Monday, September 08, 2008

Fear Factor - Fringe - 2008 Fall TV Pilot Preview

Fringe - Premieres Tuesday Sept. 9th at 8pm on FOX/CTV/AChannel. Regular Time Slot on Tuesdays at 9pm on FOX/AChannel.

Okay let's clear this up before the overhype begins. Yes, it's very very good. However it is not perfect and nowhere near the homerun of the pilots Lost or Alias (or even Felicity) were, and yes, it borrows heavily from Alias and The X-Files and yes, I'm already confused and lost after the first episode and at times I was already confused to the point of boredom.

It is however a J.J. Abrams branded show and it has got a great opener, where if you've forgotten the Lost opening already and have gotten back on an airplane, this will remind you NEVER to fly again. The entire show is slickly made and well produced. Even the screen graphics are cool (yes, seen in Panic Room but cool nonetheless) and yet again, Abrams has found another relatively unknown leading lady in Australian Anna Torv who captivates our attention right away.

And if all else fails, Fringe also has the post-Dawson's Creek reappearance of Joshua "Pacey" Jackson, who has an automatic likability that's even sexier now with his try-to-be-grown-up-look-but-still-has-the-baby-faced-cuteness. His acting seems a bit rusty at times, but who cares, it's Pacey in a grown up role!

Without giving too much away, Fringe starts off with a horrific incident on a plane, where FBI investigators Agent Olivia Dunham (Torv), Agent Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo, Oz) and Agent John Scott (Mark Valley, Boston Legal, Once & Again) discover some weird science that might be part of the answer, until Agent Scott is infected by whatever horrific toxin that might be the culprit and the agents are forced to locate a mysterious fringe scientist Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) to help save Scott. Unfortunately, Dr. Bishop is locked in a psychiatric hospital and Dunham's boss Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick, The Wire) stops Dunham in her tracks, until she locates the doctors' estranged son Peter Bishop (Jackson) for help, roping him into the case as they try to figure out the antidote and those behind it, which may have to do with a scientific corporation formerly connected to Dr. Bishop, and represented by a mysterious and hard nailed Nina Sharp (Blair Brown, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd).

As other Abrams show, the supporting cast is a bevy of terrific actors who legitimize the outlandish plot twists that have the Agent Dunham trusting Dr. Walter Bishop and his fringe science methods, all which make son Peter's eyes roll, and thus you have the set up for a reverse The X-Files.

The show is apparently set up with more of a procedural format with a new mystery of the week, and I'm guessing, an overarching conspiracy plotline about the mysterious corporation that is currently assumed to be evil, but while the first half of the pilot felt exciting and fresh, at some point it became slightly plodding and was only saved by the excellent supporting cast (especially Noble, Brown, Reddick and Acevedo) and the likability of Joshua Jackson as the Bishop son. There is some interesting chemistry between Jackson and Torv, though still far from Mulder and Scully, but there is a lot of potential here, but potential can be built upon or wasted away, but at this point, I'm still extremely intrigued and curious about the show and the new show that I'm most excited about.

I'm probably being slightly overgenerous here but at this point, Fringe gets **** (4 stars out of 5). The graphics, cast and Abrams pedigree gains it points, as does shooting the pilot in Toronto (and bonus use of the ROM Crystal) and points taken off for ultimately changing their minds and shooting the rest of the series elsewhere.

For more Reviews and Previews of the 2008 Fall TV Season, Check here.

For more photos of Fringe:

The Cast of Fringe:

Anna Torv as Agent Olivia Dunham:

Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop:

Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles:

Jaskia Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth

John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop:

Blair Brown as Nina Sharp:

Kirk Acevedo as Agent Charlie Francis:

Mark Valley as Agent John Scott:


Linz McC said...

I agree that Fringe is not the "end all, be all" of pilots. But I think the tv-viewing population is desperately hoping for something that is good to come on the scene this season, especially after last year's too-short, disappointing season.

So take JJ Abrams, sci-fi, excellent production quality, and OF COURSE Josh Jackson, and I am there, without question (at least for a while!). Hoping it gets better from here.

StinkyLulu said...

I'll be rooting for FRINGE mostly because one of the writers is the husband of my best friend from high school. (He's been a staff writer at Without a Trace for years, becoming more and more bored.) He was Joss Whedon's assistant for years on Buffy, penned a few Angel eps, and was a main writer for the shortlived Birds of Prey.

He's very excited about the show, likes the writing staff a lot, and says the background mythology for the whole thing is really cool.

So keep your fingers crossed...

Vance said...

That is so cool Stinkylulu! Wow, if he was bored at WOT, then I guess I don't feel so bad for leaving my secure gig too to pursue basically what your friend has/had...

But yeah, all he has to write in is Josh Jackson and preferably shirtless a few times and I'm sure many of us will keep watching... hehe...