I apologize in advance for my unprofessionalism, but I will disclaim that this will take two posts.

I just had the privilege of watching the “Pilot” for “Fringe”, FOX’s new serial sci-fi drama, spearheaded by J.J. Abrams, the brainchild behind cult favorite series “Alias” and ABC’s ratings-saver “Lost”. I won’t go into the logistics behind said “Pilot”, but if you care to see it for yourself, check out the leaked copy on your preferred Bittorrent tracker or streaming online from TV piracy giant Sidereel.com.

I’ll do my best to review the online “pilot” without posting any spoilers. And you have to understand that I’m essentially flying by the seat of my pants. I had had an entirely different plan set out for how I was going to address Abrams’s new series. But if you want to be completely surprised by the premiere on September 9th, I’d advise to skip the rest of this post, because I’ll be reviewing a couple specific aspects of the show.

The opener was surprising at best, because the way the series has been advertised, both online and on in TV spots, it was implied that it was not going to differentiate itself greatly from the hit series “Lost”. This viewer, when first confronted with the concept of a new Abrams series, saw it as very much an analogue for the ratings-fledgling previous series, sort of as a replacement for a show that has garnered a lot of poor reviews for asking a lot of questions that didn’t look like they were going to be answered. If you put them in court, you might say they were badgering the witness. And a lot of people got pissed off in a big hurry.

Now that I vented a little bit, here’s what I think.

The cinematography is something to behold. The show, at least in the first half, looks like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I had read reviews that called the show a mix between Lost, the X-Files and the Twilight Zone. Upon first viewing, the thematic motif of the show proves this statement EXTREMELY true. It’s easy to see elements from all three shows in the “Pilot”. The first twenty minutes especially have a certain aesthetic that will at once draw you in and in the next moment make your skin crawl. It’s impressive really.

As far as writing, I was astonished. It’s not like “Lost” at all. It seems more like “House” than anything. It seems like every episode will be addressing a particular “case” a la “X Files” with each episode contributing to an overarcing storyline. If there is a just and loving God, that storyline will go somewhere. Shit, ignore that. That comment was intended for a later post. But the “cases” themselves won’t be simple or conventional problems, but rather, pseudoscientific and/or metaphysical theories and concepts. Or, “Fringe science”.

Get it? See where this is going?

If it sounds simple, it truly isn’t. It’s hard to really judge a show by its pilot, just go back to your favorite show and watch the pilot, and see how uncharacteristic, and, for a lack of a better word, shitty, it was. Every show has to start somewhere, and I don’t pretend to know where the series is going. But, as an Abrams show, it’s going to go somewhere deep. According to interviews, each episode will have “clues” and/or “glyphs” leading to the next episode. Also, including viral marketing campaigns, ARGs and suggestive catchphrases like “Find The Pattern”, it’s hard to conclude that this isn’t another formulaic “Lost” analogue, essentially a crossword with one word constantly missing for the audience to be perpetually salivating for.

But from what I saw of the “Pilot”, it looks fresh, and entertaining. And it looks unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. And in my quasi-professional opinion, that’s the best compliment I can afford any show.

More To Come.

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