September 9, 2008

CRANK UP THE DVR:

Spooky Conspiracy on Sci-Fi Frontier (ALESSANDRA STANLEY, 9/09/08, NY Times)

[A]s pilots go, this one is sensational, an artful, suspenseful mix of horror, science fiction, layered conspiracies and extended car chases. “Fringe” sets out to stretch the boundaries of conventional network series. So did “Lost” when it began in 2004, but that ABC show was unlike any other drama in recent memory: characters stranded on a tropical island seemingly stalked by unknown and perhaps paranormal forces.

“Fringe” treads on more familiar territory. It is a lot like “The X-Files,” only this variation pairs a trusting female F.B.I. agent with a scientifically minded and skeptical male sidekick. There is even a hint of the paranoia that fueled another hit Mr. Abrams helped shape, “Alias.” (“Fringe” also pays homage to the 1980 movie “Altered States” with drug-induced hallucinations in an immersion tank and Blair Brown, who here plays a creepy business executive.)

The pilot is so packed with showy special effects and spiraling plot twists that it’s hard to tell whether subsequent episodes can live up to its premise. The paranormal can pall, but actually it’s not the fringe science that is hard to swallow — it’s the fringe bureaucracy. Viewers are asked to believe many implausible things, including state-of-the-art technological efficiency at Logan International Airport in Boston.


MORE:
The Fringe: Why less can be more (Robert Cushman, 9/09/08, National Post)

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Posted by Orrin Judd at September 9, 2008 7:32 AM
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