Fringe will bring us a wide range of on screen experiences that range from grisly to the quirky humor that J.J. Abrams is known for. It's described as a mix of Lost, Alias, Altered States and X-Files. (Ha! I knew it!) In fact, Blair Brown (who starred in Altered States) is a member of the cast.
The two hour pilot episode involves an airliner that lands at Boston's Logan Airport with everyone on board having died a grisly death. The scene is investigated by FBI special agents Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv), her partner, Special Agent John Scott (played by Mark Valley) and an institutionalized scientist and his son that Dunham brings on board to help figure some of these things out.
Is it me, or does this sound like an X-Files replacement? The series is going where Fox has gone before as it delves into subjects outside the norm of accepted science like mind control, teleportation and reanimation, just to name a few. (Reanimation? My ex-wife is in this?) In other words, Fringe science.
Anna Torv hails from Australia and is likened to Poppy Montgomery of Without a Trace. Mark Valley has been in shows such as The 4400, Boston Legal and Law and Order SVU and this looks like it might be his first regular part if the series takes off. Others in the cast include Lance Reddick (The Wire), as head FBI agent Phillip Broyles, and Kirk Acevedo and Jasika Nicole as other FBI agents.
The show's executive producers are Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (writers of Transformers and Abrams' own Mission: Impossible III and Star Trek), Bryan Burk, Jeff Pinkner and Alex Graves.
Even if this is X-Files-like, everyone has a chance to one-up that show and do it better. I suspect we'll see the intrigue we've come to expect from Lost and Alias, while maybe resolving the mysteries by the end of each episode (wouldn't that be a nice change of pace for J.J.). In a perfect world, I'd love to see some form of a tribute or acknowledgment to X-Files in one way or another. They seem to be treading on that show's old stomping grounds of subject matter, but with the new X-Files film about to be released, that's probably not going to happen.
Regardless, the Fox network is looking at this as the tentpole for the network and Fringe will be premiering August 26th at 8PM ET/PT and will air regularly on Tuesdays at 9PM.