How many times have you started watching a new television series only to have it cancelled without ever getting a resolution? I’ve been burned many times. What really upsets me is when a series ends on a cliffhanger. It essentially makes the show worthless when it comes to revisiting. I loved Flash Forward but wouldn’t even recommend it to anyone now because you never get an end to the story. Same thing with shows like Invasion, Nowhere Man and Now and Again. Sometimes, a show is cancelled then revived, only to disappoint and, ultimately, become another series not worth revisiting. It should have stayed cancelled. Jericho anyone?
I remember back in the fall of 2008 as I sat down to watch the first episode of Fringe. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be worth my time, let alone if it was going to last. Should I wait until it lasts at least a season? Should I just watch it in reruns? Well, those questions were answered as soon as episode one finished. I was hooked and never looked back. I immediately fell in love with the character of Walter Bishop (John Noble, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King). His quirkiness, evenly matched by his charm and childlike innocence, never ceased to entertain me. As with any series, it takes a while for you to become connected with some characters. Watching them grow year after year, developing and changing, can either be engaging or the oft-mentioned “jump the shark” moment. Some will argue that Fringe took that jump once Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson, Shutter) ceased to exist. Of course, Peter came back and things went on a new yet familiar course. I’ll admit, there were a few rough patches. However, those bumps in the road were more than worth it to get to the fifth and final season.
This final season only ran thirteen episodes but it brought the show to the magical number of 100 episodes, supposedly what is needed to become profitable in syndication. Thankfully, Fox opted to run a shortened season and let J.J. Abrahms and the other producers wrap up the series. These last thirteen episodes were engaging, allowing us to take a glimpse into a dark future. We were dealt the death of a regular cast member and shocked by a surprise death of a new one. We saw just how deadly the Observers really could be (who would have guessed it from where they started). How fun was it to revisit some of the earlier Fringe division cases? And there were some truly emotional moments in the final episodes. If you didn’t tear up at least once, chances are you have no soul. Best of all, we had no loose ends and, for all intents and purposes, a happy ending. How many people said that when Lost ended?
While I loved seeing the development of the characters Olivia (Anna Torv) and Astrid (Jasika Nicole) and the actresses who played them, I’m more interested to see where John Noble goes next, as well as Lance Reddick, who played agent Broyles. Reddick has a role in the Oldboy remake. Not sure yet where I stand on that one but his presence, added with Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Brolin, certainly have me intrigued.
I highly recommend Fringe as a fun 100 episode ride that gives you a conclusion we so often never get with sci-fi and fantasy television. This is a series I will revisit in the future as the complete Blu-ray set is already on my Christmas list.