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September 17, 2014

Fringe is getting good... so why am I not paying more attention to it?

by Joel Keller, posted Dec 3rd 2008 6:06PM
Fringe: SafeAnyone who watched last night's episode of Fringe can see that all the pieces of the puzzle that is The Pattern are coming together. Dunham is starting to merge John Scott's memories with her own, right as the evil Nina Sharp at Massive Dynamic decided she needs them to help her nefarious plans. Dunham's actually starting to show some personality; the chemistry between her and Peter and between Peter and Walter is getting fun. And the ending to last night's episode set up a nice cliffhanger that will take us through the holidays.

It's starting to reach a lot of the potential that fans had for it, given its J.J. Abrams pedigree. So why am I not more engrossed with the show?

Don't get me wrong; it's on my "must-watch" list every week, and not just because it's on right after House. But, while I pay rapt attention to Hugh Laurie and company, with Fringe, I tend to do other things around the house (including editing this very blog) while keeping one eye on the TV. Every week, I have the best of intentions, just wanting to plop down and get sucked into this world, but it's just not happening, despite how good I think the show is getting.

I have a few theories about why this is going on:

First, I'm still not completely invested in all the characters. Peter and Walter have become a good pair, as we saw when Peter berated his father in the big box hardware store, followed by Walter telling Peter he almost implemented his time travel machine to help Peter when he was sick as a child. But, right now, Dunham is still doing the stoic act; like I said, we finally saw a touch of personality come out this week as she played the bartender to get some information. We need to see more of that.

Second, the supporting characters aren't developed enough. Agent Broyles, for instance, is just the unsmiling boss right now. We know that he has some sort of relationship with Nina, but there has been little else to hang on to, personality-wise. Even Nina is just a wicked archetype more than she is a fully-developed character. And the less said about Astrid, the better; the only thing we know about her is that she's very young and susceptible to being drugged by Walter.

Third, despite the fact that the show is starting to branch out geographically, there's still too many coincidences, and they all seem to be happening in the Greater Boston Area, like that bartender in Cambridge that just happened to know the ex-Marine that got stuck in the safe wall. And, in addition, there are still too many connections that are being made because of what Walter worked on thirty years ago, or moves he made before he went crazy. The fact that he didn't remember that he used the Fibonacci sequence to obtain safe-deposit boxes for hiding his experiments was a good start to showing some events that happen outside of Walter's brain. But for the show to crackle, there need to be a couple of more twists and turns that Walter will need to help solve without prior knowledge.

Maybe last night's episode got me paying enough attention to get me to drop whatever I'm doing in January to watch the next episode. But I'm not sure.

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rose74656

My problem with this show is the science-so much of it just doesn't seem plausible. That was one reason I loved The X-Files, when they explained something I almost always thought yeah I can see how that could happen, I mean it was far fetched, but I thought most of it was conceivable. I like this show, but I would like it more if I thought what was happening was even remotely possible, and like everyone above with better characters.

December 04 2008 at 6:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rose74656's comment
Chris

rose--It's called Fringe for a reason. As in fringe science.

Great show by the way.

December 04 2008 at 8:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ian

An actress is only as good as the lines whe is given to speak. There is nothing wrong with Anna. SHe plays the part as the director desires and right now that's as a professional FBI agent not some Charlie's Angel. Sure the director and actress could morph the character somewhat and maybe should is subsequent episodes. We got a hint of glamor recently as she was dressed to the "nines" to go out on town.
In summary If you want "hot" watch the failing Knight Rider. I prefer a more indepth slow character build and an engaging plot.

December 04 2008 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GerryofNorVA

Anna Torv looks like a middling actress out the '70s "Waltons". She has no distinguishing features (or assets) besides that just-out-of-the-rain-wet-dog look she sports every frickin week. She's makes as lackluster a character as the X-Files "Dana Scully".

December 04 2008 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim

I have to agree with Justin. I'm sick of people who on one hand complain about how television shows are targeting the lowest common denominator but on the other hand nit pick and criticize the few quality programs that are on tv. It smacks of a combination of unrealistic expectations and intellectual snobbery.

December 04 2008 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jaerisk

It is because casting dropped the ball with Olivia...she should be mind numbingly hot and Anna Tory is...well, NOT. For the shows demo, this would have made up for the first few episodes of us waiting for things to come together. Oh well.

December 04 2008 at 8:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Justin

It's amazing to see people piss on a show that is barely into it's first season when clearly it's being built for the long haul.

I think Peter and Walter are great. Dunham may be cold but wouldn't you be if the love of your life lied to you, used you, and then mysteriously passed? Throw in the sci-fi aspects and I think the character is moving at the right pace. Granted, the actress isn't the best but she doesn't need to be. Right now the focus is on her because she's cute and a good launching point for the show but when things begin to shift to Peter and Walter--and they will and have begun to--I think everyone will be raving about this show.

New shows always have a few kinks, especially serialized television. Show a bit of patience and stop ripping apart every little crinkle just because you're bored.

December 03 2008 at 11:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Justin's comment
Ann B Martin

Justin well said! I actually love this show and can't miss it!
This is the only show I don't change the channels during the commercial break! And that right there says a lot~ Stop nit picking and enjoy the ride.



December 04 2008 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kim

I agree with you, Justin. With so few interesting, intellectually challanging shows on, it amazes me that people feel compelled to nit pick a show to death! So what if it's not perfect? Few shows are. I'd rather watch this show than 95% of the drivel that's on network tv.

December 04 2008 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eugene

whatever, I like the show just fine. Dunham is every bit as compelling (and as well acted) as Fox Mulder, though, that isn't saying much.

December 03 2008 at 11:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ben

I think Walter knows everything about what is going on because the show is trying to imply that Massive Dynamic has something to do with The Pattern, and the two of them were lab partners after all, so of course Walter will know most, if not all of what is going on.

December 03 2008 at 10:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sy

No compelling characters always kill shows. This is no different. The main character just doesn't do it.

December 03 2008 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Carissa

You know, it could be possible that Walter THINKS he knows all of this, but couldn't he know it the same way Anna knows things that happened to John? I never even thought of that until csttar63 mentioned cloning. He doesn't really need to be clones to have others' memories.

Last night was the first time I enjoyed any scene with Anna Torv in it. Enjoy might be too strong a word, but the cards scene was far better than usual. Her husky whisper drives me bonkers. I sit here by myself talking like that to my cats while watching. LOL NO ONE really talks like that 24 hours a day. Not possible.

December 03 2008 at 9:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Carissa's comment
burningchrom3

disagree mod, mulder talked like that for 8-ish seasons, and olivia's "husky whisper" is kinda hawt (although it IS hawt with a awt as opposed to ot :P). i suppose looks arn't everything, and will confess to not finding olivia's character all that attractive. maybe we'll luck out and she'll end up a red herring, get killed of mid season and peter and walter will become the primary characters! one hopes, lol, no offense to miss torv.

December 04 2008 at 1:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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