Monday, April 25, 2011

TV Stuff: Fringe

Warning! This post will contain spoilers up to the last few episodes of Season 3.

   I love Fringe. It's a Sci-Fi show currently nearing the end of it's 3rd season, and right now I'm finding it as enjoyable to watch as I did The X-Files back in its early seasons.
  I decided to give Fringe a go when it first came out because of the people who created it: J.J. Abrams, the man behind Alias (and also Lost, which I could never get into), and Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, who wrote/produced for Alias and, more importantly, Hercules and Xena.  The also wrote the screenplay for Transformers, which I mostly enjoyed.

  The imdb blurb for Fringe:
 A television drama centered around a female FBI agent who is forced to work with an institutionalized scientist in order to rationalize a brewing storm of unexplained phenomena. (end of imdb stuff, everything else is mine)

In the 2nd season of Fringe we discovered there was an alternate universe which was falling apart due to massive rifts. They have a Fringe team of their own (some of them doubles of the Fringe people from our universe), and now, well into the 3rd season it looks like only one universe can survive - theirs or ours.

*Right after I'd decided to do this post I discovered on youtube an interview with all the main actors, that included the name of both the actor, and the character they play. So I screencapped the pictures, which technically belong to Fox, but I did the hard work. Really. It's hard to screencap someone who's talking without them looking really weird.*

 Fringe cast, and the characters they play.

  Joshua Jackson. Some of you may remember him from Dawson's Creek. I never actually watched Dawson's (not sure why, I love trashy teen dramas), but I still find myself referring to him as Pacey. 
 In Fringe he is Peter Bishop, son of Walter Bishop. When Walter is needed to help the FBI with "Fringe Events", Peter is bought in to help deal with him. 
 In season 2 we discover that Peter is actually from an alternate universe. The Peter in our universe died, so when Walter found a cure for his illness, he kidnapped the Peter who was sick in the other universe to save him, and then never returned him. This has caused some issues. Also until very recently it was suggested that the fate of the universe might be up to Peter, that whichever universe he chose, would be the one to survive. That may no longer be the case.

  Anna Torv, an Australian actress (go Australia!), playing Agent Olivia Dunham. Olivia is an FBI Agent who was assigned to the weirdness that makes up the Fringe investigations. We discover that she has the ability to cross between universes thanks to some experiments that were done on her as a child, by Walter. When she first met Walter she didn't remember having been experimented on (or meeting Peter once, Peter didn't remember either. It was sweet though, they were both little kids and they met in a field of flowers), but I can understand how someone would want to repress something like that.
It's very handy that Olivia was the one assigned to work with Walter. If it was someone that he hadn't experimented on the show would be very different. <--sarcasm, I know how TV works.
   There is also an Olivia in the other universe, working for their version of Fringe.
   The show has our universe Fringe team refer to her as Fauxlivia, which makes me laugh. She's a lot happier than our Olivia, smiles more, is all flirty and sassy. I know we're supposed to be wanting our Olivia to survive the impending apocalypse but I hope Fauxlivia lives too. I like her.
   In the first half of season 3, Fauxlivia was in our universe working undercover to gather intel, while Olivia was trapped in their universe being convinced she'd had a psychotic breakdown and that she belonged where she was. Fauxlivia clearly had it better since she knew exactly who she was the whole time. 

  John Noble as Walter Bishop. John Noble is another Australian actor. He was born in Port Pirie, where my mother grew up, so my brother and I have been amusing ourselves with the idea that our mother may have crossed paths with this awesome actor in their childhood days.
  Walter comes to help the FBI after something weird happens and it looks like it may be linked to one of his old experiments. Walter has been in a Mental Institution for 17 years and is a little bit crazy, obsessive and forgetful. But still brilliant. In season 2 we find out he is actually missing pieces of his brain, which is why he has a lot of his issues. And he can break your heart in the scenes where he's really sad about things that are happening with Peter, or when he knows that he used to know something, but he can't remember it anymore. I don't know how he hasn't won an Emmy for this role.
 There is also a Walter in the other universe.
  Walternate. (The shows name for him, not mine.) Peter's real dad, wears suits, isn't crazy - that we can see. He's a little bit evil. When our Walter crossed into his universe to take Peter it caused a rift that set off a lot of their Fringe events. Walternate has his Fringe team convinced that our universe is directly attacking theirs and the only way to stop it is to destroy us. Previously he though Peter was the key, but now he may have another way.

  Lance Reddick as Philip Broyles. Broyles is a great character. He's one of those no-nonsense guys who can give a perfect withering glare to anyone wasting his time, but is also a genuinely good guy, who believes in his team. I liked him in both universes and was a little bit sad when other universe Broyles died as an unfortunate side effect of Fauxlivia crossing back over.

 Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth (that's a very science-y last name she has there). Astrid is an FBI agent who is skilled in linguistics. In our universe she spends most of her time helping out Walter in his lab. He almost never gets her name right (names he's called her include Esther, Astro and Aspirin. When he's extra stressed he calls her Miss). Alternate universe Astrid appears to be a trusted member of the Fringe team, doing actual work, not just helping out and babysitting a mad scientist. Alternate universe Astrid also wears a stupid beret though, so maybe it's not the best place for her.

  Blair Brown as Nina Sharp. Nina runs Massive Dynamic, a company that seems to be behind most of the Fringe events that happen. The company was started by Walter's old lab partner William Bell (played by Leonard Nimoy in guest spots), Nina runs it in his absence. She seems to be slightly evil.

  The alternate universe Fringe team. Seth Gabel as Lincoln Lee, Anna Torv as Olivia (Fauxlivia) and Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis. 
We did have a Charlie Francis in our universe, he was killed by a shapeshifter. 
  I not-so-secretly hope that Lincoln and Charlie survive the apocalypse too. 

   I find it interesting that even though the alternate universe is currently in a lot more danger, the Fringe agents have more work, and that universe has no peanut m&ms, sheep (no roast lamb!) or U2, the alternate universe agents seem a lot happier than our agents. They joke, and flirt and kid around and their interactions can be a lot more fun to watch.

  A lot of shows these days do musical episodes. Fringe is no different. In season 2 they did a musical episode called Brown Betty. The plot device was Walter telling a story to Olivia's niece Ella. It was a detective story set in 1940.
 I leave you with pictures from Brown Betty.


JahTeh said...

I was enjoying this series when they moved it to the alternate channel so I'm thinking of buying the DVDs.
I've just bought the boxed set of Primeval from England so it might have to wait. Then I'm up to buying series 5 of Stargate SG1, the box set of Witchblade is on my wish list but I have watched the first series of Warehouse 13. That might have been more enjoyable if I hadn't bought the three Librarian movies with Noah Whylie and loved them. Warehouse 13's character don't seem to have any chemistry between them but I think it's getting better.

no-one said...

JahTeh, I have Witchblade, and all the SG1 seasons. Plus bunches of other stuff. I think you'd have a ball hanging out in my DVD shelves. Still haven't gotten around to Primeval yet but it is on my watch list. One of the things I like about Warehouse is that now they are all friends, but there's stil no romantic chemistry. While there are a lot of shows I watch where I'm actively shipping some of the main characters it's nice to have a couple (Warehouse, Criminal Minds) where the writers aren't doing the whole will they/won't they thing all the time. And I especially like that the women characters are friends, rather than being all bitchy and competitive.

River said...

Walter missing pieces of his brain? Sounds a bit like that science character in Eureka, they needed him for some machine that was causing havoc and had to get him out of the institution.
I'll have to get season 1 & 2 from you so my season 3 makes more sense.
Witchblade? Need more info. Heading off to imdb.

River said...

Primeval the TV series or Primeval the movie?
They're different.

no-one said...

Primeval the TV series. I thought I'd given you Witchblade once before to watch. I must have imagined it.

Windsmoke. said...

I've been watching Fringe from day one and have bought seasons 1&2 on DVD. What attracted me to Fringe was the two Aussie actors Anna Torv and John Noble. Fantastic show i've been hooked ever since. Have you ever seen Sanctuary the t.v. series it's worth a watching :-).

no-one said...

I've watched Sanctuary from the start too. I followed Amanda Tapping over from the Stargates.

Veronica said...

It sounds like a show I'd enjoy. I might have to track it down on DVD.

Davoh said...

..or when he knows that he used to know something, but he can't remember it anymore. Know the feeling .. heh.

(PS. .. but can remember working with John Noble back in the early 1970's though).

no-one said...

I would love to have had the opportunity to work with someone I consider to be a master in their profession. Not just acting, any field of interest, just to how it's done by the best.

Davoh said...

Doubt that John would consider himself a "master" of the profession. Any actor who does would, in my opinion, be a wanker. In real life, one is only as good as the next audition ..(and director, script, editor, crew).