Fringe Premiere Promises New Hit, Lots of Intrigue

September 10, 2008

If I only watch one new show this fall, it’ll have to be J.J. Abram’s Fringe.  Last night’s premiere just happened to be my first glimpse into the new fall season and judging from Fringe‘s debut this season should be a good one.

Fringe trio Walter, Olivia and Peter

FRINGE: An unlikely trio uncovers a deadly mystery involving a series of unbelievable events and realizes they may be part of a larger, more disturbing pattern that blurs the line between the possible and the impossible on FRINGE premiering Tuesday, Sept. 9 (8:00-9:35 PM ET/PT) this fall on FOX. Pictured L-R: John Noble, Anna Torv, Jasika Nicole and Joshua Jackson ©2008 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Mark Ben Holzberg/FOX

Fox’s new series reminded me of an updated X-Files with a dash of Alias‘ science, Lost‘s intrigue and 24‘s terrorists.  And like the X-files, fans will find that the “truth is out there” and I for one am looking for to the adventure to find it.

But unlike our friends Scully and Mulder, this team isn’t looking for aliens.  Instead they are looking for those behind “The Pattern” – a series of mysterious events that are a result of experiments by ethically challenged scientists dabbling in “fringe” science – science dealing with topics on the fringe of science like genetic mutation, reanimation, mind control, invisibility teleportation and astral projection.

In the opening episode, we see just one of these events when all the passengers and flight crew of Glatterflug Flight 627 (so glad they didn’t use Oceanic, but what is it that Abrams has against planes) mysteriously die after a bioterrorism agent is released leaving nothing more than skeletons and piles of body fluids and tissues.  (yes, it was a little gruesome to watch.)

In the search for the scientist responsible for releasing the toxin, FBI agent Olivia Dunham’s partner and lover John Scott (Mark Valley) is exposed to the raw ingredients of the toxin in an explosion leaving him to a slowed version of the same fate dealt to the Flight 627 passengers.

Now Olivia (Anna Torv) must not only solve the mystery behind Flight 627, she must find a cure for John.  Her research leads her to Walter Bishop (John Noble), a brilliant scientist who did research in fringe science for the government in the 70s and 80s.  In fact, his work turns out to be the basis for the contagion used in Flight 627.

But Walter isn’t a suspect.  For the last 17 years he has been incarcerated in a mental hospital following the death of one of his lab assistants and speculation that he was conducting tests on humans.  Now he is allowed no visitors outside of family.

Since Walter might hold the key to not only Flight 627, but treatment for John, Olivia seeks out Walter’s only son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), to gain access to Walter.  A genius in his own right, Peter has refused to follow in the footsteps of the “mad scientist” father he’s separated himself from for so many years, choosing instead to wander from job to job and place to place getting himself into his own trouble in the process.

Together the trio – Olivia, Walter and Peter – work to solve the case and save John from the toxin.  But what they discover changes their perspectives forever.  The threesome then signs up to work for Homeland Security Agent Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick, The Wire and Lost) to investigate The Pattern.

I originally tuned in because I like J.J. Abrams and I’m a big Pacey – I mean Joshua Jackson – fan, but I’ll be returning for the intrigue.  There were a few predictable moments like how the team came to work for Broyles, but for the most part, I was on the edge of my seat throughout the show.

The show is also laced with a nice blend of humor.  The cow in the first episode was my favorite especially when they are all eating lunch with it. 

Joshua Jackson does a great job of showing his character’s conflict between his interest (and knack) for the science with his distrust of his father.  Peter acts as Walter’s conscious preventing him from becoming Dr. Frankenstein.  As Olivia says, Peter is the only one who can “speak Walter.”

It’s also easy to see that there will be some chemistry between Peter and Olivia in future episodes.  For being such a loner, Peter really seems to care about people.

I’m also very intrigued by the mysterious Massive Dynamics and the yet-unseen William Bell, who just happened to be Walter’s former lab partner.  It’ll be no mystery to learn that Massive Dynamics is behind The Pattern.  What will be surprising is to learn why and how far Bell and company have gone with the technology.

Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) – and her robotic arm – is very creepy as the Massive Dynamics Chief Operating Officer who warns Olivia that science has already gone too far to be controlled.

I, for one, am looking forward to the next episode.  This show has definitely earned a spot on the DVR this season.  Let’s just hope Fox doesn’t screw it up.

If you missed the premiere episode, Fox is re-airing it on Sunday, Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. or you can watch it online at Fox.com.

Anyone else catch this premiere? What did you think? Does the show have potential? What was your favorite part?

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Is Nina Fringe’s Cigarette Smoking Man?

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Your Favorite Shows Are Finally Back, How Did You Survive?

April 8, 2008

Normally April brings warm showers and the first signs of spring.  But it’s bitterly cold and dreary here.  But nonetheless, I’m singing like a bird.  Because this April marks the return of our favorite television shows after a much too long hiatus brought on by the writer’s strike.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m doing a little happy dance (no video of said dance will be included) because finally television as we know is returning.  And even the threat of an actor’s strike will not overshadow my joy this month.

But in all honesty, I found plenty to do in the absence of my favorite shows.  I cleared off my DVR (it is now primed and ready for the April onslaught of shows), I watched BBC America (who knew I’d like British dramas), I read and read some more (including books on my favorite shows like Supernatural and Heroes), I’ve had plenty of field trips with my kids to museums and parks, and I’ve caught up on last summer’s blockbusters on DVD.

In fact, I’ve enjoyed a little break from my TV set.  But the break is over and I happily welcome the return of my shows.

Here’s a breakdown of the returning shows (source:  TV Guide):

Mondays:

8 p.m.

The Big Bang Theory on CBS, Returned March 17

Bones on Fox, Returns April 14

Gossip Girl on CW, Returns April 21

8:30 p.m.

How I Met Your Mother on CBS, Returned March 17

9 p.m.

Two and a Half Men on CBS, Returned March 17

House on Fox, Returns April 28

9:30 p.m.

Samantha Who? On ABC, Returned April 7

Rules of Engagement on CBS, Returns April 14

10 p.m.

CSI Miami on CBS, Returned March 24

Tuesdays:

 

8 p.m.

NCIS on CBS, Returns April 8

9 p.m.

Shark on CBS, Returns April 29

10 p.m.

Boston Legal on ABC, Returns April 8

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit on NBC, Returns April 14

Women’s Murder Club on ABC, Returns April 29

Wednesdays:

8 p.m.

‘Til Death on Fox, Returns April 15

8:30 p.m.

Back to You on Fox, Returns April 16

9 p.m.

Criminal Minds on CBS, Returned April 2

10 p.m.

CSI:NY on CBS, Returned on April 2

Law & Order on NBC, Returns April 23

Thursday:

8 p.m.

My Name is Earl on NBC, Returned April 3

Smallville on CW, Returns April 17

Ugly Betty on ABC, Returns April 24

8:30 p.m.

30 Rock on NBC, Returns April 10

9 p.m.

CSI on CBS, Returned April 3

The Office on NBC, Returns April 10

Supernatural on CW, Returns April 24

Grey’s Anatomy on ABC, Returns April 24

9:30 p.m.

Scrubs on NBC, Returns April 10

10 p.m.

Without a Trace on CBS, Returned April 3

ER on NBC, Returns April 10

Lost on ABC, Returns April 24

Friday:

8 p.m.

Ghost Whisperer on CBS, Returned April 4

9 p.m.

Moonlight on CBS, Returns April 25

10 p.m.

Numbe3rs on CBS, Returned April 4

Sunday:

8:30 p.m.

Aliens in America on CW, Returns April 27

9 p.m.

The Game on CW, Returned March 23

Cold Case on CBS, Returned March 30

Desperate Housewives on ABC, Returns April 13

10 p.m.

Brothers & Sisters on ABC, Returns on April 20

The schedule looks a bit thin, but I think we will all take what we can get.  Mondays and Thursdays seem to be the nights that will pack the biggest punch.

How did you survive the strike?  What returning show are you looking forward to the most?


Does ‘Chuck’ hold the secret to ‘Lost’?

October 2, 2007

In the second episode of Chuck, we got a peek at some of the government secrets inside Chuck’s head.  And apparently he holds the answer to one of the biggest Lost mysteries.

Chuck and CaseyLast week, Chuck accidentally downloaded an encrypted file holding all the NSA and CIA secrets sent to him by his former roommate Bryce, a rogue agent who destroyed the original computer holding this valuable information.

Now both the NSA and the CIA are anxious to get their secrets back from a mere BuyMore employee who runs the NerdHerd.  In “Chuck vs. the Helicopter,” Sarah and Casey bring in a doctor who worked on the initial computer containing the secret files to extract the information from Chuck.

In order to keep his identity a secret because of his value, or rather the value of the information he holds, Chuck is put into a home entertainment theater at BuyMore behind closed curtains.  Meanwhile the doctor, in another part of the store, sends him images (remember that’s how the files are encrypted) and Chuck tells him what they mean.

Of course several of the topics were key items for conspiracy theorists everywhere, like who was behind the JFK assassination.  But the one secret that caught my attention was when a photo of a plane was shown and Chuck said “Oceanic Flight 815 was shot down by . . . ”

Unfortunately, the show panned back to the doctor as Chuck revealed the answer of who or what shot downs Oceanic Flight 815.

But as a Lost fan, the reference did give me a chuckle, especially since Chuck (NBC) and Lost (ABC) are on different networks.  But apparently the executive producer of Chuck, Josh Schwartz, is a big lost fan.

Personally, I find this show hilarious.  I was glad to see a little more Jayne (Firefly) in Adam Baldwin this episode.  His rescue attempts while being shot with a tranq dart were hysterical.

But if you are still on the fence about Chuck, this little tidbit might sway you.

The O.C. Rachel Bilson will be joining the cast of Chuck later this season, according to TV Guide.  Bilson, who played Summer Roberts on The O.C. also created by Schwartz, could possibly be Chuck’s next girlfriend.  But expect her to come with a few secrets of her own.

Although I didn’t like Summer’s character the first season of The O.C., she came to be one of my favorite characters on the show.  And she does have a knack for falling for nerds.  I hope to see more of this magic on Chuck.

And I think Sarah’s all wrong for Chuck.  Besides, he doesn’t want/need Bryce’s left overs.  If I knew when Bilson’s guest starring role would start, I’d be counting down the episodes. But since there is no word yet in which episodes Bilson will be, I’ll just sit back and enjoy Chuck.

If you’ve missed this episode, you can catch it on Bravo, Sunday at 1 p.m.

(Photo courtesy of NBC)