Tuesday, Sept. 9
Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET
J.J. Abrams Presents "The New X-Files"
When the passengers on an international flight turn up dead in the ickiest manner imaginable, an up-and-coming FBI agent (Anna Torv) has to team up with an eccentric (possibly crazy) older scientist (John Noble) and his estranged genius son (Joshua Jackson). When she discovers that the tragedy wasn't just a freak occurrence, they become an unexpected trio, solving crimes involving fringe science, or the science of the supposedly impossible.
What They Got Right:
Abrams appears to have plucked another unknown actress and positioned her for stardom, as Torv grows more appealing and assertive through the two-hour pilot. She's well-teamed with the properly roguish Jackson, the haunted and hilarious Noble and the effortlessly assertive Lance Reddick as one of those intelligence bigwigs who definitely knows more than he's saying. Directed by Alex Graves, the "Fringe" pilot starts slow, but builds momentum, along with a compelling visual style that even includes the occasional on-screen text. The pilot can easily stand-alone, but it also sets up a bevy of possible serialized plot elements for the season. FOX has given the show its best available timeslot and the plan to air episodes with reduced commercial interruptions may be a dramatic bonus. There's also a cow. We like cows.
What's Oh, So Wrong:
Even if FOX hadn't previously had success with a team of FBI agents investigating weird happenings and flirting, "Fringe" would still seem mighty familiar. There's a bit of "Alias" and "Lost," plus a lot of "Altered States." While that familiarity makes it easy to get comfortable in the "Fringe" universe, it's sometimes hard to know why you need to watch.
Recommended If ...:
You miss Mulder and Scully. Or just if you missed Pacey.