My sister has been telling me to watch this show for ages, but I kept putting it off. When I tried the pilot episode two years ago, I must admit that I fell asleep (probably because I was a tired college student more than because of the show itself) before finishing, but I had not been interested in what I saw. Mainly, it felt too much like a new X-Files and I was never the biggest fan. plus, there were already so many shows about a group investigating strange things that I didn’t care for another. What finally changed my mind was Entertainment Weekly’s mention of it being on of the best shows of 2010. I figured I must have missed something and decided it was worth going back for a second chance.
I am pleased to say that my sister (as usual) and EW were correct. Forgetting anything else, this show has some of the best acting I have seen on television in a long time . (And considering how much potential it has to be overdone or poorly done, this is saying a lot.) Leading actress Anna Torv and John Noble in particular are fantastic while Joshua Jackson is enjoyable but nothing special by comparison. (I don’t think it’s his fault though, his character doesn’t have the same challenges as the others: Noble’s character has mental stability issues and Torv’s dual characters are put in some extreme circumstances. Jackson is solid of course, but I would like to see even more. Be further impressed by Torv’s lack of accent, as she’s Australian. (You can totally tell if you look at her.) Added to this, the plot is actually far more interesting and complex than the pilot really showed. It was well worth the week-long marathon to catch up.
It is hard to give an adequate summary of the show’s plot, so I’ve decided to just use Wikipedia’s summary: Fringe follows the casework of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Fringe Division, which includes Olivia Dunham, Special Agent; Dr. Walter Bishop, the archetypal mad scientist; and Peter Bishop, Walter’s estranged son and jack-of-all-trades. The Fringe Division investigates cases relating to fringe science, ranging from transhumanist experiments gone wrong to the ominous prospect of a technological singularity to the possible existence of a parallel universe. The Fringe Division’s work often intersect with advanced biotechnology developed by a company called Massive Dynamic, founded by Walter’s former partner, Dr. William Bell. The team is also watched silently by a group of bald, albino men that call themselves “Observers”.
What I love most about this show is how complex it is. Abrams knows how to pull off long-term crazy plot lines (though Undercovers was something of a disappointment that perhaps needed to be taken a bit further). The show continues to add new layers to each character and to the overarching story of parallel realities and mad scientist experiments. Some people may dislike shows where you HAVE to watch every episode to follow it, but for me, if I like a show I WILL watch every episode so it can only be better for it. (I am not a casual watcher of any shows, it’s all or nothing for me.) You also cannot forget the moral complexity of the show–is it all right to experiment on people, children even, if you believe it is the only way to save your entire reality? If fighting for your very existence, how far is too far? Is anything or anyone off-limits?
The most upsetting thing about Fringe is that it is in danger of cancellation. This is such a fantastic show people, watch it! (I’d like to blame Fox and their time changes for the show, but Fox already gets blamed for that so often, it almost seems unnecessary.)