Jason Isaacs on the death of NBC's short-lived Awake: 'It was just too high concept’

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Feb 10, 2015, 2:10 PM EST

If there were ever a list of the greatest shows you probably never watched, NBC’s short-lived split reality series Awake would be near the top — and now original star Jason Isaacs has chimed in on why it crashed and burned.

If you’re unfamiliar, the low-rated Awake ran for 13 episodes in 2012 on NBC. The series focused on a cop who suffers a car crash and awakes to realize he’s split between two realities — one where his child lives (and his wife dies), and one where his wife survives (and his son dies). It’s a fascinating concept, and series creator Kyle Killen worked it to perfection.

It starred genre fan fave Isaacs (Harry Potter), who recently chatted with Collider about his disappointment following the series’ cancellation. Basically, we think Isaacs has an excellent grasp of why the series didn’t work: It was more of a smart cable show, being shoehorned into a network timeslot. Sadly, some shows are just a little too smart:

“They just knew they were taking a big swing at something that was a non-network show. It was too high-concept, and too smart and challenging. not that viewers aren’t smart, but it required a amount of concentration you usually don’t see … I thought it was brilliant, and executed well. Sometimes you’ll have great ideas, and people can’t sustain it. You can watch this show again and again and again and it adds up… the pieces of Awake fit. Always. I’m bummed it’s not still on.”

The interview has some great tidbits, and Isaacs goes into the early pitch process and the unadulterated enthusiasm from the studio head who reached out to him about starring in the series. The network knew it had an awesome show, they just couldn’t figure out how to actually get people to watch it.

Check out the full interview below. The Awake conversation kicks off at the 13-minute mark:

If you’ve never seen Awake, we highly recommend you track it down. It’s not currently available to stream, but it can be digitally purchased on services like iTunes and Amazon. Do you agree with Isaacs’ assessment of why Awake couldn’t last?

(Via Collider)