Comic-Con '08: Fringe Panel

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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