, but it just ended up a dead end not so unlike some explanations in LOST, that also sucked because they lead to nothing. Satisfying mystery “opens up” possibilities and interpretation, explains other stuff and gives it a new spin.

Now there’s a month break for Fringe, but I read about this new TV series, “Awake” (on NBC), that relies on a similar trick: the main protagonist is stuck between two realities and unable to figure out which one is the “dream”. I watched the first episode and it’s GLORIOUS. It plays wonderfully with its possibilities and it’s highly evocative. Way, way better than Fringe or Alcatraz. The latter feeling also like a very shallow gimmick, looking as a bad, plain procedural that moves the mystery plot in the last minute of every episode. It’s like it hits the formula for irritation.

“Awake” starts playing its cards perfectly. It doesn’t indulge in the drama of its premise as I expected, instead has it coming out of the rest. It puts the melodrama aside, and feels more authentic. It is playful with its possibilities, with the two shrinks in the two realities that try to outsmart each other. The show has a metalinguistic level that just tastes delicious, while not overshooting it into parody. The way this first episode struck a balance is already a statement of competency. I really hope the public sticks to it despite its “complexity”, because it deserves going on.

The stakes are put so it can also quickly become a disaster. Many ways that the show can take a wrong turn or lose that balance that make it feel right and plausible, but at least it got my trust solely with the pilot. Hopefully it continues to deliver.

And it’s fitting with the “groove”. I’m reading right now “The Wayward Mind”, that I ordered as soon as Scott Bakker wrote about it. I see in these pages many, many arguments that I dealt with in the past year, many fancy theories and lines of thoughts. Written so clearly so that one sees the “order” in the scheme instead of feeling lost in the myriad of sidetracks. That and Bakker’s own “The Blind Brain Theory of Consciousness” (he sent me the file he was working on) are eye-openers in ways that can’t be dismissed. Dramatic advancements for me. I almost feel like I’m understanding something. Or at least having a lot more tools to work with the problems, instead of staring at them without a clue.

So this show is like a way to relax while soaking in the same semantic level. The two realities becoming possible dreams constructed by the mind and dense with symbolic purposes. Conscious mind versus unconscious, the limits and tricks of perception. Watch this show, it plays well with its themes, manages to keep its consistency, and doesn’t seem to proceed conservatively to artificially continue as a serial with no end in sight (or so I hope).

One Comment

  1. “Satisfying mystery “opens up” possibilities and interpretation, explains other stuff and gives it a new spin.”

    I love you. The role of the mystery in epic stories should be to foreshadow/build up to future events in the most ominous way possible. This is done effectively when mysteries are used as sideplots (A Game of Thrones, which provides the reveal 2/3rds into the book). Atlas Shrugged nails this in my opinion (even though I seem to be the only one on earth who likes that book, even if I never finished it).

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