Warning: If you’ve never seen the show, there are spoilers below.

I admit that when Fringe was originally airing on television, I did not see much of it. There were a few Friday night episodes that I caught and remember thinking how interesting the show looked, but at that point it was several seasons into the story. In retrospect, I blame myself for not having paid more attention to it while it was airing. I did make a mental note to watch it someday on DVD from the beginning, but finding it on Netflix was even more convenient. Once I started watching, I was hooked.

Let me begin with much praise. The writing is intelligent, the story lines are captivating, and the production is exceptional. There’s suspense, action, well-timed comedy, and deeper meaning to what’s going on. J.J. Abrams, Jeff Pinkner, and J. H. Wyman did a great job. The entire cast is fantastic. John Noble’s portrayal of Walter Bishop is one of the best performances I’ve seen anywhere. Anna Torv is a very underrated actress who showed superb ability in her depiction of FBI agent Olivia Dunham. Joshua Jackson really broke free of earlier teen roles and had a great range of emotion. Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, and Blair Brown were all superb. Even the smaller roles were well done.

So what’s the plot of Fringe and what shows is it similar to? This is from the Wikipedia entry:

The series follows Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv),Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson), and Walter Bishop (John Noble), members of the fictional Fringe Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, based in Boston, Massachusetts, under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe. The series has been described as a hybrid ofThe X-FilesAltered States, and The Twilight Zone.

The overall plot constantly kept you intrigued about what would happen next and the way it was slowly expanded throughout the seasons just enlarged the scope of possibilities, or endless impossibilities as they liked to advertise. Not to mention that the weekly cases were always interesting and covered so many of the possibilities of fringe science. The parallel universe concept was something I thoroughly enjoyed, having already read a lot of other material about the theory, and the way they did the Season Three episodes in both universes was captivating.

Fringe was fortunate to last five seasons, but it almost didn’t. As with other science fictions shows that aired on Fox, such as Firefly and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Fringe was placed into the friday night “death slot” after its third season. What was so refreshing though was that fans organized to support the show’s renewal and surprisingly, Fox listened. The show returned for two more seasons and was able to tell out its overall story in a unique fashion. (Oh and in keeping with one of the show’s main concepts, I’d like to believe that somewhere there’s a parallel universe where Firefly lasted five seasons.)

What made the show so outstanding was the emotion and relationships between the characters. Olivia and Peter, Walter and Peter, Walter and Astrid, etc, but most of all the team. There’s a sense of equality and everyone contributing. You also saw the human connection – the relationship between a parent and child, the effects of greed and revenge within our mindset, and the ability to show love and compassion.

The show expands your mind, making you feel as if anything is possible through science and technology. That’s what great science fiction does – it makes us imagine what we as a species could accomplish in the future, both creative and destructive. As we see in the show, the consequences of crossing the ethical and moral line, plus the idea of playing God, can have dire consequences. However, there’s also much positive emotion and emphasis of the things that make us human.

So if you haven’t had the chance to experience Fringe, I’d recommend checking it out. Whether you are a lover of science fiction, into strong character portrayals, or just enjoy good suspenseful drama, then you’ll find it all with this series. It’s an emotional roller coaster that keeps you invested in the characters and their universes.

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