Television Whitenoise: Fringe (2008-2013)
I had a false start with Fringe; actually, I may have had more than one start, and it kind of fell by the wayside for me. It was initially interesting enough to get me to watch a couple of episodes, but I think I wrote it off as occupying that territory somewhere between The X-Files and Twin Peaks. I did not give it a fair crack of the whip. I am finding that where all of these series truly work, is on the level of the relationships that they create and expand upon between the characters in their story. If there is no real human element then all of the science falls flat. Olivia, Walter, Peter, Nina, and their alternate universe selves, played convincingly, and in combination with the consequences of the actions they perform and the things they are subject to, really do start to become complex and involving characters. Whereas with Heroes, where it became just complexity for complexity’s sake, as the series progressed, you could sense the real drive and impetus pushing towards a conclusion. And when that conclusion came it managed to sidestep the usual flatness and disappointment; it didn’t feel rushed by the constraints of the tv show being forced to close up shop. There was an emotional resonance, a dramatic truth and honesty on display, and ending that made sense of the story that went before it … not giving us something that came out of nowhere. Being able to see it from beginning to end with little interruption, is, I am sure a thing that affects the viewing in a way, watching it as it is released doesn’t allow for. i can see how having these shows syndicated online is going to give them a whole new lease of life, because the nature of them is fundamentally changed and turned into something more complete, and something which you can more easily see the scope of. Fringe works on an episodic basis, but it really does work as a whole story, and my hats are off to the series producers for that alone – handling that odd and distorting tension in a tv series that means it has to deliver in the immediate and the long term, and not being hamstrung in fulfilling either role.