Friday, October 21, 2011

Fringe - come for the crazy mysteries, stay for the family dramatics

So I tried watching Fringe Season 1 when it played on TV and gave up when it seemed a little repetitive and kind of an X-files rip off. But then we got our hands on Season 2 and Entertainment weekly had been singing the show's praises and so I started at Season 2. (spoiler alert - I'll try not to give anything away, but it's going to be hard, so if you're planning on watching, don't read this)

Which is SO much better. They still have the bizarre monster of the week, and the overarching plotline of what are those things from the other universe, but the dynamics between the players is so much better.

And everything is underplayed. but what I've enjoyed the most is the dynamic between Peter and Walter, son and father. The father is a brilliant scientist, who spent 17 years in a mental institution and is utterly incapable of living independently, and in season 1 the character was nothing but weird and in season 2 he has developed this relationship with his cynical, clever son that humanizes the son and keeps the Dad tethered to reality.

And that relationship, in particular, is underplayed by the actors, a clever choice, considering the drama of the weekly mysteries and the strangeness of the overarching plot.

But then the show introduces us to an alternate Walter, one far closer in personality to his son and we see what Peter could have become had he remained on the path he had been on, and we see what Walter would have been had he not had his mental breakdown and it's brilliant and a great choice by the writers.

It's show I would definitely recommend, because they never forget the characters and the writer's choices are always interesting and usually different from what I'm expecting.

And I just started The Night Circus and so far it's pretty amazing. Has anyone read it? Is it this good all the way to the end?

8 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

Fringe was one of the best shows for me to write to in the evening. I could work on my laptop with it in the background, look up whenever Peter and Walter were on screen and keep working when they talked about the monsters. But maybe it got better? and I was watching too much of it and not working...but I stopped, though every once in a while I have a Fringe marathon on a saturday evening. The dynamic is freaking delicious and Olivia is great mysterious character and the slowly budding relationship between peter and olivia - great. I think the over arching plot about the universe got old to me, thought. Honestly I can't remember why I stopped...

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm only about 50 pages into The Night Circus and loving it so far. Sometimes it's hard to get into a book that doesn't have an obvious story unfolding and an omniscient POV but I was sucked in. Loving it.

I need to give Fringe another try. I think I watched maybe 2-3 episodes and the father character made me crazy and not in a good way. To me, the actor was trying too hard or someting.

Eileen said...

I wasn't a huge fan of Fringe. There were parts I liked (the same ones, btw, that Sinead liked), but not quite enough of them to make me take the time to watch it regularly and if you didn't watch it regularly it was just too confusing.

Haven't read The Night Circus, but I did finish The Passage! I have to admit, I sort of speed read the ending, but boy am I confused! I liked it, but probably not enough to read the next one, especially if it's another 800-pager.

Sinead M said...

Eileen, it was a monster.... and I found a little all over the place. Maureen, about where you are on The Night Circus, but as a reader I'm absolutely confident the author is taking me somewhere satisfying...
Hope I'm not wrong...

Sinead M said...

Eileen, it was a monster.... and I found a little all over the place. Maureen, about where you are on The Night Circus, but as a reader I'm absolutely confident the author is taking me somewhere satisfying...
Hope I'm not wrong...

Sinead M said...

Eileen, it was a monster.... and I found a little all over the place. Maureen, about where you are on The Night Circus, but as a reader I'm absolutely confident the author is taking me somewhere satisfying...
Hope I'm not wrong...

Eileen said...

Did you think it was weird that he chose to show some major dramatic scenes as flashbacks? I don't want to give too much away, but especially at the end, the scene between Peter and Alicia with the knife and the one with Mausami and Theo in the barn?

I know I do that kind of stuff sometimes in rough drafts and I blame it on being largely conflict-averse, but I rewrite them! I felt like he really pulled his punches on those ones.

Sinead M said...

I did, even the last part which was told in the diary format, I'm not sure why he chose to show what he did and not that.... and I admit, I skimmed a lot... 800 pages is a lot of book...

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