I’ve been looking forward to this show since I saw a trailer last fall, what with it starring the sexy beast that is Jason Isaacs (he’s also a really good actor), and having a killer premise: Man gets in a car accident with his wife and son, and splits his time between two different realities in which only one of his loved ones is dead. It’s a bit of a head-scratching scenario, but it’s so damn original, I was immediately intrigued.
We’re two episodes in, and so far, this is what I can tell you: Isaacs plays Michael Britten, a police detective who is driving home one night with his hot young wife and teenage son, and they’re involved in a terrible car crash. Michael’s son has been killed, and you see he and the wife at the funeral. However, once our hero and leading man falls asleep, he immediately wakes up in the same bed, but in a different reality, to discover that his son is alive and well – it was his wife who lost her life in the crash. In each of these worlds, Michael is a cop, but he has two different partners. In the reality where his son was killed, the powers that be split him up from his current sidekick, played by Steve Harris (most recently in Friday Night Lights, although he was so underused there). He’s paired up with freaking FEZ from That 70s show, (Wilmer Valderama – henceforth I have to call him FEZ, sorry – who previously annoyed me on 70s but here is hot and serious and shows he can bring the drama as well), who just happens to be a rookie. Isaacs has also been given a therapist by the police department in each world, who handle his story quite differently. One wants him to harness the power of the belief that he has an alternate life and the other constantly explains to him that this is detrimental to his mental health and well being and he needs to start dealing with reality.
I’ll admit that it can quickly get confusing (no tweeting while watching this one!). I’m constantly thinking, wait, who’s dead now? I’m hoping that as episodes go on, this’ll get easier, like the excellent Fringe, where you ALWAYS know which universe you’re in. Here’s a teeny breakdown:
Reality 1 – Son is dead, BD Wong is the therapist, he is split up from partner Steve Harris to work with Fez.
Reality 2 – Wife is dead, Steve Harris is still his partner, and Cherry Jones is his therapist.
But there’s more: As Isaacs is solving cases in both realities, there start to be strange crossover elements, and the details of one case bleed into the other. This causes his partners and higher-ups to question his sanity and methods – good for him his “hunches” are paying off. This is Law & Order meets Lost, or Pushing Daisies, or Fringe. There’s definitely the “crime procedural” element – a couple of the cases were solved within the span of an episode. And just like L&O, there are a few groany lines. But Lucius Malfoy does a great Lenny Briscoe so I don’t really care.
As far as the casting, overall I’m pleased. Jason Isaacs is a solid leading man. When he’s on-screen you just feel safe. He does a great American accent, and he carries the entire show – he’s in literally every single scene. There are several procedural-y folks here, Wong, Jones, and in episode 2, we meet Isaacs’ boss, played by ER‘s Laura Innes.
My only complaint is that I highly dislike the woman (Laura Allen) who plays his wife. Like, a lot. She looks like the love child of Malin Ackerman and Renee Zellwegger and while it’s shitty to pick on somebody’s appearance, I mean, she’s really hot and gorgeous, so this is not that situation. I just feel like she seems way too young to have a teenage son. Isaacs isn’t ancient by any means but he’s got that weathered look, and as much as I love a May/December, I don’t really feel like the pair have very good chemistry (was there NO ONE ELSE they could have chosen?). Plus, I don’t like how she’s dealing with the death of her son, by eagerly announcing let’s make another baby!, and basically trying to forget he ever existed.
What is the reality? Well, as of right now, we’re not supposed to know, but it sure feels like both sides of his existence are equally real. I don’t know what direction the writers will take this, but I’m assuming they have an idea, because at the end of episode 2, a pretty major bomb is dropped that basically says if you thought you knew what was happening, you fucking don’t. Maybe this will have some crazy physics of the universe tie-ins like Lost or Fringe. Maybe Detective Britton found a link between two worlds. Maybe he’s insane. Maybe he’s dreaming. Why is he never tired? I guess the possibilities are endless, but hey, I’ve seriously enjoyed the first two episodes and I know I sound like some sort of panting housewife, but goddamn – if you look up sexy in the dictionary, this picture will be staring back at ya’. 🙂