Comic-Con ’08: Fringe Panel

Published 7 years ago by , Updated September 12th, 2013 at 10:44 pm,

The San Diego Comic-Con Panel for J.J. Abrams Fringe had in attendance J.J. Abrams, executive producers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orici, Jeff Pinkner, and Bryan Burk.  Actors Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, and John Noble were also in attendance.

Things we took away from the panel:

They pointed out that unlike some other shows (*cough* Smallville *cough*) that might have rules like “No flights, no tights,” Fringe has no rules.

Joshua Jackson said the script for the pilot read like a movie script and this script is what pulled him back into TV.

Pinkner wanted to make sure we knew that the writers they’ve hired, are the best of their genre, regardless of whatever genre they’re from.

Someone asked if they (Abrams and the the other execs) were the ones that leaked the pilot onto the internet.  They wanted to assure us that they did not do that, but were quick to include facts like there were scenes missing, had no music, etc.  (I’m a little suspicious on this, but I’m like that… so take it for what that is.)

Of course then Orci tosses out there that it is possible Abrams leaked the movie.

John Noble spent what felt like an inordinate amount of time explaining the complexity of his character.  From being a father, a nutcase and a scientist.

Fringe, in their minds, has an overall story with an endgame.

They’re coming out with Fringe comic books to help further fill out character backgrounds.

Each episode will have clues for the next episode, so we need to pay attention.

One brave soul asked Abrams if he intends to put in sufficient time to get the show rolling, then leave it for his next project like he does in his past projects.  Abrams says he’s got a type of ADD that happens while he’s working on something.  He gets ideas for something else while working on a project and goes off on a development binge but he quickly followed that up by saying he’s thoroughly committed to Fringe.  (We’ll see.)

They made a hint at yet another mystery to draw us into the show by pointing out that we’ll be seeing glyphs between acts that are either clues, or just glyphs.  I didn’t quite get what they were getting at and that’s my fault… the room was spinning from having camped in it for 6 hours through a lot of other panels.  Or maybe I didn’t miss anything!

Interesting tidbit:  Did you know that in Cloverfield, there were clues to the ABC TV series Lost?  I missed them, and I haven’t read reviews of the movie anywhere, but apparently there are references to the Dharma Initiative.  Great…  more Lost stuff to wrap my head around… or try.

I have a couple of observations for this Fringe panel:

They arranged this panel in what I believe to be the second largest sized conference room, but they barely filled it to maybe half capacity and there was no real line to speak of to get in.

It felt like this was put together at the last minute.

The moderator came out, and was then called back behind the curtain.  A girl then came out and introduced the moderator.

The panel members had no clue where they were supposed to sit.

The preview started, then stopped from lack of sound.  Restarted, then seemed to end in the middle of a scene - I’m not sure what that was about.

But in my opinion what I think is the more important statistical warning is that people were leaving during the panel.  It was a trickle of ones and twos, but no one seemed to be buying what they were chatting about, or they had somewhere else to be.  Regardless, if this were a thermometer for gauging audience anticipation, they need to take note, quit spending money on all the viral stuff – and spend it on the story.

I don’t have a strong opinion either way, but I was looking forward to the panel and came away rather disappointed.  I just thought I’d point out some of these viral-flattening observations.

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  1. That really sucks about the unpreparedness of the panel and people leaving.

    I think alot of shows and movies don’t understand the comiccon phenomenon but think for some reason they just have to be there and run through the motions.

  2. Nice work Bruce, thanks for the quick updates. I like how you translated the whole chaotic agenda into a somewhat teaser filled assesment. I’m with you- where are the Dharma clues in Cloverfield?

  3. No kidding Wes! I didn’t see that, but then again, I wasn’t looking either.

  4. I am linking to your panel review on my site to go with my video- I pretty much felt the same way you did. I had been very enthusiastic about the pilot which I saw the leaked version of, I had spoken to people who had seen the sneak on the first night and I looked forward to learning more about the actors, their characters and what the show was about. The unpreparedness of the panel and the inane Twilight Zone line of questioning was putting me to sleep. NOT A GOOD SIGN! I hope the show does better than this panel or Abrams will be wishing he had his good luck piece not only in his pilot but on his panel!
    BTW- this was a huge contrast to the previous panel which was moderated by the fun and knowledgeable Kristin DeSantos from E!Online

  5. I was very surprised Kate at how disheveled or unprepared the panel was, not to mention how low key it seemed.

    I do have an interesting theory about why the preview was cut off, in which I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt on:

    Rumors were that there was no Star Trek panel or other media push for Trek except for the half booth they shared in the paramount booth on the floor so it wouldn’t take away from Fringe. (I don’t think it mattered folks!)

    I was wondering if maybe they had a Trek trailer on the 2nd half of the bit they used for the Fringe trailer and cut it off to abide by the rumored Fox nixing?

    Thanks for the link-love Kate.

    And yes, the previous panel, the Chuck panel was a heck of a lot more interesting than Fringe… but then again, but then, I had worked my way up to the front section a few rows back from the stage and everything was looking pretty cool… uh, except for Fringe maybe.

  6. Having read alot of reviews of the panel, I think one of the major problems seemed to be the guy running it. The questions he asked were really stupid and the actors were hardly asked any. Wonder if he was given a list of questions or if he came up with them himself? There seemed to be a very stilted flow.

    The many interviews done by the three actors after the panel for various sites were so different to the panel. They were fun, very spontaneous, good laughs and really enjoyable to listen to what they had to say. It’s a pity that this sort of environment wasn’t encouraged for the panel.

  7. I don’t know who is responsible for creating the questions from the panel moderator, but better questions would have been a good (better) starting point indeed Varsity.