Oct 8, 2009

[TV] Fringe: Season 1

Fringe: Season 1I have a mixed relationship with JJ Abrams. While I've enjoyed his shows and movies here and there, at times I've felt annoyed by a lot of the things that he's become known for. Let's face it - he's become the master of the puzzling, confusing, convoluted plot as best demonstrated by the series Lost. It doesn't make it a bad show, mind you, just one that requires a lot of work to get into and something that I don't necessarily need when I want to unwind from a stressful day from work.

That sort of thinking has made me steer clear of most of his works more often than not, which can be both good and bad when you think about it. At least I don't get too caught up in the whole searching-the-web-for-clues bit, but at the same time I recognize I'm probably missing a lot of good TV or something.

On the flip side, I totally loved what he did with the Star Trek movie this year and that certainly made me pause and think twice about his creative output. And so I really had to remind myself about not judging one show by another made by the same guy and thus I came to finally watching this series.

And I don't regret one second of the entire experience.

Fringe is a show that is often compared to programs like The X-Files or The Twilight Zone at one point or another given it's focus on science fiction story concepts in the modern world.

NEW YORK - AUGUST 25:  (L-R) Co-Creator and Ex...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

The show pretty much follows what is called the "fringe" division of the FBI dedicated to solving crimes related to more exotic or fringe science avenues like spontaneous combustion, telepathy and superhuman abilities. Leading the charge is the very driven Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) along with former government scientist and mental patient Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson). They're also assisted by Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) and a cow.

Every episode, they explore yet another fringe case that is ultimately related to something only known as The Pattern - some vague term for the increasing number of scientific incidents happening across the country that seems to be part of a larger plan. At the same time, many of the cases keep involving Massive Dynamic, what is pretty much the world's biggest corporation that seems to have a hand in any scientific or technological industry. The fringe team thus end up dealing with Massive Dynamic's CEO Nina Sharp (Blair Brown) who continually fends off their efforts to speak to the company's founder and Walter's former lab partner - Dr. William Bell.

The show started out interesting enough but it really started to get me hooked once the major conspiracy reveals started to come out and the whole notion of The Patterns became more and more intriguing. It's the kind of show that takes a bit of getting used to but one that is certainly worth the effort.

Stereotypically, the geek that I am fell in love with the character of Dr. Walter Bishop and all his quirks. He has so many good one-liners in the show, even if most of them are actually non sequiturs that really don't make sense if you try to view things logically. This all just goes to clearly demonstrate how much Walter has lost given his 17 years in a mental institution and thus his character growth is particularly interesting as the show progresses.

All the usual Abrams elements are certainly present but are executed in a manner that remains somewhat complicated enough to be interesting but not overly so such that it gets frustrating or annoying. There are many factions that eventually emerge in the show and the creative team did a great job of balancing the different elements in order to keep the viewers guessing while at the same time keeping things logical enough such that it all still makes sense once the "big reveal" comes along. And believe me, the reveal is more than worth it.

The first season of Fringe is an amazing piece of work and certainly a great way to bring science fiction concepts to a wider audience. It gets 5 cryptic cipher symbols out of a possible 5.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment