Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fringe - It's not about "what's out there", it's about us

It's been a long time since both my wife and I have been enthused about a show's potential after watching the pilot. But "Fringe" is that show.

Yes, the show is about a mysterious conspiracy and has been compared to the X-Files. But it isn't about aliens, it is about science; particularly the odd weapons research conducted in the 1950's and 1960's and 1970's amuck. Think Fort Detrick, Md., anthrax research scientist Bruce E. Ivins, but add in the fuzzy Homeland Security legal authority (oh yeah, like in the Ivins case), a super-sized ultra secret version of President Eisenhower's military-industrial complex (much like we actually have, hmmmm), a 1950's genius researcher locked up in a psychiatric unit after an accidental explosion, and so on.

Let's begin the pilot with Mulder and Scully declaring they are in love with each other and end the pilot with Mulder maybe "undead" and maybe working for "them."

Nope, that's not "The X-Files". It's better. It's us, now, with electronics for mind melds and no Spock.

Australian Anna Torv plays FBI Agent Olivia Dunham and if her performance in the pilot is any indication, she is a first class actor. We're really looking forward to watching her in upcoming episodes.

Desert Storm veteran Mark Valley, ("Boston Legal", "Swingtown") is the perfect choice to play her partner Agent John Scott. He plays the well-educated hunk perfectly. But this is more than a slightly different role the Mulder which bring us to....

Canadian born Joshua Jackson ("Dawson's Creek") as Peter Bishop, the disaffected genius con man who is conned by Dunham to help save her partner. To do that, Peter Bishop is her only access to his estranged hospitalized father....

Veteran Australian born (is there a pattern here?) actor John Noble plays Dr. Walter Bishop with his usual strong acting.

This team is managed by Homeland Security Agent Phillip Broyles ably portrayed by Lance Reddick ("The Wire") as an angry, focused investigative supervisor who already has a hate on for Dunham. Gee, Reddick is an American actor.

Rounding out this cast is veteran Blair Brown playing Nina Sharp, a cancer survivor with a creepy artificial limb and a corporate face that in no way resembles Molly Dodd.

Like all pilot's there were some weaknesses and inconsistencies. Why did she sit on the back bumper of the ambulance and snivel instead of securing the body? She knew they could talk to the dead. Oh, alright, it was critical to the show's plot.

Now if Fox were smart, they would move "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" to the Tuesday 9 p.m slot and let NBC's "Heroes" struggle with ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" and ESPN's "NFL Monday Night Football". They'd end up owning Tuesday night.

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