Jul 21, 2011

[TV] Fringe: Season 3

Fringe: Season 3Science fiction shows get a really bum rap in network circles these days. For any series that is even remotely related to the sci-fi genre, it's a small miracle in itself for a show like that to survive past its first full season, if even that.

And don't even get me started on Fox. *coughs* FIREFLY *coughs* Dollhouse *coughs* Sarah Connor Chronicles *coughs*. Sorry, must have been something that ate. =P

But still, we still have those glimmers of hope amid all the other geek tragedies we've witnessed in recent years. And thus we take whatever we can get in this regard and end up enduring some of the stranger science fiction ventures (read: FlashForward) just to support geek TV.

But then some real gems come along and just blow everyone away. You know what I mean - the shows that come in with brass knuckles and steel-plated leather boots that show everyone else who's boss and what it means to be really, really geeky. And in this regard, we have one J.J. Abrams to thank for this show getting as far as it has.

Fringe is a science fiction drama series on Fox created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Its third season ran from September 23, 2010 to May 6, 2011. The show was nominated for the Critics; Choice Television Awards for Best Drama Series and Best Actress in a Drama Series for Anna Torv but the only winner was John Noble for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

"Fringe" Panel. Actors John Noble, J...Image via WikipediaAt the end of the second season, we all watched in horror as it was revealed that "our" Olivia (Anna Torv) had been replaced by her duplicate from the alternative universe, whom fans have tagged as Altlivia for the most part. Thus in the alternate universe, we have Oliva being brainwashed by Walternate - the other Universe version of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble). She's being made to believe that she's Altlivia. And on our side of reality, Altlivia is now trying to blend in with our version of Fringe division and ultimately trying to get closer to Peter (Joshua Jackson) in order to cement her false identity.

And while all this is going on, a series of artifacts are being discovered in our universe that may or may not have something to do with the doomsday device stated to be able to destroy one universe or the other. There are still shapeshifters about and they're still working towards executing a larger plan mapped out by Walternate - or perhaps someone else. The season leaves you guessing as to what the master plan really is just as the two Olivias deal with their new lives on the other side of the fence.

And that doesn't mean the weird stuff stops happening just because of their personal issues. Thus as the overall plot continues forward, we still get more Fringe cases like a man who can predict cause and effect to an insane level in order to trigger often catastrophic chains of events from simple beginning such as a coin rolling down a sidewalk. And there are killer beetles that provide some strange scientific purpose at the cost of the lives of others.

One of the things that I love most about this show is the strength of the metaplot that pretty much permeates the entire show. The first season had a series of seemingly random yet unnatural events turn out to be connected as part of the larger Pattern. The second season gave us a face to our "enemy" - the other universe with alternate versions of the people on this side. And now this season changed the game by starting with alternating views of both sides, thus humanizing the "enemy" and making us all doubt whether or not we're justified in rooting for one side or the other.

This reminded me a lot about the progression we saw in LOST, another J.J. Abrams creation. In LOST we started with constant flashbacks that told us more about the back story of the characters. Then we jumped to flash-forwards to view a possible future and we were uncertain if this was really what was meant to happen. And then the show wrapped up with the somewhat controversial flash-sideways stories that really shook up the game.

The crux of the conflict of the season definitely lay with Walter. As much as Olivia had the interesting story angle of the switch between the two, the juxtaposition of the different paths each Walter has taken in their lives really brings home the challenge of the show. By the end of the season, one can't help but wonder whether one Walter is better than the other. Concepts of good and evil don't quite apply since both have had to deal with extraordinary challenges but in extremely different ways.

This third season of Lost was definitely a game-changer, one that kept me and other fans on our toes almost all the time as we continually tried our best to second guess what was coming up next. It's a show that continues to get better and present more and more complex mysteries just when you think you've gotten everything figured out. Thus I strongly feel it deserves a full 5 quirky differences between our universe and the other side out of 5.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I only heard about this TV series from this blog. Ang hirap ng walang cable TV :(

  2. We cut cable TV ages ago - we survive entirely via the internet. =D

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I'm forever indebted to BERNIE (sorry, I read that from the other blog and I just couldn't help it :P) for pimping this show. Had it not been for them, I would've missed how this awesome series.
    I love Agent Dunham, such a kick-ass character. :)

  5. edit:
    *Had it not been for them, I would've missed this awesome series.*
    Sorry, kinda sleepy. X______X

  6. I prefer the alternate Olivia being called "Fauxlivia" rather than Altlivia, though. I also loved the introduction of new supporting characters in the alternate universe (Lincoln Lee and the oh-my-god he's alive! Agent Charlie Francis), they fit well to the character development of Fauxlivia. The third season dealt more with the emotions of the characters and how they reconciled their inner demons and conflicts, which I thought was a great move by the writers.
    The ending was soooo good. Can't wait for season 4! Thanks Bernie! LOL

  7. Glad you're such a Fringe fan! And I suppose I should say thanks to your friend Bernie for introducing you to the show as well.