The Many Worlds of J.J. Abrams

Now that Disney has officially confirmed that J.J. Abrams will be directing the next Star Wars movie, what can we expect? Is the beloved saga from "long ago in a galaxy far, far away" in good hands?  I believe it is, but let's take a look at what Abrams has given us during his career as writer, director, and producer -- the good, the bad, and the mediocre.

Taking Care of Business - Like many, J.J. Abrams had humble origins.  He shared the writing duties for this forgettable comedy with Jill Mazursky.  It starred Jim Belushi and Charles Grodin. Let's move on.

Regarding Henry - Abrams starts showing real promise with this drama he wrote and co-produced about a cad who loses his memory after being shot and becomes a decent human being.  It might sound a bit hokey, but star Harrison Ford pulled it off along with co-star Annette Bening.

Forever Young - Abrams wrote the script for another interesting film (and executive produced it as well), this time starring Mel Gibson as a man from 1939 who is frozen in a cryogenics experiment and wakes up over fifty years later. The drama also starred Jamie Lee Curtis and Elijah Wood.

Gone Fishin' - Abrams collaborates with Jill Mazursky again for this simple little comedy starring Joe Pesci, Danny Glover, and Rosanna Arquette.

Armageddon - Although critically lambasted, Abrams was part of the writing team that delivered this big-budget blockbuster directed by Michael Bay, starring an all-star cast, including Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thorton, Ben Affleck, Liv Tyler, Will Patton, Steve Buscemi, William Fichtner, Owen Wilson, Michael Clarke Duncan, and the rest.

The Pallbearer - Abrams next produced this small romantic comedy starring David Schwimmer, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Barbara Hershey.

Felicity - He has his first television hit as executive producer with this drama starring Keri Russell and Scott Foley.

The Suburbans - While finding success on TV, Abrams was producing low-budget flicks like this one about a 1980s one-hit wonder band that reunites.

Joy Ride - Abrams co-wrote and produced this effective horror thriller about three young people on a road trip who run into a psychotic killer, starring Leelee Sobieski, Steve Zahn, and Paul Walker.

Alias - Abrams struck gold again with another hit TV series he executive-produced, this time an action espionage thriller starring Jennifer Garner.

The Catch - He wrote and produced a forgettable TV movie about bounty hunters starring one of his favorite acting collaborators, the excellent Greg Grunberg.

Lost - Abrams hit the super-stratosphere big time with this phenomenal series that redefined television storytelling.

What About Brian - This "dramedy" that Abrams produced might just be a footnote in TV history, but it lasted a season.

Six Degrees - This ambitious ensemble TV series only lasted half-a-season.
Mission: Impossible III - Abrams finally made a real splash on the big screen by writing and directing part three of the MI franchise with Tom Cruise. Abrams would go on to produce the critically acclaimed Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol.

Cloverfield - This low-budget giant-monster horror movie that Abrams produced achieved cult status.  A sequel is in the works.

Anatomy of Hope - Abrams directed this TV medical drama about cancer patients.

Star Trek - Abrams proved that he could take a huge science fiction franchise and give it new life. Although he couldn't make everybody happy, for the most part his reboot of Gene Roddenberry's saga was both an homage to the past and a bold new interpretation of the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. His upcoming sequel, Star Trek Into Darkness is eagerly anticipated.

Morning Glory - Abrams served as a producer on this romantic comedy that starred Rachel McAdams, Harrison Ford, and Diane Keaton.

Undercovers - This TV show about a husband-and-wife C.I.A. team only lasted half-a-season.

Super 8 - Abrams delivered one of my favorite movies of 2011.

Fringe - While not as huge as Lost, this science fiction series was excellent and recently concluded an amazing story arc.

Shelter - Abrams was a producer for this TV movie drama, which I never saw so I can't comment on it.

Alcatraz - Many people had high hopes for this new series, but it was a disappointment.

Person of Interest - One of the highest rated shows on television, Abrams is one of the producers.
Revolution - Another show produced by Abrams, another hit.

Star Wars: Episode VII - Abrams has admitted to being an unabashed fan of the epic created by George Lucas. Now he will have the opportunity to continue the story.  I can't wait.

Let's see where else his amazing career will take him.