Despite M:I:III, Star Trek and his pimping of Cloverfield, JJ Abrams is still better known as a TV show-running genius. While he hasn’t always produced sure-fire hits – Alias was culty, but never high-rated, Felicity was popular and Lost is, well, huge – his name attached to a project is usually a reason to take heart.
And he’s getting back to the genre-bending ideas he likes so much with his new TV project, Fringe, a spooky drama he’ll produce that features a two-hour pilot written by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.
US network Fox has picked up the pilot, which will apparently cost $10 million to make and throws chunks of The X-Files, Altered States and The Twilight Zone into a blender and hits puree. The plot focuses on genius – but possibly insane – research scientist who reconnects with his estranged son when a female FBI agent brings them back together to investigate paranormal mysteries.
"So much of the story is relatable people in extraordinary situations," Abrams blabbed to Variety. "The show is definitely a nod to Altered States and Scanners and that whole Michael Crichton/Robin Cook world of medicine and science. It does the stuff my favourite TV shows and movies do, which is to combine genres that shouldn't fit together. It's definitely meant to scare the hell out of you, but it's also meant to make you laugh... It pushes all the buttons of things we loved from our childhood." Sounds good to us, though let’s hope by “Michael Crichton world” he doesn’t mean over-graphed, badly written tosh.
The team are naturally a little busy with their film careers (Orci and Kurtzman have just signed, alongside Ehren Kruger, to write Transformers 2 and Abrams is still working with them on Trek), so Lost’s Bryan Burk will help produce and track down someone to handle the day-to-day chores of running the show. Wonder what X-Files guru Chris Carter has been up to?