What Is JJ Abrams Trying To Tell Us?

Illustration for article titled What Is JJ Abrams Trying To Tell Us?

Fans of Lost, Fringe and the new Star Trek may have noticed a couple of recurring themes running through JJ Abrams' work, making us think that he's trying to tell us something. But what?


JJ Abrams is a time-traveler from a parallel Earth here to prepare us for some kind of upcoming reality shift. Really, it's the only solution that makes sense.

Think about it. Lost has turned into your weekly primer on the rules of time travel and what can, and can't be done by those sailing the silver seas of the chronoverse. Its creators have spoken before about how they've had to sneak in the more science fictional aspects of the show before this past season's all-out time travel insanity, in order to lure in unsuspecting, potentially sci-fi-phobic audiences, and that's clearly because they are the ones who need to be taught this stuff the most. Sure, most of us know our time travel rules - So much so that we suspect that even detonating a hydrogen bomb through the brute force of lost love isn't going to undo everything as much as cement a new timeline and bump the Lostees forward in time so that they can meet NotLocke - but not everyone is as... let's go with "educated," shall we? as us. Hurley and Miles' most important roles in Lost season 5 were to bring the newbies up to speed about what time travel is all about.

Fringe, meanwhile, dropped the pretense of being an enjoyable dumb-science procedural in the last few weeks of its first season, as soon as Walter wheeled out that chalkboard and started trying to explain the multiverse to us all. Now, I'm not buying the "And that's where deja vu comes from!" aspect of the explanation at all, but you have to take some of it with a grain of salt thanks to Akiva Goldsman's involvement; nonetheless, there's now a whole new audience out there who have discovered the idea of parallel Earths and Schrödinger's cat (Okay, maybe that one is better illustrated here), just as Lost has educated them about time travel.

And then we come to Star Trek, which demonstrates to the previously unaware that time travel + changing the past = parallel timeline. I mean, okay, so it really demonstrates that time travel + changing the past = everyone becomes a younger, hotter version of themselves, but you get what I'm saying. It's a movie that takes the lessons of Abrams' two television shows and puts them into something approaching practice... But for what end?

Clearly, Abrams' entire career to date has not been one of merely entertainment, but instead a cunningly disguised form of education in scientific theories unlikely to be taught in even the most liberal schools (Even Felicity ended with time travel shenanigans!). We may not know exactly why he is trying his best to make sure that as many people as possible understand the nature of time travel and parallel universes - Perhaps he's taunted us with an evil master plan that he intends to carry out when he tires of being called the new Spielberg - but the evidence is unmistakable. All we can do now is hope that interviewers in future will be able to ask him more pointed, valuable questions... before it's too late.



There seems to be a Scifi/Fantasy guy every five years. Chris Carter. Joss Whedon, and now Abrams. He'll be struggling for popular new shows by around 2012 when a new guy comes along with "fresh, revolutionary" ideas.