Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘Fringe’

Shows You/We Should Probably Be Watching

Posted by Mr. Feeny on April 8, 2010

Anyone else feeling overwhelmed with TV viewing? It just seems like there’s too much. This might be a side effect of half-season runs. Instead of taking weeks off during the year, thereby allowing you to change focus, everything seems to be happening all at once. And just when I think I’ve caught up on my DVR, there’s a whole new episode of something I haven’t seen. It’s daunting.

Because of that, I’ve been very resistant to starting new shows. Even some that I have started, I’ve stopped following. Not because I don’t care, it’s just that I prioritized. So, I fall behind, miss a bunch of episodes, then try to come back…with mixed results. It’s actually a little embarrassing. I should be better than this!

So, I feel like you most often hear us talking about the shows we ALWAYS watch. Lost, 24, ANTM, HIMYM, The Office, Mad Men. But there are a lot of currently running shows I’d like to get into if I had the time. So, if your DVR schedule doesn’t have 25 entries (like mine does), you might want to check these out. Then let us know how they are! Also, any we need to be watching.

I’ll get you started with two shows I’ve decided will be my Lost and 24 replacements next year, even though I’m not much of a sci-fi guy.

V – There have only been 6 episodes, but I’ve enjoyed them all immensely. It doesn’t seem like the rest of America is, though. I really hope it comes back next year, so start watching! It’s got interesting characters, hidden motives, good twists, pretty nice acting, impressive visuals. Basically, everything you want. Yes, it’s about aliens. But really, what show isn’t about science fiction these days? I know there are a lot of skeptics out there when it comes to V, because they loved the mini-series. But I implore you to give this version a chance.

Someone get this man an Emmy. And probably a root beer float.

Fringe – I watched almost all the episodes last season (I think…maybe I actually watched them all…I can’t remember…obviously didn’t leave an impression), but have missed about 6 this season. Which is ironic since the Fox show has really blossomed. I’m definitely going to diligently finish off the season (and this is the primary reason), and hope you come along for the ride. At first, this seemed like a simple science procedural, with completely stand-alone episodes. But as the series has progressed, the mythology has taken a central role. And leading the way is the incredible John Noble. Seriously one of the Top 3 actors currently on television. He balances senility and hubris, humor and heartbreak effortlessly. A pure joy each and every episode. And the support cast and storylines back him up well. Just over the past few episodes, Fringe has become must-watch television for me. It should be for you too!

Now, here are some shows that I really want to watch, but haven’t been able to. So why don’t you do it for me and report back!

Castle – More than just a cop procedural. Nathan Fillion apparently brings a unique light-heartedness to the show and makes each episode incredibly entertaining. So I’ve heard.

Justified – It’s brand new on FX, and I intended to start watching it. The previews seemed incredibly weird and stylized…almost surreal. A modern day western. But every critic I’ve read loves it.

Sons of Anarchy – Another FX show, one that evidently blossomed in its second season. The concept of bikers turned me off immediately, but the character drama is said to transcend that.

Undercover Boss – I’ve started to catch up a bit online. This is a great reality show for its entertainment value, but a few things concern me. I hate when shows use a cookie cutter for every episode. The structure is exactly the same. And some of the actions by the bosses don’t seem natural. They seem staged. But I think the reactions by employees are genuine, so there is a truth to the show. It definitely has a feel-good aspect that TV could use more of. And since it relies on people not suspecting video crews following the new guy, I think this show has a pretty limited run.

Chuck – I think it’s too late for this. Three seasons in. Maybe on DVD.

Lie to Me – A procedural by name, but not practice. There’s no set structure. The way things work constantly changes, and the lead character played by Tim Roth is fantastic. Very compelling stuff. I watched half the first season and some of the second, but it slipped off my list for some reason.

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A New Day in the Old Town (Fringe – S2:E1)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 18, 2009

“What were we even doing anyway? We’d sit around and wait for somebody to die a grisly, macabre death. Or for the entire fabric of the universe to come shredding apart . We were the clean-up crew.” – Peter

A solid start to one of the few returning shows from last Fall. From the early moments of mourning to the exchange between Peter and Olivia, the writers once again delivered on its trademark subtlety. The dialogue is reserved, the filming dark, and music eerie. It won’t be a hit with everyone. There’s far too much science fiction for general appeal. I thought it was much too predictable for there to be a government challenge to the Fringe Division. It actually reminded me exactly of Quantum Leap‘s season two premiere, when senators wanted to shut down the program due to lack of tangible results. It seems a little too early for Fringe to actually be disbanded…a solid plot move down the road, but not until more currently running mysteries are solved. You can’t overload viewers with a variety of different storylines. Too difficult to keep invested in them all.

The episode title is perfect. After last season’s cliffhangers, everything seemed to just go back to normal today. All the elements that made Fringe so enjoyable in its debut season: wacky behavior and dialogue from Walter, old puzzles moving slowly forward, and new puzzles being introduced (sound familiar for a JJ Abrams show?) were there. Unlike LOST, though, it’s easier for me to accept the science fiction. The whole show is about experimental science and theories. Things on the fringe. Parallel universes? Teleportation? Shapeshifting? Sure, why not. That’s what I expected. It fits here, unlike a show that started about a group of plane crash survivors on a remote island.

But Fringe does lack a major element that keyed LOST‘s success. With the exception of Walter and Peter, the characters are bland and undeveloped. They introduced Amy Jessup (Meghan Markle) in this episode, as the newest FBI agent in the fold. She could be interesting, especially since she clearly has some past or future connection to what they’re looking into. Reveal more little-by-little and viewers will be drawn in. They started to do that with Olivia toward the end of the season, which gives me hope that her character will get better. But I’ve not been impressed by Anna Torv’s rigid acting.

Lastly, it’s unfortunate that FOX’s experiment with limited commercial breaks has been scrapped. Last year, every break but the first would only be 60-90 seconds long, and they would tell you that. It added 8 minutes of content that will be sorely missed. It felt like the old school dramas I enjoyed so much. Longer-form storytelling. But, once again, content fell victim to revenue.

Now, one SPOILER…..

I love what they did with Agent Francis. Take a main character from the first season, give him one last nice speech, kill him off, but then keep him around as an evil duplicate– unbeknownst to the others. It takes what would otherwise be a sad scene and makes you care more about what did and what will happen. We never actually saw the shapeshifter defeat Francis…but you know that it did. I’ll miss Francis, but he wasn’t a vital character…just an accessory. And anytime a character gets a quality send off like this, I’m happy.

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