When Fringe started on FOX last year, my wife and I were hooked from the very first episode. The mix of science, technology, research, and humor offers a sometimes disturbing, always satisfying, on the edge of your seat experience that I can’t say I’ve seen since The X-Files was going strong during the middle seasons of its run.
And now, with the premiere episode of season two coming up next week on FOX, this is the perfect time to hunker down with the Fringe: The Complete First Season DVD collection and catch up if you weren’t watching last season or missed an episode here or there.
For those of you that missed last season, here’s a bit of a primer.
J.J. Abrams (of Lost, Cloverfield, and Star Trek(2009) fame) and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (who together started the Transformers movie phenomenon and wrote the script for Abrams’ Star Trek(2009) reboot) created Fringe as a throwback to some of the addictive television series like The Prisoner, Twilight Zone, and The X-Files.
Fringe focuses on the activities of FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), somewhat insane scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble), and Bishop’s multi-talented but sarcastic son Peter (Joshua Jackson). The trio tries to follow the worldwide phenomenon known as “The Pattern” that seems to invoke aspects of fringe sciences – those bizarre scientific pursuits outside the mainstream. In the very first episode, they encounter a toxin that makes the flesh of everyone on a plane dissolve. In another episode, all the passengers on a bus are trapped like bugs in amber.
Each episode has the team investigating a strange occurrence somewhere around the globe. Based in Boston, MA. Dunham works for Agent Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) chasing down leads, apprehending suspects, and generally trying to piece together “The Pattern” enough to stop whomever is behind it. Along the way the group encounters others interested in these strange events, from the huge global corporation Massive Dynamics run by Walter’s old lab partner William Bell, to the Observer, an enigmatic hairless man in a suit seen at many of the places the events take place.
The great thing about the series is that each episode stands alone and gives you the Fringe experience even if you hadn’t seen an episode before. But if you watch them all, you start to see some of the threads that weave through the entire season.
And now with the Fringe – The Complete First Season you can learn a bit more about the ground-breaking production of these episodes and what the creators had in mind as they designed and wrote about this amazing world. Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci have done a masterful job of not only making viewers wonder what’s going on, but sharing their own thoughts in the many documentaries scattered across the DVDs.
With season two fast approaching, I have found myself digging into each episode, each documentary on this DVD set in an attempt to put together more of the pieces that make this series so compelling to me. The fringe sciences – teleportation, mind control, invisibility, astral projection, phasing through solid objects – continue to fascinate me. And these characters – Dunham, Peter, and Walter – are the perfect guides through the edges of what is possible.
The features are amazing – from “Evolution: The Genesis of Fringe” to “Fringe Visual Effects” and “Unusual Side Effects: Gag Reel”, it was great to go behind the scenes and see what the set of this show was like. You could tell the cast and crew got along really well and dealt with any adversity with humor and perseverance. Everyone involved seems very professional, but you can tell they all love what they do.
If you haven’t seen an episode yet, or if you have and you want to refresh the memory, get your copy of Fringe: The Complete First Season today before next week’s season two premiere. Let’s hope the second season is as amazing as the first!