2:30 pm EDT, January 26, 2012

J.J. Abrams talks ‘Fringe’ season 5, developing ‘Alcatraz,’ where ‘Alias’ went wrong

In a new interview, television mastermind J.J. Abrams discusses his new drama Alcatraz, reflects on whether Fringe will be renewed and talks about the hypothetical fifth season.

Speaking to Collider, J.J. talks about the potential cancellation of Fringe and why it would, well, suck:

For some sick reason, I’m hopeful [for Fringe to be renewed]. There is some stuff coming up that is so great. They’re doing such amazing work. Maybe it’s just that dumb optimism of hoping that, when good work is done, it gets rewarded. Some of the work that Jeff [Pinkner] and Joel [Wyman] are working on now is so good that I’m just crossing my fingers it gets to continue. And, if not on Fox, maybe somewhere else. My dream would be that the next year would be the great ending for the show, to have one more season, but of course, any producer would say that.

For the rest of the current season, J.J. teases:

Joel Wyman, one of the showrunners, directed an episode that is incredibly romantic and powerful and emotional, and has my favorite combination of weird and sweet, sci-fi and romance.

He also talks about Alcatraz, and speaks about the changes made to the pilot. Among other things, they changed the character of Rebecca Madsen, and J.J. comments:

One of the advantages of being a mid-season show instead of a fall show, where you have to say, “Oh, it would have been cool if we had actually had the time to make changes,” you actually can. Part of it was that we just felt like we wanted to invest more in a specific thing with Rebecca, so that viewers connected with her more and had a stronger connection to Alcatraz. There was a cool intellectual notion, but it wasn’t something that was viscerally demonstrated and dramatized in the episode. And there are a bunch of little things, too, that we realized. With the romantic interest that she had, we felt like it wasn’t really quite going with the rest of the show, and rather than say, “Well, let’s suck it up and move on,” we actually had a chance to make some changes and improve upon it.

He also speaks about the negative connotations associated with serialized television as opposed to episodic television nowadays, and mentions Alias as an example:

When Alias was on, I went over to a friend’s house and there was an episode that was on, and I watched it. I had had a bad day and I wasn’t really focused, and I watched about four minutes of the opening and was like, “What the **** is going on in this show? I have no idea!” Now, of course, I knew the story and I worked on it, but my heart broke for everyone I knew had to work as hard as they had to, in watching that show. Having said that, I loved doing Alias. It was one of my favorite things. In fact, that show was really built as a serialized show. And, when we were instructed by the network, at the beginning of season 3, to stop that, we then went to episodic shows, and I think that the show suffered for it.

Read the full, extensive interview with Abrams over at Collider. He talks more about Alcatraz, and also touches on Star Trek and the Revolution pilot he’s working on with Supernatural‘s Eric Kripke.

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