4 signs you’re watching a JJ Abrams show | Virgin Media
4 signs you’re watching a JJ Abrams show

4 signs you’re watching a JJ Abrams show



Star Wars, Star Trek, possibly Stars in Their Eyes: JJ Abrams is involved with pretty much everything these days. The latest pie he’s got a finger in is 11.22.63, now available to watch on demand (find it in On Demand > TV > By Channel > Fox), in which James Franco time-travels back to 1960 to stop the Kennedy assassination, trying to succeed where Sam from Quantum Leap and the crew of Red Dwarf failed before him.

If you’re watching a JJ Abrams show you’ll know about it, possibly because you’re hip and pop-culture literate and, y’know, can read IMDb, and possibly because you’ll notice one of these things he always includes in them. Journey with us into The Mind of Abrams. (*overly dramatic music*)

Greg Grunberg

Abrams’ childhood friend and Heroes star Greg Grunberg has appeared in a few of the director’s projects. As well as being in some of his friend’s films, like Mission Impossible III and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he had a small part as the pilot of the crashed plane at the beginning of Lost, played Sean Blumberg in Abrams’ first show Felicity, and was CIA agent Eric Weiss in Alias. Seeing him as a sort of lucky mascot, Abrams pays Grunberg when not working elsewhere to simply stand around in his garden giving him the thumbs-up through the French doors, possibly.

Red matter

Now stay with us on this one. In Star Trek, Spock (no, the old Spock from the other timeline, not the new one: keep up) shot a substance called red matter into an exploding star to create a black hole and absorb the supernova’s energy, although he did it too late to save the planet Romulus. Nice going, big ears. The matter in question was shown as a big red ball.

Eagle-eyed viewers with a lot of time on their hands subsequently observed that the red ball bore a resemblance to the Mueller Device in Abrams’ spy-fi show Alias, developed by various villains throughout the series, which made bees and humans hyper-aggressive when set off, a bit like a “delayed train” announcement.


Harry Kelvin used to take his grandson JJ Abrams to a magic store in New York, and once bought him a “mystery box”, supposedly containing various magic tricks and accessories. To this day it remains unopened and on a shelf in Abrams’ office, because according to him “it represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential”. An inspirational tool in his workplace, much like that picture of a shirtless Channing Tatum you’ve got as your desktop wallpaper.

Kelvin was so important to the young JJ that the director now includes his name in everything he does, including the Star Wars and Star Trek films. In Lost, he smuggled in the character Kelvin Joe Inman, played by Clancy Brown, and both Walter Bishop and William Bell had worked at Kelvin Genetics in his sci-fi show Fringe. 


The Slusho, a sickly-sweet red Japanese drink, must be a favourite of JJ’s, because he drops them in all over the place. Slusho! was the production title of his film Cloverfield, used to keep the real name secret during filming, and is mentioned in an episode of Alias. The Fringe characters can’t get enough of them, and various characters, including above-mentioned Abrams disciple Greg Grunberg, posed for pictures with Slushos on the set of Heroes, carrying his obsession over into someone else’s show. It got a bit weird at this point to be honest.

And wait: Slushos are red, just like red matter! IT ALL FITS.

11.22.63 is now available to watch on demand. Find it in On Demand > TV > By Channel > Fox 

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