Fringe - an early look - VIDEO
by Jane Boursaw, posted Sep 2nd 2008 11:01AM
Wow, I really like this show! But darn, I'll have to wait to see what happens next, because FOX only sent us the pilot episode. I hope the continuing episodes are just as good. I expect nothing less from writer/producer J.J. Abrams, who already has a slew of hits on his IMDB page, including Lost and Alias (and I have high hopes for the upcoming Star Trek feature film, which he's directing and producing). Also on board for Fringe are the writers of Transformers: Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Good combo there.
Let's see ... what can I tell you about Fringe without giving away any spoilers? The first scene hooked me and wouldn't let go until ... well, it still hasn't let go, because I can't wait to see what happens next. The show is equal parts Lost, Heroes, CSI, and The X-Files, and the pilot episode covers a lot of ground in the set-up, but also ends with lots of questions.
My theory is that Fringe will be like Lost -- a giant puzzle that begs us to fit the pieces together as the show moves along. Only this time, I'm keeping better mental notes -- and also better real notes, as it looks like I'll be covering Fringe for TV Squad.
As for the show itself, J.J. Abrams knows how to grab us. Fringe blends mystery, intrigue, romance, action, and, of course, science. I don't think I'm giving anything away when I explain that "fringe science" refers to things on the fringe of what we'd normally think of as mainstream science -- mind control, teleportation, astral projection, genetic mutation, re-animation, and invisibility.
I can't take credit for those terms -- they actually came from one of the main characters, FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). She and Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) are thrown into a mystery that involves a government conspiracy, along with other elements of fringe science which I won't reveal, but which are pretty cool and involve some awesome special effects. If you want more spoilers than I'm willing to offer here, check out the preview video below.
Also on board is John Noble, who plays mad scientist (for lack of a better term) Walter Bishop. Lance Reddick plays Phillip Broyles, head of Homeland Security. Blair Brown, whom I loved in The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, plays a character so unrecognizable, I had to go back and double check the credits to make sure it was her. She's had bit parts here and there since Dodd, but what a thrill to see her playing a major character in a TV series again.
A few things in the pilot made me go hmmm, as in, "There's no way they could have had such-and-such up and running so fast," and "How the heck did she recover so fast?" But I'm willing to suspend disbelief and see how it goes. There will probably be lots of disbelief suspension with this show. Hey, it worked for The X-Files for nine seasons. As with that show, it looks like Fringe will delve heavily into the characters, especially Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, and Walter Bishop, who are vastly different, but will have to work together to solve creepy mysteries.
A word about the production: I love the little 3D vignettes between scenes that explain where we are location-wise. I've seen nothing else like it on TV. Also, the music is similar to Lost, especially the frenzy of swirling notes as it heads into commercial breaks. Although Fringe is similar to Lost in some respects, it's also very different.
Fringe premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 8/7c, on FOX. Don't miss it. Do I predict that it'll be a runaway hit? Ok, I'll make that leap. I'll be curious to hear your thoughts.
Read Keith's Comic-Con report here. Read Kristin's preview of the May screening here (warning: contains spoilers). Check out Fringe's official site and its blog. And here's a little teaser clip (which contains a few spoilers!):