Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Darin on the Fringe

Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Here's another reason to watch J.J Abrams' new sci-fi series Fringe: award-winning writer Darin Morgan has joined the staff. Hopefully he's a familiar name to you. If not, allow me to explain...

Darin Morgan was a popular writer on The X-Files. The brother of executive producer Glen Morgan, he was responsible for creating the "comedy" episodes that became a fixture of the series. It all started with his scripts for "Humbug" (the one with the sideshow freaks) and "War Of The Coprophages" (the one with the plague of cockroaches), but he hit his stride with the Emmy-winning "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" (starring Peter Boyle as a man who can predict how people will die) and the well-regarded "Jose Chung's From Outer Space" (an eccentric writer researches an alien encounter).

He later followed his brother Glen over to Millennium, writing "Jose Chung's Doomsday Defence" (a Scientology spoof years ahead of its time) and "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me" (four demons share their experiences of humanity).

And then it all went quiet around 1998...

The trouble is, Darin's admittedly work-shy and a perfectionist. If it wasn't for the badgering of his brother Glen in the '90s, I doubt he'd have summoned the will to write anything for The X Files and Millennium. He's since taken consulting producer roles on Bionic Woman (when his brother Glen was involved for a few early episodes) and the Night Stalker remake (from X-Files writer Frank Spotnitz). Darin was actually persuaded by Spotnitz to write a script for Night Stalker ("The M Word"), but the series was cancelled before it was filmed. The script, about a "were-lizard", was made available on the Night Stalker DVD. It's also available online here. Well worth a read; the twist is brilliant.

So, news that Darin Morgan has been tapped to write for Fringe is music to my ears. Abrams has admitted The X-Files is one of the biggest influences on his new series, so I'm sure Darin's genius in subverting telefantasy shows will be put to good use. Hopefully he won't write anything before audiences get used to Fringe, though -- so we can appreciate when it's being spoofed.

Darin Morgan's return to TV is long, long overdue. Let's hope Fringe isn't cancelled and Abrams cracks the whip a little...