Monday, March 3, 2014

Monday Musings - Top Five Television Shows, Number One - Fringe!

And the time has finally come for number one in my list of Christine's Top Five Favourite Television Shows of All Time! If you follow me on Twitter, you knew this was coming. If you ever asked me what my favourite television show was, you knew this was coming. Because my favourite television show of all time is....


Words can't express how I feel about this show. I love the characters. I love that Olivia came from a troubled background and didn't let it define her. I love how Walter gets forgiveness. I love how Peter turns from a very prickly loner to a family man. And I love that the characters change, but always remain the people they were at the beginning. This show has some of the most believable and satisfying character arcs I have ever seen (or read, for that matter).

But there is also a very simple reason why I love this show: despite being a procedural, it never takes the procedural side too seriously. It has some fun with the subject. The moment I realized I loved this show was when it used that humour to move the plot along:

RIP, Mr. Papaya. We would have been BFFs if you hadn’t exploded.

However, unlike most procedurals, there is a mythology. The final episode brings together elements that were first introduced back in episode four of the first season. It is incredibly serialized, and yes there are some threads that were abandoned—Peter’s favor to Nina from season one, or Project Jellyfish—but enough of them are picked up that it does not drag down the show at all. The show trusts the viewers to keep up with everything—they had to, if they wanted four versions of the characters.

Plus, this show truly mastered the art of the cliffhanger. The finale of season one is one of the greatest finales ever made, what with the gradual reveals regarding Peter, and the final shot of Olivia’s—ahem—meeting place. (I’m not spoiling it. Watch season one and watch the final shot. If you aren’t attached by that point, I give up.) True, people guessed about the switch at the end of season two, but that doesn’t mean it was not a great cliffhanger. And Peter disappears in three and the Observers are coming in four and I am grateful that I didn’t have to wait because I would have gone crazy.

But despite the mythology, despite the plot, this show is mostly about what a father does for a son. Occasionally one makes mention to the repercussions to the family or to the father, and the wider issues are ignored, but Fringe focuses on that at the end—not the science, not the bad guys, not the past, but the father and son. It is a classic storytelling technique, but unusually, this show is not just about the son, but also about the father—and the negative repercussions that came from his love. All I can say is that the last two minutes and the resolution of his arc is perfection.

Ok, I’m about to cry again.
I could still write another 500 words about this show and it still would not express everything. I love Fringe. Go and watch it.


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