Before he took on the pilot episode of his now-cancelled NBC series “Undercovers,” J.J. Abrams last took the director’s chair in one of his own projects when he helmed the pilot episode of “Lost” for ABC.
The sudden success of “Lost” meant Abrams could eventually write any ticket he wanted in terms of television, but instead of creating other ratings monsters to dominate the networks, he instead creating smoke monsters.
That has led some to believe that Abrams may be ready to finally make that transition into movies full-time doing projects to follow up on films like “Cloverfield” and “Star Trek” than continuing what has been a soft patch in television.
Jace Lacob of The Daily Beast feels that Abrams shouldn’t give up on television quiet yet. Instead, the director needs to go back to what has worked in the past — not procedurals meant to keep generic audiences happy, but the serialized stories that engrossed the viewer in character depth.
“Even as his star has been climbing in the film world … [Abrams has] left the heavy lifting in television to others,” Lacon said. “In fact, it seems as though Abrams turned his back on what made him big, ditching the mythology of fan-driven shows like ‘Lost’ and ‘Alias’ to chase after the quick cash of episodic television.”
Abrams has taken more of an silent partner role in some of his creations of late. Even “Lost,” his last major television success, was more a product maintained by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse rather than Abrams himself. Even the Fox show he created with “Star Trek” writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman — “Fringe” — is without his presence (and essentially without Orci’s and Kurtzman’s as well, as they have turned their attention to the new CBS show “Hawaii Five-0”).
However, if Abrams were to spend more time in television in light of some of his struggles, what would it mean to his string of movie successes?
“It’s illogical to suggest that Abrams should devote all his time to television when he’s become a highly in-demend feature film director who is able to reboot flagging franchises,” Lacob said. “But television has been good to Abrams. However, if he’s going to do TV, he should commit to sticking around a show past its first few episodes and put his own imprimatur on the show’s vision.”
“Undercovers” is gone, but “Fringe” is hanging in there, at least for now. That show airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.
To see Jace Lacob’s full story, click here.