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Creator or co-creator of Felicity, Alias, Lost, and Fringe, producer of Cloverfield and Alcatraz, one of the five credited writers of Armageddon, and director of Mission Impossible III and the 2009 Star Trek film. He's won Emmys and Golden Globes in nearly 20 years in the industry.
Some have declared him to be the greatest (and certainly the most successful) mainstream "genre" TV/filmmaker since Steven Spielberg, a summation seemingly shared by Spielberg himself, who produced and openly supported Abrams' tribute to 70s/80s Spielberg sci-fi, Super 8. Along with Joss Whedon (himself reportedly a friend of Abrams) and Christopher Nolan, he is one of the very-much-talked-about trinity of modern genre entertainment.
He likes red balls and playing with the perception of time. He hates Airplanes (both Lost and Fringe have had more than one airline-related disaster- and the other stuff on the list of credits also have had aviation-related incidents).
Contrary to popular misbelief, his involvement in Lost is extremely marginal: He was asked to help fleshing out a concept for a show when the guy who had the initial idea (then ABC chairman Lloyd Braun) was not happy with what the first guy asked to flesh out the concept (Jeffrey Lieber) had come up with. Abrams was never really committed to the show, and had another (rejected) pilot called The Catch that he was already working on, so another guy (Damon Lindelof) was hired to flesh out the concept for the show together with Abrams (they threw everything Lieber had previously come up with out of the window, effectively leaving only Braun's initial idea intact. Regardless, Lieber was later granted a ridiculous 60% creator's credit after taking legal action). Abrams wrote and directed the pilot and then went off to direct Mission Impossible 3 just as the first season was taking off, arguably similar to his abandonment of Alias for Lost. Lindelof, suddenly left alone with the Show Runner burden, considered quitting too, but was convinced by his former co-writer (Carlton Cuse) to stay. Cuse then joined the show as a second showrunner, and has been pulling the strings together with Lindelof ever since.
Abrams later briefly returned and wrote the season 3 premiere together with Lindelof, but apparently realized the show really wasn't for him. Regardless, he's still officially credited as an executive producer as of season 6 (the final season), even though he has repeatedly confirmed in interviews that he has nothing to do with the show anymore, and all he really does is approve everything Lindelof and Cuse come up with. (Lindelof even once joked that Jimmy Kimmel knows more about Lost than Abrams does.)
Now, guess who both the mainstream media and casual viewers still constantly refer to as the "mastermind" behind Lost. Hint: This article is about him.
He did something similar with Fringe, and given his continued movie-making career, it's possible that similar things will happen with all his future shows.
This director's work contains examples of:
- Action Girl - Occurs quite frequently. Alias and Fringe both star iconic women in action roles, Sydney Bristow and Olivia Dunham respectively, and Lost also has its fair share (though not as many as one might think) e.g. Kate, Juliet, Ana-Lucia, Ilana etc
- Kill and Replace - Tends to happen at least once per show with regards to a prominent side character, notable in the second seasons of both Alias and Fringe.
- Lens Flare - A stylistic trope more prevalent in his movies than his TV shows, with Star Trek being the biggest offender (thus far...).
- Mood Whiplash - Common, particularly on Lost.
- Parental Abandonment
- Too Happy to Live
- "Well Done, Son" Guy - Again common, most notably on Lost between Jack and his distant, patronising dad.