I've seen my share of TV SciFi over the years, from the very good ("The X-Files;" "The Twilight Zone;" "Lost;" "Battlestar Gallactica") to the very bad ("Land of the Giants;" "Manimal;") to the inexplicable ("Terra Nova"). And there are plenty of favs in between the extremes: "Lost in Space;" "The Time Tunnel;" "The Invaders;" one or two of the more recent "Star Trek" shows; "Farscape;" "Warehouse 13." So trust me when I tell you that J.J. Abrams' "Fringe" is quite possibly the best Sci-Fi series, ever. Yes, I said 'ever.' And I meant it. And here are the two reasons why:
1. Brilliant writing. Smart, complicated and enigmatic; "Fringe" has managed to maintain the balance between its stand-alone episodes and its complex history, employing an alternate universe and strange visitors to tie everything together.
2. An effing amazing cast! Why no one from the cast of "Fringe" has been so much as nominated for an Emmy is beyond me. I think it's snobbery and jealousy. Not only did most of the cast have to play at least 3 (when you factor in the new timeline established last season) different versions of themselves, the astonishing Anna Torv also had to channel Leonard Nimoy (and did so, brilliantly). John Noble's Walter Bishops are a literal tour de force of acting, while Joshua Jackson as Peter and Jasika Nicole as Agent Astrid Farnsworth (whose name the oft-addled Walter can never remember; hilariously calling her "Assturd" in one episode) provide the emotional balance to make us care about what happens to these people. Nicole's meetings between Astrid and her Asperger's-afflicted version from the other dimension were both heart-wrenching and fascinating. This cast is at the top of their games and believe in what they're doing and it shows in every single minute of their performances. All actors should be watching and learning from this truly exceptional ensemble.
After 4 tumultuous seasons, Fox is ending "Fringe" with a thirteen-week finale, in which Abrams and his team will hopefully wrap everything up. Set twenty-years in the future, the season was set up in last season's penultimate episode. The 'Observers,' having destroyed the planet in the 25th Century have come back in time and taken over 21st Century earth. The crowd attending the "Fringe" panel at Comic-Con were shown this today (via):
There's still time to catch the first four seasons on DVD before Season 5 starts. If you are looking for smart, funny, moving and most of all, human Science Fiction, you owe it to yourself to see this show, from the beginning. If like me, you have been watching and loving "Fringe" since its 2008 pilot, you are very sad to see it go, but can't wait to see how it ends. I feel your pain.