Sticking: Fringe

Posted on May 30, 2012


Before I try to justify watching Fringe, you should know that I went from being a Fox TV fan to being a boycotter.

I started out watching several of the Fox shows when the network launched, like The Simpsons and The X-Files. Then Fox shifted to “unscripted,” sometimes called “reality” shows, and I quit watching. Partly because I have too much respect for writers to watch a network dedicated to denying their existence. Partly it’s because the initial reality shows turned me off so much that I never watched them. I mean, I’m a game designer, people. I know how games work. It’s completely obvious to me that the competitive aspects of reality shows are rigged.

Gradually, I started noticing ads for Fox shows that sounded really interesting. I started watching some Fox again.

And, in 2008, along came Fringe.



We Watched It

Initially, Fringe promised to be about fringe sciences and the government investigation thereof. So it promised to be a sort of cross between The X-Files, Strange World, and Eleventh Hour (I’m linking to the British version, but the American version with Rufus Sewell was very good, too).

BTW, if you don’t already have the key for the glyphs they use for the commercial title cards (of if you didn’t realize they were glyphs), here’s the key:




We fell in love right off the bat with Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv). Killing off her partner, John Scott (her real-life husband at the time, Mark Valley – a fellow Desert Storm vet, and star of Human Target, which I must write about some day) in the first episode won her our sympathy. His constant reappearances heralded some high-strangeness.

Then there was Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble). Walter is bat-shit crazy. He had his best friend remove part of his brain because he didn’t like some of his ideas, and because he didn’t like the person the ideas were turning him into. He’s also a genius. He’s sweet, but completely socially clueless.

His son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), is a gambler and a world-traveling ne’er-do-well who can’t help that he loves his crazy father. Recruited against his will by the lovely Olivia, Peter begins as his father’s minder and becomes a full-fledged member of the Fringe team.

Let’s not forget the incredible gravitas of Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles, the charm and warmth of Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth (whose name Walter always seems to forget), Seth Gabel as Lincoln Lee, Blair Brown as the deadly and secretive Nina Sharp, or Leonard Nimoy as the mysterious Dr. William Bell.




So, Fringe is rapidly reaching the end of my shipper goodwill.

It’s been a long time coming. They introduced the two-worlds idea early on, with Olivia’s disappearance at the end of the first season.

I’m finding the season-long story arcs less and less compelling. I would have been perfectly happy with weirdness-of-the-week episodes, stories that delved into the past of weird history (e.g., Nikolai Tesla, Roger Bacon’s Brazen Head, and so forth), and the occasional multi-episode arc.

Now we don’t know what’s happening, and Olivia is pregnant.

I am a little disappointed in myself that I am such a shipper that I’m planning to watch next season just to see what’s up with the child a telekinetic mother and a father from a parallel dimension.


Have you ever watched something that you knew was bad, but you couldn’t stop?