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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

what the hell is ‘Fringe,’ anyway?

I’ve been seeing ads all around New York — on the sides of buses, on the walls of subway stations — that look like this:

And every time I see one, all I can think is: Torchwood. American TV was on the lookout for a Torchwood, and J.J. Abrams gave them this.

Now, I had no idea what the show was about when those ads started making me think this. It was merely a combination of the name and the image, the weird perspective of which made me suspect the show would share.

And here’s what the show’s official site has to say about the series’ premise:

From J.J. Abrams (“Lost”), Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the team behind “Star Trek,” “Mission: Impossible III” and “Alias,” comes a new series that will thrill, terrify and explore the blurring line between the possible and the impossible.

When an international flight lands at Boston’s Logan Airport with no signs of life, FBI Special Agent OLIVIA DUNHAM (Anna Torv) is called in to investigate as part of an inter-agency task force. After her partner, Special Agent JOHN SCOTT (Mark Valley), is nearly killed during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches frantically for someone to help, leading her to DR. WALTER BISHOP (John Noble), our generation’s Einstein. There’s only one catch: he’s been institutionalized for the last 17 years, and the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son PETER (Joshua Jackson) in to help.

When Olivia’s investigation leads to multi-billion dollar corporation Massive Dynamic and its manipulative corporate executive, NINA SHARP (Blair Brown), our unlikely trio, along with Department of Homeland Security Agent PHILLIP BROYLES (Lance Reddick) and FBI Agents CHARLIE FRANCIS (Kirk Acevedo) and ASTRID FARNSWORTH (Jasika Nicole), will discover that what happened on Flight 627 is only a small piece of a larger, more shocking truth.

Yeah, sounds like Torchwood meets Lost, actually. I’ll give it a shot. It premieres tomorrow, Tuesday, September 9, at 8pm Eastern on Fox.

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  • JoshDM

    How have you been running around in nerdo-media for months and yet you just heard of Fringe not 1 day before it premieres?

  • PaulW

    I thought it was going to be “X-Files vs. the Last Steward of Gondor”


  • From the trailer, it looks like the show is going to tackle some possible-but-not-yet-achieved technology each week… stuff like quantum teleportation, invisibility, nanotechnological devices, etc. I guess the idea is that some well-moneyed folks out there are tinkering around with new inventions that sometimes don’t work like they’re supposed to.

    I plan to give it at least a few weeks. Given the dearth of good stuff to watch on the other networks, Fringe might win a spot on my list of regulars by default.

  • Ryan

    looks more like X-Files than Torchwood to me, what with the lack of campy aliens, time lords, and themes dealing with bisexual Captains…but that might just be me =)

  • But does it have giant prehistoric beasties running in and out of time warps? That’s what I want to know.;-)

    And given the number of ads I’ve seen in the Net, it does seem kinda curious that you just now noticed this, MaryAnn.

    * Says the guy who wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to those ads either. *

  • MaryAnn

    I didn’t just now notice it — it’s merely that I was finally prompted to post something about it since the show’s about to premiere.

  • Ryan

    I’m just happy that Joshua Jackson will have a chance to be remembered for something besides Dawson’s Creek or the Mighty Ducks; as he was pretty much the ONLY redeeming factor of the former.

  • If it weren’t JJ Abrams, or if it were going to be more episodic, I’d give it a shot. As it is, I know just what will happen, just as on Alias and Lost: every time something seems to be revealed, there’ll be another layer of conspiracy and cover-up behind it, until eventually the viewers run out of patience and the show is cancelled. The writers know this, so they will never bother to work out what the ultimate revelation might actually have been.

  • MaSch

    Isn’t it strange to use a movie that hasn’t been released yet (“Star Trek”) in order to promote this series? Or is it just me who bothers?

  • Bill

    The subway walls are also adorned with posters of a grown man in a diaper. Can anyone explain this one?

  • MaryAnn

    Sounds like a new Adam Sandler movie, Bill. :->

  • Bill

    Yeah, it does. But I hit the mean streets of our fair city on my lunch hour to find the truth. Turns out it’s an ad for a new sitcom called “Worst Week”.

  • “…leading her to DR. WALTER BISHOP (John Noble), our generation’s Einstein.”

    uh, which generation would that be? would Dr. Bishop, as the genius, be the Einstein of *his* generation? or by “our” generation do they actually mean the late X-er/early Millennials these other characters appear to be? bad copywriting.

  • MaryAnn

    John Noble would be the oldest Xer ever. :->

    Turns out it’s an ad for a new sitcom called “Worst Week”.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed those too. I try not to. I have a terrible feeling it’s an American remake of this terrible British sitcom. (See, I don’t automatically love stuff just because it’s British.)

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