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August 19, 2013 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Bad Robot, J.J. Abrams production company, released a teaser for...something...today. SLYT Called just "Stranger", there appears to be no indication what exactly this is about, but given Abram's previous work, expect lots more where this came from.
posted by griffey (79 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
The music reminds me of LOST. And the narrator used the word "lost".

Maybe this is more LOST? It's probably not more LOST but that's what I wish it was.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:39 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Everything after NOT PENNY'S BOAT was an elaborate homage-to-Dallas dream sequence! We're starting over."
posted by troika at 11:41 AM on August 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think another season of Lost might be just what is needed to fix the terrible taste the last episode left in my mouth.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:42 AM on August 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


I see he's giving Anakin a new look.
posted by kmz at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Something is going to happen in thirty-six days.
posted by Tesseractive at 11:43 AM on August 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


If I hadn't known it was a Bad Robot production, my first reaction was, "Oh shit, another M. Night Shylaman movie. GO HOME M. NIGHT YOU ARE PASSE"
posted by Kitteh at 11:45 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tor.com thinks it's this.
posted by Hanuman1960 at 11:47 AM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The first time around, I waited until the show was over before starting it so I'd know if it actually had an ending. When I learned it didn't, I saved myself loads of viewing hours.

This time, I can even save myself the waiting.
posted by DU at 11:49 AM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


The bindings seem familiar - Jesse Custer escaping his underwater coffin?
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Maybe it's another X-Men movie?

Or, you know, an adaptation of Camus, but I doubt that.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:52 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it were part of an established franchise it would be obvious. The industry can't help itself. That's why I like the Tor theory.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:55 AM on August 19, 2013


The first time around, I waited until the show was over before starting it so I'd know if it actually had an ending. When I learned it didn't, I saved myself loads of viewing hours.

This time, I can even save myself the waiting.


LOST had an excellent ending that viewers grossly misinterpreted. The sixth season showed its first and second half in parallel, and people assumed the parallel second part was directly connected to what was happening in the first, rather than a sequel of sorts. So there was disappointment on that front, but the finale holds up on rewatch.

It's okay, though, I like being smug about not liking things other people like too.
posted by Rory Marinich at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Ok, I'm interested. Too bad I'll never forgive him for what he did to Star Trek
posted by Dr. Twist at 11:56 AM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Speaking as someone who was perfectly fine with the entire last three seasons of LOST (having a set end-date does WONDERS for a serialized, high-mythology show!), I'm getting real sick and tired of Bad Robot continuing to lean on the whole "mystery box" concept. It backfired in a major way with the botched reveal of Cumberbatch's identity in Star Trek Into Darkness, and it sounds like it also wrecked last week's highly-anticipated Tomorrowland press event. All of this coy, unnecessary obfuscation is starting to get a bit old hat.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:57 AM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's okay, though, I like being smug about not liking things other people like too.

Not only did I not say I didn't like it, I specifically said I didn't watch it. I wanted to watch it, because it looked like something I'd like. But I waited to see if it was going to come to some conclusion other than "woo woo, a bunch of mysterious stuff!!" I don't care what the narrative structure was, I wanted to know if any answers were going to be provided. I've never heard that any were.
posted by DU at 12:09 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Strange Interlude: " I'm getting real sick and tired of Bad Robot continuing to lean on the whole "mystery box" concept."

I don't know yet what I'll be eating for dinner tonight. MYSTERY! I'm intrigued!
posted by brundlefly at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


J. J. Abrams often fails to meet the expectations he himself sets, mostly because he's really bad at setting them anywhere below "utterly revelatory."

He's the Peter Molyneux of TV and film.

I have to admire his ambition, even as his execution will probably continue to disappoint. He always starts with a helluva hook. (And okay, I liked Super 8 an awful lot.)

It's okay, though, I like being smug about not liking things other people like too.

Condescension does not become you, Rory Marinich.
posted by Sokka shot first at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


I think another season of Lost might be just what is needed to fix the terrible taste the last episode left in my mouth.

Yes. I, too, am an addict.
posted by The World Famous at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Slap*Happy: "The bindings seem familiar - Jesse Custer escaping his underwater coffin?"

Please? If not, make it so?
posted by Samizdata at 12:16 PM on August 19, 2013


OK, at first I was all like, Camus. Right? And then oh great, JJ Abrams ruins something else classic.

And then with all the messianic imagery I was all like Stranger in a Strange Land which meshes nicely with Tor's theory with the latter being far more likely.

And then I was all like oooh Lost bashing! And then apparently there are still some people left who haven't heard my theory about the ending to Lost and why it was so bad/so good.

With Lost there were basically two main things going on with the show that people were drawn to. Some people only really liked one or the other theme while some liked both to varying degrees. If you only liked one specific theme then ending was horrible.

One theme was all the emotional crap. The relationships, the stories of redemption, all that stupid "human connection" stuff. Blech. The people who liked that aspect of the show probably liked the flashback episodes and could actually remember the names of those three people in that love triangle or whatever it was.

The other theme was the crazy cool mysterious island with all the mysteries and whenever one questioned was answered two more popped up. The sci-fi/fantasy element.

It turns out that in the last episode we are told that the show was really only ever about the emotional/redemption crap and the cool mystery island stuff didn't really matter. If you happened to be in cool island mystery camp then the ending was horrible and you felt betrayed. It's not like I was looking for an answer to all the mysteries. I knew there were way too many to be answered, but I at least was hoping for something to be revealed about the island even if it turned out that nothing was revealed at all! (The ending ignored the island which is a big difference).

So yeah, Abrams has destroyed everything he's been involved with. It's all crap. Except that one Godzilla movie -- I thought that was pretty rad.
posted by bfootdav at 12:20 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't care what the narrative structure was, I wanted to know if any answers were going to be provided. I've never heard that any were.

Answers actually were provided on LOST, both directly and indirectly. The "no answers" complaint seems to come mostly from people who didn't really follow the show, and instead only peeked in on it a couple of times a season. Naturally, casual viewers got a lot less out of the show than people who engaged it on a weekly basis, so it was easy for the looky-loos to miss out on crucial stuff.

Don't ask me to defend anything that Abrams and Lindelof have done since, though.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:20 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, there were answers. But they SUCKED.
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:22 PM on August 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Yeah, there were answers. But they SUCKED.

So giant magic bathtub with glowy water that needed to be stoppered before OMG BAD THINGS didn't do it for you?
posted by eyeballkid at 12:23 PM on August 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


You know, as long as Lindelof isn't involved, I might give this a chance.
posted by qcubed at 12:26 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sokka shot first: "(And okay, I liked Super 8 an awful lot.)"

I wanted to like Super 8. I think I would have loved it if it had focused almost exclusively on the kids making the movie, with them paying a bit of attention to the background government/alien stuff only because they want to use it as background footage. "Production value!" I suppose that would feel more like Joe Dante than Steven Spielberg J.J. Abrams, but the alien stuff wasn't interesting or well thought out enough to support an entire movie.
posted by brundlefly at 12:32 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't care what the narrative structure was, I wanted to know if any answers were going to be provided. I've never heard that any were.

If anything it was too wrapped up.

I was fine with leaving some mystery, but everything was explained.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:33 PM on August 19, 2013


Answers actually were provided on LOST, both directly and indirectly. The "no answers" complaint seems to come mostly from people who didn't really follow the show, and instead only peeked in on it a couple of times a season.

I ... I ... *leaves thread. closes browser. goes outside. walks into ocean. never emerges*
posted by neuromodulator at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I bet it's a ski resort in New Mexico. (obscure reference)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:39 PM on August 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


LOST had an excellent ending that viewers grossly misinterpreted.

I understood it perfectly fine.

As a whole the show is a great piece of entertainment that sits comfortably with the other significant shows that make up our new Golden Age of Television. I really enjoyed it.

But my suggestion to friends who haven't watched the show, or haven't finished the show, is to turn it off before watching the last fifteen minutes of the finale and make up your own ending. Anything you come up with, literally anything, would be better.
posted by eyeballkid at 12:41 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I suppose that would feel more like Joe Dante

Oh man a little more Matinee flair would have made Super 8 into a great movie (instead of just an okay one).
posted by troika at 12:43 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Personally I was okay with the very ending of Lost because Hurley ends up being in charge of the island sheerly because he is a cool guy and that is okay because Hurley was the best character and it was ultimately all about him and you can't tell me different.

Dude.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:45 PM on August 19, 2013 [7 favorites]




J. Jonah Abraham's treatment of Star Trek brought me the only material I liked out of the whole franchise. Oh, except Wrath of Khan, natch.

Maybe he's working on a Diff'rent Strokes reboot. That would be timely.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:04 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Will every post about Abrams forever and ever just be constant complaints about how he ruined Star Trek? Please get over it.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:08 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, seriously! He's ruined SO MANY OTHER THINGS.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:11 PM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


More like Bad Reboot, amirite?
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 1:15 PM on August 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


LOST had an excellent ending that viewers grossly misinterpreted. The sixth season showed its first and second half in parallel, and people assumed the parallel second part was directly connected to what was happening in the first, rather than a sequel of sorts. So there was disappointment on that front, but the finale holds up on rewatch.

We got it. We just thought it was lame.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:37 PM on August 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


The end of Fringe, though, that was awesome.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:38 PM on August 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


The answers aren't in the trailer? Well, don't worry kids, I can give them to you right now: It won't be about answering any of that. It's all about the characters. Nothing that happens to them matters, nor why it happens, nor how. Only the characters themselves, divorced from consequence. Enjoy!
posted by tyllwin at 1:40 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's Aquaman!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:44 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Intriguing, but still not as good a hook as "Karl Urban is grumpy to robots" in Abrams' other upcoming project, Almost Human. Not even joking, Karl Urban being grumpy to robots is a solid hook and I'm totally on board.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:47 PM on August 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


The answers aren't in the trailer? Well, don't worry kids, I can give them to you right now: It won't be about answering any of that. It's all about the characters. Nothing that happens to them matters, nor why it happens, nor how. Only the characters themselves, divorced from consequence. Enjoy!

The "it's about the characters, stupid" thing always bugged me because I didn't find any of the individual characters in LOST super compelling (and some I found super grating, like Michael, Kate, Claire, Jack and others were eventually made toothless and less interesting by sentimental character development, like Ben and Sawyer); they were essentially a vector for the mysteries. There was a great io9 comment ages ago about how any other mix of random individuals would have worked just as well to carry the story--a down-on-his-luck cabbie, a teen mom and her child--so long as you peppered in enough mystery and arbitrary apparent connections. With few exceptions (Daniel Faraday, maybe?) the plot would have been identical. Contrast this to, say, a show like Fringe, which is absolutely about these specific characters even while it has the same mystery element. The science fiction actually arises out of a desire to examine the relationship between these specific and particular people in from different angles. You can't have the same story with a different character in the place of Peter, or Olivia, or Walter. Because the narrative actually is about the characters.

Anyway, maybe I'll watch this. Would have to know more about it. Abrams love the viral marketing stuff but often it's more compelling than the narratives he gives us on-screen (Cloverfield, LOST).
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:53 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I want Abrams to go to Lensflare Anonymous and Shakycam Anonymous, because he really, really needs to stop using that shit so much. I saw STID and the lensflare actually was distracting from everything the hell else, and if he could stop using shakycam I'd be able to not associate him with apologizing to an attendant at an AMC theatre in manhattan for the amount of cleanup from me not making it to the stall in time (thanks Cloverfield!)

A little change would help so much.
posted by mephron at 2:21 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


LOST had an excellent ending that viewers grossly misinterpreted. The sixth season showed its first and second half in parallel, and people assumed the parallel second part was directly connected to what was happening in the first, rather than a sequel of sorts. So there was disappointment on that front, but the finale holds up on rewatch.

I didn't mind the Purgatory thing so much as the wasted time not spent wrapping up plot lines. That felt like a dodge to me.

"Answer questions? No time! Gotta waste half a season on Purgatory!" Or whatever you want to call it. That part wasn't bad in and of itself, but half a goddamn season? That's just running down the clock. It could've been done much more succinctly.
posted by zardoz at 2:22 PM on August 19, 2013


LOST went from the most awesome show ever (first night on the island and we hear the mysterious monster-like noises in the jungle) to the worst show ever (shiny god cave).

I won't be taken in again by your mysterious/ominous happenings, Mr. Abrams!
posted by MsVader at 2:33 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


So this is gonna be a Phoenix reboot, yeah?
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:40 PM on August 19, 2013


Contrast this to, say, a show like Fringe, which is absolutely about these specific characters even while it has the same mystery element. The science fiction actually arises out of a desire to examine the relationship between these specific and particular people in from different angles. You can't have the same story with a different character in the place of Peter, or Olivia, or Walter. Because the narrative actually is about the characters.

It's a weird thing because the narrative is about the characters in Lost but in this different way that misses the mark, where every episode has to have an hour's worth of major and minor revelations about one person's backstory like clockwork so some characters just kept accreting ungainly plot weight like barnacles so that eventually every moment and every decision of every character's life is gouged into stone by the massive story weight of a million tons of motivation and destiny.

That's why things like Hurley's ability to just sidestep the bullshit and be happy were such a breath of fresh air, and it made it all the more effective when Hurley did have to deal with the weight of the story because it wasn't a constant weight around him. Which made for what I think was totally unintentional irony when they made his physical weight such a big point, because that's more subtly metafictional than they ever really went with anyone else, and I think they just wrote Hurley to be a lighthearted break from the serious plot and not a lighthearted break from their serious writing tics.

Hurley could even briefly extend that weightlessness to others and I really liked that. The golf game, most of his interactions with Sawyer once Sawyer loosened up a bit, that kinda thing where the show really worked because he backburnered the COSMIC WEIGHT OF PLOT DESTINY! for a few minutes. But then Jack and a bunch of other main characters are like almost impervious to that most of the time and the show's centered around them more than anyone else so it doesn't happen often enough. The big sci-fi and supernatural mystery elements lifted that weight off, too. I got really distanced from the show once Hurley and the DHARMA Initiative and the spooky Jacob mystery all started getting weighed down by Destiny and Cosmic Importance. I thought those elements were going to be the way out, they'd cut destiny's Gordian Knot and drop the plot weight and fly across the finish line, but instead it felt like Jack and his destiny took the wheel and plowed a field of boulders with a battleship across the finish line. I mean, they threw a bone there by having Hurley take Jacob's place, but you never see it, it's just a couple lines of dialog more engaging than the rest of the resolution.
posted by jason_steakums at 2:47 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the synopsis in the Tor article: ...Bo has had gifts she could neither fully understand nor control.

I knew someone was going to make an American version of Lost Girl! It even has Lost in the title.
posted by rhiannonstone at 2:49 PM on August 19, 2013


I bet J.J. Abrams like to burst into parties wearing one of those horse head masks and sporting a massive erection. Everybody is shocked and intrigued to begin with but after the sixth hour of him striding about the room, bellowing, he still hasn't revealed his true identity and also hasn't done anything with the erection and people are like, yeah, nice party trick, guy.
posted by turbid dahlia at 3:05 PM on August 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


It's a weird thing because the narrative is about the characters in Lost but in this different way that misses the mark, where every episode has to have an hour's worth of major and minor revelations about one person's backstory like clockwork so some characters just kept accreting ungainly plot weight like barnacles so that eventually every moment and every decision of every character's life is gouged into stone by the massive story weight of a million tons of motivation and destiny.

Mmm, I actually didn't find the emphasis on destiny particularly problematic. I mean, its weak, in a storytelling sense, as a motivator for just about anything and I agree the lack of gravity around Hurley's character is part of what made him so distinctive and refreshing. But for me, the issue of whether this was truly a character-driven show or not boils down to, "Why these guys and no one else?" and I never really figured that out, beyond that we were supposed to have cultivated fondness for them simply based on having spent time with them, and I think that's a dangerous thing for writers to take for granted--that we like their characters as much as they do, and so will be heartwarmed by simple reunions. My mother loved the finale, and her reaction was probably exactly what the writers wanted--"Aw, it's Charlie! And Claire has her baby again! And there's Shannon! They all get to go to heaven together!" But I didn't think those satisfied either as character-arc resolutions (Charlie was sometimes not the best surrogate parent to Aaron; Shannon and Sayid hardly knew one another) or as an overall resolution to the show. It relied on sentiments I didn't have, and hadn't developed despite being an ardent follower of the show.

Contrast that with, say, Mad Men, which is clearly character-driven fiction and as the story develops it becomes abundantly clear why Don Draper is the protagonist and why no one else but Don Draper would work, either as someone emblematic of advertising or the developments of the time. Likewise, Fringe. The entire show is about one particular man's particular guilt, with a subtheme of parent/child relationships, and everything else spirals out from there.

(Seriously, if you are mad at JJ Abrams for how LOST went, watch Fringe. It had a fraction of the budget or buzz and is a flawed show but develops in this totally satisfying way. It was what LOST should have been, pretty much.)

I actually find the narrative problems with LOST pretty fascinating. The dialogue was consistently solid, up till the end; the casting and acting were great and the production values were high. And yet it just didn't work for me as a story, on so many levels--though that was something that was only evident from hindsight, or close to it. Jacob's flashback episode, I guess, was the moment I knew it wasn't the show for me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:09 PM on August 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


it's obvious to me, it's a remake of Joe vs. The Volcano.
posted by djseafood at 3:17 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a Zardoz reboot!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:51 PM on August 19, 2013


I finished watching Battlestar Galactica today and as I knew that the ending would be disappointing, I just laughed at the more ludicrous bits. I wonder if Lost would be better if you watched it knowing that you shouldn't look forward to a significant payoff.
posted by ersatz at 4:34 PM on August 19, 2013


There should be a website for these shows called "stop watching at THIS episode dot net" (but snazzier obviously) where you type in the show name and it tells you exactly when to stop watching, and what you should believe/make-believe in your head, as to how it ended. It would have saved me a lot of heartbreak with LOST and BSG.
posted by destructive cactus at 4:36 PM on August 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Those first three opening chords remind me a lot of Yoda's Theme.

Oh, and Jar-Jar Binks begins in the water. Perhaps they've sewn his mouth up too.
posted by popcassady at 4:38 PM on August 19, 2013


...and this gleamed from the reddit thread:

Does it matter that the order in which the "Soon He Will Know" words were removed were "Know He Will Soon"? Or am I already looking too far into it?
posted by popcassady at 4:40 PM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Old Gregg
posted by melissam at 5:39 PM on August 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Metafilter is showing signs of severe illness:

Between the Reddit citations and even uncited comments popping up here verbatim as well as The LOST derailing I'm starting to feel like this is itself becoming a reddit thread...

Up next: reaction gifs...
posted by ~Bert at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I bet J.J. Abrams like to burst into parties wearing one of those horse head masks and sporting a massive erection. Everybody is shocked and intrigued to begin with but after the sixth hour of him striding about the room, bellowing, he still hasn't revealed his true identity and also hasn't done anything with the erection and people are like, yeah, nice party trick, guy.

I'm thinking that it's really about the width of a pencil and Damon Lindelof is there to distract everyone on what a mediocre specimen it is.
posted by Ber at 5:50 PM on August 19, 2013


..."stop watching at THIS episode dot net"...

I would love for this service to exist. There was that JumptheShark.com but it appears to be gone now.
posted by Hicksu at 6:05 PM on August 19, 2013


The end of Fringe, though, that was awesome.

I'm midway through the third season and loving Fringe. Everything I've heard from friends says the ending is good and it's such a delight to know I probably won't be let down in the end.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:43 PM on August 19, 2013


Well, if we're going to bitch about LOST, let me take the opposite perspective and say I loved the ending and basically hated the first two seasons. Everything was way better after the season three finale and the ending rocked.

But I didn't care about any of the characters. I gave up when I realised that every character I did care about was going to die. But mostly, the characters were just boring.

Which is why I loved FRINGE from beginning to end. Because those characters were amazing.
posted by crossoverman at 7:46 PM on August 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I came in just so I could complain about another JJ Abrams show: Alias. I've been binge-watching the series over the past few weeks and am midway through the last season. And I have to say I don't really get why people were so into this show. I wanted to like it: weird mystical plot stuff, lots of kicking of ass and blowing up of shit, etc. - but man did it very quickly turn formulaic. After the first couple of seasons it's like everyone concerned was just phoning it in. Story arcs just stopped, no chemistry between characters, boring/flat dialogue. If there are any Alias fans out there, please tell me what I'm missing!
posted by hapax_legomenon at 12:11 AM on August 20, 2013


Old Gregg

You want some Baileys?
posted by Malice at 1:55 AM on August 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well if nothing else, you guys have convinced me to watch Fringe.
posted by likeatoaster at 5:58 AM on August 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


It is a bloody crime that John Noble wasn't even nominated for an Emmy for his role on Fringe.

I wasn't a fan of Lost, but I'm willing to give Abrams the benefit of the doubt on any of his new projects, just because of how awesome Fringe was. I'm still shocked that he was allowed to do (and managed to pull off) the final season.
posted by schmod at 6:07 AM on August 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


David Mills: I saw you with a box. What was in the box?
John Doe: Because I envy your normal life. It seems that envy is my sin.
William Somerset: Put the gun down David.
David Mills: No! What's in the box?
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:28 AM on August 20, 2013


Isn't this forthcoming book the obvious answer? There's even this in the linked article: Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, will be promoting the book leading up to and at publication time.

S. is for Stranger kids.
posted by zueod at 10:33 AM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks. This thread has now encouraged me to go rewatch all of LOST. What's wrong with me?
posted by Night_owl at 11:44 AM on August 20, 2013


Isn't this forthcoming book the obvious answer?
Confirmed.

So prepare to do some reading instead of a LOST re-watch.
posted by oneswellfoop at 5:04 PM on August 20, 2013


I'll have to give Fringe another go. I watched the first 3 or 4 episodes and found it...not all that well-made. The tone is overly-earnest and melodramatic--very "TV drama," for lack of a better word. Lots of argumentation for its own sake, and lots of clumsy exposition. The Joshua Jackson character is shoehorned in for completely implausible reasons, not to mention the "crazy scientist" father. The attempts at comic relief/humor are kind of embarrassing.

Lots of shows go through an awkward phase at the start so I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and hope that later episodes are better.
posted by zardoz at 5:21 PM on August 20, 2013


The first season of Fringe is mainly X-Files-style Monster of the Week stuff introducing the world and characters, it doesn't really start firing on all cylinders until the end of that season when they start getting into the main overarching plot and the meat of the relationships.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:21 PM on August 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll have to give Fringe another go.

Yes. I quite liked the early episodes, but I think that's because I knew a little bit about what they were building to. Know that it's building toward something and there are clues in there.

What's so great about Fringe (as compared to LOST) is that these clues start to add up to something much more quickly. And, in fact, the first season finale cliffhanger was originally planned for season three or four or something - moving that one thing up changed the show and became the story engine for the rest of the show's run.

Much of the first half of season one is very standalone monster of the week. Once the show starts revealing its hand, it takes off. I would put season two and three against any other science fiction show ever. Five is one of my favourite final seasons of anything.
posted by crossoverman at 7:55 PM on August 20, 2013


I had this great conversation with my editor the other day about how one of Fringe's greatest strengths is that it had the bravery to reconceptualize itself narratively almost every single season. It starts as a paranormal procedural and then quickly becomes something else--by the end of the fifth season it's absolutely a serialized narrative, building on everything that's gone before. Seasons two and three are absolutely the best, though.

And eventually you realize how not-very-shoehorned in any of the characters are. The narrative is absolutely about Walter and Peter, as much as it is about Olivia. But it's hard to say much more without spoiling.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:52 AM on August 21, 2013


That's why I love season five so much - it's entirely serialised and instead of needing to wrap up everything in an episode or two, FRINGE took its whole last season to explore the ramifications of everything it set up.

And while I always wished we got to know the supporting characters more, I did love that somehow Fringe found enough in the stories of Peter, Walter and Olivia that we could focus on that weird family unit so much of the time without feeling like the show was ever treading water.

And going back to LOST, which I thought got far more interesting once it reconceptualised itself in seasons four, five and six, FRINGE got that part more right - because it was still about the characters, not just the concepts.
posted by crossoverman at 2:00 PM on August 21, 2013


jason_steakums: "Intriguing, but still not as good a hook as "Karl Urban is grumpy to robots" in Abrams' other upcoming project, Almost Human. Not even joking, Karl Urban being grumpy to robots is a solid hook and I'm totally on board."

I'm sorry. He had me at "Karl Urban." Sort of a boycrush, I think.
posted by Samizdata at 10:53 AM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Join the club, Samizdata. His performance as Bones secured that.
posted by brundlefly at 10:54 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Karl Urban's scowl was SPECTACULAR in Dredd.
posted by troika at 10:59 AM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


brundlefly: "Join the club, Samizdata. His performance as Bones secured that."

Dear Deity of your choice, he made me believe in spirit channelers. There was NO way he could have done that role without channeling DeForest Kelly.

And his Dredd made my socks go up and down.
posted by Samizdata at 12:36 PM on August 22, 2013


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