So Fringe is back…

Firstly I’d like to apologise for some things I got wrong in an earlier post. Apparently the only shows not shown on UK TV channels (including Sky and Virgin) were True Blood and Firefly. I was wrong, I admit it, I’m sorry.

Anyhoo!

Since they had a bit of a break over the Christmas period, I’ve had the opportunity to catch up on JJ Abrams’ new baby; Fringe. The show is billed as an X-Files meets Twilight Zone meets… anything else of that nature really. It’s a show about a team of people led by an FBI agent (Olivia Dunham), who investigate cases with roots in strange phenomena and cutting egde (or ‘fringe’ (hence the name)) science and technology. And it’s f**king BRILLIANT!

One of the strange posters for Fringe, displaying an isoceles triangle inside a leaf

One of the strange posters for Fringe, displaying an isoceles triangle inside a leaf

Where the X-Files was concerned with two agents in a basement office, tucked away from the main mass of the Federal Beureau of Investigation lest they be found out and the entire organization be ridiculed for even thinking about investigating this kind of thing, constantly on the look out for little-green-men, Fringe brings us into the heart of a real FBI team with over two-dozen agents and a really swanky set of offices, interview/interrogation rooms, toilets, their own water cooler, etc., etc., who are specifically tasked with being on the lookout for the weird and wonderful, and with bringing in the perpetrators of the offences, while a mad scientist dredges his broken memories for anything he knows about such procedures, chemicals, phenomena or technology (fortunately for the team (and the would-be next victims) this particular mad scientist either knows quite a bit about the subject in the first place, is clever enough to work out exactly what is going on if he doesn’t already know, or is the fella who actually came up with it in the first place!), and his son uses his own clandestine, spurious, questionable and occasionally criminal means to help the investigation and the team in any way he can.

Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles, John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop, Blair Brown as Nina Sharp, Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis, Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, Mark Valley as John Scott, Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop and Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth

The cast of Fringe: Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles, John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop, Blair Brown as Nina Sharp, Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis, Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, Mark Valley as John Scott, Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop and Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth

There have been 13 episodes so far (I think the 14th airs either this week or next), and they are rapidly establishing a brilliant mythos (the likes of which X-Files took a couple of seasons to properly ingraine into the minds of its viewers) full of shady characters, mutli-national corporations, double-crossing double- (and, possibly, triple-) agents, and more pseudo-science than you can shake a neon-green-liquid-filled-pipette at, while maintaining a level of ‘monster-of-the-week’edness that enables new viewers to come in as and when they want and still derive plenty of enjoyment from the ensuing storyline (if you are new to the show I would DEFINITELY reccommend watching from the beginning, if for no better reason than if you didn’t you’d miss out on some great episodes!). Fortunately (yet, rather strangely for an Abrams show) there is no regular cliff-hanger ending which leaves you gaping, hands in the air, at the TV as if someone had paused you mid-rant. This is possibly the shows way of saying “It’s okay! You probably don’t need to watch the next one if you don’t want to because this particular story has been wrapped up for now! We would like to see you again though…”. Then again, having said all this, there are continuing plot-arcs and there are mysteries dotted about the place waiting patiently to be solved, so regular viewers are awarded when we get a payoff (regardless how small) from a setup that happened three, maybe four episodes ago, that, and the relationship between Peter Bishop (the mad scientist’s son) and Dunham (the FBI agent) is often quite similar to that of our erstwhile favourite FBI pairing (though it does feel that the roles have been somewhat reversed on occasion, as Peter displays Scully-esque scepticism while Dunham is, like Fox Mulder, often quite eager to believe). One of the only little, teeny, niggling problems with the series is that the character development and consistency (not like, how thick it is, but how constant and well maintained it is) can sometimes get a little lax, depending on who’s writing the episode. But no matter who writes which episode, there is always Walter Bishop, played to utter and astounding perfection by John Noble, and whose lines are written and delivered perfectly with simplicity, complication, comedy and high drama. If you need just one reason to watch it; he’s it!

If you like sci-fi at all, chances are, you’ll like Fringe. And, if you just like good drama, action, mystery and some good characters you’ll like Fringe too. Give it a go! It won’t bite… much…

Cheers!

NBM

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~ by ninjabreadmen on February 5, 2009.

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