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Fringe vs. Other Shows


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#1

rocknrollchic

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 6:43 AM

I figure the Lost, Alias and X-Files comparisons are inevitable at this point...

So compare and contrast away!
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#2

vilecanards

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 2:18 PM

So far, I'm still undecided on whether I will stay with this show. I was a huge fan of X-Files, and the similiarities between the two are so abundant as to border upon theft of intellectual property from Chris Carter. The main difference in the "big conspiracy" theories is that one is based upon extraterrestrials, while this one is based on the actions of humans.... so far. I wouldn't be surprised to see a UFO-based episode in the near future. The main thing that bugs me, so far, is that the show is really cramming too much stuff into one-hour episodes, which causes the "pseudo-science" stuff to get glossed over. We are just expected to suspend ALL disbelief and accept the weak and brief descriptions of what is actually being done with the hardware and concepts supporting it. This time-constraint causes the show to be entirely predictable... I know it will be resolved by the top of the hour, but the way it is resolved is unsatisfying. I think the term "deus ex machina" applies. Shows like the X-Files and Battlestar Galactica aren't afraid to stretch out a story-arc over several episodes, and even seasons, to insure that the details of the story are properly laid out. I will give it a few more chances, since there are too few shows of this type on TV.

Edited by vilecanards, Sep 17, 2008 @ 3:31 PM.

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#3

mekkio

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Posted Sep 17, 2008 @ 3:58 PM

Fringe is a shallow X-Files mixed with a heaping spoonful of Threshold. The only thing in common this show has with its JJ Abrams' sibling, LOST, is the shadowy company that seems to be behind much of the mystery. Other than that, the two are night and day.
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#4

Tresjolie9

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Posted Sep 18, 2008 @ 2:18 PM

Have to say that it is starting to seem like "supernatural/paranormal/fringe science" investigators is starting to become a genre in itself. While it is made by man, is something that has never been done before, and this show is somewhat interesting, after X-Files, Threshold, and Torchwood it just doesn't seem all that original. I also think "big mysterious evil corporation," has just been done to death on just about every show. The last episode's script, with the baby who quickly grew up, could have easily been retooled to fit the X-Files or Torchwood and I've actually heard it has been done on Smallville and Wild Wild West.
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#5

seric26

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Posted Sep 19, 2008 @ 5:14 PM

Not just those, but it happened on Angel (Cordelia had an instant pregnancy in Season one) and Star Trek: Next Gen (Deanna gave birth to a rapidly growing man). It's a hoary sci-fi cliche, but Fringe was unusual in focusing on the rapist/killer rather than the suffering of the woman. Got that over quick when she died before delivery.
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#6

jbreckenridge

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 3:04 PM

Sometimes this show reminds me of the mad science of The Venture Brothers. The image of the three guys in pods made me think they'd loaded the clone slugs into learning beds. The underlying theme of a supersecret government agency up against an evil conspiracy also fits.
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#7

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Posted Sep 22, 2008 @ 8:01 PM

I was a huge fan of X-Files, and the similiarities between the two are so abundant as to border upon theft of intellectual property from Chris Carter.

The comparison to the X-Files is obvious, especially with the FBI connection. Of course there has to be some suspension of disbelief on the part of a viewer in order to watch these types of shows. But at least there was some plausibility to the plots in the X-Files, whereas the plots in Fringe, so far, have been outrageous.

As far I as know, the FBI does not allow civilians to walk all over a crime scene, to assist an agent in making an arrest or in saving a kidnap victim, or to interrogate suspects. Pacey (whatever his name is) has done all that in just the first two eps, plus he tortured the suspect that was being interrogated during the pilot ep. It was ridiculous. The Pacey character is kind of absurd. The character isn't the mad scientist that the FBI has enlisted, nor is he an agent. He just happened to be the son of the mad scientist so therefore he is included as part of the investigative team. This scenario is so contrived. Whichever writer thought up that scenario was too clever for the show's own good.

The X-Files was essentially about two normal agents who investigated the paranormal, whereas in Fringe, the investigators themselves engage in paranormal activities. The X-Files premise was more plausible in that respect. For example since the memory of the eye to tv screen transfer technology worked (in the 2nd Fringe ep), why shouldn't the FBI use that in all their future cases? If future Fringe stories are going to be consistent, that should be a standard procedure by the Fringe investigators. I don't think stories work as well when those doing the investigating are themselves doing the paranormal. I have to say that the X-Files had a better premise.
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#8

MFD

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Posted Sep 24, 2008 @ 12:10 PM

I don't think there will be aliens. I think we'll just deal with a human cadre of evil scientists.
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#9

iridium

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Posted Sep 26, 2008 @ 1:28 AM

I agree that this show has very little in common with JJ's other creations...although, some of the score does sound mildly reminiscent of Lost, on occasion.

But the X-Files comparisons...yeah. That's a given, and the showrunner would have known that from the start, but really? Even the opening credits are similar. The nutbar scientist is a nice addition, and certainly a good point of difference, but the pseudo-science...Well, let's just say I usually manage to dampen down any misgivings about the logic of my shows (and I watch some crazy shit, y'all: Lost, Heroes, X-Files when it was on, SPN etc), but even I am having trouble maintaining my blissful suspension of disbelief here.

I'm trying to figure out why I'm so uncomfortable with the X-Files/ Fringe likeness. It's weird that it's hard to accept two genre shows that are so similar, and yet CBS can trot out a million tired procedurals that barely raise a murmur of complaint (and in fact continue to top ratings). Not that I watch any of those shows, but the issue of originality (or rather, lack of, obviously) doesn't seem to be an issue.

On the upside, I agree with MFD - I doubt there will be aliens either. That surely would cross the line. And I think all of the leads are doing a commendable job.

I'll stick with it, and see where the ride takes me.

Edited by iridium, Sep 26, 2008 @ 1:29 AM.

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#10

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 9:03 AM

I never could get into Lost. Alias bugged me from the very first episode, despite its interesting premise. Same thing's happening re. Fringe.

J.J. Abrams is a stylistic ripoff artist. Even the wardrobe on Fringe is straight out of the X-Files. You'd think, given that comparisons between the two shows are inevitable, that the creators would work to at least give Fringe a different look.

And this is exactly what irritated me about Alias. I tuned into the pilot episode, and what did I see? A Run Lola Run copy. Right down to the camera angles. Maybe Abrams looks at this imitation as an homage; I regard it as lack of originality. Let him work out his own blasted camera angles and wardrobe and... plots!

I turned off one episode because the exploding pregnant chick was right out of Ridley Scott's Alien. It's hard to shock when the viewer sees it coming a mile off.

This week I gave it another try, and found it heavy on cop-show cliches. Married to the job, yada yada. The eccentric scientist? Oldest cliche in the book. So far I haven't seen a single original element in this show.

As for plot, I have a sinking feeling that this show is yet another J.J.Abrams onion peeling exercise as per Lost. The viewer's supposed to stick around as one level of conspiracy follows another, as each mystery turns out to hold another mystery. Well when you peel an onion you never will find a core, and when you're finished all you're left with really is a pile of stinking peel. I didn't mind it so much with X-Files since that show had style, humor, and a certain dynamic between the characters.
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#11

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Posted Oct 1, 2008 @ 2:58 PM

On the very first episode of Superfriends, there was a guy who kept showing up at disaster sites. It turns out he was an alien draining power with his umbrella.
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#12

zombygirl

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Posted Oct 15, 2008 @ 12:06 AM

This show has been getting a lot of comparisons to Eleventh Hour on it's thread, and I gotta say those are leaning torward Fringe being better and more interesting. And I agree. Not that that is really saying very much, but i like Fringe and all of it's cliches and homages. Ok, they're blatant ripoffs of other genre shows, but I still like it. :)
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#13

reinoe

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Posted Oct 22, 2008 @ 1:59 PM

I couldn't keep watching after the "magic-oldman-baby" episode. It's bad enough that I can't stand the old man/crazy scientist, but then they throw in the recycled plot lines. I was interested because this show seemed like the X-Files. Then I realized this show isn't like the X-Files. It is the X-Files.
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#14

first avenue

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Posted Oct 22, 2008 @ 2:05 PM

The dripping eyes, this week was pure X-Files.
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#15

Jamoche

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Posted Oct 22, 2008 @ 6:03 PM

The dripping eyes, this week was pure X-Files.


And a bit of Maya in Heroes (now, if only Maya would explode...)
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#16

amerirish

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Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 7:31 PM

There are definite similarities to "The 4400" - so much so that I was initially a bit tentative about whether I'll enjoy Fringe. The prematurely/suddenly cancelled USA series was my favorite show of all time. It was about 4400 people abducted over a span of 60 years only to be returned to a beach in Seattle Washington with amazing super-human abilities (I'll refrain from my normal rant about Heroes copycatting) but with no memory of where they've been and haven't aged a day. On this note; I noticed this week that Peter is left handed, a central theme in The 4400 as the "abilities" of the people are developed/discovered. I wonder if that will be significant in the future.
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#17

GreenPhoenix

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Posted Nov 21, 2008 @ 11:22 PM

On the flip side of comparisons, tonight's episode of Sanctuary had a young guy who could draw with pinpoint accuracy. The difference between him and Radio Guy is that he drew the past, and he could draw mad quickly.
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#18

EPThompson

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Posted Jan 30, 2009 @ 8:30 PM

The similarities to X-Files are obvious, but personally I'm enjoying Fringe a lot more. X-Files never clicked with me, and there were a couple of things about the formula that distanced my enjoyment. For one thing, the skeptic/believer duality. It works in principle, but as it played out you have Scully endlessly disbelieving in anything out of the ordinary, despite all the crazy stuff she saw earlier. In contrast Mulder is always ready to believe in the most extreme possible scenario, and is always vindicated. Aliens, ghosts, psychic twins, whatever. There was no focus, little sense in the episodes I saw of the characters changing and developing, and absolutely no sense of a broader universe that was remotely coherent. The whole notion of a setting where absolutely anything was possible annoyed me, because it's so intellectually lazy. Likewise, the ability of two not-that-bright gun-wielding agents to survive all these extreme encounters passed my threshold of tolerance.
In contrast I like the theme of Fringe's using Mad Science to fight Mad Science. Does it involve a lot of over-convenient shortcuts, Did Not Do the Research and huge plot holes? Yes. But it also brings a sense of energy and comedy to the whole endeavor that makes it more entertaining, for me at least. One of the most limiting things for me with the X-Files was it seemed to take itself too seriously, particularly with 'the Truth is Out There'.

In comparison with the 4400, while I enjoyed the latter show quite a bit it wasn't that good in its first or second season. The macro-scale allowed some unique and interesting stories, but the character-quality didn't have anything as intriguing as Walter, or his relationship with his son, at least initially. Also for a long time it's approach to continuity and the big picture was even lazier and more arbitrary; there would be some Freak Power of the Week story, then Marco would explain the ripple effect that worked out for the greater good through some elaborate Xanatos Roulette. It got better and more solid after a couple seasons, but then Fringe might well do the same.
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#19

EPThompson

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Posted Apr 14, 2009 @ 11:26 AM

I have to say, most of a season down and the show has proven somewhat disappointing. I think the biggest factor is the lack of good antagonists. Compared to Alias, Lost, even S1 Heroes there's not consistent and compelling adversarial characters. Jones is probably the closest thing to that, and he's only been in three spreed out episodes. Beyond that, we get revenge killers, psycopaths, arms dealers that are all pretty generic, episodic and easily dispatched. The only interesting people that have had a real presence are Jones and Massive Dynamic, both of which seem to be few and far between.
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#20

Aunty Mib

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Posted Apr 15, 2009 @ 9:47 AM

The Monster episode made me flashback to the New Avengers episode Gnaws.

The agents have to hunt down a genetically modified monster in a sewer that was released from a biotech lab. For most of the episode the only part of the monster that one sees is it's large scaly tale.
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#21

bookwrm74

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Posted Sep 25, 2009 @ 2:04 PM

EPThompson, I couldn't agree more with you about somehow 'clickong' with this show in a way that I never could with X-Files (and, believe me, I tried!)

The characters on Fringe just resonate with me far more than Mulder or Scully. I feel like Olivia-Peter have far more chemistry than Mulder-Scully ever did (this is blasphemy, I know!), and there's certainly no relationship on X-files that IMO had anywhere near the depth and soul of the relationship between Walter and Peter.

There's also just an overall difference in tone for me. I found X-Files so flat, subdued and just plain dull. Fringe has far more quirk (there's a freakin' cow!) and humor IMO.

Certainly, there are major similarities between X-Files and Fringe in terms of themes and storylines. Overall, though, Fringe has captured my TV-loving heart in a way that X-Files never could.

Sadly, another difference between Fringe and X-Files seems to be that the latter was far more popular, so I'm worried Fringe might not be around to compare with other shows too much longer!
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#22

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Posted Sep 27, 2009 @ 7:52 PM

I never could get into Lost. Alias bugged me from the very first episode, despite its interesting premise. Same thing's happening re. Fringe.

J.J. Abrams is a stylistic ripoff artist. Even the wardrobe on Fringe is straight out of the X-Files. You'd think, given that comparisons between the two shows are inevitable, that the creators would work to at least give Fringe a different look...

Well, technically Alias was nothing but a soap opera version of La femme Nikita and Felicity the female version of Dawson's Creek, since Lost isn't exactly his as much as a collaborative effort between Lindelof, Cuse and him what Abrams excels at is at "steal from the best and make it your own".

Either way I never got into Alias because Sidney and Vaughn hooked up too fast to care - and Felicity switched between Noel and Ben as if they were shoes rather than the male version of Joey and Jen they really were - but I do like the way Walter, Peter and Olivia have evolved since season 1.

The thing is, there's an underlying sense of family the X-files didn't have, especially between the Bishops and Olivia; you've got this feeling that Olivia is coming home instead to work because these people are connected in a way the X-files characters never were.

Edited by just watching, Sep 27, 2009 @ 7:59 PM.

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#23

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Posted Sep 28, 2009 @ 9:48 AM

Either way I never got into Alias because Sidney and Vaughn hooked up too fast to care

I got into Alias for the exact opposite reason: I was super glad to see them get together in a way that wasn't drawn out for 10 years then hidden in dark shadows (yes, X-Files, that would be you).

I came to Fringe looking for the X-Files, but I have not found the two shows to be all that similar so far. I was a big Mulder/Scully shipper and while I'd like to see something between Olivia and Peter, so far I haven't. And the alternate universe thing is so different to me from the alien thing that I don't equate the two. They are similar in that there's some sort of big picture consipiracy that is beyond the protagonists at the moment and also in that they are super gross and scary at times (and I'm shocked that I can even watch them -- but I guess a compelling mystery can hold my interest despite the monsters).

So, there's a structural similarity (mytharc and MOTW), but the particulars are very different, for me anyway. I hope Fringe is able to resolve the storyline in a satisfying way. If it starts to go into too many tangents without resolution, it may lose me. Burn me once...

Edited by jenniferes, Sep 28, 2009 @ 9:52 AM.

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#24

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Posted Sep 28, 2009 @ 11:12 AM

Either way I never got into Alias because Sidney and Vaughn hooked up too fast to care...

I got into Alias for the exact opposite reason: I was super glad to see them get together in a way that wasn't drawn out for 10 years then hidden in dark shadows (yes, X-Files, that would be you).

I agree, 10 years is too much to end up together but the sexual tension was still there long after their first son, the first sleep over or their first kiss but Sidney and Vaughn lost theirs the minute they hooked up only a year after her fiance died, add the fact he married someone else only a year after he thought she died and the whole affair lacked the chemistry I hope Peter and Olivia never lack of on Fringe.

*ETA:

I was a big Mulder/Scully shipper and while I'd like to see something between Olivia and Peter, so far I haven't.

Then again, its only been a year since her fiance died if you catch my drift ;) However, I often see them as the very tired parents of a newborn baby waiting for Walter to take his "first steps" to rekindle their life as couple.

Edited by just watching, Sep 28, 2009 @ 12:43 PM.

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#25

pretorian

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Posted Oct 5, 2009 @ 1:12 PM

From the Ratings thread:

There is a venue for shows like this and, of course, it's the SyFy channel (love it or hate it). It did a great job with BSG: wonderful cast, great special effects, great storyline, intense plots over a period of years. They even kept borderline inventive shows like the StarGate series at an acceptable level for many years (StarGate Universe is a bad exception). There's also TBS (Dead Zone and 4400) and TNT (B5, Pretender, WitchBlade, and Forever Knight, I believe.) BUT the networks are so desirable because of the huge advertising money. Cable is where these shows can survive more than one season. Who knows what would have happened if Journeyman, Invasion, Surface, Threshold, Firefly, Sarah Connor & Firefly, for instance, were on cable. Fox SciFi shows are usually very short lived. What they do with Fringe will be interesting, but hopefully it will make it to the end of S-2.

To be honest I think Stargate Universe is the show that has the problem I thought Fringe had of trying too hard to be a show that it's not (Lost/Battlestar Galactica) rather than the trademark feel good tale of camaraderie the Stargate franshise was all about, watching Fringe promos my only thought was "X-files 2.0" and if I wouldn't come here I would've never give it a chance to the scientific saga of the Bishop family and their many honorary relatives.

Edited by pretorian, Oct 5, 2009 @ 11:18 PM.

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#26

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Posted Oct 16, 2009 @ 6:26 PM

From the episode thread:

I am getting really tired of hearing this show compared to x-Files. I liked X-Files all right, but didn't watch it religiously and I feel that sometimes hardcore X-Files fans are not just allowing Fringe to be Fringe, and instead seem to like to spend all their time comparing each episode to an X-Files episode or talking about which character had a cameo on X-files or whatever. I think that yes, there are similarities, but maybe there ought to be another thread JUST to compare Fringe to X-Files, because sometimes that really seems to totally take over this discussion thread and it gets sort of frustrating to those of us who did not watch every episode of X-Files and want to take Fringe solely on its own merits. I don't know if this has been brought up before? Does anyone else think that a separate thread to talk about Fringe/X-Files connections might be a good idea and we could get it off of these individual episode discussion threads? Just asking for opinions, so Hardcore X-Files fans please do not bite my head off! ;)

I'm going on record. I agree with you. I watched The X-Files but not with any level of passion. I find myself skipping over posts that mention The X-Files even when they're made by posters I enjoy and respect. I think a "Fringe vs other shows" thread would be very appropriate. I'd start it myself except I've never started a thread on this site before and I'm not sure how to go about it.

For a disclaimer I didn't find anything particularly X-fileish about this episode aside the first scene with the demons but if you want to discuss it further this is the place for it.

Edited by just watching, Oct 16, 2009 @ 6:30 PM.

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#27

bookwrm74

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Posted Oct 17, 2009 @ 4:03 PM

I rambled for awhile about X-Files vs Fringe on the previous page, so I'll spare you all a repeat! Suffice to say, though, that I agree with those who feel X-Files had a radically different tone: it was, IMO, awfully, flat, dry and cold as compared to Fringe. On a related note, I didn't find X-Files' lead characters or their relationship the least bit compelling, while it's the characters and inter-relationships on Fringe that's made it one of my favorite shows ever.
While I definitely see similarities in themes and storylines, Fringe has already resonated with me so much emotionally, while X-Files never came close.
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#28

pretorian

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Posted Oct 17, 2009 @ 4:38 PM

...On a related note, I didn't find X-Files' lead characters or their relationship the least bit compelling, while it's the characters and inter-relationships on Fringe that's made it one of my favorite shows ever.

More than compelling I think the characters/relationships are completely different than it appears at first glance; while the X-files was about solitary people/broken families caught up in their own quest for the truth and their loneliness was so palpable that Mulder & Scully's relationship shined like a beacon, Fringe is actually about a makeshift family made out of children seeking connection with a father figure and viceversa, sometimes that father figure is Peter, sometimes is Walter and sometimes it's even Olivia so their quest has more to do with protecting said connection than the actual war.

Each character on Fringe that contacts the Bishops ends up being an integral part of the family whether that is Charlie, Astrid, Gene or William Bell and their loss it's felt by every character as only a family would so, as perfect as the X-files were, this is a completely different show in which the only thing in common is that Olivia works for the FBI just like Mulder and Scully did.

Edited by pretorian, Oct 17, 2009 @ 4:43 PM.

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#29

bookwrm74

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Posted Oct 17, 2009 @ 4:59 PM

I actually never cared about Mulder and Scully at all---as separate characters or as a unit, so it was definitely no 'beacon' for me! I totally agree, however, that the core characters on Fringe are lost souls come together as a makeshift family.

I often disagree qbout characters earning that 'makeshift family' status merely because they're friendly and/or work together---for instance, many describe the co-workers on Criminal Minds as a makeshift family, and to me they're just a group of under-developed characters who have under-developed relationships with one another. The Fringe characters, though, really do feel like family to me...they even grate on each other's nerves just like real families do, and Walter is that crazy eccentric uncle many of us used to see once a year at Thanksgiving ;)

Edited by bookwrm74, Oct 17, 2009 @ 5:00 PM.

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#30

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Posted Oct 17, 2009 @ 5:11 PM

More than compelling I think the characters/relationships are completely different than it appears at first glance; while the X-files was about solitary people/broken families caught up in their own quest for the truth and their loneliness was so palpable that Mulder & Scully's relationship shined like a beacon, Fringe is actually about a makeshift family made out of children seeking connection with a father figure and viceversa, sometimes that father figure is Peter, sometimes is Walter and sometimes it's even Olivia so their quest has more to do with protecting said connection than the actual war.

Each character on Fringe that contacts the Bishops ends up being an integral part of the family whether that is Charlie, Astrid, Gene or William Bell and their loss it's felt by every character as only a family would so, as perfect as the X-files were, this is a completely different show in which the only thing in common is that Olivia works for the FBI just like Mulder and Scully did.

The funny thing is my husband and I always relate to Peter and Olivia attempts to get some time "away from the baby" that is Walter, especially the bar scene last season when they ended up making card tricks. It's like they love Walter, they really do but sometimes it's good to leave him with Astrid even if its only to question prisoners you know. I never got that feeling with Mulder and Scully, even after they had a son they still were just a couple of people together and its odd that in a show that isn't about a couple and their baby there're more typical "family moments" than say "Ghost Whisperer" or "Alias".
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