Thursday, September 25, 2008

Quick Reviews: Fringe

I have been an X-files fan for years. I followed Mulder and Scully through all their adventures into the world, full of aliens, vampires and conspiracies that they claimed existed right under our noses. When the show ended, poorly I might add, I was not happy. Luckily I still got to relive those great times through syndicated reruns, DVD boxed sets and in my own X-files themed d20 modern campaigns. Despite the movies I, like many fans, felt that there would just never be another show like it. The magic was gone and nothing could grab my imaginiation and run with it in the same way as the X-files (except for Heroes of course). That is until I saw Fringe.

The show began airing on Fox a few weeks ago. I didn't know a lot about it, just that it was supposed to be the next X-files, bold words. According to the things I had read, where X-files dabbled in the supernatural, Fringe was based more on real the world. The topics on Fringe are related to pseudoscience, or fringe science as they refer to it on the show. That was pretty much everything I knew about this new show, which I had intended to watch it, but didn't. Once I realized that I had missed the first few episodes I just forgot about it. Thank goodness for Hulu!

After signing in to Hulu to catch the 3rd season premier of Heroes, which I had missed, I noticed that Fringe was listed under the new shows available. I made a note and subscribed, intent on watching at least the first episode tonight. If it was any good, I figured, I might try to watch a few more, now I am sure I will.

If you haven't watched any episodes rest assured that I won't give anything away here. Suffice it to say that it is a really good show. I can definitely see the influence of the X-files, Heroes, and Lost, with a little CSI thrown in for good measure, all in the first episode. Almost from the start the characters begin to encounter conspiracies and clandestine operations, all revolving around "The Pattern". I've only watched the first episode and already I have new ideas for a d20 Modern campaign. The show is very engaging and the characters, FBI agent Olivia Dunham, scientist Walter Bishop (who has been in a mental hospital for the past 17 years), and his son Peter, are interesting and likeable.

Iappreciate the fact that they aren't throwing aliens and supernatural monsters at us in an attempt to copy the X-files, at least not yet. Instead the big bad is a corporation, Massive Dynamic, that has its hands in some shady fringe research(kind of like Lost and Heroes). One character brings up the fact that scientific discoveries have made exponential leaps forward and are to the point that maybe science can not be regulated and controlled. That is what this show is about, science. Ok maybe it is pseudoscience as I mentioned before, but the things that are brought up in the show are things that science has attempted to do in real life, at least to a degree. In the Fringe world there is something going on, some one is doing experiments and the people of earth are the lab rats. Is the evil corporation Massive Dynamic behind all the creepy and strange events? Is it the government? What is "The Pattern"? I don't know, but I'm going to keep watching and find out.


Anonymous said...

do you really like the comparisons with the x-files? I can't really take this show seriously.

Fringe - It Sucks

Tomcat1066 said...

FWIW, I liked Fringe. I wrote my own review here. I liked the early X-Files and am a huge Heroes fan, and while I expected to be disappointed, Fringe actually delivered for me.

Whether it keeps doing it or not...who knows ;)

Geek Gazette said...

@ sean
I really liked the show. Looking at it from a DMs POV the first few episodes had some good material to use for a campaign.
I think that it will never live up to the X-files, no show can, but it give is a good go. I really liked Walter even though he is "A scattered man who can’t remember people he has met three times and needs to be sung to sleep". Which I found amusing. I work in a mental hospital, and with the exception of them letting him have scissors to cut his beard which would never happen, found the character to be like patients I know in real life.
Oliva is no Mulder or Scully, but she is a smart character and I thought pretty interesting. The comparison to X-file, at least for me, is that fact that she was involved in what was going on long before she even knew it existed. Granted the name of the company and its obvious role as the big bad was kind of lame. It does feed into the anti-corporate mentality we have developed of late, but that could also be a smoke screen as member of MD are on also working with the government in regards to The Pattern.

I don't think the show delved into the supernatural nearly as much as the X-files did. Instead it takes things that scientist have worked on in the real world and assumes that those experiments worked in the Fringe world. The boogey man is the result of a lab experiment and not an alien.

I completely agree with your assessment of Peter; "brilliant, snarky, and a bit cynical for his age. All these actually fit what back story was shared, and create a character that is at once likeable and annoying."
It delivered for me as well.