Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Parallel Universe, Fact or Fringe?

This week, Amber West and I are flipping channels over to FOX and sharing our Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday reviews of the new sci-fi hit, Terra Nova, and the returning favorite, Fringe

Fringe science is a type of scientific study whose hypotheses and conclusions differ significantly from mainstream theories.   Creators J.J. Abrams (creator and writer for Alias and Lost, as well as executive producer for the new CBS hit Person of Interest), Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci (both writers and producers of Alias and Hawaii Five-0) used this unorthodox technique to create Fringe, a science fiction television series on Fox.

After Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) witnesses extremely strange events involving her partner and boyfriend (played by Mark Valley, Human Target), she joins the Fringe Division of the FBI.    Olivia tracks down Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson, Dawson’s Creek) and asks for his assistance in releasing his father, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble, The Lord of the Rings trilogy), from his seventeen year incarceration at an insane asylum.   

Why?  Walter is known as a “mad scientist” and the FBI needs him to experiment and explain the unusual events taking place all around them.  Not long after his release, Walter introduces the parallel universe to the team, and only he, Peter, and Olivia can safely transport back and forth between worlds.

Why Walter and Peter? In the world as we know it, Walter’s son Peter died when he was a young boy.  Distraught, Walter used his portal creation to transport over to the parallel universe where he took Walternate’s (Walter in the parallel universe who also happens to be the Secretary of Defense in that world) son, Peter.  As expected, Peter didn’t take the news that he was from another world so well, and spent some time quite angry with Walter. 

Why Olivia?  As a small child, Olivia participated in a scientific research program and drug trial led by Walter in Florida .  Confused by bits and pieces of memory, Olivia returned to the facility where she spent her childhood and eventually remembered all of the events that took places years before.  She and the other children of the trial possess the ability to transport back and forth safely to the other universe.  Oh, and before we forget – Olivia’s identity in the parallel world is known as Feuxlivia in our world, while she is Olive over there.  That’s right – two Olivias: our world’s Agent Dunham and the parallel universe’s Feuxlivia/Olive. 

Let’s not forget about Massive Dynamic, the company created and founded by Walter’s former partner William “Billy” Bell (Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek).  Nina Sharp (Blair Brown, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd) runs Massive Dynamic and knows all of Walter and Billy’s secrets as they pertain to the parallel universe.  Nina diverts Olivia and Peter from the truth as long as she can, but she can’t hide it forever. 

Sound confusing?  It kind of is, but the show is amazing!  Fringe is sci-fi at its best.  We watch as our world and the parallel universe go to war, and as previously unexplained events involving shape shifting, teleporting, and the intricacies of neuroscience, to name a few, are investigated. 

The team is also assisted by recurring characters: Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick, The Wire), Fringe Division’s leader; Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole), a junior agent with the FBI who serves as Walter’s assistant and confidant; Charlie Francis (Kirk Acevedo, Band of Brothers), senior FBI agent and Olivia’s friend; and agent Lincoln Lee (Seth Gabel, Nip/Tuck), the newest addition to the team. 

This may come as a shock to many who know me, but I must award Fringe with a GTV ratingFringe is literally the first science fiction television program of its kind that has me tuned in on a weekly basis to see what the writers and creators will throw at us next (well, the first not involving the usual supernatural creatures like witches, werewolves, and vampires). 

It certainly doesn’t hurt that I have a minor crush on Walter (why hasn’t John Noble won an Emmy for his performance?) and a bit of a larger crush on Peter (Joshua Jackson isn’t Pacey any longer – and did I mention his voice is fabulous?). 

What do you think? Have you watched Fringe?   Who is your favorite character? Do you think the government has a Fringe Division we don’t know about?  Do we have a parallel universe out there, somewhere?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and check out her review of Terra Nova, the TV show with time travel and dinosaurs.  

Come back next week when Amber and I switch channels again – this time we’re moving over to ABC and reviewing Body of Proof and Desperate Housewives.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future. 

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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21 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Parallel Universe, Fact or Fringe?”

  1. OMG, I love Fringe! I can’t believe I didn’t latch on to it until last season!! I love Walter too (and his Naked Tuesdays) and while I totally miss Pacey, uh, I mean Peter, I am lovin’ Lincoln Lee!

  2. I sure have missed A LOT since I stopped watching. I saw the first season of Fringe and a few more episodes, then got off kelter and never jumped back in. Why hasn’t Noble won an Emmy? He’s brilliant in that role! One of the best actors on TV! I wonder if Netflix has the seasons I missed. (Boy, my queue is getting long.)

    1. I agree that Noble is simply brilliant as mad-scientist Walter Bishop. Maybe we should contact the Emmy nomination committee? I hope you find the past seasons on Netflix….I think the show got better after season one, but this new season is upsetting me with the….well I don’t want to give anything away. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Julie!

  3. Fringe is one of those shows I intended to watch but forget and then wasn’t able to catch up. I need to find it on Netflix because I know I’d love the show. And it doesn’t hurt that my old crush on Joshua Jackson rears its head every time I see previews…

    1. Stacy, Fringe is definitey something you have to watch week to week. Unfortunately, you can’t jump on and understand everything that is going on. If you crush on JJ like me, you should totally give it a whirl. From the beginning. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. I had never heard of Fringe before today. It really sounds interesting, and I’m sorry I’ve been missing it. As for what I believe our government has…no limits. Nothing would surprise me. Have you seen The Crazies? (It’s a movie.) That will wake up your imagination in terms of our government.

  5. Oh look, another one of my all-time favorites! God, I love this show so much I cannot articulate it. It is simply sharp, smart, exciting, AMAZING television.

    Is it really the FIRST Scifi that’s had you watching every week though? That seems sad to me, there have been so really first-rate scifis in the 90s and early 2000s. But oh well, at least you know a really good one when you see it. ^__^

    1. Hey, Amanda! I’ve watched a ton of sci fi over the years but it’s usually the witchy, vampy, werewolfy type shows that interest me. I’ve been watching more the last few years (Battlestar G, etc) because of my guy. But, yes – Fringe is the first one that I actually can’t wait to watch.

      I have your Top Sci Fi posts ready for next mashup . 🙂

  6. Fringe is a fantastic show. I agree with Julie Glover above about Noble’s acting. He’s been phenomenal, sometimes playing dual roles as Walter/Walternate. The team dynamics are excellent and I’m enjoying the new dynamics set up with Peter out of the picture. I love how Walter bonded with the little kid last week and Olivia’s gruesome discovery of Walter trying to lobotomize himself. Brilliant. If you’re not watching Fringe you’re missing one of the most inventive science fiction shows ever to be given more than one season…I’m guessing this season may be the last :0(

    1. Hey, Gareth! Thanks for stopping by!

      I do like the team dynamics, but I’m missing Peter. I love watching Peter and Walter’s interactions. Walter still makes me laugh, but not not nearly as much without Peter’s wise cracks.

      Last week’s episode was great, and the attempted lobotomy was just the icing on the cake. He just wanted to prove that he’s not crazy! 🙂

  7. Haven’t seen Fringe yet, but I’m in total geek love for dinosaurs (I enjoy ALL Jurassic Park movies). So I have been watching Terra Nova. Funniest thing about that show is the twitter comments.

    Tomorrow’s our night! TVD looks so intense I was worried it was the season finale already.

    I look forward to the Desperate Housewives post!

    1. Jess – do watch Terra Nova live and follow Twitter, or just the Twitter comments at any given time are funny? I like to watch Survivor live and follow the tweets, especially when Jeff Probst shares online.

      I’m always ready for TVD! The writing is moving fast; I can’t imagine what the rest of the season has in store for us!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Thanks for the heads up, Tiffany. This sounds like a show I’d love. How intriguing. What time does it come on? I’m missing so many great TV programs. And a friend was just telling me how good Terra Nova is, so I’ll check out Amber’s post. Thanks.

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