Wednesday, August 20, 2014 Av 24, 5774

Bedside Story

March 8, 2012 By:
Posted In 
Comment0

Multimedia

Enlarge Image »
Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs, right) faces a time warp that leaves his son (Dylan Minette) dead or alive.

Can Howard Gordon provide a wake-up call for NBC?

He's trying; it helps that he's executive producer for Awake, an alarm-bell bombshell of a show that gives the rubric of "reality TV" a twist and shout -- and then some.

The scripted drama -- which premiered last week on the sleepy ratings-deprived network on Thursday nights -- turns the world (and reality) on its head and off its axis for Michael Britten, a detective who danced on the precipice of death only to be confused as to which of his dancing partners survived.

Alive after a car accident, Britten awakes to the realization of a world unreeling before him; he has survived and surfaced in dual post-tragedy realities -- one in which he and his son must face life after the death of their wife/mother from the crash; the other where Britten and spouse must brace for a world deprived of their only son, who died in the accident.

Is it memory or Memorex -- or mesmerizing mythology? If the truth is out there, Gordon's the one to find it: He won a number of awards -- all real -- for his work on the extraterrestrial The X-Files.

File this as one very busy guy. While Awake awaits audience acknowledgement, his other current project has found a home with critics and public alike: Homeland'ssecurity as a mainstay for cable's Showtime rests with its excellent scripts and complex characterizations detailing the life of a Marine whose capture/possible conversion by Al Qaeda may ultimately cause a terrorist threat to the United States.

At least Gordon has more than 24 hours to deal with the dilemma -- which is more than he had with 24, the long-running hit that brought in big ratings for Fox for years with its clock set for danger every 24-hour day.

Awake is time-consumed, too, with its shocking shifts in reality winding and rewinding Britten's brittle life. But could this drama of a cosmic conundrum carry its message across the oceans as well? Could its time travel travel well in -- Israel?

Gordon guffaws, getting the connection: His Homeland is based on the Israeli hit Hatufim, something the 50-year-old Princeton U. graduate acknowledges with pride, being Jewish and a firm supporter of Israel.

Not that he hasn't been left speechless about Homeland'sorigins before. Indeed, when he recently accepted a Golden Globe for Homeland, he forgot to mention the Showtime series' roots.

Rude -- or just forgetful? No, he allows, as with so many of his shows, it was a matter of time -- and timing: "You see the blinking red lights and the orchestra plays and then you leave people off your list and apologize to them backstage," he says of that tarnished Golden Globes moment.

At least he doesn't get to Israel that often that he should worry about hurt feelings. The other name he left off his list may mean more of a daily dilemma: "I owe the biggest apology to my wife apparently," he jokes of not including her in the thank-yous.

But if Israel was MIA -- mea culpa, Gordon told a recent gathering at UCLA's One-Day Israel University -- Jewish rites and rituals have long been an important part of his scripts' scenarios. The X-Files famously examined Jewish mysticism in a 1997 episode of "The Kaddish," written by Gordon, who dedicated the work to his late maternal grandmother, Lillian Katz.

In a way, Awake is also dedicated -- if not to Gordon's grandmother -- to the sense of loss that comes with death and the demise of the concept of time as a continuum. Because here, in Awake, stories are stationed in a timeline tied to leaps and lunges through black holes of emotions -- depending on which side of reality Britten breaks though any given day.

"It is really about an emotional response to loss and how this man's mind created the premise that we are enjoying dramatically," says Gordon.

"The show is not afraid of acknowledging and playing with" emotions.

In addition to his heavy-duty roster of producing, he has also made the grade as author; last year, he penned Gideon's War while its sequel, Hard Target, has just come out in hardback.

Writing about sleeper cells, dream-like fantasies -- certainly there must be some time for a nap amid his bizarre bedtime stories?

No; as is evidenced by his 24-hour time travel and schedule, why drift off when there is so much to be Awake for?

 

He's trying; it helps that he's executive producer for Awake, an alarm-bell bombshell of a show that gives the rubric of "reality TV" a twist and shout -- and then some.

Michael Britten (Jason Isaacs, right) faces a time warp that leaves his son (Dylan Minette) dead or alive.

The scripted drama -- which premiered last week on the sleepy ratings-deprived network on Thursday nights -- turns the world (and reality) on its head and off its axis for Michael Britten, a detective who danced on the precipice of death only to be confused as to which of his dancing partners survived.

Alive after a car accident, Britten awakes to the realization of a world unreeling before him; he has survived and surfaced in dual post-tragedy realities -- one in which he and his son must face life after the death of their wife/mother from the crash; the other where Britten and spouse must brace for a world deprived of their only son, who died in the accident.

Is it memory or Memorex -- or mesmerizing mythology? If the truth is out there, Gordon's the one to find it: He won a number of awards -- all real -- for his work on the extraterrestrial The X-Files.

File this as one very busy guy. While Awake awaits audience acknowledgement, his other current project has found a home with critics and public alike: Homeland'ssecurity as a mainstay for cable's Showtime rests with its excellent scripts and complex characterizations detailing the life of a Marine whose capture/possible conversion by Al Qaeda may ultimately cause a terrorist threat to the United States.

At least Gordon has more than 24 hours to deal with the dilemma -- which is more than he had with 24, the long-running hit that brought in big ratings for Fox for years with its clock set for danger every 24-hour day.

Awake is time-consumed, too, with its shocking shifts in reality winding and rewinding Britten's brittle life. But could this drama of a cosmic conundrum carry its message across the oceans as well? Could its time travel travel well in -- Israel?

Gordon guffaws, getting the connection: His Homeland is based on the Israeli hit Hatufim, something the 50-year-old Princeton U. graduate acknowledges with pride, being Jewish and a firm supporter of Israel.

Not that he hasn't been left speechless about Homeland'sorigins before. Indeed, when he recently accepted a Golden Globe for Homeland, he forgot to mention the Showtime series' roots.

Rude -- or just forgetful? No, he allows, as with so many of his shows, it was a matter of time -- and timing: "You see the blinking red lights and the orchestra plays and then you leave people off your list and apologize to them backstage," he says of that tarnished Golden Globes moment.

At least he doesn't get to Israel that often that he should worry about hurt feelings. The other name he left off his list may mean more of a daily dilemma: "I owe the biggest apology to my wife apparently," he jokes of not including her in the thank-yous.

But if Israel was MIA -- mea culpa, Gordon told a recent gathering at UCLA's One-Day Israel University -- Jewish rites and rituals have long been an important part of his scripts' scenarios. The X-Files famously examined Jewish mysticism in a 1997 episode of "The Kaddish," written by Gordon, who dedicated the work to his late maternal grandmother, Lillian Katz.

In a way, Awake is also dedicated -- if not to Gordon's grandmother -- to the sense of loss that comes with death and the demise of the concept of time as a continuum. Because here, in Awake, stories are stationed in a timeline tied to leaps and lunges through black holes of emotions -- depending on which side of reality Britten breaks though any given day.

"It is really about an emotional response to loss and how this man's mind created the premise that we are enjoying dramatically," says Gordon.

"The show is not afraid of acknowledging and playing with" emotions.

In addition to his heavy-duty roster of producing, he has also made the grade as author; last year, he penned Gideon's War while its sequel, Hard Target, has just come out in hardback.

Writing about sleeper cells, dream-like fantasies -- certainly there must be some time for a nap amid his bizarre bedtime stories?

No; as is evidenced by his 24-hour time travel and schedule, why drift off when there is so much to be Awake for?

 

Comments on this Article

Advertisement