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Fringe Is Frayed

September 18, 2008

I wanted to like Fringe, the new Fox series from JJ Abrams and “the writers of The Transformers”, and the pilot episode starts out with an amazing/horrifying airplane scene that I haven’t seen since… uh, well since Lost. But after that it’s all one cliche and anti-climax after another. My tip-off should’ve been “the writers of The Transformers.”

There are some good ideas, and some strong direction; but they are outweighed by lots of expository dialogue, poor character motivation and inconsistency and hokey pseudo-science.

As for the cast, Anna Torv is pretty enough — she looks like the love child of Cate Blanchett and Naomi Watts (and, no surprise, a quick look on IMDB reveals she is Australian too) — but then she is limited to two looks: the pouty look meant to invoke serious thought, and the pouty look meant to invoke sadness. Joshua Jackson’s character waffles between skeptic and M.I.T. level genius (minus any endearing eccentricities), and as the layman’s entry into this world of “fringe” science (i.e. bullshit) it means he gets to spout a lot of exposition and repeats what another character just said. John Noble gets the meat of the good lines as the mentally unstable scientist/father of Joshua, but he also gets the most scrutiny for being the Hollywood version of insane in that he is lucid enough at the most convenient times to move the plot forward.

And what is up with those really awful title cards? They don’t work. Are they part of the pattern? Or distracting “Hey look at my CGI skills” irritations?

Now I like science fiction/horror, and X-Files got it right more than wrong, but two episodes into Fringe and it doesn’t look good. Maybe the overarching mythology, I mean pattern, will be better viewed when the 1st season dvd box is out rather than having to wait. For now it’s a wait and see. Hopefully, the series finds its legs sooner than later.

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One comment

  1. Yeah, I’m watching the second episode now on Hulu, and it’s not very good…



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