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Fringe – “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”

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“In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”

November 11th, 2008

I don’t think that anyone could actually be addicted to Fringe at this point, to be honest: while Abrams’ last show, Lost, became this massive sensation, there is nothing sensational about Fringe, as evidenced by this week’s episode, the first new one in three weeks. This is not to say that this episode is bad – on the contrary, it was actually one of the more memorable episodes for a few characters – but rather that it feels as if it is operating at a near glacial pace.

The episode is one of the most expansive: when Fringe science pops up on the FBI’s doorstep, solving this individual mystery unlocks the secret to something much bigger, opening up this world to new scientific terror cells organized as “ZFT.” Really, this is nothing new for a procedural: you take what you’ve been doing all along, solving crazy scientific mysteries like this week’s pirahna plant organism eating away the FBI agent’s insides, and suddenly make solving them about more than an individual life and more about driving our heroes to search out new questions, new answers.

But the show has, honestly, been extremely slow with answers: we might only be 7 episodes in, but things like character dynamics and organizational terror-like cells are the types of things that might have been useful earlier. There were questions early about whether or not the show could last very long, but they insisted they had a plan: is there plan, however, just to move really slowly in opening up this world? This wasn’t a bad episode in execution or in design, but there was a point where Broyles was ranting about Olivia being stubborn in wanting to control what can’t be controlled, contained what can’t be contained that stuck with me. It felt like Abrams was telling me not to ask questions, not to want more out of this show.

And while I’m willing to be patient, I do think that the eponymous Mr. Jones has some potential, and forgive me for hoping that we’ll see it sooner rather than later.

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Pilot Preview – FOX’s “Fringe”

“Fringe”

Fall 2008 Pilot Preview

[As per pilot screener regulations, this is a preview and not a review. The content of the series may change between now and the show’s official airing, so all thoughts are of a preliminary nature pending said changes. For a full review, tune in for the show’s September premiere.]

When Fringe debuts in September, there are going to be a lot of comparisons made: to the past work of producer J.J. Abrams, to television’s last prominent science fiction procedural, and also to the rest of the pilots coming to the networks this fall. In all three cases, the show will play well – in its current form, Fringe is a tight series with a compelling cast, a winning premise and (most of all) the mythological underpinnings that drive any great piece of Abrams drama.

[Warning: The review will not feature any major spoilers, but there could be a few light ones as I make some comparisons to other series, so tread lightly if you’re worried about learning a single piece of the show’s plot.]

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Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Truth”

“Chuck Versus the Truth”

November 12th, 2007 

In deciding which of the early evening shows to watch this fine Monday evening, I chose Chuck for a few important reasons. First off, I have found the show to have been quite enjoyable thus far this season. And, this evening saw two guest appearances from alumnus from two shows that heavily influence the series. As a result, with Rachel Bilson (Late of The O.C.) and Kevin Weisman (Late of Alias) on board, Chuck was the night’s most intriguing option.

The result was an episode that, once again, did a great job of connecting the plot-of-the-week to the recurring storylines and Chuck’s personal life. However, as much as a I found Rachel Bilson as enchanting as ever, an end of episode event left a sour taste in my mouth. The episode did a lot of good for Chuck’s character, but it also took the show’s premise a small step backwards by foregrounding an element that they’ll never live up to.

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