Today’s cuppa: Birdwing Blend coffee
In the "Fringe" pilot — which aired Tuesday, Sept. 9, on Fox, and repeats on Sunday, Sept. 14 (with the first four minutes of the next episode included) — Peter Bishop, the character played by Joshua Jackson, is in Baghdad, Iraq, negotiating in English with two unnamed men about building a pipeline, starting in Kirkuk. The two men begin to speak to each other in a language other than English. Bishop says, "I also speak Farsi."
As I said at the screening of the pilot I saw at the end of May, and then repeated in July to Peter Ligouri, head of Fox, and in early August to executive producer J.J. Abrams, they don’t actually speak Farsi (or Persian) in Iraq. That would be Iran. Arabic is spoken in Iraq.
When I asked Abrams about this, here’s what he said.
"There were two discussions. The people that he was meeting with weren’t supposed to be Iraqi, but it was in Iraq. There were a couple of other discussions, that there was someone who actually asked when production was doing research … they just got it wrong."
I then asked Abrams how likely it was that Iranians would be building a pipeline in Iraq (since the two nations fought a fierce war in the ’80s and tensions are still high in the region).
"This is true," he said. "I’m not sure what we’re going to do for the final version."
And, as my Zap2it colleague, Dan Fienberg, blogged about comparing the pilot he saw to an earlier draft of the script, "Another change, a small one, is that in an early
scene Jackson’s character is in Iraq negotiating with two shady
businessmen who try talking behind their backs. As it is now, he
informs them, after they’ve talked, that he speaks Farsi. This seeming
cultural inaccuracy annoyed several people at the screening I was at.
In the original script, though, he tells them he speaks Arabic, which
makes more sense. Why was this change made, I wonder…"
So, there it is. Make of it what you will. If you want to discuss it further, feel free to comment here or to go to this thread at the "Fringe" Wiki.
As to my opinion of the show, I thought the pilot was fine. I like the cool 3-D graphics. I really liked the characters of Peter Bishop and his father, mad scientist Walter Bishop. I liked the cow. It was good enough that I’ll watch again to see what happens — which is one of the primary goals of any pilot. That’s all I got for now.