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October 9, 2015

Fringe: Pilot

by Jane Boursaw, posted Sep 9th 2008 11:16PM
Fringe: Pilot
(S01E01) "I knew someone would come eventually." -- Dr. Walter Bishop

This is my second time watching Fringe -- I posted an Early Look review a couple of weeks ago -- and it's just as engaging to me now as the first time. Tonight, I focused more on the relationships of the characters, whereas the first time, I was fixated on the sci-fi paranormal elements. My thoughts:

Similarities to Lost. I admit I was a little bummed when I saw the first scene. A plane incident? Really, J.J. Abrams? Are you that fixated on planes? But the scene truly does work to set the tone for the series. Why? Because you've got all these people trapped in the sky. Something weird happens and their bodies go haywire. The plane lands safely on autopilot, and the agents find the grisly remains of their bodies. It sets up a whole bunch of questions. What happened? Why did it happen? Who is doing it? Where are they now? And how can Olivia and her team make it stop?

The set-up. They've packed just about as much into a pilot as humanly possible. We've got the skewed romance between the FBI agents (which might not be over, even though one of them is technically dead), the "fringe science" around which everything else revolves, a looming government conspiracy with a robotic-armed woman, an emotionally unstable father and a distant son, an outsider who's being reluctantly pulled into a world he'd rather avoid, and Olivia, the glue that holds all of it together. And then there's the cow...

The cow. Did it seem a little over the top to you? I'm trying to decide if I appreciate the presence of the cow, or if it just seems weird to have a cow in the laboratory. Really, it's basically there for comic relief.

Suspending disbelief.
I know the show is all about weird science, but I can't help scratching my head over the way some things went down. No, not the dream sequence. I'm actually ok with that. It's the fact that they had this ancient lab up and running at light-speed, even though it had been collecting dust for years (and why was it still there?). Also, how was Olivia able to recover from her drug-induced dream state and spring back into action so quickly? The cocktail they gave her had LSD in it, for cripes sake, yet she was up and lucid in no time flat.

The characters. With her furrowed brow and husky voice, Anna Torv has just the right personality for both her job AND this series. She's tough, but also vulnerable, as her first scene with John shows. Olivia, Peter and Walter are such different characters, and it will be fun to see them form an alliance of sorts to figure out what's going on. Joshua Jackson has that every-guy quality that makes me really like him -- ok, fall in love with him a little bit. He's mild-mannered until things don't go his way, and then he unleashes the fire. In contrast, Olivia seems more even-tempered, not as willing to fly off the handle as Peter. John Noble as the kooky, emotionally scarred mad scientist is fun, too.

What a complete thrill to see Blair Brown again. I loved her in The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, but wow, I'm feeling old, because she's showing some age and so am I. But the fact that her character is covering up something and she's not all she appears to be -- it's intriguing. Likewise, the jury's still out on Homeland Security Agent Phillip Broyles. He seems on the up and up, but is he really...?

The special effects. I'm completely mesmerized by translucent skin you can see through. I don't think it's appropriate for an 8 p.m. show, but is there really a "family viewing hour" anymore? Not really, and anyway, the show moves to 9 p.m. next week. I also love the little 3D location markers between scenes and the pre-commercial visuals of frogs, leaves, apples, handprints and so on. Those are cool, even though they're Lost-like.

Overall, I'm loving Fringe so far and can't wait to see what happens next. What did you all think? Intrigued? Disappointed? Can't wait for the next episode? Couldn't care less?

Will Fringe go the distance?
Absolutely618 (84.3%)
No way115 (15.7%)

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When i saw the firdt epsiode it was mind blowing. i love it sooooo much. i didnt think i was going to enjoy it. but the show from stratrt to begigig was incredibel. epecial whne they put oliva in that tank of water with wires running thru her head. wut a creep that john i really found him suspicious since the first time we saw in the epeisode.
also that airplane wascrazy stuff. i couldnt understand why people out of no wear started melting im like whats wrong with them. but then walter explaind everything. an well yeah. over all i really enjoyed watching the piolt n i have theirs more seasons and epsiodes to come yey!

October 23 2008 at 1:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Boring, wooden characters and a dead slow pace. This one should be cancelled by December if not sooner. Can't hold a candle to the X-Files.

September 11 2008 at 8:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well, I recorded fringe and watched it last night. i am one of the biggest fans of Lost and thats why comparisons were obvious. Fringe didnot excite me.. i mean it had its moments but overall there were too many omg, rolling my eyes, thats not possible scenes. the lab was working fine even after 17 yrs and has been used by harvard as a storage? or the doc was upto speed with the latest equipments and he is totally stable and she lets him work on the guy on any cost possible?, finding pacey in iraq in a few mins, the dream sequence, how they got his blood and a big one is when they caught the guy( terrorist) and he is sitting in the FBI room and she asks him to write all the chemicals he has used, leaves the room, pacey actually walks in without anyone noticing him and gets all the way in the cube! if he can get in without anyone noticing it why cant the terrorist leave?? and how did the massive dynamic gets the FBI agent's body? he doesnt work for them??
gosh it was more like a movie then a full on series!
i am not an X-Files fan, and the reason a lot of unexplainable stuff can actually happen in LOST and still make sense is because its happenign in an alternate universe(the special island!) it is acceptable. (the writing is so much crisp on LOST plus acting is superb!) if Fringe was actually happening on Mars, maybe we can buy it but seriously it cannot hold your attention for so long without questioning it.
and STOP using LOST's music!! its making me wish it was already Jan'09.

September 11 2008 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Bash - How long DO the effects of LSD last? I'm guessing you know.

September 10 2008 at 8:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

OMG! That was Blair Brown wasn't it? Man. You're right. Okay, everybody use that night cream.

Anyway, I thought the cow was over the top too but I still enjoyed it. I liked it when the three of them were watching cartoons. I kept saying, "Give the cow some of what you're eating. It's rude not to share." And since I'm not a fan of "Lost" and have never watched the show (honest, I just didn't get on that bandwagon) all the elements you mention as been "just like 'Lost'" don't bother me. They are new to me. To bad they seemed to interfere a little with your objectivity of the show/ep. Also, I don't know if it's just me but you seem to be bragging a little too much about the fact that you got to see this pilot a head of time. Chill. Just review it/bog-it please. Thanks.

September 10 2008 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was really excited about this show due to all the positive buzz, and to me it lived up to expectations. I felt it was creative, despite comparisons to X-Files, Lost, and Alias (a truly underrated show which I got on DVD since I missed many episodes). I feel that this show will evolve and the main characters will get more "filled out" as time goes on, and those bashing Anna Torv need to take a chill pill - her acting was good, especially considering the hurdles her character had to overcome. Consider me officially hooked on this show.

September 10 2008 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Carter

I have to wonder given the nature of the show if the Cow's name isn't Gene, as in genetics. If so, A+ for cleverness in animal naming.

September 10 2008 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Although I respect that everyone has a right to their opinion, I'm disappointed by some of the comments. Although this pilot had some imperfections/problems, at least it's far and away better than the multitude of crappy procedural cop dramas, "reality" television, and inane game shows. I'm more than willing to give the series a chance to become one of my favorites.

I laughed hysterically when John Noble stated that he'd pissed his pants. I definitely wasn't expecting that!

September 10 2008 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Kim's comment

Overall I thought the pilot was 70% fresh and 30% rotten. Some deliveries didn't work, some logical errors were there but I think this show has just as much potential to work as "Bones" has. And I friggin hate Bones, yet people like it.

I mean reading the review here it's kind of funny to have Jane bicker about plot holes like the LSD one when there are people being revived after being dead for five hours. If you have a problem suspending your disbelief there you review the wrong show. Sorry to say that. Stuff like finding Josh Jackson in Iraq quickly is done because it is enough to tell us it IS hard to find him and then simply find. What do you expect the show to do? Let her run around for five minutes of airtime simply to stress the point of him being hard to find?

Or the lab being fully functional?

Yet you didn't have a problem with a plane landing itself.

Newsflash: that technology doesn't exist. Autopilots aren't able to do that.

I was able to let those errors go because I was more interested in how the mystery part of the show developed. Seeing technologies on supposedly close-to-reality shows like "Bones" and "CSI: Miami" though pisses me off to no end, yet those shows are extremely successful. Guess I'm just to informed compared to the general TV audience to accept people getting found by all those non-existent GPS-locator-chips in cell phones or computers being able to put together an image of a deceased just having a skull and no other bones (seriously, how do you now that the person in question didn't weigh 300 pounds and looked like a whale?).

This is a mystery show for crissakes. And you start arguing about how long the effects of LSD last.

September 10 2008 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I agree with you Kim. This is an interesting show, and I'll give it time to develop and see where it goes. Compared to the majority of what's out there this fall, its sitting near the top of the heap so far. I also like House, Bones (I can't believe there's a guy here who rips on Bones--now that show captures the Mulder/Scully energy and makes it all its own), Sarah Connor Chronicles, Numbers (though the show is wearing thin), and a handful of others. But let's face it: the best thing going for this show is Lost and BSG don't return until 2009!

And I'm pretty sure that landing a plane on autopilot is a legitimate new but existing technology. They have it on these brand new planes that can use GPS, etc. to know exactly where they are and at what altitudes at all times. I think that's exactly what this show is trying to do, mix real science that makes you go "that's not real" in with pseudo-science and science fanasy, so that it all gets jumbled up together. Kudos for it.

September 23 2008 at 2:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I found the whole thing both intriguing and rushed. I felt that they tried to cram way too much into one sitting. I have no idea how they could have smoothed the content over, though.

I still remember the pilot of The X-Files and felt that it was very focused in its delivery. Fringe tried too hard to impress us with this pilot. We were all over the place, physically and "mythologically".

I'm not sold on Anna Torv yet. Not at all. Her English dialect and voice has promise - but her emotional delivery leaves something to be desired. I don't HATE her, but I am not drawn to her.

September 10 2008 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I had to question Walter Bishop being up to speed on the technology he was using. What about hauling a man out of hospital ICU/isolation down to a basement at Harvard? No doctors anywhere? And how did Scott get a vehicle for the getaway from the hospital?

I'll watch but I'm really hesitant about picking up new shows this year because of network cancellations.

September 10 2008 at 1:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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