Fringe the Complete First Season

January 01, 1970

(Warner Home
Video; 1028 minutes)

www.whvdvd-collections.com

 

BY CHRIS
ZIMMERMAN

 

An airplane
soars through the sky, filled with unsuspecting passengers, tragedy about to
unfold before their eyes. No, this isn’t Lost and yes, this where the similarities between JJ Abrams two shows end. Whereas
Lost deals with compounding mysteries of a secret island that require multiple
viewings to understand, Fringe prides
itself on being able to explain everything to it’s audience even if its totally
impossible in the world as we know it.

 

From the
onset, the show already has the considerable task of differentiating itself
from a series that deals with similar material in X-Files. While fans are bound to draw comparisons between the two,
what sets them apart is the overarching story that flows throughout each
episode of Fringe. Rather than focus
on one paranormal case per episode, that has little to no bearing on the plot, Fringe collects every case and labels
them as part of a growing series of events collectively known as “the Pattern”.
What “the Pattern” is and who is responsible for it builds slowly with each
episode until finally reaching crescendo in the season finale that opens up
more questions than it answers.

 

Responsible
for tracking and solving each individual case is a team of characters whose
backgrounds make them perfect for dealing with such situations. Leading them is
FBI agent Olivia Dunham, played by Anna Torv. As determined as she is
beautiful, Dunham is driven to find what the connection between each case is
when her lover appears to be a traitor, directly involved with everything that
is happening around her. She is admittedly motivated by her emotions, often bringing
her into conflict with her superiors, so that she may grasp the truth for
herself.

 

Aiding her
is the father/son team of Walter and Peter Bishop, played respectively by John
Noble and Joshua Jackson. Their relationship is strenuous at best, with Walter
often getting on Peter’s nerves with his nonsensical behavior though they grow
accustomed to each other by the end of the season. Walter is wide eyed and
eccentric, having spent the latter half of his life in an insane asylum, and is
prone to making inappropriate remarks at the worst of times. He is often seen
requesting to try certain foods and drinks unavailable to him within the
confines of the asylum, while enthusiastically dissecting bodies given to him
for research. His behavior can be grating at times as he can be over the top,
but its his quiet, emotional moments that make him a treat to watch. Peter acts
as the straight man to Walter’s madness, questioning everything, often
resulting in Walter berating him for his lack of imagination. Together,
they encounter psychics, monsters, and even alternate worlds, all the while
pursuing those responsible for the rising discord that threatens to tear their
own world apart. 

 

Along the
way, the group struggles with the emerging “Pattern” while at the same time
coping with the revelations each new mystery brings. Each episode adds a new
layer to the characters, so that by the end of the season, the audience is
emotionally invested in the outcome of their story.

 

Kudos go out
to the special effects department. Nothing looks fake or hokey. In fact, those
who have weak stomachs should be warned; violence is excessive and the results
are often brutally realistic. It was truly surprising how far Fringe pushed its rating. It holds
nothing back, opting instead to bring the audience as close to the gore as
possible.

 

Fringe should have a long and healthy
life. It successfully fuses character drama with bizarre, over the top ideas,
creating a unique and well crafted show that should appeal to more than one fan
base. Fans of the defunct X-Files will latch on to it for the sci-fi nonsense of which Fringe takes so much pleasure in toying with, while followers of JJ
Abrams other works will obviously give a curious glance over  just to see how it stacks up. Either way, if
you do decide to give Fringe a
chance, consider yourself in good hands. Its bizarre nature, unique characters,
and well written plot make it a welcome addition to the library of any fan of
science fiction.

 

Special Features: Behind the scenes
featurettes on its Genesis and Casting; Behind the Visual Effects; Fringe: Deciphering the Scene; Unaired
Scenes; Gag Reel; Docupods; Robert Orci’s Production Diary

 

 

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