Do you enjoy TV shows like The X Files or The Twilight Zone? If so, then you should probably watch Fringe. Fringe follows an FBI agent, a mad scientist and his son as they investigate strange phenomena that dwell on the fringe of science. Throughout the series, you’ll see the likes of telepathy, spontaneous human combustion, telekinesis and other assortments of the weird and wonderful. Even though everything is given a scientific explanation, it is still science fiction with the explanations being just as out of this world and ridiculous as any supernatural phenomenon.
When you first watch Fringe you would be forgiven for wanting to pick up that remote and turn it off immediately. You will see Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), the blonde and always pouting FBI agent. Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) a character quite poorly written early on in the series, with the writers not quite sure as to whether to make Peter a roughish badass or the sensitive hero of the piece, who is quick to disregard some of the more outlandish science one minute then willing to accept anything that’s thrown at his unshaven, punchable face the next. Plus he’s from the hateful, teenage angst fest of Dawson’s Creek, a show that is so bad even the thought of the theme tune makes me want to vomit. Finally, we have Walter Bishop (John Noble), a character I can’t really say anything bad about because he is simply a joy to watch on screen. If it wasn’t for this character, I would have stopped watching very early on. Am I glad I kept watching though? Absolutely because Fringe evolves into something incredibly enjoyable that is certainly worth your time.
If you have ever watched shows like Supernatural or The X Files, you will have a good idea of what to expect. Every week the team head somewhere to investigate some strange occurrence with some evil mutant or strange disappearance. They work, they solve, tea and medals for all. Some of the episodes can be great, being hosts to some truly weird stuff while some are just horribly boring. The real strength of Fringe are the over arcing stories that weaves threads in and out of the episodes, sometimes adding a little to tease you and sometimes dropping bombshells. This being from J.J. Abrams, you can expect a rather complex story but a very rewarding one as well. Mysterious events known at ‘The Pattern’, a huge conglomerate Massive Dynamics with its shadowy CEO William Bell who is also Walter’s old lab partner, a mysterious bald man in a suit that appears at every ‘pattern’ event know at ‘The Observer’, the mystery of Peter’s childhood and his illness that he has no memory of are just a part of what Fringe will offer. With so much happening, it is easy to think that Fringe would go down the same path as Lost, a show that asked too many questions and didn’t give enough answers which made it frustrating to watch. Thankfully, Fringe doesn’t work like this. Questions get answered and things get resolved making it even more watchable because you can’t wait to get the answers to some of the big questions. Yes, the little questions lead to big questions, the big questions lead to bigger questions and the biggest questions lead to the mind-blowing answer you’ve been waiting for.
If I have any gripes with season one it’s that it starts slow. It can take a few episodes to get into but the writing picks up and you begin to watch characters bond and they start to develop a rapport. This is particularly true to Peter and Walter’s relationship, which starts off rocky (due to Walter being in a mental institution for the last 17 years) but watching them start bonding as Father and Son is lovely to watch, especially since Walter is such a lovable character.
Also, with this being an American show, the series can be just too long, with some episodes being unnecessary. With 20 episodes, each lasting roughly 45 minutes, this is a lot of telly watching and sometimes you wish they would have cut a good 5 or 6 episodes from the series to at least shorten it and remove the duds.
Overall, Fringe grows into something truly spectacular. If you get the end of season one and witness the jaw dropping and incredibly powerful (and controversial) ending, you will be hooked on this TV show.