While "Star Trek" beams into America's movie theaters this weekend, let's consider another admirable creative achievement by director J.J. Abrams. The mysterious, creepy Fox TV series "Fringe" poses a fascinating Emmy cliffhanger: Can this bizarre show about a mad scientist (Dr. Walter Bishop, played by John Noble) be the next "Lost" (also created by J.J. Abrams) or "The X Files"? It's one of the few new hits of the past TV season, and it sure seems to have a grip on smart TV viewers in the last few weeks of the Emmy eligibility period that ends on May 31.
"That last episode of 'Fringe' just will not let go of me," writes Jason Hughes over at AOL's television blog TV Squad. "You can feel it. Things are coming to a head, and it reminds me of that feeling I had toward the end of the first season of 'Lost.' "
Normally, TV shows with fantasy and/or fantastic elements like genetically engineered monsters, parallel universes and villains beaming dark thoughts into people's minds via a secret "ghost network" don't do well at showbiz awards. But on rare, curious occasions they do.
If "Fringe" turns out to be like "Lost," that's great news: "Lost" won best drama series at the Emmys after its first TV season. If it's the next "The X Files," that's not so great but still good. "The X Files" wasn't nominated for best drama series after its first TV season ended in 1994 and never won that category, but it was nominated in that top category four times (1995-98). Gillian Anderson pulled off a huge upset over Julianna Margulies ("ER") and Christine Lahti ("Chicago Hope") to win best actress in 1997.
Hmmmm. Just thinking out loud . . . Weirder things have happened, especially in the crazy realms of TV and J.J. Abrams.