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Getting ready for Fringe
September 18, 2011 6:16 AM   Subscribe

The new season of Fringe begins on Friday, Sept 23, and Fox wants to tease and prepare you. Teaser playlist (5 videos): Where Is Peter Bishop?. Recap playlist (12 videos): Past + Present + Future [hosted by John Noble].

The recap playlist is recommended for anyone needing to catch up or anyone wanting to start now without watching 3 seasons between now and Friday.
posted by hippybear (49 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Past + Present + Future is basically one giant spoiler, due to its very nature.
posted by hippybear at 6:19 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


More important: Where is Spock?
posted by sammyo at 6:43 AM on September 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


hippybear, thanks for this.

Love this show.
posted by rtha at 7:05 AM on September 18, 2011


That recap playlist is one of the best metaplot summaries of any series, ever.

Highly recommended even for seasoned viewers.
posted by hippybear at 7:07 AM on September 18, 2011


Gee, I'd love to catch up on your fucking show, Fox, but I CAN'T CATCH UP ON IT SINCE YOU ARE SHIT HEADS. Season 3 is finally in the mail from Netflix and season 4 isn't available yet. It isn't on Hulu, either. Guess I won't be watching.
Fuckers.
posted by charred husk at 7:14 AM on September 18, 2011


And screw you and your recaps. I want to watch the previous episodes.
posted by charred husk at 7:15 AM on September 18, 2011


Goodness! Screw me? Really?

Won't you even take me out to dinner first?
posted by hippybear at 7:18 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gee, I'd love to catch up on your fucking show, Fox, but I CAN'T CATCH UP ON IT SINCE YOU ARE SHIT HEADS. Season 3 is finally in the mail from Netflix and season 4 isn't available yet. It isn't on Hulu, either. Guess I won't be watching.

Um... you are aware that Season 4 is the one that's about to begin, right?
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:00 AM on September 18, 2011


I went to visit a friend on what turned out to be the night of the season four finale of this show, which I had never seen. My friend watched the show while also keeping up a running commentary to fill me in on the entire plot. It was amazing. My friend is a summarizing genius.
posted by acrasis at 8:02 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to visit a friend on what turned out to be the night of the season four finale of this show

That's impressive. You obviously are from the future.

Can you MeMail me some winning lottery numbers, please?
posted by hippybear at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The recap covers all of the mythology very well. For those using the recap as an introduction to the show, I would say that the lack of context makes some of the scenes seem much more melodramatic than I remember them. The show is actually full of humor, as exemplified in the last teaser. The fact that John Noble was snubbed yet again for an Emmy nomination makes my blood boil, especially since he won the Critics' Choice Award over many of the Emmy nominees in the Best Supporting Actor category.
posted by gimli at 8:16 AM on September 18, 2011


Season 1: Watched every episode.
Season 2: Watched most episodes.
Season 3: Deleted from Hulu queue.

I didn't follow the show closely enough to know if they changed writers, but both the tone and the basic focus of the show changed during the second season, away from the the phenomenon and its impact on the characters towards random character drama and super human powers. The show lost its sense of mystery and changed from an iteration of X-Files into Heroes on acid.

I want to like this show, let me know if they changed it back towards something resembling the first season.
posted by 517 at 8:30 AM on September 18, 2011


517, you missed a lot of callbacks to the "monster of the week" episodes from the first season that re-appeared in the third season in Walternate's universe, then. The writers definitely know what they're doing.

They're also obviously fans of Crisis on Infinite Earths, as evidenced by these iconic comic book covers as they appear in Walternate's universe.

I love how the only apparent difference between "our" JLI and "theirs" is that Guy Gardner is replaced by Jonah Hex.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:44 AM on September 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, 517, the third season got really wacky, but I loved the Walter vs Walternate, and Anna Torv trying to channel (successfully for the most part) Leonard Nimoy was amusing.

I'm rather surprised that FOX is flogging the fact that the episodes will be available on iTunes. Wow. Fox doing something... reasonable? Just wow.
posted by porpoise at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have to disagree with 517, above. The show DID change focus after S1, but IMHO, it became less about Olivia and became more of an ensemble piece.

I'm not necessarily happy that Mark Valley left, even it was for his own abortive series (Human Target) even though they added Indira Varma. HT just wasn't meant to be Moonlighting 2010.

(I know Valley is now on Harry's Law, but I can keep hope that the Scorpius-John Crichton revenant aspects of Fringe come might back into play.)
posted by vhsiv at 8:59 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And somebody please give John Noble an Emmy already!
posted by ao4047 at 9:36 AM on September 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


A truly amazing show....GO FRINGE!!!
posted by The1andonly at 9:51 AM on September 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that whole show is damn near worth watching just to see John Noble.

I read somewhere that he teaches drama. If there's a masterclass for acting, I bet that's it.

Overall, Fringe is probably the most flawed show I've ever really stuck with. It's got a list of problems as long as my arm, but I keep coming back anyway.

Oh, and the actress doing Astrid is great, too. It's a minor character, but she has such presence. Any scene with her in it is bound to be good.
posted by Malor at 9:59 AM on September 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


Thanks, hippybear. I've come to regret not following this series, now maybe I can catch up.
posted by homunculus at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2011


Agreed, feel the opposite of 517.

Man, I cannot WAIT for this season to start.
posted by maryr at 10:54 AM on September 18, 2011


And somebody please give John Noble an Emmy already!
Peter Dinklage first, I'm afraid. But since this season appears to be near Peter-less, and Peter is who grounded Walter to reality, perhaps we'll see a bit more of the crazy Walter that I love so much.

I'm not necessarily happy that Mark Valley left
I'm sure John Scott is going to get at least a name-check. If not a guest starring arc. Again, the writers know what they're doing.
posted by PapaLobo at 11:30 AM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why Dinklage first before Noble? Dinklage has done 10 episodes of a series; Noble has done 65. Dinlage has played one character. Noble has played two versions of the same person, across a 40 year time span of both versions.

If anyone deserves one first, it's John Noble.
posted by hippybear at 11:36 AM on September 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just reminded me I need to hit up a store and pick up Season 2 & 3 of Fringe. Cheers.
posted by Fizz at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2011


Hmm, that's a tough one. Dinklage as Tyrion vs. Noble as young Walter, Walter, and Walternate.

I think that Dinklage had it a bit easier as Tyrion is a very strong character with lots of established background, although the TV show makes the character less badass than the source material. The Walters are also quite deeply written.

Dinklage has done the hedonistic prostitute-loving hyper-intelligent sarcastic realist thing before (Threshold) whereas Noble portrays an idealistic young father, a severely disconnected mental patient (played with so. much. glee!), and a ruthless power player driven by grief, anger, and maybe some deeply buried guilt.

I think I'd give the nod to Noble; Peter Dinklage still has at least one more season as Tyrion whereas I see (hope) that this will be the last season of Fringe.
posted by porpoise at 12:45 PM on September 18, 2011


I see (hope) that this will be the last season of Fringe.

Apparently the development team planned a 6 year story arc for Fringe, hopes for 7 years, but can wrap it up at the end of any season according to plan if they have enough notice. I'm hoping for one more year after this one (because close to 100 episodes is what is needed for most syndication contracts, and I'd like to see everyone involved get residuals for years to come), but am not sure if they can actually sustain the story arc through two more whole seasons.

Then again, I didn't think they could make it through a third season, and they managed pretty well, so I'll trust them and hope the audience responds.
posted by hippybear at 1:28 PM on September 18, 2011


I have two criticisms of Fringe; firstly, that it's distribution (on satellite and DVD) has been so uneven as to make me lose track of it. Season 3 seemed to take a long time to arrive on DVD, so long that I had trouble remembering where I stopped watching it.

Secondly, when it got going, it was interesting. But it occasionally lapsed into "freak of the week" territory, breaking the sense of story. Maybe this got fixed better in S3, but the overarching story seemed spread out.
posted by The River Ivel at 1:31 PM on September 18, 2011


its distribution (on satellite and DVD) has been so uneven as to make me lose track of it

Its distribution on satellite is via your local Fox affiliate, which you can likely even get over the air if your sat service is failing. If you have DVR technology in your house, set up a timer to grab "new episodes" and you'll never miss another one. Aside from that, you can keep track of when new episodes are supposed to air using this handy Fringe Episode Guide page from Wikipedia.
posted by hippybear at 1:38 PM on September 18, 2011


Fringe is 100% awesome, if for no other reason than it goes strange places without fear.

Blimps in an alternate universe? Sure, why not? Half-animated episode? Got it. Main character playing another main character? Yeah, we can do that.

The show is so damned much fun to watch.
posted by Thistledown at 1:58 PM on September 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


hippybear, I agree with you 100%

But Dinklage is a dwarf, and that's just how Hollywood is.
posted by PapaLobo at 1:59 PM on September 18, 2011


FRINGE IS THE AWESOME
posted by New England Cultist at 2:01 PM on September 18, 2011


I love Fringe, it's so very silly, but so much damn fun.

And I agree with Malor about Jasika Nicole, who plays Astro Astrid (that is one of my favorite things about the show, Walter's inability to call Astrid Astrid), and I also love Lance Reddick as Broyles (the man could bring gravitas to a Fleet Enema commerical) and Kirk Acevedo.

Also, it makes me happy that Bubbles has a regular job driving a cab in the alternate universe.
posted by biscotti at 2:39 PM on September 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


I knew about Fringe when it first premiered, but I was hating J.J. Abrams something awful for the disaster that was Lost and I gave the show a miss. About a month ago, I was in the local library and saw Fringe - Season 1 on DVD on the shelf and snatched it up. I devoured the first season in less than four days.

I am thoroughly kicking myself for not having watched this show when it first aired. It's truly a joy to watch and as soon as one episode ends, I'm ready to start the next. I just watched the season three premiere a few minutes ago and can't wait to watch the rest.

I'm a little concerned that they've moved the show to Friday nights, television's dumping ground, but I'm hopeful that the show will do well and, at the very least, win its time slot.

I'm also a little concerned that as I've seen the entirety of the series up to this point on DVD, the week long wait for new episodes is going to make me more than a little mental.

BTW, <3 Astrid. Best running gag ever.
posted by BrianJ at 3:20 PM on September 18, 2011


Biggest Fringe fan in Tokyo checking in.
posted by gen at 4:09 PM on September 18, 2011


> BTW, <3 Astrid. Best running gag ever.

For me, it's right up there with "What is Walter high on now?"

The show is not without its weaknesses, but John Noble is so great that I'm incapable of caring about those weaknesses.
posted by rtha at 5:02 PM on September 18, 2011


Thanks, hippybear! I'm very excited for the new season to start!
posted by wiskunde at 5:10 PM on September 18, 2011


I have mixed feelings about continuing with Fringe. Walter was much more interesting when his motivations and psychology were unknown. Then the writers had to go back and make him into a kindly grief-stricken guy who just happened to create monsters out of children and his psychological torture of Olivia turned out to be rather mild compared to her father.

This made Walternate more interesting but he didn't get nearly enough development to make it pay off. The same was true of evil Olivia.

There was a brief flirtation with dark Peter, who might realize his childhood dream to go home, but then they made him into Jesus instead.

Even William Bell (Anna Torv had too much fun impersonating Nimoy) was given a conclusion as a kindly sage offering self-help pablum.

It's like the opposite of a horror story, where those dark mysteries of plot and character lead up to a revelation that things are even worse than you want to imagine. Where Hitchcock's big reveals gave us a mummified mommy and a head in a hat box. Fringe pulls back the curtain to reveal good-hearted bumblers.

Which I suppose is a neat trick, but discovering that Walter is/was morally trustworthy undermined almost all of the early relationships where you just didn't know what he might do in pursuit of an interesting theory. (*)

But I'll probably stick with it in the hopes of an Astrid Farnsworth story arc, now that we've had singing, soulful, and stoned Broyles.

(*) Incidentally, it's one of the reasons why I'm loving the current season of Dr. Who, which is turning into the antithesis of the tinkebell Doctor of the previous season.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:40 PM on September 18, 2011


evil Olivia

But...she's not. I repeatedly found myself throughout season three bobbing between rooting for both Olivias, feeling compassion and ambivalence toward both. That's what makes the show so interesting. Sure it has flaws, but compared to some of the other drek floating around it's a veritable masterpiece.
posted by New England Cultist at 6:49 PM on September 18, 2011


It's not "evil Olivia". It's Fauxlivia. Just like how it's not "evil Walter", but instead Walternate.
posted by hippybear at 7:27 PM on September 18, 2011


Dinklage won. Told ya. You just can't beat a dwarf. Especially not one WHO SMACKS THE SHIT OUT OF LITTLE SHIT PRINCES. REPEATEDLY. SOMETIMES FOR TEN MINUTES STRAIGHT! TO THE SOUND OF LED ZEPPELIN! IF THE POST DOESN'T GET DELETED!

*ahem*
posted by PapaLobo at 7:50 PM on September 18, 2011


Wait ... Mr. Noble wasn't even nominated??? I thought sure he was. It's time to rain down some DELICIOUS STRAWBERRY FLAVORED DEATH!
posted by PapaLobo at 7:57 PM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dinklage won. Told ya.

Sorry, I thought we were talking theoreticals, not actuals.

Noble wasn't even nominated. I'd put him against Dinklage any day for the award, but he can't win what he isn't even in the running for.

Still, good on Dinklage. He was a great part of Death At A Funeral, and the best part of the horrible American remake of the same movie.
posted by hippybear at 7:58 PM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh. Good on Dinklage! He absolutely deserves it for a fan-pleasing and technically brilliant portrayal. Like I said, strong material to work with helps.

It'd Bolivia. BS Olivia (? Olivia "B" ? - or have I been mis-hearing Fauxlivia?), but as the show unwound, Bolivia became totally sympathetic. Olivia if she didn't have a cripplingly f-ed up childhood and who was comfortable with being both supremely capable and shit hot instead of being supremely capable but overlooked/pariah-ed.

Yeah, the mystery of what makes Walter tick ervaporates, but I'm wondering if the writers let altered Walter eventually find out the bits that he made Wiliam Bell cut out of his brain.

Jasika Nicole/Astrid/Astro? Bloody hell; she's supposed to be a highly (specialist; *Science!*) trained FBI operative. I kept hoping that she'd have an increasing role in the group but she's essentially just Walter's babysitter. I suspect she has a science PhD and is a full-fledged FBI agent. Fetching pants for a loony-bin semi-official operative/team member. If Astrid was a child psychologist or something who starts picking up lab science as Walter's apprentice... MAYBE. But as it stands; totally unbelievable and very insulting kind of role.
posted by porpoise at 8:51 PM on September 18, 2011


I didn't follow the show closely enough to know if they changed writers, but both the tone and the basic focus of the show changed during the second season, away from the the phenomenon and its impact on the characters towards random character drama and super human powers. The show lost its sense of mystery and changed from an iteration of X-Files into Heroes on acid.

Wow, and here I was just calling that "growth."

Fringe is a deeply flawed show, in that some episodes are stupid television (fast-forwarded horror pregnancy did it for me in the last season, and I agree with the criminal underuse of Astrid), but the acting is finer than almost anything else on network TV right now, and the writers seem generally very enthusiastic about developing an ever-deeper story arc. In LOST, as you looked like you were moving deeper, the writers were just moving the goal posts. Whereas in Fringe, we've already had quite a few answers revealed, and the growth of the characters and the situation has been informed by those answers. Almost like they might know how to follow through with stuff. Amazing!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:16 PM on September 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


But as it stands; totally unbelievable and very insulting kind of role.
Not at all. Remember, Walter went nuts originally because he accidentally killed one of his lab assistants. I'm sure Astrid's presence--at the start and even now that Walter is "better"--is a constant reminder of that. In fact, I'm pretty sure Walter doesn't get Astrid's name right on purpose; so he won't have to form that emotional tie to her that he did before (and one wonders if the blonde assistant we see in the Walternate universe--in 1985--isn't the one that died in "our" universe).

There's a very touching scene in the first season (the one where we first find out some small details about the Observers) in which Walter apologizes to Astrid for, well, knocking her out with a syringe to the carotid. His remorse is so obvious, so sincere, and Jasika Nicole plays
Astrid through a ton of emotions--Walter's betrayal of her, her realization that she'd developed an affection for him, else how could he betray her, sadness, fear--without saying a word or barely even looking at Walter.

It's one of the finest moments of the series, and is the cement that keeps Astrid by Walter's side.

In "our" universe, at least.
posted by PapaLobo at 10:31 PM on September 18, 2011


One of my favorite Fringe moments has them coming immediately back from a commercial break with Broyles asking another character, "Why are shape-shifting soldiers from another dimension stealing frozen heads?"

Lance Reddick delivers the line with his usual serious intensity - it's perfect.
posted by anthom at 3:11 AM on September 19, 2011


I'd like to add my voice to the JUST GIVE JOHN A GODDAMN EMMY ALREADY chorus.

I am super-happy about this show's return. For me, it was wonderful to watch it go from MoTW theme to HOLY SHIT BALLS WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE? I would have never ever expected this show to turn out to be about alternates, alternate universes, and all messed-up effects on the both worlds in between.

For that, J.J. Abrams, you may continue to breathe.
posted by Kitteh at 5:41 AM on September 19, 2011


I'm so addicted to this riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma, I can't even get my head around what's going to happen next!

Jasika Nicole's said that Bad-Asstrid (alternate Astrid) has Asperger's and that she models that version of her character on her sister's behavior. No matter what universe we're in, Astrid's always my favorite character, but Noble DEFINITELY deserves a few Emmys for his outstanding acting.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 3:53 PM on September 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gee, I'd love to catch up on your fucking show, Fox, but I CAN'T CATCH UP ON IT SINCE YOU ARE SHIT HEADS. Season 3 is finally in the mail from Netflix and season 4 isn't available yet.

It's already been pointed out that season 4 is yet to air. But if you're THAT angry about not being able to catch up on the show legitimately, there are always... Alternative methods.

I'm a little concerned that they've moved the show to Friday nights, television's dumping ground, but I'm hopeful that the show will do well and, at the very least, win its time slot.

This move happened at the mid-season point last season. And the show seems to be going strong still. I think at that point, it had already built up a pretty solid fan base. And in the age of PVRs and on-demand, does it really matter what night a show is on any more? My PVR didn't bat an eye in determining which night to record the show, since it's just set to record all new episodes. They could have it air at 2am on Wednesday morning, and I'd still have it. :)
posted by antifuse at 11:11 AM on September 20, 2011


They could have it air at 2am on Wednesday morning, and I'd still have it. :)

Just like Babylon 5 back on KCAL in the 90s before someone there had the brilliant idea of following DS9 with B5. I hope that person got a huge promotion.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:16 PM on September 30, 2011


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