For those not in the know, Fringe is a big-budget, Sci-fi/Thriller/Mystery/Drama that hopes to "thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between science fiction and reality." It's pretty much a mash-up of The X-Files and Altered States.
But before we'll ever get a look at the show's reported $10 million pilot in order to fairly judge it, I have to say, Fringe has got some pretty good things going for it:
A) It's produced by J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions cohorts, hit-makers behind such other genre-defying (genre-melding?) shows as Alias and Lost. And Mr. Abrams is on somewhat of a streak at the moment, (yes, even Cloverfield,) so a misfire now, with $o much on the line, seems unlikely.
B) Like Lost, Fringe will follow a serialized/stand-alone format, meaning that every episode will contain a complete stand-alone story-arc, while simultaneously advancing serialized sub-plots which will culminate in all the thrills, twists, and explosions that sweeps-week calls for. This is the format that works for Lost, it worked for Alias, and I'm saying it'll work again here. J.J. KNOWS THE GAME!
C) The cast is actually a solid team of actors with some pretty good resumes:
FBI Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM (newcomer Anna Torv); Her partner, Special Agent JOHN SCOTT (Mark Valley, Boston Legal); DR. WALTER BISHOP (John Noble, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King), our generation's Einstein; Bishop's estranged son PETER (Joshua Jackson, Dawson's Creek); Manipulative corporate executive NINA SHARP (Blair Brown, Altered States); Fellow FBI Agents PHILLIP BROYLES (Lance Reddick, The Wire), CHARLIE FRANCIS (Kirk Acevedo, Oz) and ASTRID FARNSWORTH (Jasika Nicole, Law & Order: Criminal Intent)
And the pilot was directed by Emmy Award-winning Alex Graves (The West Wing). These are not amateurs we're talking about, people (except for newcomer Torv, and she pretty much has to carry the show. But remember: before J.J. came along, who was Jennifer Garner? Who was Evangeline Lily?)
Now I'm not saying that Fringe is going to be THE BEST THING EVER! If you've ever seen my face, my half-lowered brow, you know I'm way too cynical to get too psyched about anything on TV. The initial previews have looked promising [see below], with just the right amount of creepy adrenaline rush that made The X-Files so good in its heyday. And things seem to blow up real, real, good in this show.
But previews, as we all know, do not a good show make.
However this fall, when I go to bet Vegas odds on which new show is going to make it out of the initial sprint of pilot season and enter the pantheon marathon of watchable TV, I'm going to keep in mind what kind of distinct advantages Fringe has over the competition. I'm just sayin.
(I'm not even sayin. Just sayin.)
Check out the trailer for the series:
What's your bet on this?
Fringe premieres on Tuesday, September 9th.