Fringe: The Complete First Season (+ BD-Live) [Blu-ray] (2009)

Actors: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Kirk Acevedo
J.J. Abrams
AC-3, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen
English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Number of discs:
Studio: Warner Home Video
DVD Release Date:
September 8, 2009
Run Time:
1028 minutes

DVD Special Features Include:

  • Evolution: The Genesis of Fringe featurette - The creators of the show discuss how the series unfolded and the qualities that make it so unique
  • Behind the Real Science of Fringe featurette - From teleportation to re-animation, Fringe incorporates recent discoveries in science. Consulting experts and scientists who are the authorities in their field address the areas of science which are the inspiration for the show
  • A Massive Undertaking: The Making of Fringe (on select episodes) - An in-depth exploration of how select episodes came to be made: from the frozen far reaches of shooting the pilot in Toronto, to the weekly challenges of bringing episodes to air
  • The Casting of Fringe- The story, as told by producers and cast, of how Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble and others came to be cast in the series
  • Fringe Visual Effects featurette - Goes deep into the creation of the shared dream state with some of the biggest VFX shots of the show
  • Dissected Files: Unaired Scenes
  • Unusual Side Effects: Gag Reel
  • Deciphering the Scene
  • Roberto Orci Production Diary
  • Gene the Cow montage
  • Three Full-Length Commentaries from writers/producers, including J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtman, J.R. Orci, David Goodman, Bryan Burk, Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner

Additional Blu-Ray Bonus Features:

  • Fringe Pattern Analysis - Take a closer look at 6 select scenes from Season 1 with experts who dissect each scene with notes, photos, and diagrams
  • BD-Live enabled features include Media Center, My Commentary, and commentary on Season 1 finale episode



Lately everything that Lost supremo J.J. Abrams touches turns into gold: Cloverfield, Star Trek, Mission Impossible III . . .

Well, maybe not Mission Impossible III but Fringe, his latest TV series (the second season premieres in the States on September 17, 2009), is no exception. The show ? co-created by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the team behind the popular Star Trek reboot - is pure 24 carat gold.

The pilot kicks off with all the passengers onboard an airliner dying under mysterious circumstances. A female FBI agent named Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) who is investigating the case manages to free an "expert" to help her from a mental institution where he has been languishing for the past twenty years. The "expert" is Walter Bishop (John Noble), a brilliant but off-the-wall eccentric scientist who is known for dabbling in so-called "fringe" science such as teleportation, mind control, invisibility, astral projection, mutation, reanimation and so on. (Pseudoscience is a better description actually.) Unlike The X-Files there are no UFOs or ghosts in Fringe, but most of the "science" in it is still pretty bogus. The most used line in the series is: "It's theoretically possible." Actually it isn't, but that shouldn't get in the way of all the fun.

Along for the ride is Bishop's sardonic son Peter (played by Joshua Jackson) who is also his father's legal guardian seeing as, well, Walter is nuts. After solving (sort of) the case of the dead airline passengers, the trio becomes a special team - pretty much like Mulder and Scully's X-Files ? who investigates bizarre and unexplained phenomena each episode. Fans who gave up on Lost will be glad to know that Fringe is less serialized, but more standalone in nature. A conspiracy of sorts ? called "the Pattern" - involving an ominous multinational (is there any other sort?) named Massive Dynamic ties the various episodes together. However, unlike Lost the viewer can however safely skip an episode or two and still safely follow the general gist of things. Try doing that with Lost!

Not that you would want to skip any episodes though: Fringe is a slickly produced, cleverly written and well-acted show. Kudos should especially go to actor John Noble's interpretation of ?mad scientist? Walter Bishop whose off-beat character serves as more than mere occasional comic relief or someone who spouts techno babble to advance the plot. Walter Bishop is a 100% original character, excellently written and well-performed. The character's presence elevates Fringe and prevents it from becoming a simple X-Files clone.

That is not to say that the show is without its flaws. Fringe often risks becoming a victim of its own plot conventions. Just on how many hare-brained science projects did Walter work on in his varied career as a scientist for instance? These faults however become more apparent when one tends to view many episodes in a row on DVD. The viewer might be well-advised to spread episodes out a bit instead of packing them in one after another. That will be difficult though: Fringe may take a few episodes to get going, but once you do get into the swing of things you'll find that Fringe is one of the more addictive science fiction television shows out there!

THE DISCS: At discount prices the Blu-Ray clocks in at $10 more than the bog standard DVDs. (Under normal prices the difference is about $20!) Your call. The Blu-Ray boasts all the features found on the standard DVD plus a handful of extra, um, extras. And of course it's in high def. But still, in these trying economic times you'd probably have to consider the budget. If you own a Blu-Ray player or Sony PlayStation 3 we'd recommend you go for the Blu-Ray and let the kids go hungry for an evening or two obviously, but that's just us . . .

WORTH IT? Oh yes. Fringe is an X-Files rip-off, but it's a good X-Files rip-off! Highly recommended . . .

RECOMMENDATION: Fringe is one of those shows you can afford to spread out instead of OD'ing on episodes because the rental has to be back at the store tomorrow morning. It's definitely worth a purchase to our minds. Buy it.



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