No, not an exciting new X-Factor show to find the top hairdressers in the country. This Fringe is the new Bad Robot (J.J. Abrams) production for Fox TV, which made its US debut on the 9th of September.
In a word, ‘wow’. I’d say this was the best new pilot I’ve seen for a show this year, bar none. And despite that acclaim, and the terrible urge to spill the beans entirely, I’m going to keep my review spoiler free. Because Fringe should be experienced without knowing what’s going to happen to get the full enjoyment from it.
What I will say is that the concepts and the premise of the show are entirely based on the X-Files, except they’re managed to keep Agents Mulder and Scully away from this show. Possibly not a bad thing.
Now we’ve got single minded FBI Agent Olivia Dunham, played convincingly by Anna Torv, supported by unreliable genius Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his ‘mad scientist’ father Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble). That last character stands out as the pivotal player here. John Noble is as nutty as a fruit cake in this, as he was as the unhinged Denethor in Lord of the Rings. I’m expecting him to form the hub of the Fringe team about which all the other characters rotate like captured space debris.
So what is this all about?
The Fringe in question is fringe science, much like the X-Files focus, and how accepting it might be the means to solve mysteries. But early on we realise that the long term story arc revolves around a series of events that have been called ’The Pattern’. The inference is that the entire planet might be an ongoing experiment, the purpose of which is unknown. Spooky.
What impressed me most about the pilot show were the acting performances, which where generally top notch across the entire cast. They’ve also thrown in a tight script with some nice character development over the running time, and the special effects are genuinely film quality. I’m not sure how much it cost to make, but it looks very expensive. I wonder if they’d be able to keep the product values up and the scripts to eclectic, but I hope they can.
The show draws immediate parallels with Threshold, I just hope it has a longer run that that unfortunately axed title.
Whatever happens, I’d take the time to tune into the pilot, which is a rare example of TV entertainment that hits the floor running.
I haven’t got a UK screening date or channel for you, but given it’s made by Fox it’s likely to be Sky that gets it.