Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Television Review: "Fringe," Season One

I've been sick all week. Missed three days of work because my doctor put me out due to "an upper respiratory infection and possible strep." WebMD said that I may have anthrax. AWESOME, RIGHT? Anyway, I felt like doody and had a lot of time on my hands.

Luckily, my boss Snowflower had just lent me her season one DVD of Fringe. I'd tried watching Fringe when the pilot originally aired and I didn't care for it and I haaaated the second episode so much that I gave up and never watched it again. (The second episode featured icky violence against women and notably, one of the few things I full-stop cannot watch: violence against a pregnant woman. Out like shout.) Also, I kept thinking, "You know, I saw this show the FIRST time, when they called it The X-Files" and that show broke my heart. In short, Fringe just didn't "take." But I am notoriously finicky about television shows. Catch me in the wrong mood and try to show me The Wire and I might tell it to piss off. Catch me in the RIGHT mood and I'll love the show and probably yell at you for not telling me about it sooner.

It's very difficult being me, ok?

ANYWAY. All my favorite geeks watch this show and I don't really HAVE a favorite show right now. At least, not until A Game of Thrones airs. THEN IT'S ON, BABIES.

**Possible spoilers through the beginning of season 2 of Fringe**

So, for three days, I sat/laid in bed watching the entire first season, only getting up to make more tea and change DVDs. (Makers of the Fringe DVD sets: put more episodes per disc. Two episodes per disc is BULLSHIT.) I still didn't like the pilot all that much and I liberally fast-forwarded through the bits of episode two I didn't like. I'm perusing through the episode guide trying to see the episode that really GOT me. Because I liked it enough to keep watching (Though, really, I had nothing better to do) but wasn't really WILD about. I liked the characters, particularly Walter and Astrid but, you know. Whatever. And it was episodes ten and eleven, "Safe" and "Bound." The one where the guy gets stuck through a wall while trying to rob a bank and the one where Olivia is kidnapped by mad scientists and IS TOTALLY AWESOME AND KICKS FUCKING ASS. Ahem. Excuse me.

So, yeah. That took awhile. But the second half of the season is WAY better than the first. Once they get started on their whole mytharc and the characters really take shape, it ROCKS. And all the actors are great. John Noble (I remember him mostly as the drive-mad-by-Sauron King Denethor from The Return of the King) is SO awesome as Walter, a loopy yet brilliant scientist loosed from a mental institution to help the FBI. I love Walter very, very much. Jonathan Jackson is surprisingly good as Peter Bishop, Walter's underachieving genius rascal son. I, sadly, remember him from Dawson's Creek. Don't look at me like that. I was in college in the late 90s. We all watched that shit. He's much better here, I promise. And Astrid! Astrid is so great and sometimes I think she deserves better coworkers (They're always abandoning her and leaving her to Walter-sit!), but then I wouldn't have the delight of her many WTF faces. And I love those.

Olivia Dunham, you guys. I wasn't sure about her at first, but I LOVE HER. She is so badass. Tough and smart and warm and just AWESOME. There's a storyline where this asshole from Homeland Security who Olivia had previously put away for rape is trying to shut down the Fringe Division (They did a great job casting this character. I hated his face INSTANTLY). And he's trying to be all looming and intimidating and she's just looking at him like, "Whatev." And then I said aloud, "Dude. You will NEVER break her." And then I realized I must be in love with her. Heh. Plus, she has REALLY great hair. No, really. Look how pretty.

And Lance Reddick! From The Wire! LOVE that guy! Daniels was one of my favorites on that show! (And Kima and Lester!) I was dubious about Broyles at first because he's kind of a jerk, but he turns that around. He has such a great voice. He should narrate things. Also? He should take his shirt off more often. I know, I know, he's a serious actor. He's excellent. But Lance also has a smokin' hot body under those trench coats. I know this from The Wire, OK. So my integrity is in place. (Sort of.) I tried to find you a picture, Dear Readers, but alas. I turned up shirtless pictures of Gerard Butler and that politician who just resigned for taking camera phone pictures of himself.

I like Kirk Acevedo and I liked him as Charlie but I thought his character was sort of superfluous, so I wasn't surprised that he was killed off. Though the manner in which he was offed surprised me. I thought it would be a whole huge drama with him dying in Olivia's arms or something, not secretly killed and incinerated by a shape-shifter. I was sorry to see him go, but that was pretty awesome.

And I loooooove Nina Sharp. I don't trust her at ALL, but I find her delightfully cagey and I love her robot arm. And I'm obsessed with finding The Observer in every episode. This website was helpful in enabling me. I really like Michael Cerveris; I saw him a few years ago in Sweeney Todd and he was GREAT. I'm always weirdly proprietary with actors I've seen in plays. Heh.

I DON'T like the storyline with Olivia's sister and niece. BORING. Also, it never works out well for the heroine's sister, ok? Just ask Melissa Scully, Nadia Santos, Maddy Ferguson (Ok, she was a cousin. An IDENTICAL cousin, though), and Beth March. Just, no. I like the actress who plays Rachel, Ari Graynor. She's hilarious in general, though toned down on Fringe. I adore her in Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. (P.S. If you ever wanted to know what I was like in high school and college - and of course you do! - watch this movie. I was totally Norah. Mame pointed this out to me and made me watch it and wow.)

The finale! OMG! Leonard Nimoy! Alternate worlds! David Robert Jones! Craziness!

So, you know, Fringe. Good stuff! Instead of being an X-Files rip-off, it's more like a cross between Alias and The X-Files, with most of the good things of both and less of the bad. I've been supplied with season two and I've started DVRing season three so I can catch up.


Sorsha Ni said...

I realized I don't remember much of season one except how much Olivia gets on my nerves. Walter rocks the world. Joshua Jackson...*purr*...Pacey...*double purr* was AMAZING on DC! You take back your inuendos and mild suggestions that he is BETTER HERE! BLASPHEMY! But I digress. Maybe I will give it a try again...maybe Olivia and I just got off on the wrong foot. We shall see.

X-Filrs broke my heart, too. When Mulder left so did my viewer loyalty.

EGT said...

"Dawson's Creek" was the one terrible television show that I could never get into, because Dawson always drove me insane and I could never get past him. However, Pacey was the only bright light in that television show. If I'd ever watched the show, I knew he would have been my favorite.

Sorsha Ni said...

EGT, it was bad but I loved it. Pacey and Jen were the best part of the show. Gram, too. Pacey killed me with his broody misunderstood bad boy ways...*sigh*