‘Fringe’ is the New Black: Impressions of the First Season

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Just say those magical words that give me mixed feelings: J.J. Abrams. That’s right, like most people who watched Lost devoutly, I feel rather conflicted when it comes to the Lost producer. Yes, he gave me a wondrous story of a magical island (I swear it isn’t Purgatory) where absolutely remarkable characters involve themselves in incredible, scary, mysterious adventures and divulge their colorful and connected pasts. But then Lost’s haphazard, confusing ending left me heartbroken and in need of a bottle of wine. Needless to say, I was reluctant to see Fringe, another work produced by J.J. Abrams. However, I was curious to see what all the hype was about. So here’s my take on the first season of Fringe.

Fringe takes place in Boston and focuses on an FBI detective, Olivia “Olive” Dunham (Anna Torv). After her partner (who she was having an affair with) becomes hurt in a strange biochemical attack, the “Fringe” team that explores a bizarre string of phenomena called “The Pattern” recruits Dunham as an agent. The only way Dunham can figure out the odd nature of “The Pattern” and save her partner is with the help of Walter Bishop (John Noble), a mad scientist and his handsome genius/con artist son, Pacey Witter Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson).

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Each episode of the first season of Fringe focuses on a different seemingly supernatural event that has a perfectly scientific explanation that will be revealed by the Fringe team like The X-files. I really want to like Fringe since there are so many elements of the show that are interesting: Walter Bishop is hilarious and charming as a mad, forgetful, eccentric scientist and his unethical experiments are always surprising; the idea of “The Pattern” is also intriguing (I hope this isn’t another smoke monster-sized plot hole); Joshua Jackson is way hot as Agent Mulder Peter Bishop. Plus, I am dying to see the sexual tension burst between Peter and Olivia. But… and this is a big but… Olivia Dunham doesn’t do her part to make the show interesting. I really wanted to like her, but every time she’s on screen, I start dozing off. She just isn’t as interesting as the other characters. Dunham is always serious, deadpan and even when she is seemingly hurt or mad, her face stays the same. Simply put: She bores me! I want a main character I can relate to and she seems far from anyone I know or would care about.

Fringe’s plot is captivating, but I don’t know if that’s enough for me to keep watching. I find myself not being hooked to the show and simply watching to see what the big surprise might be. People keep telling to watch the second season, and that I will be addicted after some awesome plot twist. I hope that‘s the case. I will watch through the second season, but I certainly don’t feel tingly feeling for Fringe that I did for Lost (not counting my tingly feelings for Joshua Jackson).

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