Saturday, September 13, 2008


I watched the pilot of this much hyped new show by the brains behind Alias, Cloverfield, Lost, the soon to be released Star Trek relaunch, and the George Foreman Knock Out the Fat Grilling Machine. I'm not completely sure about that last one, actually. JJ Abrams has become the Judd Apatow of thrillers. That is to say, he has credit as writer, director, producer, or key grip on everything released by Hollywood these days. And that's just fine because all of his stuff is pretty good, and Fringe is no exception. It's, you know, pretty good. I'm glad I watched it, and I'll probably watch the second episode, unless, you know, I have something else to do. Entertaining and well done, but must see TV it probably was not.

The concept is basically X-Files meets CSI, or something. It's too early to tell if the lead characters will be as likable and enduring as Moulder and Scully, or if the stories and tech will be as interesting as CSI, but, like I said, it's off to a pretty good start. And since I don't really like CSI or X-Files, that's saying something.

Anyway, here's what worked for me:

The opening scene was amazing. Seriously, this was one of the creepiest and most atmospheric scenes I've ever seen on TV. A virus was released on a plane in midflight, causing the entire compliment of passengers and crew to die agonizing deaths as their flesh slowly melted off their bodies. It was such a strong scene, in fact, that the show only seemed to get progressively weaker as the story wore on.

The cast was pretty good. It was nice seeing Denethor from the Lord of the Rings movies. Has that guy ever played somebody who wasn't bug-house nuts? I also really liked that super skinny black guy. He was cool. The lead actress was easy on the eyes and gave a nice performance as well, especially in the scene where we stripped down to her underwear.

And the story was, you know, ok. The government investigates paranormal occurrences. It's hardly original, but it's still fun.

Here's what didn't work for me:

As much as I like Josh Jackson... why was he in this show? His character was completely extraneous and served no real purpose. Either have him or the scientist. We don't need both. But, again, I liked him. I hope they give him something to do.

This is going to sound petty, but those obnoxious titles were completely obtrusive and unnecessary. Instead of just having things like "Washington D.C." in little letters to show the location, they had words written in giant letters that looked like they were 3D or something and actually floating in the scene. It's hard to explain, but it really didn't work. Don't try to be clever. Save that for the scripts.

So... I liked it. It was good. But we'll see how it goes.

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