Friday, September 17, 2010
So, awhile back, as some of you may recall, I declared my intention to settle in and start watching Fringe in earnest because some late season plot points and what not had caught my attention. So that's what I did and I'm just gonna lay it all out there for you, right from the start of this blog so there's no confusion: I am now a fan.
For the unfamiliar:
Fringe is the story of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), an FBI agent tasked with investigating the weird and the unexplained, or "Fringe" events, most of which are of the secret "black" science of the Cold War variety. Things like: an entire city bus and it's passengers suddenly encased in amber or a series of bank heists perpetrated by thieves who can apparently walk through walls or the hunt for a girl who can burst into flames... Olivia, along with formerly institutionalized "mad" scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his genius, jack-of-all-trades son Peter (Joshua Jackson), begin to discover that these strange events are not just random, isolated bits of escaped crazy, but part of a bigger picture, a "Pattern" if you will, all leading to the reveal of a coming war with an alternate dimension... a war that Walter may be responsible for starting...
Duh! Duh! Duuuuuuh!
At first I was definitely interested, but kind of bored with it's x-files-ness. I was also bothered by the fact the creators (J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman) all completely denied the idea that they were ever inspired by, or even considered the fact that their show might be considered similar to, the X-files... which is like, whatever, dude... asshead...
Anyway, so I wandered away from the show after an episode or two due to time commitments and a little apathy, but I started to read about this whole alternate dimension war stuff and secret super soldier programs and my geek-sense started to buzz in the back of my head... "Gasp! There's something geeky going on that I'm not paying attention to... Quick, to the geek-cave!"
So, I started watching again, and it's good. Maybe not "GREAT" with big letters, per se, but it might be "great" with little ones and with a definite potential to change that status, too. True, you can really see the x-files-ness in the first season, lots of one shot, random weirdness police procedurals... which are okay, competent and sometimes really cool, but who cares, right? But somewhere part way through the First season, they decided to quit with all the spinning wheels and slow go-nowhere X-files style of story telling and they honed in, focusing on the Pattern related events almost exclusively and the coming conflict with the Alternate Earth and now, here we are on the cusp of season three and shit has got crazy! The first skirmishes have begun, the war will soon follow, and it looks like season three is going to barrel headlong in that direction.
And all that is great, I enjoy the hell out of it, but what really sells me and keeps me coming back is the cast interactions. Olivia, Peter, Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and Walter are all fantastic together, Olivia and Walter particularly. John Noble just kills the role of a man who used to be a monster... then had parts of his brain removed... and is now kind of crazy and racked with guilt and trying to make up for his past mistakes. Add in Broyles (Lance Reddick), Nina Sharp (Blair Brown), Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) and William Bell (Good ol' Leonard Nimoy) and you've got a stellar cast able to pull off the crazy ideas and the weird set ups and the occasional shoot 'em up action, and yet still surprise you with the subtle character moments.
This is a show that originally I would have told people I enjoyed, but wouldn't have really recommended, unless you were a certain type of person. Now though, after season two? Yeah, get on board, man, because it is a good time. The Peter Weller time travel episode? Fantastic. The episode that takes place in the 80's, including this alternate 80's style opening sequence (here's the regular opening sequence for comparison)? Amazing.
Seriously, it's fun. Go watch. Season 3 starts next week...