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July 14, 2008

J.J. Abrams: 'Fringe' isn't directly inspired by 'X-Files'

TCA -- J.J. Abrams addressed a central fan/critic observation regarding his fall Fox thriller "Fringe" --  that it reminds some of "The X-Files."

Fringe2 "It wasn't like, 'Let's do "The X-Files" again,' " he said. "It was like, 'What kind of show would we tune in to see?' I thought we'd be slammed for doing the big David Cronenberg, 'Altered States' stuff ... I was obsessed with when I was growing up, the Michael Crichton stuff, which for me started with 'Westworld,' or even the Robin Cook stuff ... like that weird place where medicine and science meets real life ... And certainly 'The Twlight Zone,' 'X-Files,' 'Night Stalker' were those shows I loved."

Executive producer Roberto Orci: "We sat in a room and just listed off our shows. 'X-Files' was an inspiration as well, but that's not where we started. ... I always wanted to do a show with geniuses solving problems."

Abrams also expressed disappointment about "Fringe" being leaked online, and described the leaked version as unfinished and not the same as what Fox viewers will see in the fall -- an additional interrogation scene was shot and the ending was tweaked."Any pressure or expectation can ruin the show," he said.

"It's hard to believe, but we didn't put the pilot online," producer Bryan Burk said. "We hate putting anything out there until it's done. Part of the problem is we keep working on our stuff until it airs, and then sometimes even after it airs."

Abrams said he'll continue to have a strong involvement in the show, and plans to direct an episode.

"This is the first show I've been a creator on since 'Lost.' I care desperately about it," Abrams said. "I'm going to be deeply involved in the show, in doing writing or rewrites when necessary, and certainly in the story arcs of the show ... I feel jealous I didn't get to do the pilot."

Abrams also said that watching “Fringe” won’t require viewers to invest the same level dedication as watching “Lost” or “Alias." He recalled re-watching an old episode of “Alias” and finding it “impenetrable… I was so confused.”

“’Lost’ has a reputation of being a very complicated show,” he said. “’Fringe ‘is in many ways an experiment for us…we believe it has an overall story and we know its end game … you don’t have to watch episodes one, two and three to watch episode four. We are trying very diligently the show doesn’t require the sort of insane, absolute dedication to other series.”

VIDEO UPDATE: Abrams talks "Fringe"


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