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Fringe: The Complete First Season (2008)

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A strong opener

  • Jun 28, 2010
I recognize this feeling. I've been here before - with 'X-Files,' with 'Battlestar Galactica,' with 'Firefly.' A television series that sets up high expectations with a bold concept, lots of potential, and an original storytelling voice. A show that teases and tantalizes and excites the imagination. Something that makes me think "This, now - this is something worth watching!"

Make no mistake, the first season of 'Fringe' IS well worth watching. There is a lot of bang for your buck here. 20 full-length episodes on 7 discs, with lots of extras, including deleted scenes for most episodes and a fun gag reel.

More importantly, 'Fringe' is excellent television, particularly if your tastes run to the edgier side of the spectrum. Starting off at a gallop, with an international flight that ends horrifically, the series poses idea after idea in the realm of 'fringe' science, where science meets the fantastic. Some of the ideas explored in the series include teleportation, time travel, telekinesis, mind control, pyrokinesis, and alternate dimensions. All are explored through investigations of strange events, seen through the eyes of FBI agent Olivia Dunham as she solves crimes associated with the events. Agent Dunham is joined by Peter Bishop and his father, whose most recent residence was an insane asylum. Dr. Walter Bishop has a unique understanding of and connection to these strange events, but his memory is spotty at best. Together they uncover the source of the events, and slowly, discern a pattern connecting them.

For the most part, 'Fringe' is filled with solid talent. A product of J.J. Abrams' unique vision, who brought us 'Alias,' 'Lost,' and the recent reboot of 'Star Trek,' it shows all the originality and knack for drama he's shown us before. The writing is top-notch, and so far rides the fine line of keeping much in the dark, but answering enough questions to keep you interested. The acting is excellent overall. Though Anna Torv is an unfortunate weak spot - she overplays her role sometimes as the 'tough girl' - she does the job, and the others more than make up for it. A high point is John Noble's portrayal of Dr. Walter Bishop; he plays a pitch-perfect mad scientist with depth and sensitivity, lucid and clear in some moments, then suddenly offbeat and odd with no awkward transitions - you never feel like he's "acting." It's also simply delightful to see Blair Brown in a substantive role again, though her appearances as the enigmatic Nina Sharp are too few and far between for my taste. A nice surprise awaits near the end of the series as well, for those who watch for it.

All told, it makes for a exciting, strange and engaging story, full of suspense and unexpected twists and turns, with tons of potential. I felt this way about 'X-Files' in the beginning, but unfortunately that collapsed under its own weight by the end. The first season of the new 'Battlestar Galactica' made me feel this way too, almost lost its way halfway in, but managed to follow through on most of its promises in the end. I get the same sense from 'Firefly' every time I watch it, but that was sadly cancelled almost before it started.

'Fringe' is off to a solid start. Here's hoping it can keep it up!

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December 26, 2010
Good review. I like JJ Abrams many works. Yes, this is very X Files- like, but I do love the characters and how they relate. I hate the network's inability to properly schedule this show! They have it off for months like ABC did with V. I liked V, but then could never find it on air.
More Fringe: The Complete First Sea... reviews
review by . November 29, 2009
I watched a couple of episodes when the program aired, but since they were out of sequence, couldn't quite figure out what was going on, main themes, etc. But, it seemed to have potential so I got the DVD.    While the series lags a bit after a decent pilot, it builds quite well. Very engrossing, and it's good to see some familiar faces from The Wire (one of my all-time favorite shows). Generally good acting, but it took me a while to appreciate Anna Torv. In contrast, took an …
review by . September 29, 2008
Maybe the set up the bar too high. Maybe calling it the new The X-Files was too high a standard to meet and indeed, Fringe did not meet my high expectations. I guess I was expecting too much since the show was created by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias, Felicity) because I was disappointed by this show.     An FBI agent, Olivia Dunham, along with Dr. Walter Bishop (who is crazy) and his son, Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) investigate strange occurrences, called Fringe science, that reside …
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Rich Stoehr ()
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I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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Teleportation, mind control, astral projection, invisibility, precognition, spontaneous combustion, reanimation: these are among the peripheral sciences--or "pseudo-sciences," as one skeptic puts it--examined during the first season ofFringe, a Fox network TV drama debuting on DVD with the full first season (twenty episodes) offered on seven extras-laden discs. The notion that those phenomena could have a genuine scientific basis is intriguing enough. But co-creator J.J. Abrams (whose bulging resume as a director, writer, and producer includesLost,Alias, and the 2009Star Trekfeature film) has even more on his mind. Along with the weird science, the series features a multi-agency task force investigating related acts of terrorism that may very well add up to a threat of unimaginable global proportions; people who are exactly what they appear to be (i.e., insane) and others who are anything but; plot twists galore; family drama, interpersonal relationships, corporate evil, cop chases... There's a lot in play here, and while it doesn't always hold together (and like any new series, it takes a while to hit its stride),Fringeis rarely boring, and never less than impressively ambitious.

The pilot introduces us to the main characters, principally FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv, good but not great in the show's central role) and others on the task force brought in to investigate some gross goings-on aboard a jumbo jet (a "self-eradicating, airborne toxin" reduced everyone to ...

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DVD Release Date: September 8, 2009
Runtime: 1028 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video

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