25 March 2011

Fringe: Season 2

Fringe - Season 2

Created by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, J.J. Abrams
Starring Ana Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole, Kirk Acevedo
Transmission season: 2009-2010
FOX, 23 episodes, 43 mins.

Plot: With new information about a oncoming war between this world and the other, Special Agent Olivia Dunham, Walter and Peter Bishop face shapeshifters and enemies of the Other Side as a plan of attack is underway. Meanwhile, a dark secret Walter harbors may spell doom for the team.

Sophomore slump? What of it? The FRINGE writers, actors, directors, and producers don't fall victim to this frequent demon in the ass, instead making the second season of FRINGE even more brilliant, even more complex, even more emotional and tragic and exhilarating than the first, and that's a difficult thing to pull off. All twenty-three episodes encompass the best of television. Even the quasi-stand alone episodes.

Now, every family have their own little secrets and complications - it's a way of life, pretty much Luckily, 99% of those families don't have to deal with the threat of quite possibly causing Armageddon and igniting a war between two universes. Unfortunately, that is the dire consequence if Peter Bishop learns a terrible truth that his father Walter has hid from him for all of his life. Secrets, lies, and the burden of truth weigh on the family, and this season, more than the last, is all about the dynamic between Peter and Walter.

Similar to LOST, this show excels when it comes to the characters. You can throw as much awesome scientific catastrophes in a episode as you want to, but the slightest mournful look from John Noble's Walter Bishop or the angry expression of Peter can absolutely turn your stomach and rip your heart into pieces. The writers know where the shows strengths lay, and they exploit it well. It helps that the show boasts such a strong cast, for sure. Concerning Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, she is often cast at the sidelines with few exceptions (such as the episodes dealing with her abilities and other Cortexiphan trial children), and it's a tad disheartening to see her used in such a limited capacity. As a result, moments of true emotion and heavy material doesn't get the treatment it deserves. For example, fives episodes in a fan favorite character and longtime friend of Olivia's is revealed to be dead, but reaction-wise, other than a choked up line of sadness, one doesn't fully get the weight of her loss. Of course, it could be argued it keeps in line with Olivia's character, of always hiding her emotions and keeping herself mentally and emotionally in check, but it's a shame. Therefore, making a judgment on Olivia Dunham is sort of difficult: on one hand, you can say she doesn't emote enough, but on the other hand, it does stay within character.

The actors are superb, the scripts clever and twisty turny, the music is gorgeous, and the overall program is addicting. For anyone looking for the Next Great Show in a post-LOST world, look no further, this is it, right here.

One of the gorgeous things about this show is its capacity to have Case of the Week standalone episodes still feel very vital in the grand scheme of things. "What Lies Below" is a fine example of a otherwise standalone episode that actually carries far more weight in the overall story arc of the show, as in Walter's guilty conscious and more hints about Peter's past.

Season two also has no shortage of stellar episodes. "Grey Matters" which investigates the danger of Walter's past experiments and his overall intelligence; "Jacksonville" where Olivia needs to channel her abilities and pinpoint what building will be disappearing in a matter of hours and evacuate it before it goes bye-bye; "Peter", the much-anticipated flashback episode providing answers for certain things Walter mumbled under his breath over the span of the past fifteen episodes; "Olivia. In the Lab. With the Revolver" offers further insight into the effects of the trials induced on Olivia and others like her by Walter and Bell; and of course, the two-part finale "Over There" which provides so many awesome ideas and one hell of a jaw-dropping cliffhanger finale that will undoubtedly lend itself to one stellar of a third season.

FRINGE - SEASON 2 is just as epic, dramatic, comedic, and amazing as the first, and it shows no sign of stopping its apparent boundless creativity. It's quite similar to another brilliant show on the airwaves right now: SUPERNATURAL. As each season passed, the mythology grew from a simple one-line premise of "two brothers on the road hunting demons and monsters" to Apocalyptic heights, and the same applies here. No longer is FRINGE a show just about "science gone awry" in the world, but about a war between two worlds and two fathers. I understand FRINGE may not be for everyone, but I still strongly recommend a watch. The performances alone are extraordinary and well worth it, but if it helps, I'd give it kudos based on the super nifty and highly interesting sciences exploited week after week.

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