Review of “Fringe”

Tonight, the most hyped show of the new season aired on FOX: “Fringe“. Its pilot is the second most expensive TV pilot ever that cost $10 million (“Lost” is first with well over $10 million). “Fringe” is primarily a detective story with parapsychology and sci-fi elements, and a background story arc. It is, as you have heard, similar to “X-Files” in many ways.

Unfortunately, the good things end here. I felt almost no connection with the main character, as except knowing who her lover was, we know or feel nothing for her. Then, the whole story felt out of place. From one side you have some X-Files-like science that is acceptable (as it’s part of what you expect on a series like this), and from the other one you are shown a Terminator-like robotic arm — a robotic arm that’s not questioned by the lead character when she sees it in front of her. If Scully was to see this robotic arm she would say “this is impossible, we don’t have the technology for this yet”. And yet, the lead character just looks at it, and then she just goes away like nothing happened. This scene in itself shows that the show is not taking itself seriously. It is not making the unbelievable “fringe science”, believable to us.

And then, finding some gross excuse to have the lead character take off her clothes, or the stupidity of having the FBI not be able to visit a mental hospital patient with a warrant. Both excuses are shallow, and especially the second one, that serves as a plot device, is underestimating our intelligence.

All in all, “Fringe” is an expensive production, it feels bad ass at first look, but it doesn’t leave you with a feeling of wanting to shout: “Awesome!”.

What bothers me even more is that JJ Abrams is pulling this like he did on some of his other series too: he writes the pilot and the main story of the series, and then he doesn’t bother again with it. That’s ok with me, but I hate it when I hear “JJ Abrams’ Fringe” or even worse, “JJ Abrams’ Lost”, when he hasn’t written a word of script after the initial 3-4 episodes. JJ seems to me like this mythological creature that’s here to “bless” a film project (for a hefty fee, of course) and then hop to the next one. Like a priest. Or Tinkerbell.

In all honesty, “Fringe” is not bad. It’s just an expensive TV series and it looks like one. But it’s also not great. It’s a very average series, made (possibly) for less intelligent people (e.g. FOX executives). If I was a FOX share holder I would feel ripped off. It definitely is no “Lost”, and it won’t enjoy not even the moderate success of “Heroes”, let alone “Lost”‘s first season mania.

JJ Abrams is overrated.

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