Fringe by Michael Lavine/Fox Fringe by Michael Lavine/Fox

J.J. Abrams' new Fox drama Fringe follows the stories of government agents who investigate mysterious occurrences that exist in a slightly skewed reality. It certainly sounds like another X-Files... but is it?

"I would be a fool to say there are no influences," Abrams admitted during Fox's TCA press tour. "Yes, there's an FBI agent and some weird stuff. But I'd like to think the similarities end there."

Abrams unspooled a long list of other influences from "that place where medicine and science meet in real life," including Twin Peaks, The Twilight Zone, Nightstalker, the writings of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook, and even David Cronenberg films. If all these references give you cold-sweat flashbacks of that time you tried to finish reading A Tale of Two Cities before the next episode of Lost rolled around, fear not. Abrams is sympathetic.

He told a story about recently watching an old ep of Alias with his pal Greg Grunberg. "I was so confused. It was impenetrable," says Abrams, the, um, creator of Alias. "I was like, 'Who the f--- is that guy?" In that respect, he says, Fringe is an experiment. "You don't have to watch episodes 1, 2 and 3 to understand 4. Each episode has a story, but over the course of the season there will be arcs. Hopefully you will want to see all the episodes." [Note: I saw the pilot last night. I'm guessing you will.] - Mickey O'Connor

More TCA press tour coverage:
" Matt Roush: Is Fox on the Fringe of a Breakout Hit?
" Fall TV Press Tour: 24, Fringe, Truth Talk & More
" Fall TV Press Tour: Prison Break's Big Reunion, Spin-off News, More