Fringe Season 2
Created by: J. J. Abrams
Staring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble
Review by Brian M. Sammons
The second season of this very cool sci-fi show starts off right where it left off last year. Female FBI investigator Olivia, who seems to put the “special” in Special Agent as she keeps manifesting strange abilities, was whisked away to an alternate dimension to speak with Mr. Spock (not really, but sort of). Back on earth, that is our earth, her partners were looking for her but having very little luck. Dr. Walter Bishop, the very model of a mad scientist, albeit a more well meaning one … usually, and his son Peter (who is also often his father’s keeper, since dear old dad is quite demented) are her two partners. That is partners, and perhaps something more, for both good and ill.
Well, just as suddenly as she vanished, Olivia is back on our side of the very thin barrier between worlds. While at first she remembers nothing, there’s no time for rest or recovery as she is being hunted by murderous shape shifters from the other side. Then there are the many weird mysteries that our own world can give birth to and so, with the proverbial “bang,” the second season starts off.
Fringe is a slightly updated and altered take on X-Files formula, which in turn was mutation of the old Kolchak The Night Stalker show, but I digress. The difference with this TV show is that it’s all about the science. No matter how weird the story gets, people become human bombs, killer dreams, and let’s not forget the honest to badness monsters, all have scientific reasons. Sure, sometimes those reasons are completely unbelievable, but they are at least in the realm of possibility. In addition to that one uniquely cool factor, the characters are all exceptionally well developed and performed like very few shows bother to do. Moreover, the characters have flaws and secrets that the show is doing a great job revealing over the course of this season.
Want more reasons to watch this show? Well, there are the individual episodes that can be really, really creepy. One of my favorites in Season 2 is called “Johari Window” and is about a small little town with a horrible secret it’s willing to kill to keep. That one episode alone was as good as anything the X-Files ever did and much better than any of the recent horror movies Hollywood gives us.
There are other great episodes, not to mention a great cliffhanger at this season’s end, but I’ll leave that for you to discover for yourself. Trust me, you’ll want to see this show and thankfully Warner Brothers gives you two great options to do so.
Unlike what many companies have been doing lately, WB has put out both the DVD and the BD with the exact same extras. That makes me very happy. Also, since there is actually a good amount of extras presented here when so many other TV shows come out on disc with no thrills at all (yes I’m looking at you, any of the Dexter DVDs), that also puts a smile on my face. There are commentaries for four select episodes by the cast and creators, a gag reel, unaired (read as “deleted”) scenes, a short featurette on the props and special effects from the show and a thirty minute doc on the mythology of the show. While not extras heavy, it was a nice mix of goodies and something that all TV shows should do when making the leap to home video.
Fringe fans rejoice, Season 2 continues to advance the story and mystery, the spooky science is still in full swing, and there’s plenty of human drama as well as we learn at last the true nature of Dr. Bishop and Peter’s relationship. A great season for a great series, this one is a must buy.