Adventure!

Vodafone bill came in last week and I was pleased to note that it didn’t leave me horribly bankrupt. Which means I can keep adding to the Manifesto from the phone without concern.

Also means I can keep aprised with affairs via BBC news, which I’ve come to like doing of a morning.

The DivX mobile player comes through with a win, though not without its conditions of surrender. While the player does boast an additional avenue for watching things on the phone and, most importantly, comes with a fast forward/rewind feature, it is persnicketty in just what it’ll allow to play. Fortunately the freeware video convertor SUPER has proven itself capable at converting most anything into most anything else. This is why I can now watch Batman of the Future on the way into work.

Over the weekend, while we weren’t fighting off the advances of the dreaded Old Ones, Sharon introduced us to Fringe.

Fringe is the latest TV series offering from JJ Abrahms, whose credits include Alias and Lost. Each of these series have engendered mixed responses from various friends and I’ll admit that Abrahms isn’t a TV writer I normally pursue with avid interest as I would some (see Sorkin, Whedon, Moffat and Straczsynki), but he is solid and often entertaining. He also has three talents that I’ve seen in Alias and heard of in Lost, and imagine will appear in Fringe.

1: The overarching mystery. Abrahms is a fan of the metaplot, typically in the form of shadow conspiracy or affairs of destiny. And unlike X-Files, which I’ve heard Fringe unfairly compared to*, actually plots out just what this metaplot is for each of his series.

2: He’s not afraid to shake up the status quo. Most shows and series are happy to keep digging their rut, story by story and kudos to them. But both Alias and Lost have taken dramatic and often risky leaps in changing a successful show’s premise into something else and I imagine that Fringe will do the same. In fact, I’m hoping it does.

3: This is possibly my favourite reason. Abrahms likes taking old school adventure genres and couching them in modern or near future settings.

Now you could argue that most if not all shows do the same but the difference is that they’ll often sabotage themselves in trying to distance themselves from that which they are paying homage to. Abrahms stories embrace it and trumpet it loudly. If what I was talking about were a Disney cartoon, then Abrahms would be holding this story device aloft while audiences bowed their heads and listened to the Circle of Life.

Alias isn’t an espionage show at heart. The level of general incompetence is pretty much evidence of this. Instead its an Indiana Jones-esque treasure hunt shown through the lens of an espionage themed show. It’s a government run National Treasure or Tomb Raider in the near future (Possibly these examples aren’t endearing it to anyone. oops!) and one of the staples of this style of story is the continual escalation of problem after problem that requires action and luck to solve.

Um, perhaps like if Johnny Quest was a CIA agent…

Lost is Abrahms’ take on Heart of Darkness. Can’t comment with authority on this one largely because I haven’t watched it beyond the first season. May return to it at some point.

Fringe is the Verne, Wells mad science fantasy genre wrapped in government conspiracy. What you might get if Well’s Invisible Man was set in modern times.

I’ll leave it here for the moment but there are elements of Fringe to talk about when I’ve had time to watch some more of it.

Also Sharon deserves kudos and chocolate for letting us invade her place at 9:00pm to watch more episodes.

*I remain resoloutely convinced that Chris Carter either didn’t have a damn clue what X-Files’s conspiracy was going to be, as a shock that his series lasted as long as it did; or blinked at the yawning chasm between what he had planned and what the fans’ expectations were. Either way. Not remotely the same as Fringe.

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