Fringe Season 2 is now over. It concluded with the second-half of an excellent two-parter, and now we have to wait until fall to continue the story that makes me want to throw a hissy fit if I thought it would let me find out an tiny bit more about it.
Seriously. Of all the shows I watch regularly on TV, Fringe is probably the best, outpacing both LOST and Stargate Universe by a sizable margin. Not saying the other are bad, not at all. Fringe simply delivers more high quality episodes with fewer filler hours.
So again, I ask: why aren’t you watching Fringe?
Two Seasons, One Structure
When I first watched Fringe, I didn’t care for it. It was very slow to start for me, but by the end of the first season, I was invested 100% in the narrative and cared about the characters and what happened to them. I hoped that the second season would be as good.
But the same thing happened again. The initial episodes were pretty much standalone and did not deal with the mythology set up during the second half of the first season or very much of what happened during the finale. I thought maybe that over the break Fox had its way with J.J. Abrams the way they consistently do with Joss Whedon.
Fortunately, though, Fringe history repeated itself, and by the finale, I was more wrapped up in the narrative’s twists and turns than ever. And, like my other mystery-laden favorite LOST, Fringe’s later episodes draw from events in the first season that have not been mentioned on air in a long time, giving the series a feeling of solidity and that the writers aren’t just throwing things out there as red herrings after all.
If Season 3 follows the same pattern, I expect to wonder what the creators are doing in the beginning and then be blown away and crave more by the time the finale runs around.
The X-Files 2.0
My wife said it best when she started watching Fringe’s pilot episode: “This show is what The X-Files would have been if it had modernized itself correctly.” It’s the truth. There are obvious similarities in the shows, and the love that Abrams & Co. have for Chris Carter’s opus is apparent from the moment the credits start to roll. There’s the mythology—called the Pattern in Fringe—and the dichotomous main character leads, not to mention monster-of-the-week episodes that always tend to tie back into the main story just when I think it has no chance to.
I don’t love X-Files because the monsters and aliens are neat, even though they are. I don’t love Fringe because the tech and science is awesome, even though it is. I love X-Files because the characters intrigue me; I love (and secretly want to be) Mulder. I adore Scully. I love Fringe for the same reasons; Walter is just a dandy character, and Olivia and Peter’s chemistry is almost—almost!—as volatile as Duchovny and Anderson.
Chris Carter once said that The X-Files was really telling Scully’s story. And I feel that way about Fringe. Even though we follow Olivia through most of the series, I feel that it is actually Peter’s story we’re getting let in on.
The Third Time’s The Charm
I honestly don’t know if Season 2 was better than Season 1. It was certainly as good, but better? I’m not sold yet. There was a musical episode, though I thought it was a little overhyped for what it delivered—I’m used to musical episodes like “Once More With Feeling” and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and it was not that high quality, I’m afraid. But the rest of the second season was superb, and was just as enthralling as the first one was last year.
So, if you haven’t already, arrange to pick up the first season DVDs. Watch them. Then wait impatiently for the Season 2 set to be released. Then eagerly devour those. And then you’ll be in the same boat I am, and we’ll be impatient for Season 3 together.
Really, if you don’t watch Fringe, what’s keeping you from it? And if you do, then what did you think about how Season 2 played out? Sound off in the comments!
Oh, and by the way, this post marks the official 200th post on Professor Beej. Hooray.