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Episode 2 - The Same Old Story

28 March 2012

Yes I know I am a little late with this one. I watched the pilot of Fringe when it debuted and didn't enjoy it enough to continue. My major issue with the show is that it seemed like a police procedural. Having spent a childhood growing up with detective and police shows I eventually realized that that formula just doesn't appeal to me.

But people kept recommending Fringe and so I decided to take another peak at the show. Without other guidance I went for episode two to see how the story moved forward. Perhaps that was a mistake as this seemed even more procedural than the pilot. The speed at which Astrid can triangulate the killers position on her computer, the fact that Walter's eye theory worked out so well so quickly and the ludicrously effective defibrillator Peter is able to throw together to restart the girls heart all bothered me. The formula of catching the bad guy by episodes end, hunches paying off, arrivals in the nick of time and so on all feel too familiar and cliched to me.

I imagine Fringe has developed quite a bit since then so I certainly won't judge the show based on this one episode. I did appreciate the emotional states of the characters. Olivia seemed understandably disturbed and humorless after her lover deceived her for so long. Similarly Walter continued to adjust slowly to freedom and Peter walked the line between love and resentment toward his father.

I didn't see enough of the X-Files to really compare the two shows but this certainly felt familiar. The implication of a large dark conspiracy lurking in the background doesn't thrill me either. I have been disillusioned by practically every attempt I have seen to pull this off (albeit based on shows like Prison Break, Dollhouse, Lost, Heroes etc).

I will have to watch some Fringe from further along its run to see whether the show turns into something I might enjoy more. Does anyone have any recommendations?

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  • Thank you oldDarth! That is exactly what I am looking for!

    Posted by Jill, 29/07/2012 6:20pm (5 years ago)

  • Thanks so much for the update. I can sense a lot of love for Fringe. I will do my best to catch up :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 16/08/2011 10:02pm (6 years ago)

  • I would like to update Charles's recommendation on how to watch and catch up on Fringe.

    Robin, your initial impressions of Fringe are correct. The show started out as a procedural and X-Files clone looking to build up an audience by making the show relatively easy to jump into at any point in the first season.

    Near the end of Season 2 the show understood its audience is what it is and switched focus to full on serialized story, tying the characters to the mythology.

    And then the show came alive.

    So for a quick catch up to get to the generally excellent third season, here is a quick catch up guide.

    S1:
    Pilot
    The Arrival
    S1 Finale

    S2:
    S2 premiere episode
    Then jump to Episode 17 - Jacksonville.

    From Jacksonville on you are good to go.

    As Charles mentioned, you can always go back and view skipped episodes to fill in the gaps.

    One of the strengths of the show is that each new installment brings new meaning and rewards to watching the previous episodes.

    The third season does an excellent job of making the first two seasons much more engaging and rewarding

    Posted by OldDarth, 14/08/2011 1:04pm (6 years ago)

  • I am. Though it won't be for a few weeks till the TV season is fully over and I have caught up with Justified. There is no guarantee I will like it though :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 16/05/2011 8:56pm (7 years ago)

  • Hi Robin, are you planning to catch up with FRINGE?

    Posted by Yogabon, 16/05/2011 8:34pm (7 years ago)

  • Hey Mark, I'm really glad that was helpful to you. And I appreciate your comments because I hear Fringe gets better as it goes on but what you describe is what I imagined Season 1 would be like. If you want to nominate your favourite TV of 2010 please do in the blog post on the main page.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 16/12/2010 10:11am (7 years ago)

  • Having said that, I have just watched ep17 'Bad Dreams' which is easily the best episode so far in my opinion :)

    Posted by Mark B, 16/12/2010 4:01am (7 years ago)

  • I have just spent the last couple of weeks watching most of the first Season of Fringe and I have to say I'm not overly impressed.
    Each episode basically boils down to Walter having a 'theory' as to the weird event they've been faced with. A theory for a problem that he not only proves within a matter of hours but also seems to find a solution in double quick time. Forget fringe science, it's more like preposterous science.
    I can't see Robin looking on this show favourably considering the way Robin critiques the telly he watches.
    However, I'm glad Charles has left his comment as this has given me the impetus to carry on watching.

    Posted by Mark B, 16/12/2010 1:59am (7 years ago)

  • That's brilliant, thank you. It's so helpful to have a guide like that so when I have time I know where to go :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 12/10/2010 8:45pm (7 years ago)

  • I am incredibly surprised that no one commented on this even though you said many people recommended the show to you. I honestly would not recommend it because I've only started to really enjoy it during the end of the second season and it shouldn't take that long to start up. Let me tell you a few basic things about it though. Main theme: missed opportunities. Minor themes: loyalty, identity and possibly deception. Most of the show is has the "case of the week" format but there is a larger storyline. A lot (but not all) of the mysteries of the show are explained by season 3 (who is responsible for "The Pattern" and why for example)...unlike in Lost. In an interview, one writer said that the first season was a prologue to introduce the characters and that the show was intended for people to be able to just jump in and watch. This changes and knowledge of the mythology is needed to know what's going on by the second season episode "Jacksonville". You don't need to watch every episode until that point but there are rewards for doing so (hints, some character history. For example: "The Ghost Network" is an episode you can easily skip but the amber weapon seen in that episode is used again later in the series). I watched the 1st season such a long time ago and I don't remember it fully but I think the most important episodes of season 1 are: Safe, Bound, Ability, Bad Dreams, Midnight, The Road Not Taken, There's More of One of Everything. "The Arrival" may also be important only because it introduces a recurring character in the show (The Observer). So I think "Safe" is a good episode to start off and lead into the other episodes I mentioned. Hopefully that can suck you in enough. If you continue to watch the show, you can watch the not as important stand alones later to fill in the holes. Well anyway, I hope that helps and I hope that's what you meant by "Does anyone have any recommendations?"

    Posted by Charles Lin , 08/10/2010 3:17am (7 years ago)

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