FBI agent teams with eccentric scientist (and his estranged son) to solve crimes involving fringe science
Type of Pilot: Mystery; Action; Drama; Sci-Fi
Similar Shows: The X-Files (strange cases), Alias (tough female lead character), Special Unit 2 (strange things are happening and there is a reason for it), Lost (heroine is attracted to two different types: good guy and bad guy)
The Inner Light: "Insane and irratiting. And, also, my only hope."
Strengths: Once Joshua Jackson shows up the pilot really starts to take off. The final hour is the best: providing the first hint of the show's interesting backstory.
Weaknesses: The first half-hour was slow enough. It felt like an average X-Files episode and I was bored by the relationships: The heroine has a loving boyfriend (but she can't say "I Love You" back to him) and a boss who hates her (for putting his best friend in jail). Nothing here that hasn't been seen before.
Impressive Characters: Olivia Dunham makes a strong central character. She's from the Sydney Bristow school of heroics. Clever and tough.
Impressive Actors: Joshua Jackson is a great as guy Olivia is forced to work with. Or forces to work with her, depending on how you look at it. Anna Torv is the perfect lead for the show. A perfect J.J. Abrams leading lady.
Less-Than-Impressive Characters: The boss, the non-romantic FBI buddy and the girl in the lab. I expect that future episodes will give them all more to do.
Less-Than-Impressive Actors: It's a good cast, all round, but Lance Reddick, Kirk Acevedo and Mark Valley are wasted.
Continuity: I imagine it will be a case-of-the-week show with strong episode-to-episode developments.
Rewatchability: Huge. I'd like to go back and watch it again, now that I know how it all turns out at the end.
Other Info: This the fourth J.J. Abrams show.
Other Review: The Futon Critic.
Three Things I Really Like About This Pilot:
The action scenes were exciting. Brief (and scarce) but very exciting nonetheless. At one point Olivia leaps from a building (breaking her fall just once on the fire escape) and it's frakkin' cool. It also demonstrates that this is a heroine who will stop at nothing to get her man. Yet, the action stops well short of the fantasy action seen on Alias.
The central dynamic is very clever. J.J. Abrams has found a nifty way to make these three characters work together and make them interdependant, even though they may not like one another very much. Yet.
Three Things I Really Don't Like About This Pilot:
Mark Valley is wasted as the boyfriend. He was Keen Eddie for frak sake! He should be starring in his own show by now.
Mostly all the stuff with the boss is boring. I'm sure it will be better in future episodes.
Joshua Jackson is funny but, after a while, all his character does is spout witty one-liners while the rest of the team discuss high-concept sci-fi stuff. The writers need to tone that down. Too much of it is irritating.
Imagine if Sydney Bristow was lead investigator on The X-Files, forced to work with Lost's Sawyer in order to get help from his genius father (Part-Gil Grissom and part-Frankenstein) and you have some idea of what to expect here.