by guest blogger Laurel White, MSN TV
If you like TV that tests your brain, JJ Abrams, creator of the hit shows Alias and Lost, has a new, exciting project named Fringe that may just turn out to be what the doctor ordered. It’s set to premiere on Sky1 this Sunday. Fringe is a supernatural, X-Files-esque mind-bender with similar drama and complexity to Abrams’ previous work. The show stars Joshua Jackson (best known for his role as Pacey in Dawson’s Creek) as Peter Bishop and Australian John Noble (recently seen in Lord of the Rings: The Return Of The King) as Peter Bishop’s eccentric genius of a father. Alongside Anna Torv (the BBC’s Mistresses) as FBI agent Olivia Dunham, they investigate aspects of fringe science (telepathy, levitation, invisibility etc). After watching the first episode in its entirety, I have to tell you – viewers are in for another interesting ride.
It’s perhaps inevitable, but it’s difficult to avoid comparisons to Lost. I was immediately struck by Fringe’s similarities to Abrams’ earlier show – it starts off with a dramatic, tragic plane ride and the action moves on from there. Other Lost characteristics can be quickly ticked off the list too:
Tough, sexy female lead (played by a previously not very well known actress): Check.
Mysterious, dramatic music and abrupt camera cuts: Check.
Gross-out gore: Check.
Constant emergence of new elements of mystery: Check.
Sexual tension: Check.
Secret codes: Check.
In short, if you liked Lost, you’re going to love Fringe. Hope that doesn’t sound too simplistic, but that’s the way I see it. All the ingredients are there to capture an audience with a yen for all things Abrams: Fringe is dramatic, complex, intriguing, and just a bit freaky. In the US, critics have been very receptive: Barry Garron at Hollywood Reporter found it promising because "it is reminiscent of battle-of-the-sexes charm". USA Today said, "What Abrams brings to Fringe is a director’s eye for plot and pace, a fan’s love of sci-fi excitement, and a story-teller’s gift for investing absurd events with real emotions and relatable characters." Travis Fickett of IGN gave it 7.6 out of 10, calling it "a lackluster pilot that promises to be a pretty good series."
The makers of the show, and selected members of the cast, talked in some detail about their new series. Here’s a snippet of what JJ Abrams and Joshua Jackson said…
FRINGE INTERVIEW (abridged)
QUESTION: For the creators, did you guys decide that it was time to do something new to The X-Files, or what was the genesis of this show?
ABRAMS: It wasn’t like, okay, let’s do The X-Files again. It was what kind of show is… something we would tune in to see. It was how can we do a show that lives in that universe? And certainly The Twilight Zone, X-Files, Night Stalker, those were shows that I loved.
QUESTION: Why is it even when you have the opportunity to make blockbuster theatrical films you stay with television shows to do them?
ABRAMS: It’s such an amazing medium. It’s this organic, ongoing thing, and when you have actors as good as we have and you’ve got a story that I’m really excited that we’re telling over a
long term, and also episode to episode, to me it’s a thrill.
QUESTION: What about bringing a show that has so much complexity to it? If there’s any knock people have had about Lost, it’s that sometimes it’s too hard to figure out what’s going on and follow the storylines or know where the show is going?
ABRAMS: Week to week, there will be stories. So you can tune in and just watch that, but there will, over the course of seasons and then the series itself, bigger arcs of stories. So I think we’re trying very diligently to do a show that doesn’t require the kind of insane, absolute dedication to a series that, if you miss an episode, you truly have no idea what’s going on, but hopefully you want to see every episode because they’ll be exciting and fun.
QUESTION: Mr. Jackson, can you talk a little about your character and what you think his biggest faults are?
JOSHUA JACKSON: What faults?
Well, what drew me to the character was the fact that you have this man who has this native intelligence but hasn’t really ever chosen to do anything other than get by with it… Then I also liked, there’s a built-in, ingrained conflict for Peter because he doesn’t want to be here, period, but then he also really doesn’t want to
be forced to confront his father, and he’s sort of a reluctant participant in the group.
Fringe Sunday October 5 at 9pm on Sky1
by guest blogger Laurel White, MSN TV