Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Fringemas

It's no secret that JJ Abrams is one of my favorite media visionaries. The guy has created one of the best TV shows of all-time in Lost and produced a pretty good monster movie last January in Cloverfield (his Star Trek reboot looks very good as well). The good folks at Fox didn't have to twist my arm to get me to watch Fringe, Abrams' latest effort.  Some of you may know that I was a huge fan of The X-Files which remains the only complete TV series I own on DVD (too bad X-Files: I Want to Believe was such a disaster).  Fringe has some noticable similarities which is part of what attracted me to the show.  Mulder and Scully are replaced by Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson from Dawson's Creek fame) and Olivia Dunham (Australian actress Anna Torv).  

The plot of Fringe is "fairly" simple.  Agent Dunham and Special Agent Phillip Broyles (played by Lance Reddick who is a guest player on Lost) began investigating cases that make up "The Pattern", a set of unexplained instances of fringe science.  Fringe science includes off-beat scientific studies like telepathy, levitation, invisibility, reanimation, genetic mutation, etc.  In order to fully investigate these cases Agent Dunham tapped into the resource of Walter and Peter Bishop.  Walter Bishop spent over 20 years in a mental institution but was the leading fringe scientist in his days of being a professor at Harvard University.  The character of Walter Bishop is played by Lord of the Rings veteran John Noble as an absent minded hilariously brilliant scientist.  I'm thinking an Emmy nomination may be in the future for Noble if this series extends through a few more seasons.

The roster of episodes so far plays out like stand-alone mysteries (a la The X-Files) but also contains a conspiracy theory throughout which is highlighted by Massive Dynamic, a fictional global corporation that may or may not be involved with all events related to the pattern.  The M.D. website is another viral site produced in the same way the Dharma Initiative sites were for Lost.  Another orginal and very cool aspect of Fringe is the inclusion of a bald spooky character named "The Observer" who has appeared in each episode so far.  In the 4th episode of the season we find out that The Observer is taking notes on events related to the pattern and seems to be an alien being of unknown origin.  In all other episodes, The Observer can be spotted through a Where's Waldo disection of the show.  He often appears for a second or two in the background of a scene.  This link catalogs all his appearances for those who do watch the show and want to review.

If you missed the Fringe train when it debuted in September, it's time to hop aboard now.  The series was renewed for a full season and made Entertainment Weekly's list of best shows of the season (at #7).  Fringe returns for more new episodes on January 20th, until then, enjoy a recap video of the first series of episodes below.

1 comment:

Mommy, Esq. said...

The only think I hate is the "Massive Dynamic" - I mean really, it's like the ACME Corporation. Didn't know the Observer showed up - will have to check the link.