Influence : Television
Watching Fringe was always a somewhat frustrating experience. It was a show that could hit some dazzling moments, both in plot and character— but minutes later, trip itself up, dismissing or ignoring a thread that you desperately wanted them to continue.
I started watching Fringe to alleviate an odd itch to revisit The X-files (as anyone who watched TXF knows: That road only leads to sorrow), and found it to be fun little horror-ish/sci-fi’er with a couple of engaging one-offs. And, like most viewers, John Nobel’s “Walter” character, hooked me right away.
It wasn’t until the first season finale that Fringe really got me to sit up, with its shoe drop of an Alternate Reality reveal and Leonard friggin Nimoy showing up.
From that point on, the show began walking a tightrope of awesome and inane. In a post-LOST landscape, the producers of Fringe seemed to be determined to answer questions, even if it wrote them into a corner that necessitated big, sweeping, plot twists between seasons in order to course correct…
I never got the feeling that the show’s runners had a game plan. In fact, I’m pretty sure they were making things up as they went along— but that’s where the fun of the series really was: If the creators didn’t know what was going to happen next, the viewers sure didn’t either.
I also can’t think of another series that played quite so risky to reward its audience with fun little easter eggs— Casting half of The Wire as guest stars. Alternate DC universe comic books. Walter’s nod to Twin Peak’s Dr. Jacoby. A half animated episode. Or Walter’s Monty Python trip— It was a show that loved winking to its fans, but never in a pandering or cheeky way.