107 of 110 people found the following review helpful
Slightly hit and miss, but mostly excellent,
This review is from: Fringe - Season 1 [DVD]  (DVD)
There's no denying it, really: Fringe treads precisely the same ground as The X Files. Except, where X-Files was almost uniformly supernatural or alien-y, Fringe approaches it all with science. Or, rather, "fringe science". So while it deals with the same topics, (such as telekinesis, telepathy, ghosts, "alien" parasites, spontaneous combustion and even vampires) each is given an entirely earthly scientific explanation. The explanations are, of course, as fanciful as any explanation given in the X-Files, and that's a part of its charm.
It has 3 leads, really: Anna Torv as Olivia Dunn, an FBI agent, Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop and John Noble (the unmitigated gem and joy of the entire series) as mad scientific genius, Walter Bishop. Walter is Peter's estranged father, and watching their relationship gradually develop is really very lovely.
Fringe is a complex and wildy twisty series, so describing any one part of it is immensely tricky as it's a little like a knotted ball of string, so everything is connected to everything else.
Each episode is stand alone in terms of topic, ie, telepathy, but arcing throughout the series are multiple threads and you need to watch every episode to keep a handle on them. There's the mysterious, unseen William Bell, Walter Bishop's former lab partner; there's a shadowy, seemingly emotionless, hairless man who seems to be everywhere you look; Nina Sharp, the secretive face of "Massive Dynamic", a huge science and technology conglomerate started by William Bell; Olivia Dunn's past: the tests she went through as a child, and Bell and Bishop's involvement; the big mystery about Peter's childhood and "death"... on and on it goes, everything inextricably linked with everything else, and everything revolving around Walter.
Some of the episodes are phenomenally good and some are terribly lacklustre, making the series so far quite hit and miss. Without John Noble as Walter Bishop, Fringe would be mediocre - he is absolutely its heart and soul - so everything combined, so far so watchable.
However. The final episode is breath-taking. Actually, that needs to be condensed even further: the final scene is breath-taking. I can't possibly overstate how powerful it is. The entire episode is hugely intriguing, and asks as many questions as it hints the answers to. Plus there's a lovely cameo from a sci-fi legend, so it was already rubbing the elbow of greatness. Then the final scene came, and I watched it blithely and contentedly, thinking nothing of it. The camera pulled back slowlyslowly for the big reveal and when realisation sunk in, my skin literally prickled. It was eerie, and it made my head fuzzy for about an hour.
I find myself thinking of it, and wondering, "What if?" The entire series is almost worth watching for that one scene alone. Luckily, the entire series is, overall, really very good, so it won't be a big ole waste of your time. Yes, Fringe is most certainly an homage to X-Files. But it's done well, so no harm done. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter is an homage to butter... but it's still lovely on toast.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 May 2009 11:38:00 BDT
Dr Evil says:
I've been watching this a fair bit recently and it's a great show. Being a fan of Lost and The X Files this is a perfect show for me!
Can't wait to see the finale you mentioned now!!
In reply to an earlier post on 30 May 2009 04:07:28 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 May 2009 04:09:35 BDT
Neil of London says:
I would agree, the last episode is awsume, the final 5 minutes along with the spine tingling final 10 seconds or so of the last episode make this one of the best season finale's you will have ever seen.
Posted on 5 Mar 2010 19:16:44 GMT
Dyspeptic Spirit says:
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2010 14:07:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 12 Mar 2010 14:07:57 GMT
Anthony Reeves says:
If it was predictable, then how was it nonsensical, unless you yourself have a nonsensical brain...
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Mar 2010 22:35:07 GMT
Nonsense and predictability do not contradict each other. Maybe if you found it had elegant plot twists and made perfect sense, it may be you that has the nonsensical brain.
In reply to an earlier post on 8 May 2010 17:20:57 BDT
S.C. Arthur says:
If people who like Fringe need to get lives, what does that say about someone who trawls the positive reviews of a show they don't like just to post snide remarks below it?
For the record, my own feeling regarding the show itself is that this first season has plenty of little flaws, and some pretty lame episodes, but also shows a lot of promise - I thought the finale was pretty good, with a nice cameo, but not as amazing as this reviewer seems to think (not that I'm having a go or anything). Fortunately, even when the main plotline of an episode isn't all that great, Fringe has the secret weapon of John Noble as Dr Bishop, who's always good value here, and really makes the show for me.
In reply to an earlier post on 17 May 2010 14:11:27 BDT
In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2010 20:25:03 BDT
Colin Sinfield says:
The sense of the final scene becomes clear with series two; hope you did'nt bother to stay with it.
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