September 10, 2008

fringe premiere

Last night was the Fringe premiere on Fox. I was really looking forward to this new series. And the pilot definitely delivered (if you missed it, it repeats on Sunday at 8pm).

The story starts with a plane crash at Logan Airport that appears to be the result of some sort of chemical weapon of the flesheating persuasion. A team of FBI, CIA and DHS staff collects in Boston to start the investigation. Already, I'm totally into this. Olivia Duham (Anna Torv) is an FBI agent called in to help. Pulling off a smart, badass, but not bitchy female lead is tough. So far, she's a little lacking in emotion, but definitely has potential.

I won't go into full recap just in case some people still want to watch, but here's what you need to know in preparation for becoming hooked on this show. Olivia has a cute partner, who you know is in trouble from the moment he tell her he loves her. Sure enough, while they are investigating the plane crash, he falls victim to a chemical similar to what affected the passengers. We're introduced to the other main characters as Olivia investigates the source of the chemical attack in order to save his life.

And here we meet the great Joshua Jackson. Put aside my teenage crush for just one minute, and let me say, he is brilliantly cast for this role. The character, Peter Bishop, is the son of a mad scientist, Walter Bishop (John Noble), whose top-secret work in the 1970s has been linked to the recent bizarre phenomenon/terrorism. Still with me? Peter is sort of a nomadic genius con artist,. Walter has spent the last 17 years in a mental hospital after an experiment mysteriously went wrong. Father and son are estranged, but Olivia needs Walter's help to figure out how to save her boyfriend/partner. Peter agrees to check his father out of the looney bin, and they revive his old basement laboratory where we find out he was experimenting with "fringe science" - reanimation, teleportation, genetic mutation, etc.

In terms of the aesthetics of the show, it was written and created by J.J. Abrams, the father of Lost, and the connections are pretty obvious. The cutaway style is very similar - fade to black with a seemingly arbitrary graphic, including a 6-fingered hand x-ray. The music is very similar too - creepy sounds when something weird is about to happen. They also do a strange/cool graphic thing with captions - incorporating the graphic into the background scenery. One aerial scene of Bagdad shows the plane flying through the "B".

The pilot did a great job of setting up a really interesting mystery, which looks like it will play out like some combination of Lost and X-Files. The father/son combo will definitely provide the comic relief needed to offset the intensity of the other characters, including Agent Broyles (played by Lance Reddick from Lost and The Wire) who is leading the investigation into this pattern of unexplained phenomenon (the plane crash has proven to be the tip of the iceburg).

I'm doing a crappy job of explaining the show. Suffise to say, I recommend it. Check it out.


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