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Culture Cafe 'Awake' is one of the best dramas on television

'Awake,' starring 'Harry Potter' actor Jason Isaacs, deftly handles themes of grief without going over-the-top.

Joel Ryan/STF/AP

The topic of loss can be something of a hard sell to audiences.  In addition to the different feelings loss and mourning may evoke in all of us, it has the tendency to bog the viewer down with an ever-present cue to the frame of mind they should be in. Some dramas have handled the concept very well – albeit in small doses – while others ride the lowest common denominator all the way to ratings glory. The key, it seems, is to utilize the concept of death and loss, and from it build a convincing story that holds some value beyond reminding us of the eventuality we all face. Thankfully, NBC’s newest drama, Awake, manages such a feat.

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