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View Full Version : So I just caught up on the show, thoughts from a newcomer



DigiFluid
December 5th, 2010, 09:57 AM
Yeah....anyone who watches or posts in the "what scifi ep did you watch today" thread over in General SF/F will have noticed that I was plowing through Fringe in an effort to catch up. It's something that a buddy of mine (and my dad, and my sister) have been bugging me to watch for about two years now, so I finally relented and got on it. And I like it, though I find that the show isn't without issues. But then that's really par for the course with any TV I suppose.


Season 1
An interesting introductory year, with well-introduced characters pretty much across the board. My biggest complaint with characters in year one is that they really never found anything interesting for either Charlie or Astrid to do other than be scenery. It's as though Charlie was just there to add colour to the FBI team, while Astrid was there for....what? To be little more than a lab tech for a man who can't even remember her name?

The others, fortunately, are great. I was already familiar with Lance Reddick from The Wire, so it's nice to see him here again (even if the role is somewhat similar). I wasn't really sure about Joshua Jackson coming in, because all I knew about him was Dawson's Creek, but he's really really shined and made a believer out of me. I'd never heard of Anna Torv before (and haven't seen her in anything else to this day), but I'm suitably impressed with her ability to pull off the lead female role. I've heard that she got a bit of a bad rap when the show first started for not being able to carry it, but for this newcomer I don't think that's justified at all. Nina spends Season 1 providing just the right amount of mystery from Massive Dynamic to be interesting, despite having a main cast credit and barely appearing in half the episodes. But as I'm sure everyone knows, John Noble is the real achievement here as crazy Walter. Brilliant actor, brilliant character brilliantly acted. Absolutely wonderful.

Plotwise, I found that the first year was a bit hit-or-miss. The stories that were obviously or apparently arc-related consistently had my complete attention and kept me fully engaged for the entire episode. Good, good stuff. But the more X-Files-ey one-off standalone episodes frequently bored me to tears. I just could not wait to get to the end of those episodes and get onto a better one.

And truthfully the John Scott thing kind of bored me. Yes it was a way to give depth to Olivia, and yes it was an interesting backdoor way to introduce ZFT and the 'war of the universes' angle, but holy crap what a boring actor. His smug, smiley 'All American' good looks might've done well for promotional photography, but damn was it ever boring to watch on screen. I'm very very glad that he's dead and that in RL he and Torv are now divorced, so the odds of having to see him again are very slim.

All in all, a nice introductory season. Not without issues, but intriguing enough that it kept me coming back and wanting to see where the story went in Season 2.


Season 2
Wow what an improvement over Season 1. Great stories--even the (less frequent) one-offs. An increasing reliance on primary story arcs is only a good thing as far as this viewer is concerned, and they delivered it in spades. The increasing revelations about the alternate universe, the cortexifan trials, Olivia's childhood, and finally the brilliant episode stitching together Peter's past, the Observer/lake story, Nina's arm, the cause of the cracks in the universes, and bundled together with a brilliantly 80s-style intro--holy hell. Amazing stuff.

Biggest complaint about this season was how poorly they handled Charlie. I know I just said that he was a bit of a wallpaper character in Season 1, but I don't want my wallpapers to just get killed off because they don't know what to do with them or the network wants to be rid of them or whatever else. I want development, for crying out loud! And to just see that he was killed off-screen and disposed of in an incinerator, come on. Not even a mention of his wife, either!

That aside though, an excellent year. And a great setup for Season 3.


Season 3 (so far)
You know, I hate to say it, but so far I've been finding Season 3 to be a bit of a disappointment. The way they set it up in the S2 finale was just masterful; when I finished that episode my imagination went wild with possibilities. But I've really just found that, instead of capitalizing on the opportunity, most of what we've got has been boring one-off monster/mystery-of-the-week stories in alternating universes, with a little bit of story arc thrown in in the last 5 minutes or so of each episode. And I just don't find that interesting. Plus, it certainly can't be inviting to casual viewers. I also really, really don't like the Peter/(Alt-)Olivia romance and am absolutely praying that it doesn't end up happening between him and our Olivia too.

That said, I do find the arc elements of this season intriguing. The mysterious ancient weapon--what is it? Where does it come from? Why was it originally built? Why are there parts for it in both universes? Does it have anything to do with why there are two universes in the first place? Does it have anything to do with the Observers? Can it be used to fix the fractures in the universes? So many questions!

Plus 'Over There' is a really fascinating place. I'm not even looking for the Observer anymore, I'm too busy looking at all the stuff in the background to smirk and laugh at all the difference between their side and ours. I love how Olivia and Charlie are essentially still themselves, just shaped slightly differently. I'm amused at She-Bot Astrid, and I'm (as usual) floored by John Noble playing Walternate....who as near as I can figure is just the realization of what our Walter would have been if he hadn't had a friend in William Bell who was willing to take pieces of his brain out in order to stop him from becoming such an arse.

Still enjoying the year though, and hoping that FOX's boneheaded decision to move the show to Fridays doesn't kill it. I can absolutely see the show having at least one more year of stories in it.



Scattered Thoughts
Who and what are the Observers?! With months for names, are we to take it that there are only 12 of them (or rather 11 now)? What's with their 'hot' eating habits? Why is it that they appear to have no distinction between the two universes? Why are they junkies for historical moments? What was with the 'pod' that September recovered from Walter back in The Arrival? What was with the boy in Inner Child? If they don't perceive time in the same way that we do, and can be anywhere any time, can August (or any of them) ever truly die (at least from our POV)?

Are aliens in any way part of the overriding mythology? That ghostly alien thingy that was bonded to a Russian cosmonaut....it was on our side, but do they have corresponding alternates Over There, who are also being adversely affected by the damage to that universe?

What is the weapon? Who built it? What was its original purpose? How does it fit in to the history and mythology of the series?

The Rachel/Ella thing bugs the crap out of me. I loved the way they were a part of Season 1, they gave so much colour to the live of Olviia. I liked how they had their own story outside of the Fringe mythos, and I enjoyed how they seemed to be building toward a Peter/Rachel romance. And then....they vanished. And then Rachel recently gets a passing mention of having moved to Chicago 'because her husband took a job there'? The husband she was estranged from and crying over his trying to take custody of their daughter from her last time we saw her? Come on, what the hell kind of resolution is that?

And I find it an odd curiosity that the first person that any of us saw from Over There was actually Broyles way back in There's More Than One of Everything--and now he's the first major player from that side to die.

magictrick
December 5th, 2010, 03:24 PM
I have to agree about the Observers. I think that was an interesting story line with potential but it just got shelved.

sbz
December 5th, 2010, 03:24 PM
I think people either love or hate season 3, or are just meh about it. It's certainly not the way I would have developed the season after the switheroo, but I understand why they did it. Personally, I think viewers who have no investment or interest in the other side and seeing what all the Alt characters are like tend not to enjoy season 3 as much.

Fringe has tried to walk the line of having myth/arc/serialized stories but also be accessible to casual viewers. I think it's a combination of the network not liking serialized shows and how impenetrable other JJ Abrams shows (Lost, Alias) got because of the mythology. Personally, I think they need to embrace the mythos and just go for it. The show's in its third season and, as much as I hate to say it, I don't think it's suddenly going to pick up tons of new viewers so why try to walk that casual viewer line? I love Fringe, and the non-arc episodes are usually great, but it really sets the bar at a new level when it does its mythology/arc episodes.

Rachel and Ella disappeared because Fringe moved production to Vancouver from New York at the start of season 2. The actors couldn't very well move just for a minute or two of screentime every episode. I really miss their characters because they opened up a whole other part of Liv's life and personality.

DigiFluid
December 5th, 2010, 04:31 PM
I have to agree about the Observers. I think that was an interesting story line with potential but it just got shelved.
I don't think they've been shelved. As far as I know, September still has a cameo in every single episode of the show. So I'm thinking they're just not at the forefront; sitting in wait to take a major role in the mythos once JJ Abrams commands it :lol:


Rachel and Ella disappeared because Fringe moved production to Vancouver from New York at the start of season 2. The actors couldn't very well move just for a minute or two of screentime every episode. I really miss their characters because they opened up a whole other part of Liv's life and personality.
Oh duh, I didn't even think of the Vancouver move as a reason for dropping them. That makes sense. Still though, I wish that 'husband taking a job in Chicago' line had never happened :mad:

Ian-S
December 5th, 2010, 05:24 PM
wasn't the last thing we heard one of the observers say was something to the effect of "shame it's all going to get horrible for her (Olivia)" then we got the present story line.

Now I'm gonna go back and look for September in the background :lol:

DigiFluid
December 5th, 2010, 05:35 PM
Now I'm gonna go back and look for September in the background :lol:
Here you go! :D (http://www.fringebloggers.com/the-observer-files/)

They haven't updated since 6955 kHz, but it's a pretty exhaustive list/screenshot set otherwise :)

the fifth man
December 5th, 2010, 05:41 PM
Here you go! :D (http://www.fringebloggers.com/the-observer-files/)

They haven't updated since 6955 kHz, but it's a pretty exhaustive list/screenshot set otherwise :)

That is a great link. Thanks for that.:)

sbz
December 5th, 2010, 10:00 PM
Oh duh, I didn't even think of the Vancouver move as a reason for dropping them. That makes sense. Still though, I wish that 'husband taking a job in Chicago' line had never happened :mad:

Yeah. It doesn't jive with what was established. I'm choosing to think of it as a memory glitch/bleedthrough/confusion thing, and Altivia's Rachel moved to Chicago before she died and that tidbit bled through into the Peter apparition. It was said in one of the episodes that had Liv not sure who she was.

Linda06
December 9th, 2010, 09:58 AM
An interesting read Digi. I must admit at first I wasn't too keen on the "over there" eps, but they grew on me and I found myself being pulled in. But I am glad that particular story with Altivia over here and our Olivia over there didn't last the whole season.

LtColCarter
December 9th, 2010, 04:21 PM
An interesting read Digi. I must admit at first I wasn't too keen on the "over there" eps, but they grew on me and I found myself being pulled in. But I am glad that particular story with Altivia over here and our Olivia over there didn't last the whole season.

You and me both! But I do hope we see Walternate and Altivia again...

DigiFluid
December 9th, 2010, 06:45 PM
Oh I'm sure we will. With the build over the first two seasons of 'over here vs over there', and now the seeds of dissent planted among the agents of 'over there', I can't imagine not seeing them again :)

I gotta say though, setting up 'alternates' as your series villain is a stroke of bloody genius from a production standpoint. You keep spoilers to a minimum because you're not putting out casting calls or giving things away by bringing in another actor repeatedly (like we knew a Michael ep was coming in SGA if Connor Trineer was on set). The production staff already knows how all the actors work and their particular peculiarities, so they don't have to work around anyone new. And it keeps the bean-counters happy because they're not having to pay anyone else :lol:

Linda06
December 10th, 2010, 11:22 AM
So does that mean that because they are playing two people, granted they are playing themselves but alternate them and original them could be construed as two people, does that mean they get paid twice :p lol

DigiFluid
December 10th, 2010, 01:27 PM
So does that mean that because they are playing two people, granted they are playing themselves but alternate them and original them could be construed as two people, does that mean they get paid twice :p lol
Possibly....but since they're only playing each character half as much, it works out the same :p

LtColCarter
December 10th, 2010, 03:49 PM
So does that mean that because they are playing two people, granted they are playing themselves but alternate them and original them could be construed as two people, does that mean they get paid twice :p lol

:lol:

Linda06
December 11th, 2010, 08:03 AM
Possibly....but since they're only playing each character half as much, it works out the same :p

Okay then :p


:lol:

I'm surprised anyone even understood that little ramble :p

Commander Zelix
December 11th, 2010, 08:25 PM
Oh I'm sure we will. With the build over the first two seasons of 'over here vs over there', and now the seeds of dissent planted among the agents of 'over there', I can't imagine not seeing them again :)

I gotta say though, setting up 'alternates' as your series villain is a stroke of bloody genius
I think the real stroke of genius is instead of simply having the alternates self wearing "black suits" and wear their evil face. They made them multilayered full fledged people. Personally, I wished they would have keep up the alternating stories between the 2 worlds with new plot developments and inter linkages for a longer time this season. But considering how much they have developed the alternate characters and universe I have no doubt we will see much more of them.

LtColCarter
December 12th, 2010, 07:32 AM
I think the real stroke of genius is instead of simply having the alternates self wearing "black suits" and wear their evil face. They made them multilayered full fledged people. Personally, I wished they would have keep up the alternating stories between the 2 worlds with new plot developments and inter linkages for a longer time this season. But considering how much they have developed the alternate characters and universe I have no doubt we will see much more of them.

I agree with you. Fringe is awesome! :D

Ian-S
December 14th, 2010, 06:28 PM
Here you go! :D (http://www.fringebloggers.com/the-observer-files/)

They haven't updated since 6955 kHz, but it's a pretty exhaustive list/screenshot set otherwise :)

Oh my life that's awesome thanks!

Actually the "out of series" sightings bit reminds me of one of those "I wish the world would open up and swallow me" moments, it's the NASCAR one and I was sitting there watching it in a crowd of racing fans and saw the observer, jumped up pointing at the screen and shouted "an observer!", everybody in the room looked at me like I was some kind of lunatic, apart from one person who was laughing - well at least one person knew what I was on about :lol:

the fifth man
December 14th, 2010, 06:45 PM
I agree with you. Fringe is awesome! :D

That, my friend, is an understatement.:)

LtColCarter
December 15th, 2010, 07:26 AM
That, my friend, is an understatement.:)

Yes, yes it is...forgive my inadequate praise! ;)

Huaracocha
December 23rd, 2010, 07:31 PM
I agree with your season 1 assessment that Astrid was underused but Charlie I think was natural that he would be only a supporting character.

I differ a bit on season 3 because I think they've done that really well and it's hard for me to say that because, as I said on a different Fringe thread, I really struggle with situations where we know big things that the main chars aren't aware of. As a result the whole shapeshifter Charlie (same concept) and especially the Altivia over here thing deeply irritated me but yet they did it so well I couldn't find a way to fault it.

Now we have everything back in place and so much potential for the show to go forward. I know what you mean about the observers, the sort of chars that will always appeal to me but to be honest they have done well to underplay them. If you focus too much on a powerful / exciting 'race' like that then they would tend to take over the narrative and the show is about the Fringe team not the observers.

The weapon will build in more, I think that's part of the big arc of the series. Aliens,well I don't think they're ever going to really be a part of this. And Rachel / Ella I don't have a problem with how they've been handled. Really they were just a way to humanise Olivia and to play off the Peter-Olivia sexual tension (at least as I saw it) so I can see that in a way they're no longer needed, at least for now.

All in all a top show and it seems that for whatever troubles you have about the series there's clearly enough interesting you to make you another Fringe fan with the rest of us ;)

g.o.d
December 27th, 2010, 01:07 AM
I guess we'll learn more about the Observers when we'll find out more about the First people/humans. Anna Torv said in one interview she's looking forward to it

the fifth man
December 27th, 2010, 07:44 PM
I guess we'll learn more about the Observers when we'll find out more about the First people/humans. Anna Torv said in one interview she's looking forward to it

As am I. This should be fun to watch.

LtColCarter
December 28th, 2010, 08:43 AM
I got the 2nd season of Fringe for Christmas. I didn't realize how much the Observers were in the season. Have you guys seen these?

Observer on American Idol (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpDO9hlz4i4)

Observer at MBL Allstar game (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jEGVTAADHM&feature=related)

Observer from at NASCAR (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUaUQ2fF944&feature=related)

Observers at NFL football game (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LO_RNN0Y7OM&feature=related)

Fringe Obsever Mashup (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ7k3s5UqUY&feature=related)

Linda06
December 29th, 2010, 11:54 AM
They sure do get around :D

Mrja84
April 30th, 2012, 07:16 AM
I'm very very glad that he's dead and that in RL he and Torv are now divorced, so the odds of having to see him again are very slim


That's mean. They chose to marry each other and all you think about is that you're glad they got divorced so you don't have to worry about him being on your TV screen. Do you think all family members of a cast and crew have to be on the show? It's up to the writers and producers how the show progresses and that character obviously wasn't needed after season one.

I for one am sadden to here their marriage ended so quick. But I will not rejoice it for petty reasons.



The Rachel/Ella thing bugs the crap out of me. I loved the way they were a part of Season 1, they gave so much colour to the live of Olviia. I liked how they had their own story outside of the Fringe mythos, and I enjoyed how they seemed to be building toward a Peter/Rachel romance. And then....they vanished. And then Rachel recently gets a passing mention of having moved to Chicago 'because her husband took a job there'? The husband she was estranged from and crying over his trying to take custody of their daughter from her last time we saw her? Come on, what the hell kind of resolution is that?

I never saw the Peter/Olivia thing happening, it just happened. It felt forced. Rachel and Peter had a solid chemistry going for them.

It could be that the actress(s) had issues behind the scenes. Scheduling conflicts, etc.

DigiFluid
April 30th, 2012, 07:19 AM
Necro-thread, RISE!