S. I. L. A. and R.E.M.Complications Ensue
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Monday, May 23, 2011

Let's all take a moment to appreciate NBC for piloting Stephen Gaghan's S.I.L.A. Gaghan is the weaver who brought you TRAFFIC and SYRIANA, and the S.I.L.A. pilot is only a little bit less complex of a tale. Certainly this went against the trend in primetime broadcast to give us nothing but episodic cop shows. This is a cop show, but it's serialized, with complicated threads that only begin to weave together by the time the pilot fades out. Of course, they didn't pick it up. [Note: I was confused before, and thought they had picked it up. Thanks, alert readers.]

Kyle Killen's R.E.M. (now called AWAKE), on the other hand, is your basic episodic cop show, with a character who has a gimmick. After a fatal car crash, his wife is dead. However he dreams a world in which his son is dead and his wife is alive. Or, possibly, he dreams the first world and the second one is real -- he can't tell.

Wouldn't you know it, facts bleed from one reality to the other, and he can use his dreams (or his alternate reality) to solve crimes.

What makes the pilot compelling is that he's unwilling to be "cured" of his dreams (if dreams they are) because he hasn't really lost his wife or his son so long as he lives both realities. He's clinging to both. And the human reality of a guy who would rather be crazy than lose his wife

I'm not sure where the show goes from there. I imagine it will be something like MEDIUM, where there are nicely-sketched Non-Player Characters that inhabit his worlds, and he cleverly solves crimes, and we get to see his process. There's a race to catch the bad guy, and he runs into flak because he can't explain why he has the hunches he does.

There's a suggestion that his mind is really trying to figure out what happened in the accident -- he can't remember drinking, he can't remember the accident -- so presumably the mythology is going to expand from there.

Not exactly ground breaking TV, but an interesting gimmick.



S.I.L.A. aka Metro did not get picked up for series.

By Blogger thecrossfader, at 7:13 PM  

...and R.E.M. is now called Awake.

By Blogger Josh K-sky, at 7:52 PM  

Damn! My bad. Sorry.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:24 PM  

Well, if you trust me, trust me for my opinions on scripts. Trust Nikki Finke for Ho'wood news.

By Blogger Alex Epstein, at 11:25 PM  

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