Fringe Will Jump The Shark Early And Often, Says J.J. Abrams

Illustration for article titled Fringe Will Jump The Shark Early And Often, Says J.J. Abrams

Click to viewJ.J. Abrams says his new FBI-vs-science show Fringe will try to jump the shark as quickly as possible — just the same way his hit show Lost did. In a conference call with reporters, Abrams also explained why he's scared of giant corporations. And he explained why Fringe will be just like hit hospital drama ER.Science is scary Abrams talked a lot about why he thinks the time is right for a show about the horrors of science gone wrong. "Every day, every week, we hear about some potentailly horrifying thing... Science is out of control." Going over the top It's important to go over the top early on in a series, to show what kind of extreme territory you're willing to visit, Abrams said:

[When] we did the pilot for Lost, we had the monster appear at the end of the first act. We did that very consciously, because we wanted to say to the audience, "We're jumping the shark now. We're doing crazy shit from the beginning, we're not going to wait. On Fringe, we very consciously did what in many ways is a preposterous, out there, far-fetched story point [first], in order to say to the audience, "This is what you're going to be getting on the show."


Some episodes of the show may be more extreme, while others may deal with "science as it exists." But Abrams said the fun of science fiction, for him, is "pushing the envelope." And Abrams repeated that Olivia and Peter will have a "slow burn relationship" that will develop over time, but their romantic chemistry has to be earned. OMG corporations are ebil Abrams talked about the show's "corporate conspiracy" angle, which he said isn't as big a deal as you might imagine from watching the pilot. Blair Brown's character, CEO Nina Sharp, has an "ambiguous" role. But the more important aspect of her character is her relationship with her boss, who has a relationship with crazy scientist Walter Bishop, with a backstory that will unfold over the season. We'll meet Nina's boss in the first season, but it won't happen until we're "hungry" to meet him because of all the stuff we've found out. "These are things that are much more about the characters than a sort of cliched cynical look at corporate culture," Abrams said. "Having said that, I don't trust corporate culture at all." He feels corporations are too powerful and far-reaching, and have reached the point where they're almost like countries in their own rihgt. "As much as we're surrounded by geography and a political world, we're surrounded by a corporate world." But Abrams cautioned that the evil corporate conspiracy story has been "overplayed and done a million times," so if you don't have an interesting spin on it, it's better not to do it at all. It's not X-Files, it's ER Abrams said in his own mind, he's comparing Fringe more to ER than to X-Files. "You have these ongoing relationships, these ongoing storylines, and yet week-to-week when the door first opens, you're faced with the insane urgent situation of the week," said Abrams. Looking at shows like his own Felicity or Dawson's Creek, there's nothing to interrupt the relationship drama, so the characters just deal with their issues non-stop. On ER, "if these characters were not doctors, if they were just hanging out, you would go through their emotional stories in a few episodes," but because they have fires to put out, the stories get stretched out more.



Sorry Charlie.

The Shark doesn't jump for bad TV but rather for TV that started out good.