In TV Guide's Fall Preview issue, Fringe's executive producer J.J. Abrams (he of Lost and Alias fame) promises that his newest series will not require the "insane dedication" of his earlier intricately involved series. As an avid Lost fan (and occasional Alias viewer) all I can say is, "Thank god!" Still, I was a bit apprehensive about delving into Fox's new intrigue series. Sure, the promos looked good, the premise (an elite group of FBI agents investigate a pattern of strange events centering around fringe science) interesting, and the buzz was strong, but I was concerned that I would get sucked into a vortex of Lost proportions. I would never be able to claw my way out and I'd be reduced to writing about how confused I was and how much I longed for answers to the point where the smallest morsel would be enough to tied me over (Lost, I do love thee despite these issues). Luckily, last night's series premiere relieved some of these fears. While very engaging, this show seems to be less involved and more importantly, less caught up in its own mythology. Hopefully, this trend will hold because I seriously can't take on another Lost. My plate is too full already.
We're only one episode in, and Fringe has already managed to surprise me. I didn't see the big twist coming with the rogue agent. And once the murdering twin dropped the "FBI is involved" bombshell, I went straight to the top, as in, the guy running this elite group of FBI agents (whom Lost fans may recognize as the Oceanic Airlines representative who visited Hurley in the psych ward in the future or present or whatever those flashforwards are supposed to be). I realize that they needed to eliminate Mark Valley as a love interest for Olivia because: a) having your lead in a stable, committed relationship is boring, and b) there was no way they were going to waste the Joshua Jackson as the love interest opportunity. BUT, I figured they were going to kill him off. First I thought it was the explosion, then the chemical reaction that allowed us to see through his skin (yuck!), and then the car accident. Apparently, this dude is hard to kill. Even at the end, we saw the woman from the company with the bionic arm prepping him for memory sharing. And this is only the beginning! Better buckle up 'cause I think we're in for a good ride with this one.
Fringe airs Tuesday nights on Fox. If you missed last night's series premiere, watch it for free at Fox.com.