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(Column) Rice: Just Another Gal from Casper – watching ‘Fringe’

It's not like there aren't plenty of new TV/Streaming shows to hold my attention - so many I just can't keep up. BUT. I still love revisiting old favorites. All 100 episodes of Fringe are now available to stream, and I'm hooked all over again. 

Kate Rice


It’s not like there aren’t plenty of new TV/streaming shows to hold my attention — so many I just can’t keep up. BUT I still love revisiting old favorites. All 100 episodes of Fringe are now available to stream, and I’m hooked all over again. 

Fringe is similar to The X Files, but instead of extraterrestrial pursuits, Fringe‘s FBI/Homeland Security task force is focused on, as the title suggests, fringe science events. Teleportation, dark matter, cybernetics, precognition…what begins as more of a “Case of the Week” show blossoms, over the course of five seasons, into story arcs that include a Prime Universe, an Alternate Universe, and an Alternate Timeline.

Season one introduces “The Pattern,” a series of whack events the task force investigates as their “case of the week”; “The Observer,” a man who seems to be present at all of these whack events; and “Massive Dynamic,” a worldwide corporation that has a hand in multiple science and technological-related discoveries and inventions, as well as nearly every investigation.

While I dig the action and science, I love Fringe‘s characters even more. The task force includes FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) — smart, compassionate and fantastic at her job; brilliant but mad scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) — a genius whose mental issues range from hilarious to heartbreaking; Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) — Walter’s equally genius son (sans mental issues) whose quips range from hilarious to heartbreaking; and Junior FBI Agent Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) — an empathetic, computer-savvy linguistics expert, lab assistant and all around “Gal Friday.”

There are plenty of other great characters and plotlines, and at its heart, Fringe is as much about relationships as it is about science. There’s friendship and romance, of course, but there’s also the ever-present father/son relationship between Walter and Peter that ping-pongs between irritation and admiration, exasperation and humor, hurt and love. 

It’s a great combination: science and spooky thrills for those who crave action and intellect; interpersonal exchanges for those who love a good character study. Stream Fringe on HBO Max (as of this writing) or Amazon, or order the entire series on DVD or Blu-ray.