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Author Topic: Micro-review: New TV Series "Fringe"  (Read 3239 times)


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Micro-review: New TV Series "Fringe"
« on: September 12, 2008, 08:44 AM »
Not software related, but I think there are plenty of sci-fi fans around these parts.

I watched the first episode of the new series Fringe last night. This has been mega-hyped, being the latest product from J.J. Abrams, co-creator of Lost (his company is the "Bad Robot" at the end of each episode). I'm a big fan of Lost. Much of it has become implausible, but I'm the characters are compelling, the writing is smart, and I'm willing to suspend disbelief over whatever "the island" is, as long as they get basic ideas right.

So with Fringe, I really wanted to like it. But in the end, having lost count of the number of times I had to exclaim out loud "that's just not how that works", I've got to give it a thumbs down.  :down:

I’m not talking about computer stuff, which Hollywood gets wrong universally -- there wasn't actually any of that. Nor am I talking about their premise of "fringe science". A quick list of butchered topics that anyone with a casual acquaintance with would recognize:
  • Chemistry
  • Biology, especially pathology, psychology and neuroscience
  • Criminal justice, especially anything to do with the 4th amendment (and I don't mean torture, they got that part right)
  • A few instances of basic common sense
It's not that I claim to be expert in those areas. My point is that any well-educated lay person ought to recognize these things as wholly implausible.

Nor did I find the characters compelling, and this was the big sell of the series. Yet there was no depth at all. It was claimed that JJ Abrams would do the same thing with Fringe in this respect as he did with Lost. But no one in the new show even hints at having the depth of Sawyer or even Hugo.
  • Main character is a woman who hasn't been successful in her love life, fighting to save the (presumably) true love she's just found. Cliche?
  • Her sidekick assistant, whose name I didn't even catch
  • A brilliant scientist framed for the gov't research he was doing, checked out of a mental institution. Initially twitching and babbling about the bad pudding on Tuesdays, but very quickly becomes the guy who knows absolutely everything
  • Mad scientist's son, a cliche of brilliant 190 IQ but lack of positive motivators lets him get into trouble

The one thing I found compelling was the ambiguity of the bad guy. At the end, we don’t know if the evil people are big corporations, a rogue government agency, or some more complex conspiracy.


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Re: Micro-review: New TV Series "Fringe"
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2008, 11:22 AM »
After I watched it was trying to pin down what was missing. Many of your points I agree with but, will have to give this a few more episodes before I make my final decision.

While I'm avid fan of Lost it wasn't until a few episodes in that I was truly impressed. Also, to compare the depth of characters from Lost to Fringe is somewhat limiting, after all how much character depth was there in the first episode of Lost? Most people watched because of the action and the characters have been slowly revealed to us.

Also, I disagree  on your main character analysis. How many shows exist with "lone wolf" men with continuous shortfalls in their personal lives? This character has focused on and been successful in her career. Many people do that.

One word sums it up... "Potential". The capacity lies there but, the writing needs to rise above technical adequacy and character development needs to happen soon.


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Re: Micro-review: New TV Series "Fringe"
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2008, 12:39 AM »
I didn't find the 'Fringe' previews enough to watch the show. Thanks for the review.
I wish TV programming was universal; that we could pick from programs from all over the world. I'd start in Britain and work my way out. And damnit, the Indian channels have some of the most hilarious comedians you'll ever see (along with dropdead gorgeous femmes)! German TV in interesting because most of their shows are character-driven and they have a very good staple of actors that spend half their time in movies we all recognize. Lots of cooking and fishing on the Italian channels.

My American TV has been overwhelmed with cop/CSI/vigilante shows for the past 30 years, and frankly, I'm sick of it. And whenever they do have a good idea, they either breakup the cast and create several spin-offs, or everyone rushes in to copy them. There's so much reality show BS anymore that it makes for an insanely bad experience.


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Re: Micro-review: New TV Series "Fringe"
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2008, 01:25 PM »
My DVR elected to disobey my direct order to record Fringe. As such, I have not yet gotten to see the pilot.

I hate DirectTV. For this reason, I missed the season finale of Last Comic Standing and others as well.

Frakking 'A'.