Pilot Watch: Fringe

The networks have announced their Fall schedules, but which of the series will actually be worth watching? This Summer, as the networks release their pilots, I'll be posting my first impressions. A lot can change before a show makes it to air — especially this year, when the writers' strike severely gummed up the production of pilots — so consider these just some quick thoughts on how the shows look now. Today's installment: Fox's Fringe, which will air Tuesdays this Fall after House.

What's it about? After a creepy incident on an airplane (creator JJ Abrams seems to like those), an FBI agent ends up getting sucked into the world of fringe science, which essentially uses humankind as one large laboratory for exploring cloning, mind reading, and the like.

Who's in it? Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown

The good: The first episode does quick work of establishing the premise, the characters, and their central conflicts while also dropping some hints as to the mythology (and cool science-y plot twists) that will likely develop later. Jackson and Noble are great as a dysfunctional father-son team, grudgingly interacting again after years of silence. Two actors in relatively smaller roles — Lance Reddick as a Department of Homeland Security agent and Blair Brown as the head of science corporation Massive Dynamic — carry a lot of the weight of setting up the series' framework and do an outstanding job with it.

The bad: The pilot is super-sized (just under 90 minutes), and I'm not sure it needed to be. Some of the middle section dragged, which prevented me from being as completely wowed by the show as I'd hoped. I'm still not sure I completely understand Noble's character (he was borderline deranged at the start, then just kind of quirky by show's end), but that could have been intentional, since part of the premise is that he is a bit of a wild card.

Will I watch? Absolutely. A lot goes down in the final 15 minutes, and it was enough to make me want to see where the story leads.

To check out a preview and see a gallery of photos, just read more.

Photos courtesy of Fox