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FRINGE: FIRST REACTION TO J.J. ABRAMS FOX THRILLER
Posted Jul 14, 2008 by Walt Belcher
Updated Jul 14, 2008 at 06:14 PM
The first impression of “Fringe,” the buzz-generating sci-fi thriller coming to Fox this fall, is “it’s good but not knock-your-socks off great.”
Noble, Torv and Jackson
Second impression: “Thank God, it’s not as complicated as ‘Lost’.”
Fox screened the pilot for TV critics and The People Who Blog About Television via closed-circuit TV to our rooms. I watched it twice.
There’s an inferior rough cut version that’s available on the Internet and producer J.J. Abrams hates that.
The version we saw was a fast-paced, action-packed drama that opens on an airline flight. It had some critics thinking that it was too close to “Lost.”
A passenger on the plane goes bonkers as his skin starts to fall off and then we’re off and running with “The X-Files Meets House” adventure.
A sexy female FBI agent (Australian Anna Torv) recruits a young drifter Peter Bishop (Josh Jackson) and his “mad scientist” father Walter Bishop (John Noble) to help solve weird seemingly unexplainable cases.
Jackson, who will always be remembered as Pacey from “Dawson’s Creek,” is good in this. But he’s good in every thing he does.
Father and son have been estranged for 17 years. Creepy old Walter, who has been institutionalized for years, is sprung to work out of the basement of a science lab at Harvard.
An expert in “fringe science” - mind control, teleportation, invisibility, astral projection, biological warfare, genetic mutation and reanimation – Walter’s eccentric-but-brilliant behavior recalls the lead character in “House.”
Of course, there’s a deep, dark conspiracy that will form a running “mythology” of the show.
The cast and producers appeared before on a panel – Jackson, Torv and Noble were beamed in to the Beverly Hilton ballroom via satellite because they are in New York filming the series.
Abrams told us that once again he is trying to “combine genres that shouldn’t fit together.” This time he is trying to mix horror, spy and comedy genres.
He also said he wanted to avoid another series that didn’t require “insane, absolute dedication” like his previous efforts “Lost” and “Alias.”
He joked that he recently tried to watch a rerun of “Alias” and was completely baffled by it.
Even so, there will be some “Lost” style layered clues thrown in for fans that need something to talk about in chat rooms. For example, before each commercial break are reoccurring images such as a six-fingered hand, a leaf, a frog and smoke that reveals a secret pattern.
Do You Get That X-Files Feeling?