Created by J.J Abrams (the man behind Alias, and Lost), Fringe is a television drama centered around a female FBI agent (Anna Torv) who is forced to work with an institutionalised scientist in order to rationalise a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena.
Teleportation. Mind control. Invisibility. Astral projection. Mutation. Reanimation. Phenomena that exist on the Fringe of science unleash their strange powers in this thrilling series, co-created by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), combining the grit of the police procedural with the excitement of the unknown. The story revolves around three unlikely colleagues – a beautiful young FBI agent, a brilliant scientist who’s spent the last 17 years in a mental institution and the scientist’s sardonic son – who investigate a series of bizarre deaths and disasters known as “the pattern.” Someone is using our world as an experimental lab. And all clues lead to Massive Dynamic, a shadowy global corporation that may be more powerful than any nation.
Easily one of the most interesting and unusual science fiction shows of recent times, Fringe comes from J.J. Abrams, the very same man who had a hand in Lost, Alias and the quite brilliant recent Star Trek movie reboot. And while this may be lower profile than some of those projects, it’s nonetheless equally as worthy of attention.
The central concept is actually quite similar to The X-Files, with a core of three main characters investigating what they call ‘fringe science’. This manifests itself with a series of unusual situations and happenings, that the team proceed to investigate and try and get to the bottom of.
The Fringe crew consists of FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop and the quite brilliant creation that is his father, Walter Bishop. Walter, played expertly by John Noble, is like every mad scientist in the world wrapped into one wonderful character, and Fringe is often at its strongest when he’s is stage centre.
This first season of Fringe runs for 20 episodes, all of which are included on this set, and it does occasionally struggle to find its feet. That’s no surprise given the show’s infancy, but it also hits some spectacularly good highs, including a marvellous cameo in the season finale that’d be remiss to spoil here. It also throws in a smart underlying narrative, and leaves things finally poised for the already-commissioned second season. In short, a strong show, and one with real potential to get even better. --Jon Foster