When NBC was pushing Smash a few weeks ago, they put the entire pilot online a week before the premiere date. Now the net’s done something similar with its next entry, Awake, a challenging cop/psychology drama starring–among many other talented actors–Wilmer Valderrama, playing the lead character’s partner in one life and a street cop in the dude’s other life. (It’s easier to watch than to explain.)
It’s a pretty far cry from Wilmer’s hilarious turn as Fez on That ’70s Show. But that was long ago and a half-hour sitcom. Here he’s an earnest young cop–and clearly Latino this time, as opposed to the comically unknowable ethnicity of the past. There’s a real weight and subtlety in the performance you might not have expected from a sitcom guy, but look at how five of the six leads from that show have gone on to bigger things: Topher Grace and Mia Kunis are legitimate movie stars, Laura Prepon has her own TV series (at least for the moment), and Ashton Kuicher is…well, Ashton Kuicher. What more can you say?
Here’s the extended clip; you can see others, different stuff at NBC.com, or just wait for the premiere of the entire program on Thursday, March 1 at 8P on NBC.