Of few series I have such a clear memory of get to see his first episode with special emotion as with ‘Fringe (To the limit)’. It was in the last bars of spring, it had been confirmed weeks ago that we would see it in the fall on hype was high (the new creation of JJ Abrams in the midst of ‘Lost’)… and the ten million dollar pilot was leaked.
Quite an event that we talked about at the time (and a server in the old Fandom Zone) and that reminds us of a pre-streaming era, of Megaupload, p2p and subtitling websites, in which it was difficult to officially follow a series of this caliber in Spain. Or at least in conditions. Fourteen years later we have a golden opportunity to review it thanks to HBO Max.
Created by JJ Abrams, Robert Orci Y alex kurtzman (the great architect of this new stage of Star Trek), ‘Fringe’ began with the mystery of flight 627 landing in Boston with all the crew and passengers dead.
This unexplained mystery pushes the FBI agent Olivia DunhamAnna Torv to contact, via the son of this (Joshua Jackson) with the Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), a mad scientist specializing in experimental science and what is at the limit of our knowledge.
For not spoil The topic is too much, we will say that this is the germ with which this leading trio goes to work at the agency’s Fringe division, specializing in what cannot be explained with conventional science but when you think “outside the box” .
A series of Cronenbergian inspiration and infinite possibilities
Despite the defects that we could attribute to the pilot (personally I was not too much of a fan of the script), it was very noticeable both aesthetically and conceptually that Abrams and company were quite clear:
«The idea was to make a series that was in the same vein as some of the first films of [David] Cronenberg or ‘An amazing trip to the back of the mind’, a bit of ‘The Twilight Zone’ and ‘The X-Files’, a series that felt super weird and superhuman at the same time. So I called Alex and Bob and I just said it would be fun if we put all the moves that we love and try to come up with something that we wanted to see.
With the compass pointing towards the complexity of David Cronenberg and the idea of supernatural mysteries of ‘The X-Files’, Abrams, Bryan Burk and other producers of the series (provisionally called The Lab) were designing a scenario where it felt like anything could be possible. As the header shows (changes according to season and some special episode):
For this they had Carol Spier, Cronenberg’s regular production designer since ‘The Dead Zone’, to be on board the project. His mission was to land that idea of creating a laboratory that looked as real as it was full of infinite possibilities.
A struggle between the autoconclusive and the serialized
With the success of ‘Lost’, television was hungry for mystery boxes and serialized series rich in mythology. But on the other hand, network television requires certain structures. So the solution was to marry the procedural aspect (of the monster of the week as if it were Mulder and Scully) with the serialized arcs of both characters and mythology in general.
In fact, it is quite noticeable in that first season in which the pillars of what we will see in the future are being built, case by case. in which ‘Fringe’ took on a life of its own. In Burk’s words:
“When you watch the first few episodes, you can see where we were trying to have self-contained episodes, but the nature of what the show is and what it wanted to be, not counting what we wanted or denied ourselves, is that it was a show. serialized. I don’t think we were consciously saying, “Oh, we’re going to do another serialized sci-fi series.” The show often tells you what it wants to be and this was one of those cases.”
And this is clearly seen from the seventh episode, one of those fundamental chapters that the series have showing that only the surface has been scratched and that there is so much we don’t know about this universe.
Little by little those appearances of the Observers, those veiled conversations began to take on a broader meaning… until reaching the end of that first season with the discovery that an alternative earth exists.
A jewel of a hundred episodes
That revelation gave an answer to some of the mysteries that ‘Fringe’ had planted while expanded those infinite possibilities that they had thought from the beginning. From here on, anything could happen and, in fact, the series gained a certain reputation for always going forward, getting rid of all ballast (does this plot or character not work? Well, let’s go) and developing what could have gone unnoticed in a season. previous.
The fans of ‘Fringe’ We were always living on the edge. Not so much because of the plot lines that absorbed us for five years, but because the audiences did not go beyond modest, often leading it to have that title of “best series that nobody watches”. We were every May putting candles to the saints to continue seeing Olivia (and Fauxlivia) year after year.
Because he deserved it, since the series was an example of how to play his own thing by forcing something the limits of an unaccustomed television (how much the television science fiction scene has changed in just over a decade) to stories like this. Despite the initial ups and downs, the trip was fantastic from start to finish.