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DVD Review: Fringe: The Complete Second Season

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I am not what you would call a rabid fan of the Fringe universe. I’ve seen a few Season One episodes, know who Walter Bishop, Peter Bishop, and Agent Olivia Dunham are, and could tell you the basic premise of the show (Agent Dunham, her consult Peter Bishop and his father, the brilliant but damaged scientist, Walter Bishop, work for the FBI in the FRINGE division to investigate weird, unexplained events). But now that I’ve been given the chance to review the second season, I want to go back to view more of those earlier episodes to truly understand how it all began. 

Guess I’m hooked.

Fringe is a fascinating show filled with shape shifters, alternate realities and parallel universes. Yes, it does sound like The X-Files, and The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits. But Fringe has something those other shows did not: Walter Bishop (played by British actor John Noble). Bishop is a benevolent mad scientist : eccentric, childlike, brilliant, with a history as wide and deep as the Pacific ocean. He is also one of the most fascinating characters on TV today.

Fringe fans will already be familiar with the episodes in this set. It opens with “A New Day In An Old Town”, a harrowing tale of a shape-shifter who is connected to experiments Walter made in the 1970s, and ends with the alternate universe episode “Over There, Part 2″, where Olivia must square off against her alternate self.

Great care has been taken to make this set one that fans will consider essential. It is loaded with extras. Eleven of the twenty-two episodes have either a deleted scene (aka “Dissected Files”), a feature entitled “Analyzing the Scene”, where the filming of a scene such as a car crash is shown from the film crew’s POV, a gag reel, or one of four commentaries: three by the creative team, and one by Blair Brown and John Noble.

But wait, there’s more!

The special features include “In the Lab With John Noble and Prop Master Rob Smith”, a six minute exploration of the technological creations made especially for the show.

“Beyond the Pattern: The Mythology of Fringe”, is a history of the show shown through behind the scenes footage and interviews with the show’s stars and producers. It clocks in at a little over twenty five minutes and explains the show’s mythology so clearly, even a novice fan like me “gets it”.

Also included is the “Unearthed” episode, which was filmed during Season One but not aired as part of that season (although, FOX did air it as a standalone episode). Why it wasn’t included on the Season One box set is a mystery to me. Regardless, it is another treasure fans of the show will want for their own.

Whether you are a <em>Fringe</em> fan who has followed the show from the beginning or a new convert like me, this set is one you are sure to enjoy.

Fringe is available now on DVD.

Check out the official site.

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About Mindy Peterman