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Master of Sci-Fi: J.J. Abrams

He’s quickly becoming known as a film director (“Mission: Impossible III,” “Star Trek”) and producer (“Cloverfield”). But J.J. Abrams’ heart will never be far from television.

Mr. Abrams, who often cites “The Twilight Zone” as one of his major cultural influences, started out on the small screen with the very un-sci-fi “Felicity.”

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But then came “Alias,” a spy drama that frequently tossed in fantasy elements (and we’re not just talking about Jennifer Garner’s many costume changes). Mr. Abrams next teamed with Damon Lindelof to turn writer Jeffrey Leiber’s basic idea for “Lost” into one of the best pilots in recent TV history, infusing it with the character-based DNA that is a hallmark of his series.

This fall, Mr. Abrams—teamed with “Transformers” writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman—is delving into what might be his most blatantly sci-fi series yet with “Fringe.” The Fox hour explores the worlds of weird science, throwing in a complicated backstory about a possibly evil corporation to keep the fans of elaborate mythologies guessing.

Despite having plenty of film work on his plate, Mr. Abrams—who’s in the middle of a major overall TV deal at Warner Bros.—told reporters in July that he has no intention of giving up television.

“The draw to do TV is simply the opportunity to do it,” he said. “It’s such an amazing medium. It’s such an interesting process. … I just feel lucky to be doing this.”

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