Finally. I just got to tell J.J. Abrams what I think of his new Fox show, Fringe:

"I hated it."

Only problem? I couldn't keep a straight face and neither could he as he drew his water bottle to his head like a gun and pretended to fire it.

J.J. Abrams

Mike Guastella/

It's no secret that as a longtime fan of J.J. (Felicity, Alias and Lost are pretty much my reasons for being here), I tend to go a little easy on him, but still, I am happy to report that there was a decidedly positive, dare I say excited vibe among the TV critics at the Fringe session today. (And that is saying something, given how cranky this bunch can be.)

After a troubled and interrupted '07-'08 TV season, it seems many critics are looking to Fringe as something of a TV savior for fall, and for good reason: It's from J.J. It rocks. It has Joshua freaking Jackson (say it with me now: Thank you, Jesus) and newcomer Anna Torv, whom you'll have an instant crush on (especially in person). I saw the pilot again last night and loved it all the more.

Still, J.J. and his crew are hoping we critics will tone down the ype-hay on the inge-Fray (a little pig latin for you cunning linguists). "Ultimately any pressure or expectation could ruin a show," J.J. said. "I don't think any one show can save the fall season...And if you are expecting it to change your life, it's invariably disappointing." (Ummm...Unless we're talking Felicity or Alias or Lost, right? I know...I need help.)

As for that not-so-hush-hush leak of the Fringe pilot on the web, executive producer Bryan Burk said for the record: "We did not put it on line. We hate putting anything out there until it's done." And J.J. added: "We all freaked out when that happened, especially when it got to that peer-to-peer thing where it was unstoppable. But most of the response has been positive. And Fox gave us an incredible time slot, so we're floating on air."

See? I'm not the only one who's feeling the love.

Meanwhile, for those of you wondering about the casting of Lance Reddick (Lost's Matthew Abbadon) as a series regular on Fringe, J.J. said it's a safe bet he'll reappear on the Island. "When we were casting him, we hesitated because of his Lost character," J.J.  admitted. "But then I realized if he goes and does another show, he'll be less likely to do Lost, so let's get him on this one, because I know the producer."

Anyone else excited about this series? Or happened to have stumbled upon the pilot (not that I would ever condone it)? Feel free to share your Fringe thoughts below...

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