Show Review: Fringe (2008)

My Dawson’s Creek rewatch led me to Fringe, which I unfortunately never finished when it was airing a few years ago. I’m now finally going through it properly and really, really enjoying it. If you like The X-Files, Supernatural (and can we talk about the most recent episode ending, guys, because I’m not okay?!), Alias, Buffy or Angel, this one fits right in with classics of the 2000s. It has that vibe. I can’t even describe it, but if you watched these shows, you know what I mean.

Fringe follows Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent who has fallen in love with her partner, John Scott. She and John end up on a case that ends badly, with John in hospital afflicted by a strange virus. It’s turned his skin translucent and he’s dying. In an effort to save him, Olivia begins researching doctors, treatments and scientists who might know more about the mysterious illness. Her search leads her to Walter Bishop, a genius who’s been in a mental institution for almost two decades after someone died during one of his experiments. Bishop, a leading thinker in the field of ‘fringe science’ is believed to be insane, but is still brilliant.

Unable to get in to see Walter without a family member, Olivia flies to Iraq to find Peter Bishop, an MIT dropout turned transient who has no relationship with his father and doesn’t want one. Fibbing blackmail, Olivia gets Peter to come back with her to Boston to see Walter. They take him out of the institution and, along with Astrid, a fellow FBI agent, begin researching ways to save John.

When I first started it, I got heavy X-Files vibes, but after a couple of episodes the two shows couldn’t be more different. There are strange figures called Observers popping up at random events and they are sufficiently terrifying. Each episode follows a different mystery of the week, many of which tie into ‘the Pattern’, or are related to Massive Dynamic, a multinational group that has a role in the strange events going on. Massive Dynamic reminds me a bit of the Life Foundation in Venom, actually.

I love the focus on characters in this show. This one has a really good balance between hard science fiction and character relationships and development. There’s a lot of focus on Peter’s relationship with his father, Olivia’s past relationship with John, and the growing friendship between Peter and Olivia. All of the characters are intriguing and complex, and I’m excited to see how the show progresses and how it ends.

Thoroughly recommend!

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