For years, the major television networks have desperately been scrambling to develop the ever-elusive “next Lost” (hello/goodbye to The Event, FlashForward, et al). Too often, this has been attempted by throwing together as many mythological elements as possible and ignoring the key fact that Lost had a real respect for character and a steady approach to plotting.
If you’re looking for a series just as engaging (not to mention more satisfying and, on occasion, even more completely bonkers), Fringe is definitely worth a look. The complete Season 1-4 boxset is out this week, just in time for an epic catch-up before the show returns to Sky1 with its final season next month.
Here are five reasons why the criminally little-watched sci-fi drama is so special…
#1: Mind-blowing sci-fi
Fringe is wholeheartedly and unashamedly science fiction. Like The X-Files, some of the things that happen here are just crazy enough to be imaginable. The writers work hard to make the most audacious storylines believable and the results are always spectacular.
Rare diseases, shape-shifting, time travel, mind control and hideous monsters are all well and good, but Fringe provides the reasoning that makes them feel almost possible – and thus all the more scary.
The acting in Fringe is seriously impressive. Most frequently, it is the versatility of the actors that shines through. John Noble is excellent as Walter Bishop, bringing depth and warmth to the archetypal mad scientist.
Anna Torv is equally magnificent, with the character of Olivia Dunham seeming at first reserved but subtly growing into an incredibly strong presence who keeps her cool in even the most bizarre circumstances.
#3: Family dynamic
The theme of family is the emotional core that has held Fringe together since 2008. In early seasons, the focus on the relationship between Walter and his son Peter (Dawson’s Creek alumni Joshua Jackson) provided some of the show’s most emotionally resonant moments.
As Fringe has progressed, though, the team have become something of a surrogate family, only strengthening the attachment that the fans feel towards the characters.
#4: Rich and complex mythology
Like Lost, this is a show with complicated conspiracies, shadowy villains and an incredibly detailed mythology. Fringe trusts its audience to follow the twists and turns while consistently rewarding them for doing so.
It pulls off more straightforward episodic stories beautifully, while building tremendous serialised arcs at the same time over multiple seasons. Jaded Lost and X-Files fans will be glad to hear that writers have a great understanding of their overall plot and many of the lingering questions have already been given satisfying answers.
When the alternate universe was introduced in Season 1, it was the first indication of just how ambitious Fringe would become. Since then, the series has frequently approached storylines other shows would hardly be able to comprehend.
What do you love most about Fringe? Let us know below…
Watch a clip…