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J.J. Abrams offers terrifying sci-fi on ‘Fringe’

The creator of "Lost" and "Alias" has a new project hitting airwaves next week that promises to sweep away old-fashioned notions of the sci-fi genre.
/ Source: Reuters

Sci-fi fans, be afraid. Be very afraid. The creator of hit TV shows "Lost" and "Alias" has a new project hitting airwaves next week that promises to sweep away old-fashioned notions of the genre and replace them with the most out there concepts of what the future holds.

The terrifying thing, says J.J. Abrams, creator of the upcoming TV series "Fringe," is that those tomorrows are now within reach.

"The show is coming out at a time when every week we read or see some kind of potentially horrifying scientific breakthrough ... We are at a time where science is out of control," Abrams told reporters in a conference call on Thursday.

He noted that only last month scientists announced a first step toward an invisibility cloaking device after creating two types of materials that can bend light the wrong way.

"The stuff you would never in a million years think is actually possible, is happening every day. It is pushing what we all thought was that comfortable quaint version of what sci-fi is, to a very different place, and that is where 'Fringe' lives," Abrams said.

Abrams' track record as the Emmy-award winning hand behind "Lost" and so-called "spy-fi" series "Alias," as well as big screen directing credits for "Mission: Impossible III" and next year's "Star Trek" prequel, has made "Fringe" one of the most anticipated new shows of the Fall TV season.

"Fringe" starts on the Fox network on September 8 with a 90-minute pilot that Abrams says is a "preposterous, out there, scientific story" intended to hook viewers.

The first episode deals with the arrival of an international flight that lands in Boston with no signs of life. It stars former "Dawson's Creek" actor Joshua Jackson in his first U.S. TV show in five years, and John Noble playing a brilliant but crackpot scientist.

Abrams said "Fringe" was very different from either "Alias" or "Lost" despite some apparent similarities.

"In some scripts, we will be dealing with science very much as it exists," he said. "The weird thing about 'Fringe' is that although you can say it is science fiction, a lot of it is stuff that is at least in the realm of possibility."