In the good old days, if you made a TV Show like Fox’s Fringe and wanted to get some buzz about it, you would arrange for people from TV Guide to see the show. Maybe JJ Abrams and Fox would invite someone from Parade Magazine and a few of the larger daily newspapers. The Media would watch a show like Fringe and write up a review to be printed the day that Fringe was going to air for the first time.
Then came the Review Copy-Video Tapes and then DVDs of Fringe sent out to respected media. There were rules about who could see these Review Copies and how soon they could be written about. There was a bit of fuss about The New York Times reviewing the last Harry Potter book before they were supposed to-though it is virtually unimaginable that their review could have made one bit of difference to anyone.
But now-we have the internet. Streaming video, file sharing formats, and people who want buzz the new fashioned way-with blogs as well as ‘real’ news outlets. So I found a very high quality copy of the first episode of Fox’s Fridge the other day-I found it on a Google Trends link. Look around, you can find it too. Googel fringe s01e01. This Fringe video was broadcast quality with the little Bad Robot credit splash at the end.
JJ Abrams got a bit of buzz from a lot of blogs with his many 1-18-08 hints about his monster movie Cloverfield. Which I was not all that impressed with once I saw it. But it was fun writing about it.
Fringe, after watching the first episode, looks good. It is pure X-Files stuff though. A shadowy group in the Government, Conspiracies on all sides, Trust No One, The Richest Man in The World and a Mad Scientist or two tossed in for good measure.
Our story opens with an airplane bouncing around in turbulence, one passager injects himself with an insulin needle and then staggers to toward the front of the plane. Before he gets there, his skin has turned translucence and his body begins to fall apart. Within moments everyone on the plane is dying. The pilot manages to engage the autopilot before he, too, disintegrates into a goopy pile. Killed by fringe science.
The new autopilot lands the plane on time, and our heroes are called onto the scene to investigate the mysterious deaths. The FBI agent we are following is a Liaison to Homeland Security and is not treated very well by the Boss. She is given a crap job of checking out a tip about strange going ons at a storage unit. Her partner and her lover is injured and she now has the added incentive to find a cure to this horrid disease before it kills him.
And so begins the Quest to assemble the Fringe Team that will solve the unsolvable mysteries and help save the world from the Forces of Evil with Fringe Science. Like the Bad Guys in Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull-there are forces at work here we don’t fully understand.
Fringe looks really good-the special effects are sharp, the music sets a good mood, and I like the actors. The writing, well, I liked the X-Files, so I don’t see any reason not to like this X-Files clone. I watch a lot of Sci Fi, though I am not as die hard a fan as The Wife, who is currently watching Tripods on YouTube-if you’ve never heard of Tripods don’t feel bad, neither has most of the rest of the world. So I like Fringe, as it is so much better looking than most old sci fi shows.
Fringe has high production values and solid, if not entirely original writing. But since Alias was also about a number of super secret shadowy government groups looking for supernatural artifacts, it should be no surprise that JJ Abram’s Fringe is also a bit out there.