Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Planetary 27 and J. J. Abrams' FRINGE

(minor possible FRINGE spoilers follow)

Marc Caputo Alerted Me to Warren Ellis's Bad Signal, in which Ellis wrote

First off: late last night, Wildstorm informed me that John Cassaday has commenced drawing PLANETARY 27. Please don't respond to this -- I don't need the listserv breaking. Just know and be happy. I have no word on what else is on John's plate right now, so I don't know how long it'll take or when it'll see print. It's not the easiest script in the world to draw, as I recall.

Watched the pilot episode of the new JJ Abrams-produced sf series FRINGE last night. It actually wasn't bad. The cinematography was especially good in places, and I loved the gimmick of the location chyrons, big floating 3-D blocks of superimposed text with travelling perspective. The direction and production values were as good as you'd expect from an Abrams-produced series -- though clearly shot in Toronto, it wasn't done on the cheap, and the performances were rarely
less than par. If I had a criticism, it's that everyone was working so hard to ''ground'' the show that the occasional exuberance or goofiness jarred more than it really should have done. Which meant that stunts that otherwise should have worked, like Blair Brown's introductory scene as Sinister Corporate Woman or the frankly mental post-ALTERED STATES scene where the mad scientist shoots the FBI agent full of LSD and Ketamine, sticks a computer probe in the back of her neck and floats her in a sensory deprivation tank in order to make contact with the dreams of a fellow FBI agent in a chemical coma...well, they didn't quite land, for me.

So, no, it doesn't take itself as seriously as it wants you to think. It even opens on an airplane, striking sparks off LOST. It might get quite watchable, once it gets comfortable with The Mad Science. Can't help but like a show where the resident Mad Scientist starts muttering ''yes, let's make some LSD..."


Streebo said...



Lou said...

I went and "acquired" the Fringe pilot after getting that email from Ellis.

It's not bad, he's right with the Blair Brown scene, it was a bit jarring. But for a pilot, it wasn't bad at all. Which is really more than I can say about 90% of the shows that get put out today.

And I don't believe anything about comic books appearing until I actually hold them in my hands.

I'm still waiting on Desolation Jones!!!

Jason said...

I follow Abrams' projects on a several-year delay. When "Fringe" debuts, I'll finally start watching "Lost" on DVD.

pla said...

I'll have to disagree with Ellis about the performances being rarely less than par. It takes about an hour before we get to the mad science bit, which involves a lot of horrible acting from the lead actress and Joshua Jackson. She's just flat, but Jackson's self-impressed smarminess just seems like the wrong tone for the show and sucks a lot of the life out things.

It seemed like it started to get its act together a little bit about an hour in (when the insane mad science starts), but I assume a lot of people will tune out before that, since it's a two hour pilot.

Stephen said...

A while ago, I would've been really excited about the Planetary news. But given the disappointment in the second half of the series generally, not to mention the delays, I feel kinda "eh" about the news. Oh, I'll buy it and all. But mostly with a "I guess that's over" spirit.