Monday, November 4, 2013

Day Three Hundred and Eight - Fringe: Pilot, "X-Files with no limits other than the imagination."

After a month of Lynch's crazy prime-time soap opera, it was nice to get back to quality television that had weird for a reason instead of just being for weird's sake.

Definitely owing to the ground paved by The X-Files, Fringe started its journey through the realms of pseudo-science and alternate realities in 2008, combining the tremendously vulnerable (and occasionally menacing) acting of John Noble with relative newcomer Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson, who was probably previously best known for his work as Pacey on Dawson's Creek.

Set in the present (and occasional in the future and past), Fringe tells stories very reminiscent of Mulder and Scully's encounters with the strange and unexplainable, but throws off all pretense of mundane explanations and active government coverups. Instead, week to week, Fringe fights monsters, sociopaths, and doppelgangers all augmented with superscience that seems impossible (and probably is), but works in the context of, you guessed it, "Fringe Science" where just about anything can happen, provided Walter Bishop (John Noble) can handwave it away with some experiment he and William Bell (Leonard Nimoy) did in the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

This pilot episode jumps you right into the thick of things (minus Nimoy, who doesn't show until the first season finale) with a plane full of people literally melting in their seats thanks to some unknown biohazard. Among many other investigators is Agent Olivia Dunham, who trips onto a connection between the biohazard and similar experiments done by Bishop long ago, before he was locked up in an insane asylum. In order to get access to him, Agent Dunham has to enlist Bishop's genius, but rebellious, son... Peter (Jackson). Together they managed to glean enough clues from experimental dream work to track down the bioterrorist and save the day.

It is safe to say that I really love Fringe. I mean, really love it. It's smart, excellently produced by JJ Abrams and company, and the casting is divine, particular when it comes to John Noble's ability to ramble and the personal chemistry between Torv and Jackson. It also has just the right balance of the everyday and the fantastic, combining in such a way as to be utterly believable, no matter how ridiculous the solutions and cures can be. The writers and technical consultants take just enough care to make the technobabble honest and difficult to discount if you're not an expert in any of the fields required to call them on their bullshit (which I am definitely not).

Since the entire series is now available on Netflix, I can definitely recommend a binge watch to anyone who hasn't already seen the greatness that is Fringe... or, even if you have, now is a great time to revisit the series from start to finish... starting with this episode here! Enjoy it! If you don't I'll have lost faith in your humanity. :)

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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