Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fringe Review

The reports of no show mythology were greatly exaggerated.

I needn't of worried, after all Fringe is in the capable hands of JJ Abrams.  The same man we're trusting Star Trek to.  Can there be any higher form of praise? (Rhetorical question, but here's the answer anyway, only the person George entrusts Episodes 7-9 to will be given a higher form of praise.)

Last night's 83 minute (after commercials) pilot set the stage for what should be an exciting series very reminiscent of the X-Files.  While mythology driven serials have been increasingly mythology heavy (not that there's anything wrong with this) since JJ's last two shows (Alias and LOST), X-Files set the template for a mythology driven serial that didn't require constant vigilance (as MadEye Moody might say).  Some episodes were "Mythological" episodes (pertaining to the overall storyline of the show, the Aliens and government conspiracy) and some were "Monster of the Week" episodes (one off stories that were completed, well as much as anything ever was in the X-Files world, in the time allotted for that episode).  Chances are good that you didn't miss too much of the overall storyline if you missed one of those episodes and therefore it wasn't imperative that you made sure you were home for every new episode of The X-Files.  When an important episode was upcoming, the previews made sure you knew it and planned accordingly.

It looks like Fringe will follow the same template.  Each week's episode will be a "mystery of the week" that will get solved within the episode.  At the same time, there is an overall mystery, known on the show as "The Pattern", that will be the characters main goal to solve, but the clues to that overall plot will be gained by the weekly mysteries.  The closer you watch the series, the more you'll discover about the overall mystery, but meanwhile, every week will have a one hour mystery that doesn't require knowledge from the viewer on the overall mystery.  It'll just be a procedural, sort of a Sci-Fi CSI.

Whether or not this will work to bring in larger viewers, since an encyclopedia like knowledge of the show won't be required (like on LOST, again, not that there's anything wrong with that), we'll have to wait and see.

Myself, I'm eager to see what else there is to know about The Pattern and what other interesting mysteries the show will throw at us as viewers.

Until Next Time, If you missed it yesterday, there will be an encore showing of the premiere episode on FOX Saturday night.  Do yourself a favor and check it out, JJ Abrams has done it again.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


FRINGE premieres tonight on FOX.  It's the new show from JJ Abrams (creator of Alias and LOST) and has a distinct X-Files vibe going on.

Tonight's 95 minute premiere opens with a mystery involving a plane landing, but everyone on it is dead.  An FBI agent is tasked to find out what happened leading her to a mad scientist (literally mad, he's in an institution) and his theories about fringe sciences, mind-reading, teleportation, excetra, in other words, all our sci-fi faves.  In order to get his cooperation, she enlists the help of the scientist's son (and the Scully of the show) played by Pacey from Dawson's Creek.  (Joshua Jackson if you insist on using actor's real names.)

By the end of the 95 minute premiere, the first mystery will be solved and we'll get a new one next week.

Apparently, the network is hoping that less of a serialized approach will hope viewers feel more comfortable, as it will allow them to come in whenever and not be too penalized by missing an episode.

I suppose this is a sound theory, but speaking for myself, I'm much more interested in investing my time in shows that ask something of me.  Sure, sometimes it means that I have to hold off after missing an episode and catching up in the summer with the DVD release (although iTunes has made it much easier to catch up quickly for the low, low price of  $1.99, and often times the networks have the episode available for free on their own website, so this is less and less of an issue), but on the flipside, keeping up with a serialized show is tons more rewarding.

I have to admit, I'm excited about Fringe, because of the creators pedigree in part and also because of the storyline and actors attached, but I think that I'd be tons more interested if it were a highly serialized show the way that Alias and LOST were.

After all, if I'm not penalized for missing an episode, isn't it more likely that I will?

Until Next Time, I'll put up my review of the pilot tomorrow.