The “Lost” jokes fill the room as a plane flies through a lightning storm. One passenger looks a little “off” as he’s sweating and freaking out. He pulls out his insulin pen and injects himself… then the madness ensues. The passenger begins to melt, and I mean melt… he moves up towards the cockpit where a pilot switches on autopilot. Almost instantaneously EVERYONE on the plane begins to melt – it’s some of the most gruesome special effects to ever to hit the TV. No one is getting off this plane, and thus begins the first mystery of “FRINGE”.
“FRINGE”, which debuts this fall on Fox, re-teams the “ALIAS” writing trio J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci. The show, which is also produced by J.J. Abrams (“LOST”, CLOVERFIELD), is a new take of an area of science referred to as “fringe” – or Pseudoscience, which is defined as a body of knowledge, methodology, belief, or practice that is claimed to be scientific or made to appear scientific, but does not adhere to the scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, or otherwise lacks scientific status.
The show begins with a bang, a real big bang. The room was cheering and chatter began that this could be the new “LOST”. Only five minutes in, and with a good 75-minutes to go, the evening looked to be one of promise and one filled with excitement that there could be a new show to obsess over. But as the lead investigator Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is being submerged in order to psychically connect with a loved one in a coma, the jokes began to fly that this new series was “on the fringe of being terrible.”
The show features a wide range of fantastic casting including “OZ” favorites Lance Reddick and Kirk Acevedo, along with an incredible Danny Huston impersonation by John Noble, only to be crippled by the lackluster performances of Mark Valley and Joshua Jackson (really?).
“FRINGE” features one of the most ridiculous and unbelievable concepts ever to hit the small screen, which isn’t the problem. The problem is that the show couldn’t establish itself as serious or one big hilarious (not) joke. During a intense moment John Noble, Joshua Jackson and another star join a cow (literally) in watching “SPONGE BOB” on the TV. Is this the writers’ way of saying that the viewer shouldn’t take this seriously? That’s the center of the problem and what needs to be fixed immediately if this show is going to work. The viewer needs to take this “fringe science” and Pseudoscience seriously if they’re going to continue watching the show. In “LOST” the viewer is asked to believe that the situation is not only possible, but true to this world, in “FRINGE” it’s too hammy and played over-the-top for anyone to believe. “X-FILES” worked and that show had werewolves, sludge monsters and regular alien invasions – so why can’t this? The recommendation of this reviewer is to eliminate all silliness and pull back from some of the ridiculous scenarios. When you see how the season premiere concludes you’re going to immediately want to file this one away under “no thanks”.
Continuing in its downward spiral, the show bottoms out at the conclusion as the mystery of the melting people is resolved and the set up for the series isn’t all that engaging. All sorts of questions are posed, but none of them seem to be anything worth caring about. The only question that was asked at the end of night was, “did we just watch “LOST” leftovers?”