Fringe Rough at the Edges

by on Sep.10, 2008, under TV

Tonight Fox premiered a new drama by the name of Fringe – this new show is helmed by J.J. Abrams and stars a cast of numerous unknowns with Joshua Jackson playing a bit of an unknown element in the middle of them.  The show came backed with a ton of critical acclaim and has been heralded as THE pilot of the season to watch.  So I watched it … but I’m not sure I am ready to commit to watching it next week as a result.

Since I have kids that I had to get settled for the night, I DVRed it and started watching it a bit late, but even given the benefit of being able to skip the limited commercials, this extra long pilot seemed, well, extra long.  The story was both concisely arced (had a tidy-ish beginning and an end) and had the sense that there was realistic back-story and more to be discovered going forward.  But unfortunately it felt like there were points in the plot where unrealistic leaps were made or that things moved a little too quickly or worked out too perfectly.  I’m a fan of saying more with less, but there were times where they tried to convey things with expressions that really required words to seem realistic.

The cast isn’t bad – they seem to fit their roles well and seemed believeable as characters.  But some of the segments seemed a little too flat and formulaic (why did every guy in the show have to call the main actress “honey” or “sweetie” or “babe”?).  And while I can see that they are trying to make Jackson’s character into the new Mulder, in many points of the show he didn’t seem to have been given enough motivation to stay or be involved in the goings-on of this fringe-effort at subtle sci-fi drama.

I think that J.J. Abrams is a great writer and I like a lot of his work, but I’m not sold on this concept yet.  It seems like something that will probably garner a following, so it might last the season – maybe longer if they manage to make the normal-length episodes seem less tedious.  But they will need to try harder to keep me from being anything more than a fringe member of their audience.  Also, they need to use the 3-D location names a bit less ostentatiously in the future (seeing the B in Baghdad from beneath was amusing but a bit much).

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