Friday, January 18, 2013

Five ways in which Fringe is one of the best science fiction series ever even as it ends

Oh J.J. Abrams...what a talent you are.

You have entertained me for five years, and our journey once again is over.

Tonight I shall be watching the Fringe series finale with millions of other loyal sci-fi viewers, and I have to say, I wish it wasn't so. When I first started following this series several years ago, I thought it was kind of an X-Files reboot with a team that dealt with a quirky monster of the week. It quickly shed itself of that legacy, however, and toward the end has become the kind of insanity where I sit back and think: are these writers crazy? I love this.

I think genius and insanity kind of go hand in hand.

Fringe took us to an alternate universe. This really isn't done enough (it's one reason why I chose to break it loose in my book). Star Trek did it well (and I don't think there's a single "alternate universe" episode that I don't like no matter what series we are talking about). But if there's a master example of multiple universes, that paragon is Fringe.

Abrams has given us a great cast. Leonard Nimoy showed up as insane Dr. William Bell who removed slices of Walter Bishop's brain because he was becoming a mad scientist (how nutso is that?). And furthermore, those slices of brain actually get put back into Walter causing his personality to shift.

Walter's own son died so he kidnapped an alternate dimension's "son of Walter" to adopt as his own.

Olivia has had just about anything you can imagine happen to her. Including being a young woman and working with her daughter (who is the same age) because the show decided to leap forward 23 years from the previous season and just start up there.

Why the hell not? Right? But it works.

And when you think of insects stuck in amber, you ain't seen Fringe yet. Whole buildings are encased in Amber. Here is a list of five ways in which Fringe is one of the best science fiction series ever even as it ends:
Being bald and wearing a suit is a sign that you have
super powers in the Fringe universe. How cool is that?
Rogaine for Men would be proud.
1) Fringe made bald guys stylish and scary with the freaky observers from another dimension. They're a cross of the Agents from the Matrix, with names borrowed from the calendar (who names their kid September?), and dared to show a race that's a total sausage hang (I've yet to see a female observer). But that wasn't enough, they also crossed into Vulcan territory, borrowing the insane logic of that race and coupled it with the Borg's "resistance is futile" mantra. Bravo Fringe Bravo.
Fringe "Frog" scene break. There were others equally as cool.
2) Fringe had the coolest scene breaks ever. You know when you are reading a book, and there's a cool scene break that looks like a butterfly or a dragon or a palm tree and you think...damn, that's kind of cool! Way better than three asterix (what my publisher uses). Well Fringe has frogs, six-fingered hands, and other cool scene breaks. If I were stoned and twenty years younger I'd say "That's so meta dude."
Left to right: Peter, Walter, Henrietta, Olivia, and Astrid (token black woman).
It's like the "Lost in Space" gang only without spaceships.
I used to watch this series on Saturday mornings. Yes, I'm that old.
3) Fringe dared to give us a family. We haven't seen that kind of sci-fi mom and pop stuff since Lost in Space! Fringe has Walter Bishop, son Peter Bishop, wife Olivia, and even a daughter in the fifth season that's integral in everything even after she gets smoked. Oh and there's Astrid. She's the token black woman. But I like Astrid because everything that falls through the cracks, she catches.

4) Fringe gave us consistent urban science fiction without vampires and werewolves. That in itself should win an award because urban fantasy as a genre is replete with vamps, werewolves, witches, and angels. I'm not saying that's bad, I'm just saying it's not particularly original.
So much much cool
5) Fringe totally owned quantum mechanics (and quantum weirdness in general). It took the most ground-breaking concepts from the world's leading physicists like Stephen Hawking, and turned stuff like quantum entanglement, wormholes, and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, and made them into episodes that BLEW MY MIND!

Goodbye Fringe. I laughed, I cried, you became a part of me. The two-hour series finale airs this evening beginning with an episode called "Liberty" and ending with "An Enemy of Fate."
Today is the second-to-last stop in my book tour. You can find me at the blog of super science fiction writer M.PAX HERE. Please stop by to say hi if you have the time. If not, no worries. See you Monday when I get to do a cover reveal for Julie Flanders. Enter know you want to...
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  1. LOL; I hope the finale was exciting. Someday I need to watch more TV.


  2. Hey,

    FRINGE is (was) so cool that I stopped watching it on TV and waited for the Season to be released on DVD... so I could enjoy it again and again...

    Plus, as a bald man, the Observers are (were) my heroes, especially as the show is named after a hairstyle :)

    No, it is :)

  3. I stopped watching it a while ago when the other Fauxlivia got prego. But everything up until that I thought was great. Maybe I'll pick it back up after the season finale, hope it ends well.

  4. Hey, Mike,
    You had me at X-Files. If Fringe (which I've never seen, BTW) is anything along those lines, I'd definitely enjoy it, while cringing every minute.

    Print copies? How cool is that. Signing up since I haven't bought my copy yet. I hope the tour yields some big results.

  5. And this time, we in the UK are going to be watching it at the same time as you guys. Hoorah

  6. I loved this post. I haven't kept up with Fringe, but it was my favorite show on the air when I watched more tv. Oh, and I watched Lost in Space as well.

  7. I watched the first couple seasons and then lost interest. Might catch up on Netflix one day.

  8. I get into alternate universes starting with book 4 of the Scarlet Knight series, it culminates in book 8 with a whole Crisis on Infinite Earths kind of deal.

    Anyway I haven't seen a single episode of Fringe. That will just have to be one of the many regrets I carry with me to my deathbed.

  9. Ah, I wish I could've continued to watch, alas, no satellite. One of these days I'll rent all that I missed cuz that show is super cool.

  10. I love Fringe. And i'm going to miss it so hard. Only Fringe could literally change the show completely every season and it's fans would barely blink. And it's rare that there's a show where i like all the characters, and yet i totally do with Fringe. I never get irritated with them for doing stupid stuff, because they don't. Or if they do, it's believable and temporary.

  11. @Donna: Finale is tonight, dearie!

    @Mark: I pay for cable and basically stopped buying dvd's. I rent now from Amazon streaming. I figure as little as I rewatch stuff, it's more economical. Thanks for stopping by, my bald friend.

    @Elise: Lulz @ Fauxlivia. I did love the hot agent they hired to team up with Olivia in season 4. He's now in "Arrow." Do you watch "Arrow"?

    @Joy: You will love Fringe then, Joy. Give it a whirl.

    @Deborah: That's exciting. I hate when the pond separates us with regard to the latest releases.

    @Brinda: We have so much in common.

    @Alex: Why did you lose interest?

    @P.T.: I sense sarcasm. Could you get off your dang soapbox and try a series out once in a while? And for what it's worth, I really do think you'd enjoy "Merlin." I got first two seasons I can mail out to you to watch.

    @mshatch: It's getting widely syndicated too, so it's availability will just become easier with time. The trick with Fringe is that you kind of want to watch it in order. Otherwise you are like "What the hell is going on? I'm confused and none of this makes sense."

    @Falen: You are so bubbly today!

  12. I like this show, it's been very emotional this season. I hope JJ Abrams will be able to pull off a decent ending (for once).


  13. You think you're old? I used to watch "Lost in Space" when it premiered in prime time.

  14. I do enjoy Fringe, but like Lost, it is one of those shows where if you miss a couple of episodes, the plot is gone.

  15. That reminds me, I need to check out this show. Right after I re-watch Game of Thrones (don't ask me why, I think I never finished season 2 the first time around ;))

  16. Hey, I watched Breaking Bad last year. So there.

  17. I really enjoyed Fringe from the beginning, but somewhere along the way (when we turned off TV) I forgot about it. Now I can have a Fringe marathon and watch all the seasons like I did Lost.

    Oh, and about 2 weeks ago I scribbled Quantum entanglement in my notebook. Totally cool thing to research.

  18. It's sad that this show is ending and I still haven't seen a single episode! Reading your post makes me want to give it a shot though.

  19. I lost interest after two seasons. I got annoyed with Walter having invented/borked everything that ever happened in the universe.

  20. You forgot to mention Denethor. That guy is a great actor.

  21. I love the sound of this series . . . but like most of the TV shows you mention, I've never watched it. :P I'll have to check it out.

  22. I haven't watched this show at all, but then I didn't know it was a J.J. Abrams one, and I love J.J.'s stuff.

    Sigh. Another show to catch in reruns.

  23. Have fun with the finale. I'm sure it will be bittersweet.

  24. I'll be sad to see Fringe go. But no spoilers, please. I doubt I'll watch it live. First, I hate commercials. Second, it's Friday night. I'm an idiot Friday nights, and I have trouble following things like Fringe when I'm an idiot.

    I'll watch it Saturday, though.

  25. No I regret not watching it. Could have, but after seeing a few episodes, I thought it was stupid and stopped. :-(

  26. I must confess, I haven't watched this one. You have intrigued me, though.

  27. I started watching it last week while ill on the science channel. It was intriguing and my son caught a few episodes with me. It was and is something I'd like to see more of -- I hope the science channel keeps doing minny marathons so I can catch up. I think I've got the first season down, but I didn't watch the final. Seems kind of odd to start at the end, then again maybe not.

    Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment. You know Alaska is one of the most beautiful states in the Union, and summer, even more so, if you use bug spray. LOL and in the winter if you like winter sports.
    Good luck with your blog promotion. Loved Donna's review.

  28. The observers were always my favorite characters in that show; I couldn't really get into any of the others and stopped watching after season 3. But I plan to rent the last 2 seasons at some point and give it another go.

  29. Great. Now I'm going to have to catch up on yet another series. LOL

  30. I can admit I've stolen (borrowed) some ideas from Fringe for my stories. I watched the first 3 seasons religiously, and I don't actually remember why I stopped. I'll have to start over one day from beginning to end. Farewell Fringe!

  31. Fringe was an excellent and innovative series. And yes the cut scenes ruled.