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Customer Review

49 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of the Hype!, September 11, 2008
This review is from: Fringe: The Complete First Season (Amazon Instant Video)
In 2001, when a little show called Alias hit the airwaves, I was instantly hooked on the creative genius that is J.J. Abrams. Since Alias, Abrams has become a household name for TV and Film geeks worldwide with such gems as Lost, Mission Impossible 3, and Cloverfield under his belt. For months now Fox has been brainwashing its viewers with promos of Abrams's newest TV creation, Fringe. With a reported $10,000,000 spent on the pilot alone, not to mention the eye-catching "from the creators of Lost" tagline, expectations have certainly been high for fans and critics alike. Would it, could it possibly live up to the hype? This past Tuesday was our chance to find out.

Episode Synopsis:

When an international flight lands at Boston's Logan Airport and there are no signs of life, FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, a scientist, Walter Bishop, and his son Peter uncover a deadly mystery involving a series of unbelievable events. ([...])

Right out of the gate, the Fringe pilot makes a strong case for being worthy of all the preceding hype. J.J. Abrams' formula for success is all over this thing and it works:

1. A seemingly unknown female lead that will undoubtedly be turned into a star? Check. Australian actress Anna Torv is perfectly cast as FBI Agent Olivia Dunham. She has the strong screen presence and subtle charm needed to be able to carry this series.

2. A somewhat has been actor that will no doubt be reinvented into a rising star? Check. Joshua Jackson (aka Pacey) wooed teen girls for years on the 90's WB sensation, Dawson's Creek. Here he gets a fresh new start as Peter Bishop, genius estranged son of Dr. Walter Bishop. I was pleasantly surprised with the depth of Jackson's performance and the welcome comedy relief he brings to the show.

3. A mega supporting cast? Check. John Noble plays the role of the eccentric, yet endearing Dr. Walter Bishop. I could almost here Middle Earth nerds celebrating worldwide as they realized this is the guy who played Denethor, Steward of Gondor in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (OK, yeah, I was celebrating, too). Truly, some of the funniest and most engaging scenes are between Walter and Peter Bishop. That's a relationship that I can't wait to see further explored on the show.

Lance Reddick (aka as Matthew Abaddon from Lost) brings a welcome mysterious air to the character of Philip Broyles. We find out early on that he works for Homeland Security, but before the episode's end we can't help but wonder who this guy really is.

Kirk Acevedo, Mark Valley, Blair Brown, and Jasika Nicole also bring strong supporting performances to this well rounded cast.

4. An underlying conspiracy that will only become more mysterious and vague as the show goes on? Check. J.J. Abrams has stated publicly that Fringe will be unlike Lost and Alias in that we will not have to watch every episode to follow the story. I will believe that when I see it. The introduction to "The Pattern" toward the end of the episode seems to hint at an underlying mythology for the series. "The Pattern" is sure to be discussed, analyzed, and mulled over to the extent of the "Dharma Initiative". What is The Pattern exactly? I don't know and neither do you. That is why we will be back for more. Some may consider this an annoying storytelling device, but I love my TV shows served up complex and mind boggling. Bring it on J.J.!!

Fringe is all about exploring fringe science (teleportation, invisibility, time travel, telepathy, etc, etc.). This is where the X-Files feel of the show comes in to play (thankfully J.J. Abrams has also said the show will stay away from aliens). The first scene of the pilot is a shocking and gruesome foreshadowing of what we can expect each week. And what a way to kick off a series! Who doesn't enjoy watching skin falling off of someone's face at 30,000 feet?

There were some other subtle touches that I enjoyed from this first episode. The cinematography was breathtaking throughout and if you haven't watched this show in High Definition you are truly missing out! The special effects were top notch and I especially enjoyed the translucent skin one of the characters was afflicted with. The location subtitles for each scene were very innovative. Much like the titles for each new Heroes episode, the location subtitles were imbedded in really cool places throughout the pilot. This is sure to become a unique Fringe trademark that adds a little more creative depth to the show. The mysterious Massive Dynamic Corporation, the yet to be seen CEO William Bell, and COO Nina Sharp's Terminator-like arm were also intriguing additions to the plot. Indeed a viral Fringe website for Massive Dynamic has already launched.

No doubt Lost fans are going to be looking under every nook and cranny for connections between the two series. Interestingly enough, the new autopilot system used to land the plane in this episode is referred to as the Pearl System. Maybe a not so subtle nod to Lost's Pearl Station? Although I didn't notice, there are reports online that a few of the infamous Lost numbers make appearances throughout the pilot. While I enjoy such shenanigans, I do hope this is nothing more than J.J. Abrams being all cutesy for his Lost fans. If we find out somewhere down the line that Fringe and Lost are interconnected I think my feeble brain will explode.

The only thing working against Fringe is its home on Fox, which has an awful track record of canning great TV shows prematurely. Fans of shows such as Firefly and Drive know exactly what I'm talking about. The buzz and promos certainly lean in the show's favor, but with Fox no show is ever safe. Although I'm sure Fox has already renewed Hole in the Wall for eight seasons. I would love to have seen ABC pick up Fringe and scheduled it next to Lost each week.

I was very impressed with the Fringe pilot and afterwards my wife and I shared that look that can only say, "We've found yet another show to be addicted to". Great writing, strong acting, and an intriguing plot are sure to keep us coming back for more. The great twist at the end of the episode gives us a taste of the strong storytelling that is sure to come with each new installment. If you missed the premiere you still have a chance to catch up. Sunday, September 14th, Fox will be replaying the pilot at 8/7 central with a preview of the new 24 movie coming in November. You can also watch the pilot in glorious HD at Fox's website.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 4, 2012 5:22:34 PM PDT
Blue Leaf says:
Thankyou for spending so much time explaining the dimensions of this t.v. show. Your review alone makes me want to watch it. I will comment later about how I liked it but I thought I should write this first before I actually had my own opinion. Very considerate of you.
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