Is JJ. Abrams The New Joss Whedon?

by admin on October 16, 2008 · 4 comments

That’s the question being asked by Io9’s Graeme McMillan:

With the year getting ready to draw to a close, one thing has become clear to anyone who’s been paying attention: Despite television rating freefalls and a movie industry dependent on franchises for success, one man has managed to sail the choppy waters of genre entertainment with almost no mis-steps and still find success. Isn’t it time that we finally gave JJ Abrams his long-awaited due?

I know that there’s more than a small amount of apathy and hatred towards Abrams out there – Yes, I’m talking about you, haters – but that shouldn’t stop the triple threat writer/producer/director of Felicity, Alias and Mission: Impossible III get what’s coming to him. In an era where Joss Whedon is reduced to making ballet and webshorts in order to get fulfill his muse the way he wants, we’ve come up with some reasons to consider Abrams’ place as the new Joss.

With the year getting ready to draw to a close, one thing has become clear to anyone who’s been paying attention: Despite television rating freefalls and a movie industry dependent on franchises for success, one man has managed to sail the choppy waters of genre entertainment with almost no mis-steps and still find success. Isn’t it time that we finally gave JJ Abrams his long-awaited due?

I know that there’s more than a small amount of apathy and hatred towards Abrams out there – Yes, I’m talking about you, haters – but that shouldn’t stop the triple threat writer/producer/director of Felicity, Alias and Mission: Impossible III get what’s coming to him. In an era where Joss Whedon is reduced to making ballet and webshorts in order to get fulfill his muse the way he wants, we’ve come up with some reasons to consider Abrams’ place as the new Joss.

Continue reading here.

I have no shame in admitting that JJ. Abrams is my favourite producer, writer, director – Fringe has helped catapult him above Whedon in my opinion, however there’s not much to choose between them, and Dollhouse ‘might’ (MIGHT) just bridge the gap a bit.

Page 48 October 17, 2008 at 5:17 am

JJ has a lifetime pass from me because of “Alias” (and “Lost” isn’t bad either), but after 5 episodes of “Fringe”, I have to say that I’m disappointed that Abrams/Orci/Kurtzman/Pinkner and everyone else concerned seem to have lost either the urge or the formula for creating excitement, intrigue, suspense, thrills, urgency, danger, despair, heartache, etc…..(in other words, the stuff of “Alias”)

“Fringe” (so far) has followed a strict episodic template which viewers, trained to expect more from Abrams, will only grow increasingly weary of. For instance, after only 5 episodes, we now know for a fact that Peter will not stay in the car. He will get out of the car, get involved in the chase and immobilize the target in time for Olivia to apply the handcuffs. Please, JJ, please! This is pure formula, this does NOT stand out.

“Alias” was a highlight reel of great moments. I’m talking about the kind of life-altering moments you remember for years. The pilot alone was full of them:

-the opening scene with Sydney’s flaming red head held under water, thousands of miles from home, without any backup, as she gasped and sputtered and used her wits to keep herself alive
-the parking garage fight where she spins around, points a gun at the waiting sedan, and exclaims “Daddy?”
-the scene at the track where she guts Will Tippin by telling him that she and Danny are getting married
-Sinead O’Connor serenading us as Sydney marches into Sloane’s office and drops a bag full of Mueller Device on his desk and tells him “I’m back”
-the stunning visual of Sydney, still wearing black sweater and red hair, her mouth swollen from dental torture, shoulders back, steely determination, making her way through the unsuspecting pedestrian traffic, on her way to the real CIA, to present herself as a walk-in
-and how about the final scene, beautifully staged in the cemetery at Danny’s gravesite, where she receives her 2nd major revelation from her father, that he, in addition to not selling airplane parts, is also a double agent, as he hands her a cell phone that will change forever not only her life, but the lives of everyone she loves?

This is the kind of television I waited all spring and summer to see when “Fringe” was added to FOX’s fall schedule, but sadly, there has been a failure to deliver on the part of Abrams and his team, as the thriller I was promised is really just a freak-of-the-week procedural with no trace of the ingredients that made “Alias” so special.

JJ’s homework assignment this weekend is to dig out the “Alias” Box Set and watch a few gems like “Truth Be Told” or the masterpiece known as “Phase One”, and then spin the first 5 episodes of “Fringe”. If he would do this, I firmly believe that he would see how pale “Fringe” looks in comparison and maybe he could right the ship before the faithful begin to throw themselves overboard.

Do it JJ, prove that “Alias” wasn’t a fluke.

Roco October 17, 2008 at 5:53 pm

“LOST” is great! 😉 But I’m pretty much the same, he’s given me so much delight with “LOST” and to a lesser extent, “Alias”, that I’ll always appreciate him for that.

I definetely understand your complaints with Fringe, although I’m probably more optimistic about the five episodes we’ve seen so far. I agree that it wouldn’t hurt if Orci/Kurtzman and even JJ himself had a look at “Alias” and “Lost” for that matter, just to remind themselves of some of the elements that “Fringe” is currently lacking. With these missing ingredients incorportated, Fringe would be up there with both of these shows, and I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve. That said, I realise that they’re not trying to create another “LOST” or “Alias”, they’re trying to do something different, so credit to them for that, because “Fringe” is GREAT on so many levels. Like you, I just feel it could be really great if they take a few more risks with the current formula. Right now I get the feeling they’re holding back – I hope this is intentional.

By the way, you’ve inspired me to dig out a few old Alias episodes! 🙂

Page 48 October 17, 2008 at 8:33 pm

I recommend “Phase One”. The meeting with Sydney and Dixon by the oil rigs is what I would consider one of the top half dozen scenes to ever light up a TV screen. Just sit back and appreciate the way Sydney approaches this encounter. The way she removes her shades and doesn’t say a word until Dixon does the same. Watch and enjoy the way she escalates as Dixon naturally shakes his head in disbelief. Watch and enjoy the way she moves to stay in front of his face as he turns away from her. And bask in the goosebumps as she says in increasing volume “you have to listen to me, YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME”.

Wow!! JJ, come back to us, baby! Focus!

Roco October 18, 2008 at 9:31 pm

Thanks Page 48, I’ll do that. I’m in the mood for some Alias! I’m thinking I’ll watch Phase One and one or two other episodes on the night that Fringe has a 1 week hiatus (week after next).:D

JJ’s still got the magic, I know he has!

Previous post:

Next post:

Flash Forward TV Series - Fringe Fox - Fringe Fox - TV Show Blog - Serialized TV Forums