Already midway through its second season, Fringe, another solid series from J.J. Abrams, has flown under the radar for most its lifespan.

Already midway through its second season, Fringe, another solid series from J.J. Abrams, has flown under the radar for most its lifespan.

This is a shame. Fringe has gotten plenty of critical praise, but it hasn't been pulling in near as many viewers as Abrams' Lost, despite being as crisp and imaginative.

The sci-fi series follows an unconventional FBI team led by Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), with help from Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and his formerly institutionalized father, Walter (John Noble), as they investigate unexplained phenomena.

Fringe returned from midseason hiatus last Thursday with an episode about the team investigating an unexplained attack involving disfigured humans.

Because standalone episodes like last week's are paired with an overlying story arc involving "the pattern" - a global conspiracy with alternate dimensions, mysterious observers, shape-shifting soldiers and a shadowy technology corporation - it's easy for newcomers to enjoy Fringe on a superficial level before investing in the larger plot.

The show has a lot working for it - a talented cast and clever dialogue backed by cinematography rivaling something you'd see from a big-screen blockbuster. Among the cast, Noble's Walter is the standout as an idiosyncratic scientist with a big appetite for sweets ... and psychotropic drugs. Also enjoyable is Lance Reddick (The Wire) doing his stoic badass thing.

So if you've never given Fringe a chance, now's the time. But beware - before you know it, tracking down the first season on DVD will be mandatory.