Tuesday, January 18, 2011

4 reasons you should be watching 'Fringe'

Fringe returns this week after a short winter hiatus (the good news), but it also begins airing on Fridays (the bad news).

The back stretch of this supernaturally delightful sci-fi show's third season could very well determine whether or not we'll get to see a fourth, so for anyone who, like this show, is on the bubble, here are four reasons to tune in this Friday and see what all of your fanboy friends are talking about.

4) They can't do that on television

Notable shocking or otherwise cringeworthy moments on Fringe include a pilot's jaw falling off of his face as the rest of his body disintegrates and an unfortunate victim of unscheduled open heart surgery left on his dining room table with his chest cavity still open, sans heart. Oh, and he was still alive.

At least once an episode Fringe likes to give its fans an "I don't want to be seeing this but I really can't look away" moment and for that, they have our thanks.

3) It's not Lost

For those of you concerned by the name you see at the end of the opening credits, don't be. J. J. Abrams has toned back the level of fanaticism necessary to follow his latest creation.

The show certainly pays off greater dividends for those who follow it on a weekly basis, but there is a fair amount of repeat exposition, and the "previously on" segments that kick off each episode do a great job of catching the audience up before that evening's mayhem. With the intensely serialized first half of the season over, it should be even easier to pick up the story going forward.

2) Michael Giacchino

Michael Giacchino may be a familiar if unpronounceable name to many of you. He was the composer behind such Disney/Pixar films as The Incredibles and Up, and previous J. J. Abrams projects such as Lost and Star Trek.

Giacchino is a truly gifted composer, this generation's John Williams, and no two projects of his sound alike. Listening to the soundtracks for any of the projects listed above provides a unique experience, and the haunting yet suspenseful melodies he provides for each episode of Fringe elevates each moment of the series to new heights.

Any fan of movie or television soundtracks owes it to themselves to listen to at least one episode of Fringe.

1) John Noble

Probably best known to genre fans as the Steward of Gondor in The Lord of the Rings, John Noble is the gem of Fringe. Hands down the best actor on the show, as showcased in his expert performance of two sides (literally) of the same character, Noble forces the audience to feel what his character, Dr. Walter Bishop, feels in each scene.

Whether he's examining a horribly mutilated body (see #4), trying to find a cure for a deadly pathogen, or simply pining away for a strawberry milkshake, Dr. Bishop wraps the audience up in his emotions and fosters a strange sense of sympathy and revulsion. Revulsion for the scientific atrocities he's committed in his past and sympathy for the ways he's tried to overcome those mistakes and for the obvious regret he has for having made them in the first place.

Whether he's saving the day or throwing out a hilarious one-liner, John Noble's portrayal of Dr. Bishop is alone worth the price of admission to one of the best shows you're not watching.


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