If there is one thing that you can say for certain about Bad Robot — J.J. Abrams’ production studio — it’s that they are not afraid to take chances. Sure, they’ve taken on licensed properties such as Star Trek, and now Star Wars, but the bulk of their production work has been entrenched in original concepts and stories. Even their creative process with licensed material usually skews in unpredictable manners, which makes them a sort of anomaly in this current climate of remakes of remakes.
Shows like Alias, Person of Interest, and — without question — LOST, maintained an identity distinguishable from all other TV properties for their ingenuity and lack of conventional storytelling. It’s rare that any media vehicle — whether it’s music, television, or film — is perfect in its final form, and in that regard, Bad Robot is no different. But, what is commendable about J.J. Abrams and his team, is that they at least try to find new ways to convey meaning and narrative at a time when innovation is not a commodity.
Cloverfield pushed the boundaries of the found footage genre (in my opinion, to its limits). Mission Impossible III helped to reestablish the importance of the McGuffin, or more specifically the unimportance of the McGuffin (it truly does not matter what the “rabbit’s foot” is). LOST — perhaps more than any other TV show in recent memory — completely eschewed time and space continuity, and still, a compelling narrative was shaped that arrested all my senses up until the final scene.
I’m truly excited to see what kind of cinematic conventions Abrams and his team plays with when Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens arrives. Until then, enjoy this recently released, official retrospective on over 15 years of Bad Robot productions.