A preview of J.J. Abrams' new show Fringe - VIDEO
I watched the two-hour season premiere on Thursday evening. The pilot I saw was unfinished, but according to the publicist for Fox, the network is so psyched about Fringe, they couldn't wait to show the press. He referred to it as Fox's "tent pole series for the fall."
After the jump, I tell you about the pilot and the characters. Consider yourself warned though, there will be a few spoilers.
According to the press release, Fringe is "a new drama that will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between science fiction and reality." The pilot opens with as a plane from Hamburg, Germany landing at Boston's Logan airport with everyone on board dead. And they are not just dead...they're all gooey and translucent. Obviously, there needs to be an investigation.
That's when we meet our FBI special agents: Olivia Dunham, John Scott, and Charlie Francis. We also meet Phillip Broyles at Logan airport. He's with Homeland Security and will be leading the investigation. So FBI, CIA and other acronyms can report to him. They board the plane, check out the goo, and set about uncovering which terrorist is responsible for this atrocity.
After John Scott is hurt in an explosion, he suffers from the same gooey affliction, but the hospital slows its progress by putting him into a drug-induced coma. This is when Olivia Dunham gets seriously involved with the investigation. Her discoveries lead her to Dr. Walter Bishop, a pseudo-scientist (paging Dr. Suresh) who has been institutionalized. But, she can't access the doctor without an immediate family member. So, Dunham gets his estranged son, Peter Bishop, to help out.
Later in the pilot, Dunham's investigation leads to corporate executive Nina Sharp of Massive Dynamics. From here, Dunham finds out that while she thought she had clearance and knew all the classified information about Flight 627, she has really only scratched the surface. The Hamburg flight is part of a much larger set of events called "the pattern."
Meet the Cast / Characters:
OLIVIA DUNHAM: The heroine of the show is played by unknown Anna Torv, who looks a little bit like Kate Hudson (in my opinion). She's intelligent, tough, and forthright in her work. It's her tenacity and love of fellow agent John Scott that drives the pilot.
JOHN SCOTT: Dunham's love interest is played by Mark Valley, formerly of Boston Legal. I loved Mark Valley on Boston Legal so I was happy to see him in Fringe. When we first see John Scott, he's in bed with Olivia. He tells her he loves her but, of course, since they work for the Bureau, their relationship is hush-hush. Together they investigate a storage unit full of chemical and light-depraved rodents. But, in pursuit of a suspicious man Scott sees at the site, he gets badly injured. It's this injury that propels the rest of the pilot as Dunham wants to save his life. And there's more to John Scott, but I don't want to give it all away.
WALTER BISHOP: The looney doctor is played by Lord of the Rings' John Noble. Bishop not only provides much of the scientific explanations for the show, but also provides much of the humor. People laughed out loud in the theater after some of his lines. My favorite was when he sees his son for the first time in seventeen years: "I thought you'd be fatter."
PETER BISHOP: The doctor's son is played by Joshua Jackson (PACEY!). We first find him in Iraq and reluctant to help with his insane father. "I'd rather stay here in Iraq. That should tell you how much I want to see my father," he quips to Agent Dunham.
PHILLIP BROYLES: Played by Lance Reddick of The Wire, he leads the initial team that investigates the goo-ridden plane. But, he knows more... a lot more.
CHARLIE FRANCIS: The first on the scene from the FBI at Logan airport is played by Kirk Acevedo of Oz. He doesn't have a huge part in the pilot, but I think he'll be partnering with Agent Dunham more as the season goes on.
ASTRID FARNSWORTH: Played by Jasika Nicole of Law and Order: Criminal Intent, she is Olivia Dunham's assistant.
NINA SHARP: The corporate executive and champion of Massive Dynamics is played by Blair Brown (Altered States). She has a small but fecund scene with Agent Dunham in the pilot. She might end up being a villain but it's too early to tell. And, she's not all human.
- Watching a TV show in a theater is way better than watching it at home. But, you could've guessed that. Then again, at a theater, you can't watch the show in your underwear and Homer Simpson slippers. Er, not that yours truly does that.
- We first see our heroine in bed naked with her co-worker. Why am I not surprised?
- There are way too many "honeys," "sweethearts," and other patronizing pet names for women in the script. But, I think they may have done that on purpose to highlight Olivia Dunham's smart no-nonsense character, to show that she's anything but a "sweetheart."
- The text they use to denote the different location is cool. It's a very small part of the show, but it's interesting nonetheless. The text is 3-D and the camera sometimes will go through it, like the text itself is a physical part of the scene.
- As I was sitting in the theater, a few members of the press were chatting about the tip sheet. One said sarcastically, "Wait, J.J. Abrams is making a show about a plane crash? I haven't heard that before." To be fair, the plane doesn't crash, it just lands itself (autopilot) with a bunch of dead gooey people in it.
- Fringe's music (not the opening credits) is similar to Lost's. It has more of those discordant drawn-out strings that give us a good dose of the creeps.
- The title refers to "fringe science" or pseudo-science according to Olivia Dunham in the pilot. Here's the wikipedia reference for those of you who are interested.
- Best exchange of the pilot... Walter Bishop (dad): I just pissed myself. Peter Bishop (son): Excellent. Walter Bishop: It's just a squirt.
Fringe will premiere on August 26th at 8:00 p.m. ET / PT. It's regular time will be Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. ET / PT on Fox.
What do you think? Does this sound good? Sound off in the comments.