Friday, January 15, 2010

On the Fringe of Mirroring The X-Files

Fringe on FOX is midway through a solid second season. I don't think we've seen the growth in the overall story arc that I would have liked to have seen by this point in season two, but it still remains one of the best shows on TV. Last night's episode about deformed people in a small NY town that could magically change appearance was very good. As in most episodes, the three leads Olivia, Peter and Walter (played by Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble respectively) carry the story and work very well together as a team.

My biggest criticism of the show right now is that it is becoming more and more like a carbon copy of The X-Files. Now this doesn't bother me too much because The X-Files is my favorite TV show of all-time and why not get more of a good thing? My problem is that I thought Fringe had the potential to be BETTER than The X-Files. The whole ongoing plot involving alternate dimensions, the Observers and Massive Dynamic is what makes this show unique and compelling. Last night I kept feeling that I was watching Mulder and Scully investigate a strange town as they've done several times before on The X-Files. I feel that we've had too many recent standalone episodes that feel too much like the spooky mystery-of-the-week episodes that The X-Files patented.

These standalone eps are well done and entertaining, but I find myself wanting to know more about Nina Myers, William Bell and the overall conspiracy surrounding the earlier works of Walter Bishop. I'm hoping that the writers have been taking it easy over the holidays and are just giving us a break from the meat and potatoes of Fringe. I would love to see season three contain less standalone episodes and focus more on the overall story arc. What makes Lost such a good show is that we don't really see any standalone episodes. Each episodes furthers the global plot and presents answers (sometimes) and questions that the audience craves.

I am so intrigued by the main themes of Fringe that the small episodes that take tangents like last night seem to take away a bit from the overall enjoyment of the show for me. Fringe started off so well this season with Olivia waking from her coma and we had a recent revealing Observer-centric episode. These gems are too few and far between that I'm concerned J.J. Abrams' sci-fi masterpiece will never amount to more than an X-Files clone. Hopefully once Abrams wrings his hands clean of Lost after this final season, he can concentrate more on steering Fringe to a new level that realizes the full potential of the show.


Stacey said...

In terms of story lines I generally agree with you about the X-Files/Fringe connection. However, there are two key points of difference: 1. The X-Files became a big old mess with its overarching storyline and actually ended up directly contradicting itself. 2. The relationship dymanic was completely different. There are no complete skeptics on the Fringe team like Scully was. All 4 characters (if you count Astrid) seem to roll with punches and there is little "there is no way that could be" type discussions. So that, to me, gives it a very different flavor than the X-Files. I actually prefer that the overaching storyline is going slow because you don't want the writers to blow their wad and end up in a last season X-Files type situation. Sorry for the novel but I LOVE the X-Files!

Mommy, Esq. said...

I sort of like the one-offs. They often have good guest stars and it is nice to not always be thinking about the overall theme. Lost for example is all about the build and sometimes it is nice just to enjoy a storyline and acting.