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Fringe: Season 1
Format: DVD|Change
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on February 28, 2014
It's rare for me to give a television show a perfect rating, but I will say, without hesitation, that Fringe is the best original Science Fiction show to come along in thirty years. When J.J Abrams started working on his follow up to Lost, he wanted to create a show that touched on everything that had been done before it. Fringe takes elements of Star Trek, The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, and others, and incorporates them all into his story. It was a show that was truly ahead of it's time and initially had a lot of network support.

The premier episode on FOX is the most expensive pilot episode ever made and the fans love it. The first two seasons of Fringe were highly rated, but not in the top ten. Not realizing what they had or the cult following it had behind it, FOX started moving the show around, eventually putting in on Friday nights, where it died after just 100 episodes. Today, the show is carried on in books and several of the cast have talked about the possibility of having it turned into a film franchise.

The story of Fringe began in 2008, when an airplane with 250 passengers on board, landed itself in Boston, without any survivors. All the agencies show up, including the FBI, who send their liaison officer, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). Dunham and her partner/lover are sent to do the dirty work, but stumble upon something unexpected, which puts them at the head of the investigation team. Not believing what she saw, Dunham goes in search of help, and finds a brilliant scientist, who used to do classified experiments for the U.S. Government. There is a problem of course, as the scientist, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), has been in a mental institution for 17 years. In order to get him out, Dunham must track down and recruit the help of Bishop's son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), who is a con-man, working out of Iraq. With the team in place, they work to solve the impossible case and are asked by Col. Peter Broyles (Lance Reddick), to become part of a classified team of FBI members, who are assigned to work on the strange and unexplainable.

From parallel universes to time travel to human experimentation and even monsters, Fringe really incorporated everything they could into the story, in one way or another. Anna Torv stars as Agent Olivia Dunham and what a star she is. How J.J. Abrams found her is nothing short of amazing in and of itself. Torv hadn't been in very many things, but had an impressive background, that includes her being a martial arts expert, who speaks multiple languages. They put her talents to use and make her the new head investigator of the Fringe division. Torv was the action star of the show, who turned out to be even more, when the cast met their duplicates from the alternate universe in season 3. I really can not express in words how terrific this woman was and how important her character was to every fascist of the story.

As for the other main character of the story, that's Dr. Walter Bishop played by John Noble. Noble is one of those guys, you've seen in movies and on television all the time, but also the kind of guy whose name you probably didn't know. With Dr. Walter Bishop, John Noble established himself as a Sci-Fi legend. Much in the way his former partner William Bell, played by Leonard Nimoy, is associated with Spock, Noble and Bishop will be forever linked. Not only does his character bring a brilliant mind to the cast, but also brings humor to the show. After being locked in a mental hospital for 17 years, there isn't much Walter won't say or do. He loves to eat, do LSD, and tell people exactly what he thinks, leading to some of the best one-liners I have ever heard in a Science Fiction series.

Fringe isn't all about the strange and unusual, it's also about family, action, love, and humor. I can tell you that it is the single most addictive show I've seen in my entire life. I wound up watching all 100 episodes in under 3 months, and now that it's over, I find myself missing it and thinking about it often. Even though I'm a Netflix member with a large collection, for almost 2 weeks now, I have been sampling other series, looking for something to fill the void. I'm finding myself having trouble even getting into similar shows, the way I got into Fringe. It is one of the best television shows I have ever seen. If you're into Science Fiction this show is an absolute must see. If you're not into Science Fiction, there is still a ton of stuff here for you as well. Do yourselves a favor and treat yourself to this remarkable show while it is still streaming on Netflix.
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on May 14, 2016
Real Science Fiction instead of "cowboys in space" . The characters are all distinct and varied. It is nice to see a variety of ages and not just "pretty faces" as characters. The plot to each story is standalone, but I recommend watching from the beginning because the characters develop so significantly through out the season (and throughout the entire series). Some episodes are quirky. Some are sinister. Some are humorous. And the MUSIC IS GREAT. If someone published an album (like a soundtrack of Fringe) it would be a best seller. OK, if you are an actual scientist you will argue with the premises in some of the stories. Remember, this is why it is called FRINGE, after all.
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on April 11, 2016
Watching it again, I realize how much of the careful craftsmanship was missed when I saw its original broadcast. There is so much going on that gets lost in the long gaps between weekly serial episodes and seasons. Fringe was a major dramatic accomplishment as well as being very good science fiction. It owes a lot to its X-Files predecessor, but it more than surpasses it. Every major character is complex and well developed: no cardboard cutouts here. It is good that the two leads are so strong, since John Noble's supporting role is so powerfully acted that it could otherwise steal the entire show. Even the supporting cast and brief appearances of actors in monster arcs were almost uniformly wonderful. Great stuff.
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on December 3, 2015
Fringe asks the viewer for more "willing suspension of disbelief" than is sustainable. Plots lines are full of glaring holes. No more, say, than X - Files, which I loved. But that show had a couple of actors that could carry it off, regardless. This show hasn't.
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on August 29, 2011
I took a chance and got the first season on Net Flix. I work a graveyard shift during the week so I miss most of the TV on those nights. I was hooked from the first episode. Mark Valley is a favorite from another good show, Boston Legal so it was good to see him and John Noble was memorable in Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King.

The show kept me riveted and was very entertaining. I just used the on demand feature we have on cable and saw the last episodes from the recent season featuring Leonard Nimoy. I loved the animation and the LSD experience of their fearless leader.

I recommend giving this series a chance. The cast works well together and I look forward to seeing the new season next month.
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on January 26, 2013
FBI agent Olivia Dunham's world is turned upside down when she and her partner are assigned to an interagency taskforce led by Homeland Security. A plane filled with dead people has lands at Boston's Logan airport, her partner is exposed to mysterious chemicals that are slowly killing him (and turning his flesh and tissue transparent) and the only man who can save him and solve the mystery of the plane is a brilliant scientist, Dr. Walter Bishop. Bishop's name was once spoken of in the same breath as Einstein's and Fermi's, but when his lab assistant was killed in a fire, he was committed to a mental hospital for the criminally insane - where he has remained for the last 17 years. The only way Dunham can get Bishop's help to solve her case and save her partner is to enlist the aid of Bishop's estranged son Peter, a drifter, con man, sometime military contractor and all-around shady character, who she finds in Iraq where he is about to swindle some guys in an oil pipeline deal.

And that all happens in the first 30 minutes or so of the 2 hour pilot. "Fringe" is an amazingly ambitious show - part police procedural, part SF adventure, part philosophy seminar. It has been called "The X-Files meets Lost", but I think it is better than either of those shows. In many ways "Fringe" is the show that "X-Files" wanted to be, before it lost the handle on its own mythology. That very ambition, and the need to lay out an extensive backstory for both the characters and the universe they inhabit, causes the series to get off the a slightly uneven start, but all of the episodes are good, and by episode 4 the show really finds it voice. I just watched the series finale last Friday, and have been rewatching the show on disc since, and I'm happy to say that it all hangs together wonderfully, and that there are things in even the earliest episodes that pay off at the end. (The second aired episode touches on a theme that will be important throughout the entire series, but that isn't clear until midway through season 2.) The first season is a great launch to what turned out to be a terrific series. It is largely made up of standalone episodes, but the mythology is clearly there and building, and almost ever episode has some event, character or subject that advances or comments on the over-arcing story of the season and the series.
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on October 25, 2017
LOVED Fringe!! I thought the first few seasons were excellent. Loved the parallel universe theme. Didn't watch the last season, though. You know how the writing gets when a series is coming to an end.
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on May 19, 2014
Fringe is one of the best sci-fi stories to ever make it to the big or little screen. The closeness to and respect of that seminal series, the X-Files, is quite likely not an accident. Many items pop up through the 5-years of Fringe which link back to the X-Files. Whether people (the man who shot a director of the FBI and made it appear as a suicide, in the beginning of Season 5 who, years later, becomes a Senator in Fringe) or a shot of Mulder and Scully in the Dreamland episodes on a TV in an apartment of someone who was killed by a "shape shifter" (see the similarity?), or the two main characters themselves, Olivia and Peter being like Scully and Mulder within the FBI, the series is a great tribute to Chris Carter's creation by a master himself, J.J. Abrams.

Each episode of Fringe puts you, the viewer, in Walter's lab, in their cars, apartments or offices or dangerous locations. It is a thrilling show with a directive... to understand family during periods of stress and foreboding. How would we react to an alternate, parallel world being revealed? How would we handle the reality of the Observers? Fringe provides inexorable links between the characters from previous parts of their lives. They're all family, with sacrifices and love. You see that in each episode and it gets better, more defined as the seasons progress.

Enjoy the series.
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on October 17, 2013
I got this to try the show because, aside from being willing to try any Sci-Fi series that doesn't have a lot of sex in it, the comparisons to X-Files made this a must-see. And boy, am I glad I got it. I started watching it by myself, then my aunt started watching them with me, then my whole family became hooked on it. It's great to have such a wonderful series to share with them. Here's a graded review of the episodes, with synopsizes from the booklet.

1. Pilot: No living passengers. No living crew. A plane full of skeletal remains sparks an interagency investigation. A

2. The Same Old Story: A baby is born - and dies of old age half an hour later. The bizarre event may be related to one of Olivia and John's unsolved cases. A

3. The Ghost Network: A troubled man foresees a bus crash that leaves its victims "like mosquitoes trapped in amber." A

4. The Arrival: An explosion destroys everything at a New York City construction site - everything except a mysterious cylinder made of solid iridium. A

5. Power Hungry: A delivery guy is his own power grid, Olivia suffers an emotional shock and Walter takes on some birdbrained assistants. B+

6. The Cure: Diner patrons get a surprise when they interact with a disoriented woman; their brains boil inside their skull. B+

7. In Which We Meet Mr. Jones: Olivia flies to Frankfurt to confront a scientist who may be the creator of a giant, genetically altered parasite. B

8. The Equation: To find clues to the whereabouts of an abducted boy, Walter returns to St. Claire's... and may never get out again. B+

9. The Dreamscape: Brief encounters: Olivia with John, Peter with a woman from his past and a Massive Dynamic analyst with killer butterflies. A

10. Safe: Three men rob a bank vault; two escape. The third is left behind, embedded in the seemingly impenetrable vault wall. B

11. Bound: Olivia flees her captors only to confront an old foe - and parasitic slugs that kill their human hosts. B-

12. The No-Brainer: The team discovers a computer pop-up that liquefies human brains. B

13. Transformation: Victims of an airplane crash include a bizarre, spike covered creature with a glass disc implanted in his hand. A+

14. Ability: No eyes. No mouth. No nose. Soon after Jones mysteriously escapes his prison cell, a normal man turns into a faceless corpse. A+

15. Inner Child: In a tunnel that's been sealed for 70 years, workers discover a feral boy who has a strange, intuitive connection to a killer. A

16. Unleashed: In a research lab, animal rights activists free chimps, dogs... and a bio-engineered beast that attacks Charlie. A+

17. Bad Dreams: Is Olivia part of the pattern? Her terrifying dreams about suicide and murder mirror simultaneous, real-life events. A+

18. Midnight: On the hunt for a killer with a taste for spinal fluid, the team discovers that the shocking deaths may be related to ZFT terrorists. A+

19. The Road Not Taken: What appears to be spontaneous human combustion is investigated. And Olivia learns more about the mysterious Cortexiphan drug trials. A-

20. There's More Than One of Everything: Walter's Gone Missing! Meanwhile, Olivia tracks down the man who shot Nina Sharp and holds the key to finding the enigmatic William Bell. A+

I must admit that while I prefer X-Files overall, the myth arc here is constantly engaging as opposed to the mixed bag the conspiracy arc in X-Files has been for me. Here's hoping that season 2 (which I already have, thank God) doesn't disappoint.
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on September 2, 2015
I began watching this when it first aired, but missed a couple of episodes so I got lost real easily. I'm I have the ability to watch it again. I really love how it's not just a si-fi/crime/drama series about some freaky things that happen in Boston. Even though you can watch each episode as a standalone show, the fact that they all tie into the main plot of the entire series keeps me wanting to watch more. I also love the fact that it's more than just about an FBI agent and a couple of geniuses trying to solve unusual crimes. There is more going on between the characters, adding a great dimensions and making it worth investing time and energy to connecting with them. There is not one day that has passed that I have not watched at least one episode since I've started watching it on Amazon again!!
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