I was with Fringe from the beginning. I thought the principal characters were well-conceived and well-acted — I will miss them. I stopped watching Fringe when they made the Observers evil. I’m tired of boogeymen. I’m tired of emotionless ruthless robotic humanoids — we always fear the evil within ourselves. (And Fox will supply a legion of serial killers starting next week. Set your barf-bag now!)
I grew up with Kolchak: the Night Stalker, Night Gallery, the original Outer Limits, and the Twilight Zone. I watched The X-Files from the beginning (Fox Maulder was Kolchak’s grandson) until, after 40 years, I grew tired of the monster of the week. I thought Lost was breathtakingly original, but devolved into mythical babble after they made the Others evil (more xenophobic evil-within boogeymen in our mirror — worse than monsters-of-the-week).
Ritualistically, I watched the Fringe series finale. It took me a while to catch up with some characters (September, in particular). I was especially glad to visit Over There (the alternate Universe), which really was my favorite part of the whole series. There were such fascinating differences Over There (coffee is rare, if I remember correctly, and I think we should call an ID a Show-me). Indeed, it’s a little sad that the alternate characters were all more interesting than the one’s on our side. (The same was true of evil Spock in StarTrek.) I wonder, though, why didn’t the Observers conquer Over There? Just our luck.
There was one aspect of Fringe that troubled me more than the gross viscera it wallowed in, even more than the standard video game storylines (pick this up, then go get this, then overcome this setback, repeat every week). Fringe pretended to put Science at its core, but it was really Magic. I don’t mind magic. I hate Magic disguised as Science for an uncritical audience.
Of course, nerds are nothing, if not critical. There are few things nerdier than arguing about the plausibility of sci-fi. It wasn’t just the absurd and gross wet-tech embodied by the awful shape-shifters. It wasn’t the steampunk psychic typewriter. I was irked by Walter and Peter Bishop, both brilliant, quick thinking scientists. Both jargon-spouting conjurers, in truth. Mind you, I love those characters. I just think Walter was really bent over a cauldron calling for Astrid to fetch more eye of newt. Stop invoking Science like a god.
Of course, the epitome of my disappointment was Bell. It was great to see Nimoy again, but by the end of his story he was on an ark seriously intending to ride out the destruction of one universe and the birth of another, which was to be peopled by his Dr Moreau hybrids. (The original Island of Dr Moreau remains the movie that horrified me the most.) That was the end of my interest in the series, which might have stopped there, were it not for the clout of its fans.
The credit the fans get for keeping Fringe alive galls me. Surely, Firefly has more fans, who are more passionate. And we got shit from the same network.
In the end, Fringe lived down to its baser instincts. Long scenes dependent on gunplay attest to bankrupt storytelling. For the good of the cause, countless people can be butchered gorily with a biohazard. Talk about blood-lust. Entire worlds are undone with the wave of a magic wand because heroes don’t take polls.
If I haven’t spoil Fringe for you yet, I won’t spoil the very last scene except to say it was almost worth two hours of irritating nonsense and it harkened to my favorite episode in the series. Of course, moments later, I was scratching my head over time paradoxes and how a message from a time undone ends up in the past. Such a nerd.
PS: Won’t Peter and Olivia be disappointed when Etta grows up to be a completely different person because of her completely different environment. Oh, wait, they have no knowledge of the other Etta. They live in an ideal world where we can rewind and forget the bad times.
PPS: I can’t wait to see Walter Bishop show up in the sequel in an atomic-powered Deloren. But, he’s more of an atomic-powered station-wagon-type. See what happens when writers don’t know when to stop?