"Amid the red-and-blue flashing light of squad cars, FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham strides purposefully through the Boston parking garage with companions Peter Bishop and his father, eccentric scientist Walter Bishop, toward the crime scene. Greeted by a building supervisor, she is told that the elevator simply dropped several floors, crashing violently into the garage. "That's impossible," Peter says as they examine the wreckage. Walter and Olivia draw closer, peering inside the wrecked elevator car, where several people died. Or so it seems.
The scene is actually part of Fox's upcoming SF TV series Fringe. Dunham is actually Australian actress Anna Torv; Peter is Joshua Jackson, and Walter is fellow Aussie John Noble. The garage is real, but it's in New York City, where Fringe is filming on a breezy Aug. 26, which doubles for the show's Boston setting. And SCI FI Wire was able to get an exclusive glimpse behind the scenes of the much-anticipated show and talk with the principals. The garage has been transformed into a crime scene, complete with emergency vehicles (Massachusetts state trooper units, a coroner's van), emergency personnel (extras in FBI windbreakers and cop uniforms), lights, gurneys and yellow police tape.
The wrecked elevator is actually a facade built into the garage. The episode is titled "Power Hungry" and is the fifth of the first season. And all three stars are on set this day, joking easily among themselves between takes before blocking out their movements with episode director Chris Misiano. Ask them what Fringe is about, however, and you're more likely to get a look of amused exasperation. "I'm really excited for the show to premiere so then I stop getting asked the question, because ... I never know which way to go," Torv said with a smile. "It's kind of got a bit of everything, I don't think it's genre-specific. I think that it is very science fiction, but more emphasis on the science as opposed to the fiction. There's drama, because your characters are all real, but they're dealing with these ... horrific [scenarios]. So I think there's elements of horror; there's elements of action. There's investigative [stories], there's crime-solving. I mean, it's just all consuming and far-reaching."
From J.J. Abrams and his Star Trek writing team of Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, Fringe centers on FBI agent Olivia Dunham, who finds herself drawn into an investigation of a mysterious aircraft disaster in Boston. Olivia's desperate search for help to save her gravely injured partner leads to brilliant scientist Walter Bishop, who has been institutionalized for the last 17 years. And the only way to question him requires pulling his estranged son, Peter, in to help.
The investigation gets weirder and weirder as Olivia discovers that things--and science--are not what they seem. Torv agreed with Orci's description of the show's theme being "the family you choose." "I do, absolutely," she said. "And I think that as the show progresses, they will need each other more and more and more." But, she added, "The power of three's a fun little number, because ... the dynamic is always going to shift, and you're always going to need one person more than the other. ... I was brought up in a family of three, and there's always two people against one."
The show is currently filming the fifth of its initial 13 episodes. "Power Hungry" deals with the trio's investigation of an elevator crash that was caused by some kind of mysterious power surge. Their investigation leads to a young man, Joseph (guest star Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who appears to give off some kind of odd electrical charge. As is typical in Fringe, the pursuit uncovers a sinister plot involving "fringe science" and the nefarious motives of another scientist (guest star Max Baker). And the race is on to find Joseph and uncover the plot. In another shot, the camera dollies into the wrecked elevator, where Joseph is lying unconscious atop a pile of bodies, including the office girl on whom he has a crush. Joseph awakes, looks around in horror, then spies the girl lying beside him. She's clearly dead, and he's horrified.
"Oh, God ..." he utters before clambering out of the dusty death carriage. The episode promises Fringe's mix of humor, science, horror and mystery, as well as the interpersonal drama among the three principal characters. "There's some fairly gruesome things that have happened, to be honest with you, and some fairly bizarre things, and I'm not going to tell you any more, because that's to be revealed," Noble said, with a grin. "But I think everyone will find them interesting and just close enough to [reality to] possibly go, 'Oh, my goodness, that's weird.' And I don't want to tell you. I'm not going to tell you any more."
Fringe premieres Sept. 9 and will air Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT"