'Fringe': What did you think of J.J. Abrams' latest?
Stuff I thought was cool in last night’s pilot for J.J. Abrams‘ Fringe on Fox:
• Lance Reddick‘s spooky cranium. First thing in the ep I saw that made me cheer out loud.
• That translucent-skin ailment. Gross, but really cool.
• The cow walking through the halls of Harvard.
• The whole immersion tank scenario. I was thinking, “How very Altered States.” And then, a few minutes later, who shows up but Altered States star Blair Brown. With a ROBOTIC ARM. Well played, sirs, well played.
Stuff I was less impressed with:
• Star Anna Torv, who strikes me so far as the poor person’s Kelly Lynch.
• The opening midair disaster. C’mon, J.J., you’ve been there, done that.
• Those 3D title cards. They were novel the first time I saw them –at the opening of Panic Room. Less so after 90 minutes of repeated usehere.
• The “Pattern” conspiracy/mythology. So far, awfully thin gruel tofuel the entire plot of this series, though it’s easy to see how it’lloffer a plausible excuse for Torv & Co. to explore other weird X-Files-ishphenomena. I can also see how it’ll be loose enough to allow forstand-alone episodes that could draw casual viewers who aren’t wrappedup in the mythology.
Overall, I thought the pilot started out slow and routine, but itdefinitely picked up when Reddick showed up and Torv’s Agt. OliviaDunham recruited the Bishops (John Noble and Joshua Jackson,pictured). There’s a lot of potential in the chemistry among the threeleads — naive but open-minded Olivia, giddy mad scientist Walter, andskeptical, street-smart Peter. The characters are going to need a lotmore fleshing out; fortunately, Abrams is the king of backstory. Watch for a full, official review of Fringe from our TV critics in a forthcoming issue of EW. Meanwhile, I’llbe tuning in next week. How about you?