Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fringe Fan

While I don't think that Fringe is a great show, I can't help but like it. That's not a surprise--the blend of science fiction, fantasy, pseudo-science, and conspiracy theory is almost certain to click with me.

The story of an agent who gradually becomes aware of a world of complex conspiracies and contradictions is a good one--but the weekly episodic elements aren't always as "on target." I like J.J. Abrams' approach to storytelling, so I can almost forgive such pseudo-scientific babble as the second episode's ridiculous assertion that the final things a dead person saw can be viewed through careful study of his eyes (I thought that idea had been abandoned in the Victorian era, but apparently Abrams and crew saw no reason not to toss it in as if it were viable science.)

I also hate the affectation of alerting readers to locale changes by having the name of the location inserted into the establishing shot as if it were a tangible object. While Will Eisner made it look pretty cool in the pages of his Spirit tales, it looks incredibly hokey on the television screen. Unfortunately, Abrams and crew embrace it so fervently that they even have the intrusive words reflected in puddles, leaving all of us to wonder why bystanders aren't standing around wondering why there are huge letters floating in the air near them.

The first episode had a bit of an X-Files vibe; the second episode continued in that direction, but the bad science regarding dead people's eyeballs was so absurd that it made the entire story seem weak and contrived. (then again, X-Files wasn't immune to that, was it?...)

As I told someone after I watched it, it's a good thing that Abrams wants to do a 21st Century X-Files, since Chris Carter apparently hasn't the slightest idea how to accomplish that goal. Now, if Abrams can avoid his Alias problem of getting lost in his own overarcing storylines, he might be able to develop Fringe into a real must-see.

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