“ Genre: Television - Fringe / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Actors: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole ... / DVD released 2009-09-28 at Warner Home Video / Features of the DVD: Box set, PAL „
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My taste in film and television is often reffered to by my friends as more 'blokey' than girlie. This is because I am a real fan of action packed films and sci-fi. When I say sci-fi I do shudder a bit as I think that fans of this genre get a bad press, we are often made out to be geeks which I don't think is true at all! That said; this television series 'The Fringe' fits in to the sci-fi category but I feel this goes against it. It's a brilliant piece of television and something I can't rate highly enough.
The Fringe first hit our screens in 2008 and was deemed as the new 'X Files'. The basis of the story revolves around the three main characters-Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop and Walter Bishop. Olivia is a young female FBI agent whos work leads her to a partnership with father and son duo Peter and Walter Bishop. However Peter is at best a rogue fraudster with a high intellect and Walter has spent 17 years in a mental institute following the death of a lab assistant in his lab all those years ago. These three characters are thrown together in what is an uncomfortable but enticing watch and very early on we get to see how the three unlikely characters begin to get to know and understand each other.
The idea of the Fringe is that Walter is an extremely intellegant scientist who's work borders on what is know as pseudoscience (meaning something that is technically scientific in nature but has not scientific reason or explanation). He used to work for the government until an accident occured and a young girl died, he was then sent to a mental institute and spent 17 years there until released by his son, Peter and Olivia. However the series is abut the huge leaps that others have made with Walters previous works and each episode features a new 'crime' or unexplained event which has happened. This is known in the series at 'The Pattern'. Other scientists have grown Walters technological advances but now are unable to control the growth of their technology and combined with the good old police drama side of things it makes for a gripping watch!
The Fringe is gritty and yes at time a bit on the grusome side...ok not just a 'bit' if I'm honest! But it's captivating to watch if you like police dramas and for me I love American shows like CSI etc so this was something I couldn't wait to watch. I've now watched this series three times and each time I notice and understand more than the previous. I do find that after viewing it the last time I am much more aware of the plot with regards to 'The Pattern' than I was after my firest viewing. However the way in which Sci-fi is combined with police drama and a bit of a background romance story, with the odd heart warming exchange between father and son (Walter and Peter) as they learn about each other all over again - makes it a very captivating show.
I like the way Olivia, who is the main female in the show is portrayed. She independant and career driven while also being attractive but not over the top. I often feel television shows cast either super pretty females, which makes them difficult to identify with or women who are perceived to be at the other end of the spectrum because of course no attractive female would want to work for the FBI. I feel that they got Olivia's charcater (played by Anna Torv) totally spot on and this means I like her and warm to her as a character. Walter and Peter's at first very strained relationship combined with Walters mental illnes sis endearing to watch. As is how the relationship between them grows. Peter becomes the care giver of the two even though he spent 20 years dispising his father and his work. And watching him learn to love his father is very well worked. The emotional backgrounds of these characters means that anyone can watch and enjoy the Fringe, although I wouldn't recommend it if you are squeemish!
I always personally find that shows and films which play heavily on 'the unkown' often do well and draw huge audiences because we are all, always looking for some meaning or some sort of answers to lifes big questions. While the Fringe wont give you the answers to those big questions, it will acknowledge the questions and pose a new take on things that are often deemed as imaginatary. It's compelling and gripping drama too.
Season one features 20 episodes all of which are an hour long so there is lots of viewing time! I wont go in to each episode in detail because the glory of this show is that unlike shows that only follow characters, The Fringe follows events and drags the characters around. Therefore you don't neccessarily need to watch them in order, or watch them all if you don't want to. Each episode has it's own mini story and although will probably be reffered to it's great if you can't commit to regularly viewing as you can pick it up and watch when you want to. I however am totally addicted to the Fringe and watch the series in quick succession!
I would give The Fringe, Season 1 a full five stars. It's one of my very favourite television shows and the Guardian seemed to agree saying it was "One of the best new shows on television" when it was released. Now there have been two further series released on to DVD and the fourth will be airing on our screens later in the year so it shows it's strength to already have four seasons under it's belt in less than 4 years. You can buy season 1 from places like Amazon for less than £13.51 for the box set or you can get the first three seasons in one complete boxset for £47.99 which is very good value for money considering season three now costs £29.99 on it's own! So head over to Amazon if you think the Fringe is up your street. I can guarantee you won't be disappointed!
I had seen the adverts but hadn't realised what an amazing show it was until I watched the DVDs. Fringe from the first episode starts with a bang, inviting the viewer to completely suspend reality! The funny thing is you find yourself being sucked into the world of fringe science by some of the best TV characters to have ever existed. Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) is our sceptic. In the beginning Peter doesn't wish believes in monsters but he soon learns that it can be the humans as well as their creations that want to destroy humanity. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is our FBI agent who appears to want believe, this character develops throughout the show and has plenty more to offer than may first appear. The star of the show has to be Walter Bishop (John Nobel) the scientist whose high level of intelligence and massive amounts of quirkiness at times can carry the show and offers lighter moments. Lovers of X files may draw comparisons but that's not a bad thing, if you enjoy pseudoscience and all things creepy then Fringe will be right up your street!