15 June 2008

Pilot Watch: A first look at Fringe

Fringe is the newest JJ Abrams (Lost, Alias) series that will premiere in September. It stars Australian import Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson (Dawson's Creek), Lance Reddick (The Wire, Lost), John Noble (Lord of the Rings), Mark Valley (Boston Legal) and Kirk Acevedo (Band of Brothers).

Watchin' it or ditchin it?

When I first read of Fringe, instantly I thought of The X Files. But after watching the pilot screener, I can't say the same anymore.

What is it about? (SPOILER ALERT) An airplane full of passengers lands at the Logan Airport in Boston, but everyone is dead. The passengers have been fully exposed to what seems like a chemical. It ate up their skin, leaving their bodies to melt away.

FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is asked to report to the scene to investigate. She has just come from a romantic getaway with secret boyfriend, Agent John Scott (Mark Valley), who has just confessed that he loves her. He is also eventually called to the crime scene.

Later, Agent Dunham is asked to check a lead with Agent Scott and while there, something bad happens to him. Desperate to help her boyfriend out, Agent Dunham sought the help of a genius scientist, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), who is housed in a mental institution. He seems to be the only one who knows the answers to what happened to the plane and what will cure her boyfriend. But in order to be able to talk to Dr. Bishop, Dunham has to have his next of kin with her; which meant she has to contact Peter (Joshua Jackson), his estranged son who has an IQ of 190 but is somewhat of a conman.

What follows is a story of pseudoscience, conspiracy, betrayal and suspense.The mythology of the series has been laid out from the very beginning, building a solid foundation to what I think will be this season's biggest new series.

What I like about it:
  • With a budget of 10 Million for the pilot episode alone, they sure didn't scrimp the on special effects. It's a big spectacle, this TV series.
  • Fringe may come off as a horror-thriller but surprisingly, it also has humor, mostly coming from Dr. Bishop.
  • Anna Torv radiates on the screen, the Cate Blanchett of TV. She is extremely likeable.
  • The chemistry between all the actors is noticeable. This appears to be an ensemble well put together.
What I don't like about it:
  • Some of the dialogues are pure cheese! I kinda expected a witty Sawyer-like one liner or a Hurley quip that will make me laugh out loud....they tried, but it did not quite get there.
  • The motivation for Agent Dunham was....to help her boyfriend out. What is up with that?
What it has been compared to: Initially, The X Files. But since it's a series from JJ Abrams, (Roberto Orci & Alex Kurtzman; directed by Alex Graves) it has been compared to Alias and Lost as well.

Verdict: Definitely watchin' and wanting more.