J.J. Abrams has become the Steven Spielberg of television. Fans flock to any Abrams project and there’s always an air of mystery to it. His latest effort is the sci-fi thriller show “Fringe.” The best way to describe it is “X-Files,” meets “Lost,” meets the CW’s “Supernatural.” Much like what he did with Lost, Abrams has written the pilot and if the rest of the season follows suit, one can expect a highly entertaining new show.
The pilot of “Fringe” follows Detective Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) as she investigates a mysterious plane crash. Where the mystery starts is that the passengers have all been liquefied by unknown means. When Dunham’s boyfriend is contaminated with this mysterious liquefaction she enlists the help of an institutionalized professor, Walter Bishop (John Noble) who worked with the same experiment in the past and his estranged son Peter (Joshua Jackson). The rest is a race against time to save her love and find out the mysterious goings on beneath a top-secret agency looking into “fringe sciences.”
I really loved “Fringe” because it gave me a new J.J. Abrams fix. This really plays like the first season of “Lost” and there’s a little bit of “Alias” thrown in as well with the female lead. The actors all do an amazing job and newcomer Anna Torv is a great heroine as the strong Olivia Dunham, I could easily see her becoming the new Jennifer Garner. John Noble is the comic relief/mad scientist character you love in these types of shows and his whole scene with the cow was hilarious. It’s also nice to finally see Joshua Jackson return to the small screen, although he’s really rehashing the same characters he usually does. The show has a lot of action and some great opening scenes. You really need to see the opening plane crash where the passengers are melting, use of special effects at its best. The scene where one can see through a person is also done well and it may not be awe-inspiring but in terms of effects I thought it was well done.
Some might not see “Fringe” as anything new and really it isn’t the most unique show. It really is the “X-Files” for a younger generation and the ending really plays up that fact, having Dunham discuss what fringe sciences deals with (i.e. teleportation, missing people). I said it above but Joshua Jackson really is playing the same character as his “Dawson’s Creek” days and the heavily rushed attraction between him and Dunham felt a bit forced. Hopefully a romance isn’t jumped into right away and the season fleshes out their characters before making them go together, if that’s the writer’s intention.
FOX network is not known for having shows stick around more than a season but I’m hoping “Fringe” defies the curse and sticks around. I really think J.J. Abrams has a fine show on his hands that could become a new “X-Files.” I give the Pilot episode a 4/5 and be sure to check out “Fringe” Tuesdays on FOX.