I've made that argument myself on another board, but it was countered that that could just be dramatic license, a deliberate cheat by the writers to get around the limitations of the premise.
That's entirely true. Even ignoring the issues of 'network retooling', there's the practical problems of having Jason Isaacs in every single scene of the series - that's putting a lot on him even as the lead.
But it does also, as a viewer
, puncture the idea that either reality is a dream world. It encourages us to see the problems of his wife and his son as independent from him. The reasons for the scenes may undermine the intent of the story (just as if Total Recall
is a dream, the scenes away from Schwarzenegger are at cross-purposes to the film), but they lead one to those assumptions.
I've often felt that American TV has become too restrictive in its formats; there are a lot of stories that get developed as weekly series that would really work better as miniseries or movies-of-the-week, but network TV no longer uses those formats.
That's true. Awake
could easily have worked as a single season by design.