Is Fringe an X-Files knock-off? Is the monster-of-the-week format owned exclusively by Chris Carter? Does the average viewer know the difference between paranormal and fringe science? Can you have an FBI unit, devoted to sci-fi cases, without thinking of Mulder and Scully? And don't get me started on Lance Reddick, the black Walter Skinner.
Its forth-wall-breaking location titles, set in J.J. Abrams Sans-serif, raise some interesting questions, the least of which being: did they give the makers of Panic Room credit?
Originally I heard the show billed as a procedural crime drama, like CSI but with fictional forensics (CSI's questionable realism not withstanding). In actuality, the entire show is a front to smuggle Australian actors into Vancouver.
One of these Aussies, John Noble, is the real standout on the show (a bunged-up boobaloo as they might say). Like Vincent Price, John Colicos, and Martin Landau, he is a ghoulish character actor; cadaverous, tactless, and perverse.
Will Fringe have legs long enough to jump the shark? Will there be, like X-Files, a protracted eighth and ninth season? The biggest enemy to the show is Fox (the network not the Mulder), who simultaneously loves and hates science fiction on television. They put out more sci-fi shows than any other network but are quick to throw them into the Friday Night Thunderdome, where they quickly die. But who better to survive the Thunderdome than a bunch of Australians?