5 Reasons To Watch, or Rewatch, ‘Fringe’
After snagging ‘Firefly’ almost a year ago, the Science Channel has picked up syndication rights for another cult science fiction series. Starting Tuesday, November 20, the cable network will begin airing repeats of Fox’s ‘Fringe.’
Science will air three full hours of ‘Fringe’ every Tuesday at 8 p.m., giving fans a chance to rewatch the entire series and giving new viewers the chance to experience the strange and wonderful world of ‘Fringe’ for the first time. Every night of repeats will begin with a special presentation by ‘Fringe’ star John Noble, who also hosts Science Channel’s ‘Dark Matters: Twisted But True.’
The J.J. Abrams produced series started out strong when it premiered in 2008 with a gripping pilot written by Abrams and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (‘Star Trek,’ ‘Cowboys & Aliens’). The ratings were good and ‘Fringe’ developed a devoted fan base that helped win the show a second season. But as the show grew more complex, challenging and, yes, awesome-er, the ratings started to slide. ‘Fringe’ was “on the bubble” every year after its debut season, but Fox, to the surprise and delight of fans, kept it alive and allowed the show to continue telling twisted mind-boggling stories for five seasons.
‘Fringe’ is currently wrapping up its final season on Fox, which means now is the prefect time to sit down and watch (or rewatch) Science Channel’s slate of reruns. And if case you need more encouragement, here are five reasons to watch, or rewatch, ‘Fringe.’
It’s Weird, But In a Good Way
‘Fringe’ centers on a brilliant but brain-addled scientist, Walter Bishop (Noble), and his equally brilliant rebel son, Peter (Joshua Jackson) teaming up with a gifted, smoking hot FBI agent, Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), to investigate ‘Fringe events,’ or unexplainable occurrences. These Fringe events usually rate quite high on the WTF and creepy scales. In the world of ‘Fringe,’ the bad guys use everything from flesh-eating gas to flying mutant porcupine men and time traveling shape-shifters to achieve their goals. And their goals usually involve splitting reality in two, turning people into horrible mutants, or destroying the universe entirely and rebuilding it in their own twisted image. Even hardcore science fiction fans will have their minds blown with the clever, and often gross, surprises, twists and sci-fi insanity the show has to offer. ‘Fringe’ is full of imagination and wonder, and much of the joy of the show comes from watching the good guys respond to the dark and creepy threats with brilliant and unconventional ideas. Oh, and the good guys often drop acid.
It’s Deeper Than You Think It Is
After the feature-worthy two-hour pilot that set up the show’s world and its characters, ‘Fringe’ slipped into a fun but somewhat repetitive “case of the week” format, with the team, dubbed Fringe Division, dealing with a bizarre new threat every week. But the show soon broke from this procedural style in a big way with several ongoing story arcs that offered deep new insights into the characters and challenged viewers as well as the rules of the show. ‘Fringe’ has often been praised as one of the few genre shows that can pull off meshing one-off episodic stories with longer multi-episode arcs. It’s also one of the few shows that’s brave enough to take some pretty big risks by introducing challenging new developments that reshape the show’s tone, style and characters while telling an incredibly complex story. And every season is layered with themes of identity, family, perception and faith that make ‘Fringe’ much more than a modern riff on ‘The X-Files.’
The Cast Is Awesome
There’s some top-notch talent in front of the camera on ‘Fringe.’ John Noble, who creeped everyone out as Denethor in ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ is indescribably great as the show’s loveable madman, Walter Bishop. Noble has created a complex and deeply layered character that offers comic relief one moment and dark, poignant soliloquies in the next. And like many of the other actors — especially Anna Torv, Jasika Nicole and Seth Gabel — he’s succeeded in creating multiple versions of his character that are just as memorable and important as the original. Another standout is Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, Walter’s son. It’s hard not to admire the guy’s badassery and determination as he attempts to navigate through one soul-rattling event after the other.
It’s Super Geeky
‘Fringe’ has a loyal fan base, but I’ve often wondered why the geek community hasn’t fully embraced the show. Perhaps it’s because the Fox marketing machine has done a poor job of selling the show to the geeks. I’ll admit that the promos and ads Fox has put out over the years have made ‘Fringe’ look more like a dull grey procedural instead of the clever, imaginative and nerdy series it actually is. So let’s get one thing straight: This is a great show for geeks! Leonard Nimoy plays a morally dubious universe-hopping scientist! The heroes use science to win the day, there’s time travel, alternate universes, robots, and monsters, and references to everything from ‘Star Trek’ to Jules Vern, ‘Lost,’ Marvel and DC comics, ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Back to the Future’ and more.
If you’re still not convinced to start watching, or rewatching, ‘Fringe,’ then allow me to remind you of one of the show’s greatest assets: Anna Torv. Look at her. She’s amazing. She’s in every episode. And sometimes there’s two of her!
Check out Science Channel’s ‘Fringe Reborn’ trailer: