Mark Valley and Anna Torv by Ben Mark Holzberg/Fox Mark Valley and Anna Torv by Ben Mark Holzberg/Fox
Fringe creator J.J. Abrams talked to TVGuide.com about the genesis of his new don't-call-it-sci-fi show (premieres Tuesday, Sept. 9, 8 pm/ET). Anna Torv stars as a tough FBI agent who teams up with a mad scientist, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), and his con man son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), to investigate strange events. -

Mickey O'Connor 1. You heard it here first, folks: J.J. Abrams says that Fringe will jump the shark in the pilot episode. "When we did the pilot for Lost, we had the monster appear at the end of first act. We did that very consciously, we wanted to tell the audience, "We're jumping the shark now; we're doing crazy sh-- now." Similarly, on Fringe, we did a preposterous, out-there, far-fetched story point to announce the show's intention to the audience." 2. Peter and Olivia (Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv) will probably eventually hook up, but be patient. "No doubt there is going to be a slow-burn relationship. I don't think it's going to happen the way you think. It needs to be earned and done right. There's a lot going on in their lives; there are more urgent issues." 3. Fringe is inspired by... ER? "I'm such of fan of The X-Files, Twilight Zone, the original Night Stalker. But I think the model for Fringe is closer to ER, where there are ongoing relationships and storylines, and yet week to week when the door bursts open, you're faced with insane urgency. When I look back at Felicity, the problem is that there's nothing to interrupt the relationship story. There's no franchise to distract the main characters from their emotions." 4. When you find the right girl, you just know. "I saw Anna's audition video and I just immediately knew. When you see the right person, you're like, 'Oh my God, can we actually get her? Is she really available?' It's no longer about giving her the part; it's just about having to make it work. I knew she had a quality that was unique. She's smart and beautiful, but not in a way that's phony, tough and sophisticated, and I just felt like she was the right one." 5. Fringe is not so much "sci-fi" as it's just "sci." "The weird thing about Fringe is although you could call it science fiction, a lot of the stuff is within the realm of possibility. When Star Trek came out and everyone had their communicators, it was just a cool dream. Now in our pockets we all have communicators, and it's real. When you're working on an episode and you read, as we did a week ago, that invisibility is coming, you go, 'Um, OK.' The stuff that you would never think in a million years was possible is happening. I think we're living in a golden age of sci-fi as far as TV, but we're also living in an incredibly advanced period of scientific achievement, and it's pushing that quaint version of sci-fi to a different place, and that's where Fringe lives." Related: " Meet Fringe's star and sexy newcomer Anna Torv " VIDEO: Joshua Jackson and John Noble Explain Fringe " VIDEO: Why is J.J. Abrams so excited for the premiere? " VIDEO: The cast and crew dish on the show at Comic-Con " VIDEO: Behind the scenes of the Fringe photo shoot