Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mid-Season Report Card: Fringe

We fangirls are taking on a little challenge this winter--giving progress reports on our favorite shows as we careen into the "spring semester." With February sweeps just around the corner, we figured it's about time to take stock of where we are now, where we're headed, and what might need some work. First up...

Show: Fringe.

Excels At: Scaring the bejesus out of me. Fringe is completely terrifying week-to-week. I feel like I could write a thesis about how The X-Files represented the fears Americans had of government in the 90's (conspiracy, information-withholding), 24 represented the fears we had in the new millennium (state-sponsored terrorism), and Fringe represents the fears of the future (science turning against humanity, bioterrorism).

My interest is consistently piqued. What's the deal with the apple? What was in that space pod that looked like Eve? What happened to Peter as a little kid?

Needs Improvement: Decide whether you want to be a serial drama or a procedural. Right now, it's feeling like a procedural (which is good! I like!), but not a single episode has really felt totally self-contained. This huge mystery is being created--apples, Little Hill, John Scott, Olivia's stepfather--but it's seriously lacking in cohesion at this point. Either take a step back and just have the team solve freaky-ass crimes or dive in and start having them investigate the root cause: The Pattern, the Observer, Massive Dynamic.

Interpersonal Dynamics: I'm falling in love with Peter Bishop, and he's definitely getting curious about Olivia. The show hasn't turned the ship volume up very high yet--making it feel very much like the slow burn of Sydney/Vaughn in season one--because they've kind of had bigger fish to fry as of late. With Olivia's abduction (and inevitable ultimate rescue), I'd love to see a little development in the ship department--a first hug, perhaps?

Particularly Notable: I really loved the last episode, "Safe," which seemed to bring a lot of elements together (finally!). I was quite fond of Peter's line, "You violated the laws of physics, and Mother Nature's a bitch." He's my favorite.

Pay Attention To: Charlie is Agent Francis; John was Agent Scott. Anybody else feeling like there's gotta be a Key around here somewhere?

Next Semester: Time to rescue Olivia! Hopefully we'll get insight into how her brain can be disconnected from John's once and for all, a more cohesive track to this fascinating (but disjointed) story, and--please!-- storylines for Astrid and/or Charlie.

Overall Grade: A solid B.

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