Until the Last Word, Part 3 ~ Why You Should Watch Fringe


I feel I need to reiterate the message (almost accidentally wrote resuscitate, but I guess that works), since it always seems to be lost along the way. Just as not every medical mystery is cloyingly melodramatic, not every crime drama is coldly impersonal, and not every sit-com is a barrage of uninspired jokes, the sci-fi label doesn't automatically mean ridiculous plots and bad writing. Most of the television landscape is littered with failures of imagination and taste, some of which are inexplicable successes, but there are always standouts. Thought-provoking ideas stunningly realized can come from anywhere and science fiction is no exception. Fringe is not just stunning in comparison with others in its own genre; it can be compared with any and all of the best, and undoubtedly is one of the most satisfying series ever. I don't even like categorizing it, because it seamlessly blends genres. I think of it as just Fringe. That one little word means so much. It's sad that so few people got the chance to experience what that's like.

The exceptional quality of Fringe is an indisputable fact, because it's so very rare for me to be this affected. You know when you're watching something special, something more than a mindless distraction that won't make a full season, something more than a mediocre one that inexplicably lasts for years while eschewing quality in favor of personality, as if they were mutually exclusive. I'll never say any show is technically perfect, because the creators are only human. There's always something that can be picked at, but Fringe is emotionally flawless. As an example, one of the happiest moments, which also had my eyes welling up, was when Peter simply, and finally, called Walter "Dad." There are scenes like this, beautifully played, found in every episode. It's an epic story all about these small, intimate, nuanced moments.

"Where would the fun be if we already knew all there is to know?"

~Walter Bishop in "Midnight," season 1, episode 18
Exactly, Walter, and that is why this show should have gained a wider audience. Not only is it emotionally flawless, but it's a lot of fun and has a wonderful sense of humor...when not ripping our hearts out. Fringe does not shy away from tears. It hurts and we beg for more because of how gracefully done it is. Through all the craziness, it feels true in dialogue and relationships, and the acting is phenomenal. It always feels like people living their lives, sometimes double lives (you'll understand when you get to the end of the second season), instead of actors reciting lines.

If all you know of Fringe comes from a few commercials you happened to see in 2008 then you really should watch the pilot on Amazon or borrow it from a friend. If you gave up during the first year because you thought it wasn't engaging or deep enough or maybe too strange, or you didn't like the episodic feel, then you missed a spine-tingling and awe-inducing finale, not to mention a season's worth of clues to a larger mystery, which promised so much to come. And they certainly delivered more than any fan could have imagined, far more than the derivative CSI meets The X-Files mix some people unfairly described it as in the beginning. In the future, new series will surely be compared against it when everyone finally realizes what they've overlooked here.

You may wonder why the adulation since it's all make-believe; a good way to unwind, but nothing more. Well, then you forgot everything I just said. Has a creative work never moved you to tears or a different way of thinking? Do you not have a favorite movie you know every line of? Have you never been inspired by a song? These things reflect the imaginations, experiences, and hearts of the people who bring them to life, and it all comes though in Fringe.

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