Did you know JJ Abrams (Lost) was apparently quoted as saying that he didn’t know what he was doing with his spy show, Alias? Lucky for me (and you), that’s not the case with his latest TV offering, the sci-fi mystery, Fringe.
It’s drawn comparisons to The X-Files, but since I never saw the David Duchovny starrer, I can’t tell you if that’s true or not. What I can tell you is that Fringe is an awesome, mind-blowing show, and it does appear well-planned by the writers—except for the season 3 finale, but I’ll just have to wait and see if I’ll be proven wrong in the upcoming season 4.
See for yourself …
I saw a random episode on TV, and thought it was good, but nothing I would devote fangirl-ing to. Out of sheer boredom, I opted to give the series another chance and watched it from the pilot—and just like that! I was hooked.
Later on, I found out the random one I saw was just the second episode of the show, yet it took the first episode to actually reel me in. What differentiated the two? I fell in love with the character, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), an FBI agent.
In the pilot, she was given more backstory, and she was immediately placed in situations where you saw her as the selfless heroine. (You’ll see what I mean when you watch it.)
It’s hard to believe that as the star, she was a last-minute casting. Joining her are Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson from Dawson’s Creek) as a love interest and Walter Bishop (John Noble) as a scientist and Peter’s father.
THE “REGULAR” EPISODES
Much of seasons 1 and 2 have gimmick episodes, where there are monsters or even stranger things. While some of the strongest episodes occur later—when they delve into the story of another universe, where there are alternate versions of the characters—even the gimmick episodes have something going for them.
These episodes usually have a twist you don’t see coming and that makes them worth viewing. (I myself was tempted to skip ahead to the parallel universe episodes in late season 2 and in season 3.) The writers also inject humor into the dialogue, usually with Noble’s random food cravings (bananas! cotton candy! strawberry milkshake!) and his crazy outbursts.
I have to compliment the show for creating multidimensional villains. It’s actually just like any other good mystery show albeit with sci-fi tendencies. For instance, in S03E1, at first, the bad guy seems like he’s simply experimenting on young boys to defy gravity in order to steal things. Later on, it’s revealed that his son is handicapped, and he’s only doing the experiments to cure his boy. Awwww, right? That happens often on the show.
THE “OTHER SIDE” EPISODES
Now, going back to the alternate universe plot line, if you’ll fall in love with Torv, wait till you see how she plays the other Olivia (aka Fauxlivia or Bolivia=”bad” Olivia), who’s a bit more fun and mischievous. The acting is also really superb on Noble’s end, as he switches from vulnerable to commanding.
I’m even loving Seth Gabel (Dirty Sexy Money) as Agent Lincoln Lee. It’s pretty neat, considering that his actual personality is more soft-spoken than his character on the Other Side. Yes, we’re close. *Wishful thinking*
Unfortunately, while others love Jackson, his acting isn’t quite up to par with the others. Case in point: When Torv essentially breaks up with him in season 3, I think he should have played it more broken, but he didn’t. The love of his life tells him she can’t be with him, and he just sits there with one hand on his chin.
Also, for the love story, Jackson and Torv’s chemistry fails in comparison to Torv and Gabel’s. Not to mention Torv and a cab driver she befriends in several episodes. Torv and Jackson need to work on that, or the writers need to put them in more love-centric circumstances like Torv and Gabel had in S03E18, Bloodline.
The only other criticism I have about Fringe is that there are just too many episodes in between the first and last ones of each season. I’d hate to wait and sit through 20+ episodes—if most of them weren’t so good.