The Fringe of Cool
When I saw that J.J. Abrams had a new show out, and watched the trailer for it, I couldn’t help but think Lost meets X-Files with a bit of Millenium thrown in for good measure. Boy was I wrong, and frankly I’m pretty happy with being wrong for once.
What Fringe is about is probably a question that I’m not ready to answer. In the 95 minutes I spent in front of the television, all I saw was the set-up for the rest of the season. And boy what a season it looks like is coming. First, there is a strange form of biological attack onboard a plane. Thanks to a new autopilot system, it lands safely, but there are no signs of life. All the passengers are dead due to this odd circumstance.
What follows starts off very X-Filesish before taking a hard left at the corner of Cool and Awesome. The main character is Special Agent Olivia Dunham, who must uncover the source of this attack (yes, the FBI quickly decides it’s bioterrorism). During her investigation, she finds similarities between the disease and the work of scientist Dr. William Bishop, who has been incarcerated in a mental institution for the last 17 years (I guess his work as Denethor in Return of the King typecast him ;)). To access him, Agent Dunham must recruit the assistance of Bishop’s wayward but brilliant son Peter.
What follows is a wild ride to the truth, only to find more layers to the secret. It’s very clear that Abrams is following the formula he’s ridden to success with Lost. A tragedy occurs. A secret is shown to exist. Now, the characters must uncover that secret. However, that’s where similarities with Lost really must come to an end (although I really had to wonder when the tragedy was on board an airplane again). In this one, Abrams takes this formula into a new direction where despite access to all the wonders of the modern world, the characters are still on an island…this time metaphorical.
The actors delivered strong performances, but the stand out to me was Joshua Jackson’s job with Peter. He comes across as brilliant, snarky, and a bit cynical for his age. All these actually fit what back story was shared, and create a character that is at once likeable and annoying. Jackson gets into the role with gusto that I haven’t seen in him before. Joining him in the “strong performance” category is Anna Torv with her role as Agent Dunham. I’ve never seen her work before, but I will be looking forward to more.
Next Tuesday, Fringe will be on at it’s regular time of 9:00 Eastern time. I was ready to never watch another episode again before this came on. Instead, I know where I’ll be next week…in front of the TV watching Fringe!