Sunday, September 28, 2008

DIGG THIS -->Fringe: Quality Scifi Returns To Television

The WGA strike last year must have been good to some science fiction writers. This fall featured the premier of Fringe. Fringe is simply awesome, it's like the X-Files on steroids! Fringe pushes the envelope in every direction, including the time-slot it airs - 9PM Eastern Time. The subject matter is mature and intense, but not overly complicated. I think one could watch a single episode, and not knowing the whole background, would be drawn into the story.

After just the first 3 episodes, I have come to expect to get queazy sometime during the episode. So if you're not a fan of blood and/or needles, you are hereby warned. Last week's episode "The Ghost Network", was particularly unnerving, and I have to wonder how it got past the "sensors" for a 9PM timeslot. While I'm not a fan of Lost, or Mission Impossible, creator J.J. Abrams is certainly on track for success with Fringe. If they can get through the first half season without some cranky network executive calling for it's cancellation, I think we'll see Fridge for a few seasons.

Fringe airs Tuesday's at 9PM EST on Fox.

Our cast of characters:
FBI Agent Olivia Dunham, former Marine and now rising star of the FBI, is the lead character. When a German commercial airplane experience catastrophic failure in flight, but lands by auto-pilot with all hands dead, Agent Dunham is specially picked be part of a Homeland Security task force investigating it and and a series of unexplained phenomena called "The Pattern". Olivia is driven by the personal guilt of sexual involvement with another FBI agent, and his betrayal. She sees the simple link between all the "incidents" and a global company called Massive Dynamics. She hunts down a man in Baghdad, and convinces him to get his father released from a mental institute in order to help solve or at least explain these phenomenon. Olivia Dunham is played by Australian native actress Anna Torv.

Peter Bishop is played by actor Joshua Jackson. Peter has a mysterious past. Besides being the son of a brilliant, but weird scientist, which did not make for a fondly memorable childhood. Peter is immensely intelligent and well traveled. He also appears to be well connected, both good and bad, in high and low places. Olivia hunted down Peter in Iraq and convinced him to get his father released from a mental hospital. He was brought in to the task force to supervise his father.

Dr. Walter Bishop is played by another Australian native, John Noble. There was an accident in Dr. Bishop's Harvard lab 17 years ago which caused the death of an assistant, and forced him into a mental institution. He is father of Peter Bishop, and thus explains Peters unpleasant childhood. Peter got him released from the mental hospital at Olivia's request to help solve these strange phenomenon.
Homeland Security Agent Phillip Broyles is played by actor Lance Reddick, is a Baltimore, MD native. As luck would have it, no scifi drama seems to be complete without a government conspiracy. Agent Broyles is the link to the yet undisclosed conspiracy that awaits us. While he is the strong and immovable task force leader, we found out at the end of last week's episode that he is, in fact, "in bed" with Massive Dynamics.

Agent John Scott is played by actor Mark Valley. The character of John Scott was killed off in the first episode, supposedly. Agents Scott and Dunham were partners in the FBI, and they were romantically involved. After a passionate moment where he proclaims he loves her, they are called away on a mission, and both recruited for the Homeland security task force investigating "The Pattern". While chasing a suspect Agent Scott is hit by an chemical explosion. Not quite dead, his injuries and condition are a complete mystery to known science. The only lead to a cure is Dr. Walter Bishop, who is in a mental institution. Olivia tracks down Peter Bishop and convinces him to get his father released because she believe he can save Agent Scott's life. He does in fact save Agent Scott's , but is later killed in a car chase when Olivia discovers he is part of "whoever" or "whatever" caused the deaths on the plane. The 'dead" body is taken to Massive dynamic for "questioning". At the end of last week's episode, we learn they are still downloading information from him. Since he is listed in the opening credits, and not as a guest star, I'd say we haven't seen or heard the last of Mark Valley on this show. It's also a safe bet that Massive Dynamics has been and will be the root cause of all the unexplained phenomenon known as "The Pattern".

John Crawford

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