Thursday, May 15, 2008

What's up?

Hey all,
I'm out of town this Sat-Wed for a conference, so I plan on posting about the S5 finale/S1 premiere early the following week. Till then, what do y'all want to chat about? We had one heck of a convo about the S4/S5 transition, any other topics you want to chat about from that? Post your ideas here and I'll do a topic post before I leave on Sat. Happy almost-weekend!


Page48 said...

Here's some refreshing news from FOX, according to

Fox is cutting commercial time next season on its two biggest new dramas.

J.J. Abrams' "Fringe" and Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" will air through out next season with limited commercial interruption.

Dubbing the initiative "Remote-Free TV," Fox plans to run half the usual amount of commercial and promo time during both shows.

That means just five minutes of national commercial time during the hour.

Fox Entertainment chairman Peter Liguori introduced the initiative as "less reason (for viewers) to grab the remote and change the channel."

"We need to give viewers new reasons to come to network TV."

Fox sales topper Jon Nesvig said the ads will air in smaller pods.

"It's more entertainment for the viewer and more impact for your messages," Nesvig told advertisers. "We're committed to this format."

Now, if they could just work on commercial-free.

uncle111 said...

On the S5/S1 combo, I think we ought to make it the last 2 episodes of S5/S1 since those last 2 episodes of S5 seemed to be like one big episode.
What do you think?

srg-alias said...

yeah good call uncle :)

Page48 said...

Absolutely, the finale was indeed a (soul-crushing) 2 eppie event.

More OT about the upcoming TV season:

Pics and several promo posters from JJ's "Fringe" here.

And, trailer for "Dollhouse" here.

Now, I have to settle in for an hour of "Lost".

Page48 said...

Whilst we await our next "Alias" assignment, more light of day shed on "Fringe" and "Dollhouse"., including video of both. More "Fringe" video available on Youtube.

And, in this cast photo for "Fringe", are we looking at JJ's next big girl star, joining the ranks of Felicity, Sydney, and Kate? Hmmmm, I haven't seen any evidence that this one performs twirling ass kicks. In the photo, note the black dude currently appearing in "Lost".

uncle111 said...

cast photo - Nice, but no JG.
trailer for "Dollhouse"- they've been done for 2 days.

Page48 said...

Yeah, Uncle, it's hard to beat our Jen, although I wouldn't vote Anna Torv off the island either.

It's nice to see "Alias" get honourable mention in one of the promos (as in "from the creator of Alias and Lost"), although they've chosen to tout the writers as being the writers of "The Transformers", rather than of MI3 or "Alias" or even the upcoming "Star Trek" movie. This would not have been my call, but what the hell do I know?

This puppy debuts August 26th with a 2-hour, 10 million dollar pilot. I wonder what they spent on "Truth be Told".

Whether or not "Fringe" will last for "five incredible years" or not remains to be seen (I hope it does cuz TV so needs a new sci-fi suspense show to replace the void left behind by gems like "Alias", "X-Files" and shortly, "Battlestar Galactica"), but I give it far better odds of a second season than JJ's upcoming medical drama "Anatomy of Hope".

On the other hand, "ER" lasted for 37 seasons, give or take. Maybe medical really is the way to go.

srg-alias said...

I also tried to watch the trailer for Dollhouse but the site was down, hoping to see that eventually. The trailer for Fringe looked interesting.

Ok this is OT but I was out w/ some friends the other night and our waiting had a tattoo on his left forearm of a spork, oh yes, a sportk. :) I asked him if he was an Alias fan and he said he had never watched it, ah well.

Well guess y'all can just keep posting on this thread for now, I'll post again later this week, have a good one!

srg-alias said...

oops, meant to say our "waiter" had the tattoo...

Page48 said...

The link to both "Dollhouse" videos and one "Fringe" video is in the same comment as the "Fringe" cast photo link. All videos alive and kicking.

Page48 said...

I saw a TV show the other day, and it showed a clinic where hopelessly vain young adults suffering from tattoo-remorse went to get scrubbed clean of their ridiculous "body art". No doubt taxpayer subsidized.

Homey and a couple of the local single moms were explaining how it hurt like hell to get that gangsta propaganda removed from their sorry-ass hides. I made little effort to muffle my snickering.

The whole tattoo culture is a symptom of something, but I'm not sure what. Is it self-loathing? Is it about young'uns sticking it to their parents for being stoned all day or for having 5 kids with 5 different partners? Is it about having too much spare change burning a whole in their jeans? Is it about the age of entitlement they were born into, where they were told that everything they said or did was okay and that there were no consequences so dire that Mummy and Daddy couldn't take care of for them?

There was a time when vanity plates did the trick when it came to self-expression, but I suppose now that all the good plates are taken, there's nothing left but to paint and pierce that message that so badly needs to get out for the whole world to see.

Me personally, I don't care about the message, I'm not even interested in the messenger. All I want is to be able to grab lunch at the local drive-thru without having to hand over my money to some greasy little turd, tattooed the entire length of his arm, with a stud in his tongue, and a few dozen facial piercings for good measure.

I may not live long enough to see it, but I eagerly anticipate the day when this nonsense goes back out of fashion (like big hair and MC Hammer), and the nursing homes are clogged with these old geezers painted from head to toe with shriveled up tributes to the folly of their younger days, being cared for by people who wouldn't be caught dead looking so foolish. Who knows what we'll find when we change Granny's diaper??

Wow, it's a cold, rainy holiday here in Canada, and I'm stuck indoors ranting about tattoos. Sucks to be me.

uncle111 said...

Answer- all of the above.

Page48 said...

Plagiarized from

"Every once in a while a pilot comes along that is so perfect, such a shining indication of what the final series will be, so perfectly cast and directed, that it's impossible to look away.

That pilot, ladies and gentlemen, is definitely FOX's phenomenal science-tinged drama Fringe.

In a nutshell, Fringe is The X-Files for the new millennium: eerie, gripping, and still haunting even after the final credits have rolled, albeit containing a humor that never existed in that series. In this case, the aliens aren't from outer space: they're the mega-corporations that dot the American landscape, pushing science and technology past their limits and exploiting that for their own gain. It poses several ethical questions: when does the pursuit of scientific discovery go too far? Who is monitoring the rapid advances in technology in today's day and age? And what happens when a scientist--or a group of scientists--decides that the world is their laboratory?

Longtime readers of this site know my longstanding love for the pilot script, from Transformers scribes Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman... who previously worked with executive producer J.J. Abrams on his seminal ABC series Alias and on the feature films Mission Impossible III and Star Trek. My original review of Fringe's pilot script from last October can be found here.

A quick recap: a German plane self lands at Boston's Logan Airport with no signs of life on board and the windows covered in what appears to be blood. An inter-agency team is quickly assembled to investigate the incident; a team which includes Agents Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and her secret lover/colleague John Scott (Boston Legal's Mark Valley) and is overseen by Philip Broyles (Lost's Lance Reddick). Broyles puts Olivia onto a possible lead involving a storage facility; they discover a makeshift lab, which their suspect detonates, unleashing a wave of chemicals onto Agent Scott... and then he escapes into the night. Looking for a way to save John's life, Olivia tracks down the only man capable of saving him: Dr. Walter Bishop (Lord of the Rings' John Noble), a genius scientific researcher who had been committed to a mental hospital years before. But the only way she can get to him is through his estranged son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), a genius misfit with no love lost for his father.

Still with me? During his years working on a classified project for the US government, Walter Bishop investigated the shady area of fringe science (ha, not just a clever name), studying things like teleportation, telepathy, reanimation: the inexplicable things hovering on the, well, fringes of pure science.

The produced pilot of Fringe, which I ran home to watch last evening, doesn't differ all that much from the written script. Under the master direction of Alex Graves (Journeyman), it's even more taut, suspenseful, humorous, and downright scary as the pilot script but now has the added benefit of a top-notch cast and stunning visuals. Hell, even the on-screen graphics that announce the varied locations of the pilot episode are creative and innovative, existing not so much as words on the screen but words embedded in the actual landscape, through which the camera moves like thick smoke. It's a genius visual and one that gives the action a distinctive and unique flair. And the special effects--particularly those involving Agent Scott's transformation into a transparent, crystalline structure--are absolutely breathtaking.

As Olivia Dunham, Australian newcomer Anna Torv is transcendent. Once again proving that no one picks a star in the making like J.J. Abrams, Torv is positively radiant on screen, effortlessly combining the steeliness of Jennifer Garner with the soulfulness of Cate Blanchett. Simply put: she's riveting, whether she's jumping off the roof of a building or climbing into a sensory deprivation tank. You can almost see the wheels turning in her head as she begins to put the pieces of this puzzle together as she begins to see that isolated and inexplicable incidents may be linked, as she begins to see The Pattern.

In reading the original pilot script last year, I was a little concerned with how the character of Dr. Walter Bishop would really be portrayed: it's a difficult character to play, one gifted with genius and cursed with madness and the line between the two facets of his personality seem pretty darned blurred when Fringe first begins. In the gifted hands of John Noble, Walter does spring to life and his scenes are master classes in the making: at once heartbreaking (he's unable to find the appropriate words when he first lays eyes on his son after 17 years), disturbing (he admits he's wet himself in the car), and hilarious (his astonished amusement at SpongeBob SquarePants).

As for Joshua Jackson, he seems as though he hasn't ever left television. He is such a natural as the gifted and misunderstood Peter, so adept at running from his problems, that it almost seems written for him. Jackson gets to play wry, sardonic, and romantic, sometimes all in the same breath. The chemistry between him and Torv is outright palpable as much as both of their characters might fight against it. The scene in which she disrobes in order to slip into the tank is so understated (and Peter's awkwardness and attraction to Olivia so apt) that it's easy to root for them. ('Shippers, start your engines now.)

Fringe could have been a bleak, darker-than-dark series but instead the tension and foreboding atmosphere are abated by the inclusion of some off-kilter humor, often from Walter Bishop himself. And, hell, there's even a cow. But these moments aren't overused, still shining like little gems among the darkness of the rest of the plot.

Ultimately, Fringe is spellbinding television, flawlessly setting up both an intricate overarching mythology (another J.J. Abrams specialty) as well as the possibility for self-contained procedural storytelling, a rare combination and one that will undoubtedly work for the series in the long run. As for this jaded critic, I'm going to be the first one in line for what promises to be yet another dizzying and mind-opening J.J. Abrams rollercoaster ride.

Fringe launches with a two-hour premiere on August 26th on FOX.

I'm a little envious that dude got to watch this already and I have to wait until darn near Labour Day."

Page48 said...

oops, make that

srg-alias said...

guys, when do Fringe and Dollhouse premiere and on what stations? Just got to watch the trailer for Dollhouse, looks unique and intriguing, as is the review for Fringe...I may break out of my no-new-shows-after-Lost shell for these.

Page48 said...

Srg, both are on FOX, "Fringe" debuts August 26th and "Dollhouse", unfortunately not till January.

uncle111 said...

The Dollhouse trailer still never loads for me.

Page48 said...

Uncle, did someone revoke your Alpha Black clearance?

Try the punched-up trailer at (same trailer, more graphics)

A nice "Fringe" site is

Page48 said...

Up here in the frozen north, we have been celebrating the release (today?) of the new Indiana Jones flick by running the previous 3 movies in successive weeks on the Global network. I'm of the opinion that 1 and 3 are great movies and 2 is a little iffy.

I've mentioned before on this blog that "Alias" borrowed certain scenes or ideas from Indie. One of those scenes was in the final act of Last Crusade when Indie's dad was shot by a madman bent on drinking from the Holy Grail and thereby grabbing onto eternal life. Much like Sloane shooting Jack in the big finale. That is but one of several Indie scenes which re-appear in "Alias".

Uncle has gone into great detail about the derivative nature of "Alias", citing "The Pretender" as a major source of inspiration.

I've already read some derogatory remarks about "Fringe" being highly derivative, with the obvious source being "X-Files". But to that argument I say "so what?". Every cop show, every spy show, every medical show is influenced by all such shows that went before it. All I ask is that a show be good in it's own right, regardless of what it borrows from other sources.

What rock band doesn't include "The Beatles" as an influence? And yet The Fab Four were shameless in ripping off Chuck Berry and others of that generation.

I have no issue with TV shows adding their own slant to familiar themes. It might even be considered a tribute. Tell a good story, entertain me, and you can scoff a scene or two from Indiana Jones or Fox Mulder, and just see if I care.

uncle111 said...

I think most people believe that Indie 2 was the weak one.
The reality is that almost all art builds on the art that proceeded it, just as almost all science and mechanical inventions build on things that went before them. It is the nature of learning and innovation.
The problem for me with JJ is that parts of his products tend to directly mimick other works. Remember the scene where Syd is impersonating Anna E and does the Jamie Leigh Curtis posing as a hooker scene? That wasn't just building on, that was an exact duplication. I do think, however that sometimes he was just paying tribute to things he felt like were really good.
In the 14-1700's in Europe, the way a master artist taught his students was to have them copy great art from other artists. The better copy you could do, the more you learned. It was in fact acceptable to copy other artists work if you improved on it.
So, yes, utilize previous concepts and make it better or make it work in a new setting or story.
As Sloane told Weiss once,"Impress me."

Page48 said...

Impress me, indeed. I watched about 5 minutes of "Brothers & Sisters" this season and the last thing I saw was Ron Rifkin's character, Saul, confessing to his gay nephew that he, too was a gay man. I wanted to cry. From the beautifully sinister Arvin Sloane to the suicidal gay uncle, coming out of the closet in his 70's. In short, pandering at it's worst.

Give us all a friggin' break.

uncle111 said...

We tend to forget that these things are just jobs to these people.
Here's something someone on a Man From U.N.C.L.E. series board posted the other day:
"It's a quote from an article about NCIS -
Harmon credits the chemistry among the cast members for making the show strong. He calls the "NCIS" team the most talented ensemble cast he has ever worked with. This is coming from a guy who starred
on "St. Elsewhere" with the likes of William Daniels, Howie Mandel and Denzel Washington.
One of his co-stars, David McCallum, also brings a long list of acting credits to the role. Before this series, McCallum was best known for his role of
Illya Kuryakin on the series "The Man from U.N.C.L.E."
The first meeting with McCallum was exciting for Harmon because he was a fan of the '60s spy show.
"I told him I can't imagine I am shaking Illya Kuryakin's hand. McCallum says, 'Good God man, that was 41 years ago.' And then he walked away from me,"
Harmon says with a smile."

Page48 said...

More encouraging news from people who have seen the pilot for "Fringe".

uncle111 said...

I couldn't read any further in the description of Fringe until I commented on the number of passengers- one hundred and...47!

uncle111 said...

Wouldn't this show be a great vehicle to create a few test crossover episode with Alias?

Page48 said...

Yeah, Uncle, not 146 passengers, 147. What are the odds???

I think a crossover would be a good fit here, if only the will to do it was there. I think, given their history with the "Fringe" braintrust, that it is not unreasonable to expect occasional actor crossover (i.e. Kendall "Alias"/Locke "Lost"), but I would be shocked (pleasantly) at any character crossover.

With "Felicity" and "Alias", there were at least 4 actor crossovers, but since then, only 2 (that I'm aware of) from "Alias" to "Lost". There's room for hope, but not much hope.

uncle111 said...

Odds? 0.000!
Sounds to me like you ought to spend some time on the Fringe boards talking up the crossover idea. We know they monitored the Alias and Lost boards and did take things said there into consideration.

Page48 said...

Ouch, here's a guy who says the "Fringe" pilot sucks.

As they say on Wall Street, that's what makes a market.

Page48 said...

They've seen it.