So, Fringe. It was all right, definitely bears the JJ Abrams touch, which, depending on the level of his continued involvement with the show, unfortunately doesn't bode well for its long-term prospects. And by long-term, I mean expect the show to jump the shark no later than the second season.
First episode spoilers abound after the jump.
Fringe opens like Lost (remember, he's one of the creators?), with an airplane catastrophe, but it most resembles Alias, the show that probably defines JJ and his aesthetic most thoroughly. We have a headstrong action chick who is not too de-feminized to have a good cry when her love interest is bumped off. She works for a quasi-governmental agency (or thinks she does) and is surrounded by people who are damn good at what they do, equally headstrong (one of whom is a quirky/bizarre science-genius, and who is at least temporarily the brightest ), which results in a lot of heated cross-talk when they inevitably disagree with each other. JJ has even dusted off a trick that I once called the live past, where we cut to a scene in medias res but then hear a voiceover that refers in the future tense to what we see, then cut to another scene that matches the time of that voiceover, so what that first scene was is like a flash-forward (to what purpose, I don't think I ever decided -- maybe the permeability of narrative time?).
And finally, dead people totally not being dead.
Given all of these Alias echoes, I really hope that JJ doesn't resort to some pseudo-apocalyptic prophecy every time he can't figure out what to do next to develop the show's grand narrative.
Indie rating: Love - "Andmoreagain"