|Joshua Jackson, Anna Torv and John Noble in "Fringe"|
Tonight sees the end of one of television's smartest, most well-acted, well-written and inventive Sci-Fi series of all time, "Fringe."
Created by J.J. Abrams ("Lost;" Super 8), "Fringe" started out as an outre FBI procedural about a special FBI unit that investigated unusual or 'fringe' cases. Agent Olivia Dunham is brought in to help investigate a mysterious plane accident, along with her partner/lover John Scott. Seeking help from the institutionalized Dr. Walter Bishop, Olivia soon finds herself caught up in forces beyond her control, the least of which is her attraction to Bishop's ne'er-do-well son, Peter. Season one established the show's characters and their often tenuous relationships, while hinting at something called "The Pattern," which seemed to be controlled by a secretive scientific company called Global Dynamics. And while "The Pattern" was eventually (and wisely) dismissed by Season 2, the relationships between the characters was explored more fully, allowing fans and critics to finally take notice. By Season 3, when the idea of the Alternate Universe was established, yours truly was hooked beyond hooked.
Over five extraordinary seasons, "Fringe" grew into something much more special than any TV show in which I'd ever been caught up. Sadly, the truly remarkable performances of Anna Torv; Joshua Jackson; Jasika Nicole and (most notably) John Noble have been ignored by the folks who nominate and award the Emmys. The sweet, brain-impaired Walter, so brilliantly performed by Noble, warrants an award category of its own, while Torv managed to create three different versions of the same character (yes, it's complicated) and channel Leonard Nimoy's 'William Bell' without a whiff of the silliness another actor may have bought to the role. Supporting performances from Lance Reddick; Blair Brown; Michael Cerveris; Jared Harris; Michael Kopsa; Kirk Acevedo; Seth Gabel; Ryan McDonald; Nimoy and a slew of terrific guest performers only added to the show's prestigious roster.
Smart, intriguing and often aggravating, "Fringe" proved that intelligent Science Fiction still has a place on television along with most of the junk the networks try to force on the viewing public. And while I am very sad to see the series end, I have high hopes that it will leave fans satisfied.
I have recorded tonight's 2-hour Season Finale on my DVR for viewing tomorrow. I hate to say goodbye to this family of characters I have grown to love but I cannot wait to see how it all ends.
Best Science Fiction Series Ever? Without a doubt. Move over "X-Files." You've been eclipsed by an even smarter and more engaging series.
Of course, I am looking forward to Fox's newest thriller "The Following" with Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy. I hope it is at least half as good as "Fringe."