PG. 1983. Burntout country singer Robert Duvall gets his life back together when he washes up in a small country town, finding lodging with widow Tess Harper and her small son. Duvall’s flawless performance won him a Best Actor Oscar and director Bruce Beresford gives us a superb portrait of a bleak, rural Texas landscape. Slow, almost somnambulant pace but a very rewarding film. Noon, Seven, Prime7
M. 2006. Young girl whose mother has recently died, moves with father Richard Thomas back to his old home town, where she discovers an empathy for wild animals. Typical Hallmark production will enthrall animal lovers but is something of a lame duck otherwise. Nancy Mckeon. 8.30pm, Movie One
M. 2011. Professional violinist is emotionally drained and stressed by her job. She moves into her grandmother’s house and falls for an attractive local who becomes implicated in a series of murders. Peter Markle directs a cast, which includes Gabrielle Anwar and Colin Egglesfield, through this by-thenumbers thriller. 9.30pm, Go!
M. 2004. After the adequate though uninspired comedy of The Whole Nine Yards why would anyone think it was worth a sequel? This time round, hitman Jimmy the Tulip (Bruce Willis) is in witness protection in Mexico and Matthew Perry travels there to seek his help in rescuing his wife who’s been kidnapped. Definitely a yard too far. HE new drama Awake has the kind of intricate, highconcept premise that can test viewers. But that’s nothing compared with what its producers face.
Howard Gordon, a master at juggling challenging plots ( 24; The X-files), puts it flatly: ‘‘I learned nothing, and nothing prepared for me this.’’
‘‘This is a vehicle that no one has driven before and has no operating instructions,’’ says Gordon, who produces Awake with its creator, Kyle Killen.
The series stars Jason Isaacs as police detective Michael Britten, a man living in two worlds. A car accident has claimed a family member’s life: his wife, Hannah (Laura Allen), in one, and his teenage son, Rex (Dylan Minnette), in another.
The duality extends to Britten’s work, where he investigates cases with two partners (played by Steve Harris and Wilmer Valderrama) – and discovers straddling different realities gives him crime-busting insights.
While other TV shows with parallel universes and outcomes have dabbled in extreme explanations – quick, explain Lost again – Gordon and Killen insist this is a (relatively) simple case of a guy living one life and dreaming another.
Britten and the audience are just not sure which is which. Neither are the therapists who are treating him, with both assuring him that his other life is the dream. He’s unwilling to give up the balancing act that allows him to keep hold of wife and son.
‘‘At the centre of it is the question we all live with as people, which is how do we face loss and how do we live in the face of loss,’’ Gordon says.
The detective wears coloured wristbands to keep his lives straight. Isaacs insists viewers have it easier.
When the pilot was developed, there was concern that the idea was so tricky, his character might need to be bearded in one world and beardless in the other to help viewers distinguish between them.
‘‘But my daughter, who’s 5, told me the story in three sentences,’’ Isaacs recalled. ‘‘So I told the producers, ‘We don’t need to worry’. It’s such a powerful and imaginative premise.’’
Wilmer Valderrama and Jason Isaacs.