We’re Back: Fringe

Ben Vernel will be taking a look at a few of the programs that have returned from the holiday hiatus – today, sci-fi procedural Fringe.

By the end of the first season, Fringe had me hooked. The pace at which the mythology of the show was being developed and revealed was pitch perfect and the characters had gained depth and humanity. There was an excellent balance of standalone, generic ‘Monster/Threat of the Week’ episodes and rich, story-heavy mythos episodes that kept the show feeling dynamic and interesting.

However, the second season has turned out to be far less solid. Characters have been killed off, introduced and spun around in ways not entirely conducive to stimulating entertainment, and the episodes have staggered from standalone to standalone to vague mythology to standalone with little rhyme or reason. Sure, the overall quality is pretty good – Fringe is still one of the few shows currently on television that remains a must-see-er – but in comparison to the first season, the second has simply been disappointing.

The first episode to screen following the hiatus, Unearthed, did nothing to alleviate those concerns, largely due to its having been a leftover standalone from the first season. As with many of the self-contained procedural episodes, it feels like a recycled X-Files script; entertaining enough for devoted geeks and sci-fi/horror fans, but nothing special. The unnecessarily intertwining plot involves a dead sailor, a resurrected teen and psychic revenge. Oh, and a meditation on the theme of faith vs. science which has been explored in far more intelligent ways previously on Fringe (and in another Abrams produced show, ABC’s Lost) and felt, in this instance, superficial and flat.

Fortunately, a legitimately new episode will screen next week and we’ll get a real taste of where Fringe is headed. I just want to be able to laugh at Walter, grin at Peter, roll my eyes at Broyles and cheer for Dunham. Can’t I have that, Fringe? Can’t you bring that back?

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Comments
One Response to “We’re Back: Fringe”
  1. Hungover Guy says:

    As much as I can understand right now, I think you’re right!

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