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Fringe: TV Review

IN THE September 18 ISSUE

FROM THE Books & Tales,
andJesus Ibarra,
andTeens,
andTV
SECTIONS

by Jesus Ibarra

In the summer of 2009, Fox began airing strange and cryptic promos for a little show called Fringe. At the time, I had just finished watching all the seasons of The X-Files and saw these promos as something that would try to rip off the greatness that was The X-Files. The thing that gave me the urge to watch the show was that it was created by Lost, Alias, and Cloverfield mastermind J.J. Abrams. I’m glad I tuned in because Fringe has quickly become one my favorite must watch TV shows. It blends Sci-Fi and character driven story lines amazingly and even perfected this art in the second half of its second season.

Fringe Cast

The series revolves around an F.B.I. Fringe Division team made up of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), Walter Bishop (John Noble), Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick), and Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), based in Boston under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses unorthodox fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate “the Pattern”, a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences that are scientific in nature happening all over the world. The team is led by Special Agent Olivia Dunham who uses her investigative techniques to solve these bizarre cases. The team is completed by a mad scientist/former government researcher Doctor Walter Bishop who specializes in the field of fringe science who was institutionalized after a lab accident, his jack-of-all-trades son Peter Bishop, special agent Astrid Farnsworth, and is overseen by special agent Phillip Broyles.

Olivia in the first season is drawn into the Pattern after being part of an investigation directly involving it and after the death and betrayal by her partner and lover John Scott; wanting answers she enlists the help of Walter and Peter Bishop. Walter Bishop is literally insane having spent the better part of two decades in an insane asylum, but he retains his genius and knowledge of the unknown and inexplicable. His son, Peter, reluctantly gets involved to supervise his father, as he is the only one who can remotely understand Walter. During the first season, we get a lot of good episodes as the show establishes its mythology. By the end of the season, we know who is behind the Pattern, and get hints as to why it’s occurring and Olivia’s, Peter’s, and Walter’s place in it. The first season got me hooked; I would wait for every week in agony because I wanted to see what was going on.

The mythology itself isn’t the only highlight of the show. The character dynamic on the show was spot on. Each character had their own realistic journey to take and they did, with an entirely emotional satisfying pay off. The thing I also love about this show is that they answer questions quickly enough, but in true Sci-Fi form they give you a couple of new questions to think about each week, especially in the revealing first season finale.

Following a successful first season, the second starts right off the bat driving the set mythology of the show. Now the first half of the season the show had a little trouble finding its footing in balancing the character driven plots, mythology, and the mystery of the week. But after its winter break it came back with a perfect balance, quickly making up for the first half, even ending the season with an amazing, fast paced almost movie event two part finale.

I love everything about this show, as a self-proclaimed Sci-Fi geek everything is perfect—the acting, the writing, the mythology, I love it all. This is a show that will scare you, make you cry, cheer, yell, and get you invested in it with an extremely satisfying payoff. I have to admit that this show indeed is the successor to the X-Files and I’m happy to see a Sci-Fi show can excite me and its fans in general week to week.

Fringe returns for its third season Thursdays beginning September 23 on Fox.

For more info and special extras on the show go to the official website.

I highly recommend buying the first season and second season on DVD, which can be found on amazon.com

Jesus Ibarra is 18 years old and an ongoing contributor to our Teen Talk section; with a love of all media, he’s always on the lookout for the best finds.

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