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J.J. Abrams, one of the creators/executive producers of "Alias," talks to critics.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Die-hard "Alias" fans used to get all hot and bothered when some critics (including yours truly) would complain that the 2001-06 series was too convoluted, too confusing.

Guess what? We were right.

Testifying on our behalf is none other than J.J. Abrams, one of the creators/executive producers of "Alias."

Abrams told critics that, a few years ago, he was at the home of Greg Grunberg ("Alias," "Heroes") when an episode of "Alias" was on TV.

"I watched a few minutes, and I was so confused," he said. "Literally, it was impenetrable.

"I was, like, 'I should understand this. I read the (script). Who the (expletive) is that guy?"'

Again, this is from one of the creators/executive producers of the show.

Abrams acknowledged that another of his shows, "Lost," has "garnered a certain reputation for being a very complicated show and one you have to watch every episode."

(Gee. Ya think?) But, he vowed, his new show "Fringe" won't be like that.

"We can do a show that has ... a direction the show is going and there's an ultimate story that's being told, but also a show that you don't have to watch Episodes 1, 2 and 3 to tune in to Episode 4," Abrams said.

"We're trying very diligently to do a show that doesn't require the kind of insane, absolute dedication to a series that, if you miss an episode, you truly have no idea what's going on. But hopefully you want to see every episode because they'll be exciting and fun."

Yeah, well, we'll see.

Otherwise, it could end up like "Alias."

"Which by the way, had the craziest storyline where she was a good guy working for the bad guy, but the bad guys were pretending they were good guys," Abrams said. "While I so loved working on that show and miss it, I can see how it was difficult."

I'm just the messenger here, "Alias" fans. Abrams was the one dissing the show.

THOSE OF US WHO WATCHED all 13 episodes of the HBO series "John From Cincinnati" got to the end and were, well, unsure about what we had just seen.

Apparently, we weren't alone. Just ask Chandra Wilson what the heck was going on in the show.

"People ask me that all the time," she said. "And I think the only person truly who can respond to what the show is about is (creator/writer/producer) David Milch, of course.

"But you know what? I think to put a fine point on it, the short answer is — no."

In other words, the cast was just as confused about it as the viewers were.

"It was absolutely a totally unique experience, unlike anything I've ever done before," Wilson said. "So it was incredibly fun and interesting and challenging and everything you might think working with someone like David would be. It was an incredible experience.

"I have an unhealthy amount of affection for David Milch. I love him. It was great."


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com