TV to See

J.J. Abrams, Fringe, J.J. Abrams Fringe, Fringe premiere
Jennifer Graylock/AP
Anna Torv

TV to See: Fringe

September 08, 2008
by Amy Goldschlager
Get your tinfoil hat on! “Fringe,” which offers a healthy dose of mad scientists spouting technobabble, conspiracy theory and other “out-there” stuff, premieres on September 9.

“Fringe,” 2008’s answer to the “X-Files,” is the latest TV series from producer J.J. Abrams, who clearly adores woo-woo and angst in equal measure.

College students looked for love and traveled in time in his first outing, “Felicity.” In “Alias,”  Jennifer Garner partied in funky wigs and fabulous clothes, kicked butt, searched for mystic Renaissance-era technology and experienced Profound Unspeakable Suffering because she couldn’t tell her friends she was a spy. Abrams left the glamour and rear-kicking behind, but brought the spooky stuff and the tears along to his next smash series, “Lost,” about the survivors of a plane crash wrecked on a mysterious island.

Both of Abrams’s favorite elements make their appearance in the pilot of “Fringe”; an FBI agent (Anna Torv) investigating a flesh-melting virus that killed everyone on a commercial flight to Boston, faces her own share of anguish when her partner gets infected, too. And where else to look for help in defeating the virus than in a mental hospital? An institutionalized ex-Harvard researcher (John Noble) may hold the key to the mystery, but only the researcher’s bitter, reluctant son (Joshua Jackson) can get him to unlock it.
Previous Abrams shows have suffered from what one might call “X-Files Syndrome”: the storyline becomes so encrusted with such an elaborate, often self-contradicting mythology, it sinks under the weight of it. Abrams is attempting to avoid that this time by providing self-contained, one-episode mysteries within a larger story arc.

A high-quality copy of the pilot leaked onto file-sharing network BitTorrent in June, and geeks have already begun weighing in on the show.

Naturally, those who want a more legitimate way of watching the show online can turn to Fox’s official “Fringe” site, which currently offers some clips and will presumably also host full episodes once the show is underway. For those who would do more than spectate, Fox’s “Fringe” Wiki will connect spoiler-spouting, conspiracy-speculating fans from around the globe to share their thoughts, rants and artwork.

Most Recent Features