The world is a crazy, scary place right now. We all want, no, need a distraction, and there is less and less of new TV out there to provide us that safe heaven. So, I’ve had to go back to old TV. To those shows I’ve always been meaning to watch, and just never had the time to.
We are in quarantine, after all.
So today, I watched the pilot of Fringe, and boy, do I have thoughts. For those of you who don’t know Fringe, the show is “an American science fiction” television series created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci. The series follows Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), and Walter Bishop (John Noble), all members of the fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe.
I know what you’re thinking, because it’s the first thing I said: Why did no one tell me this was The X-Files lite? I would have been much more willing to give it a chance before!
All kidding aside, I found Olivia Dunham a perfect guide into this world: earnest, smart and sympathetic, even if she does pull a trick or three on Peter. The only way a character like her works on a show like this is to go all in: she must either absolutely believe (with a good reason for her to) or she must be given a good reason to throw caution to the wind.
Fringe goes for #2, and I will say that even though I called that the boyfriend wouldn’t last when he first appeared, I did not call any of the rest of what happened with him in this episode, which is a point in the show’s favor.
Peter works just as well as Olivia, which is probably the reason why this episode, even as an introduction, is inherently compelling. There’s a lot to uncover with him, seemingly much more than with Olivia, and he has some asshole-ish moments at the beginning of this episode, but he’s never a real turn-off the way Pacey Witter used to be in the day (I said what I said).
That’s not even going into Walter, and into how intrigued I am about the relationship between Walter and Peter. Family feels are some of my favorite things a show can do, you know, other than a good OTP, and it feels like this show has a good setup for both.
Not that they seem to know they’re setting up an OTP. When you’re setting up an OTP, you make sure you always include a “moment.” You know, that instant where your viewers – if not your characters – go aha. I get it now. This is what I should be rooting for. All ships have one, and most ships that have been planned from the beginning have one in the pilot.
Olivia and Peter don’t have a clear moment, though there are a few instants of connection. That, of course, probably only means that the show runners tried to delude themselves a la Chris Carter for a while before surrendering to inevitability, but it’s fun to see these things from the outside and compare intention and actual execution.
The “Pilot” also does a great job at setting up what I assume is the overall mystery of the series, or at least the tone of “anything is possible” I assume this people will be operating on. Much like The X-Files before, this show is set up to operate as a procedural, weird case after weird case investigated by this team, but I presume that, like that show, it’ll end up taking us on some weird mythology spirals.
As long as they have a better idea of what their plot is than Mr. Carter, I won’t complain.
Will I continue watching? YES. And if I love it, you might find me making more entries to this series every few episode before moving onto another show. You people are good are recommendations, what can I say?
Are you a fan of Fringe? What’s your favorite thing about it? Share with us in the comments below!
Fringe is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.