This upcoming fall season was slowly pushing me towards the realization that when it comes to case-of-the-week, procedural television, we had seen it all. If it weren't for the awe inspiring final two episodes of House last season, I would have been close to being lumbar punctured out. Law and Order (mostly original recipe, but sometimes SVU) has become incredibly dependent on ripping from the headlines instead of crafting crackerjack cases in the writers' room. Even new offerings are falling short. The Mentalist and Eleventh Hour, premiering on CBS on September 23rd and October 9th respectively, both boast well developed and acted, quirky male leads, but the cases presented in the pilot episode are not the awe inspiring webs of intrigue they should be in order to hook a repeat audience (more on these shows later).
In steps Fox's Fringe. Try to set aside enough time to watch the 2 hour premiere tomorrow night, Tubers. You will not be disappointed. Fringe is the next, sure to be successful, notch in J.J. Abrams' belt. Unlike its older brother, Lost, Fringe won't leave you with a case of the WTFs. Yes, J.J.'s fancy for the other worldly is more than present, but putting his voice in a case-of-the-week format was a brilliant idea in order capture a new fan base who don't like to be kept wondering for half of a year why it is the island just disappeared!#7$%9#!@.
Australian actor John Noble (pictured right) STEALS THE SHOW with an incredibly sympathetic portrayal of Walter Bishop, a real, live mad scientist. I know it is always a struggle for overseas actors to take commercial, American gigs without feeling as if they have compromised their legitimacy, but this role could do for Noble what House did for Hugh Laurie.* Noble's chemistry with Joshua Jackson, who plays his son Peter, is delightful! Yes, delightful.
*Every time you say or write Hugh Laurie, an angel gets its wings. Fact.