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Fringe vs. Other Shows


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#331

collectivesoul

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 7:25 PM

Josh Jackson weighs in on Peter Bishop versus Fox Mulder

I first told him that Peter replaced Mulder as my favorite fictional character ;) Josh has stated several times that he loved the X-Files. Just like him, one of the highlights of my youth was discussing the show with friends at 24 hour diners and such. Now we have Twitter to discuss Fringe.

Edited by collectivesoul, Apr 3, 2012 @ 7:27 PM.

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#332

oconnellaboo

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 7:35 PM

Thanks for posting this! I just loved your exchange with Josh. I knew he was a man of taste!

Highlight of your youth? I'm so OLD! LoL
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#333

collectivesoul

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 7:41 PM

oconnellaboo 34 in June, Dear ;) Yup, when X-files was on Fridays during football season, I had to set the VCR to tape it, because I was in the marching band. At least you know the VCR, haha!
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#334

DixieGirl

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Posted Apr 3, 2012 @ 9:13 PM

Oh, a fellow band geek!

But I'll make you both feel young! When I was in marching band, regular people didn't have VCRs or camcorders. The band directors had a huge video camera they used to tape marching performances. And the assistant (single) director used it in the off-season...

Edited by DixieGirl, Apr 3, 2012 @ 9:14 PM.

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#335

agora

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 10:03 AM

I was so happy because I thought Alcatraz was being cancelled ...and then I realized I was reading an Awake thread.

The only Sci-fi shows I have to compare Fringe to are Lost and Terra Nova, and neither one of them is a procedural.

I think the relationship that resembles the most to Peter and Olivia's is Daryl and Carol's from The Walking Dead, but the dynamic between between Walter and Astrid reminds me of Sheldon & Amy (The Big Bang Theory) so bad that I can't believe it never went romantic at one point or the other.

Lincoln is definitely a Once Upon a Time's Prince Charming type in my eyes!

Can you explain what you mean by this...

I was too young to remember a 20 year old procedural like the X-Files. I mean, I know who Mulder - or Buffy - is, but I wouldn't know any point of comparison as well as I do know with shows I actually watched. I'm sorry if I "ruined the flow" somehow.

Edited by agora, Apr 7, 2012 @ 10:05 AM.

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#336

yvettehacke

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 10:30 AM

I meant comparing Daryl and Carol to Peter and Olivia :D (lord I loathe Carol as a character).
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#337

agora

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Posted Apr 7, 2012 @ 11:07 AM

I meant comparing Daryl and Carol to Peter and Olivia

I can't compare them to emotionally healthy people: Peter and Olivia are not a Don & Mrs. Draper (Mad Men), they are more of a Daryl & Carol (The Walking Dead) to me.

If this were Once Upon a Time or Game of Thrones, I don't think Peter and Olivia would even make it to protagonic couple for they are way too damaged for that, hence why I love their story arc so much.

Edited by agora, Apr 7, 2012 @ 11:40 AM.

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#338

Trini Girl

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 5:54 PM

Asked in the episode thread:

Its a very interesting approach that they are playing at. Usually (in science fiction) timeline resets and alternate universes are absolutely separate. This show is really playing with these things getting all mixed up. I've never quite seen this approach before. Does anyone have an example from another work?

One instance I can think of from Star Trek: The Next Generation, is when Capt. Picard's lives out another lifetime (but only in his mind), and then returns to the present but he still has memories and knowledge from that lifet"life" he "lived". The title is "The Inner Light". Not really parallel, but that's the closest I can think of off the top of my head.

Of course, there's a difference between universes and dreams/illusions that only exist in the mind.
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#339

Money Magnet

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:00 PM

My tendency is to think of alternate universes and alternate timelines as the exact same thing: different realities based on different results of different past events. (The "infinite timelines/infinite universes" principle) But I don't know if the showrunners approach it that way.
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#340

supposebly

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:55 PM

It seems to me that they are very different things in the Fringe-verse. Two (or more) universes with different versions of the same people exist side-by-side.
Timelines don't seem to be able to co-exist, except with Peter, who exists in one universe but in two timelines since he is the only one who remembers and tracks both timelines.

I wonder if the last episode of Stargate-SG1 Unending could be compared to this. Only Teal'c remembers and lived the 50-odd years they spent on the ship. So, he is aware of two timelines when it was reset while the others are not.

Edited by supposebly, Apr 11, 2012 @ 6:58 PM.

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#341

jophan

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Posted Apr 11, 2012 @ 7:17 PM

There have been plenty of science fiction series that have dealt with both alternate universes and timeline resets, but separately. Fringe is the first I know of to have one event reset the timeline in multiple universes.

The other big TNG paradox was "Yesterday's Enterprise", in which a Starfleet ship under attack escapes through a temporal rift, changing the present of the Enterprise into one where they are losing a full-scale war. Guinan recognizes that the present is wrong (using her ill-defined extrasensory powers) and convinces Tasha Yar (who was dead in the original timeline) to command the stricken ship on a suicide mission back into the past. The timeline apparently returns to normal. Paradox ensues when Yar is captured by Romulans, is impregnated in captivity, and bears a daughter who appears in later episodes. (Thanks to the Star Trek Encyclopedia, since I didn't remember the details.)

Now, that one and the repeated-time-loop in "Cause and Effect" were cases of alternate timelines in the same universe (as Fringe would put it) while TOS' "Mirror, Mirror" and TNG's "Parallels" dealt with alternate universes.

Edited by jophan, Apr 11, 2012 @ 7:20 PM.

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#342

sleepingwalker

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Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 8:25 AM

The paradox loop things are interesting. Usually you get one person for perspective who is held immune from the timeline changes. Guinan for example. Or the people on the surface of the Guardian Planet. Or Tealc. What feels "new" is the bleedthrough thing. Other than the one person held immune from the time change you don't have people having a sense of deva vu or other sense of another version of events. Its almost like a false memory that is not really false.
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#343

Money Magnet

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Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 8:45 AM

Fringe's scenario challenges the viewer to consider the possibility that different realities (timelines) might be equally valid at the same time.

But for me -- since I believe different "universes" are really different "timelines" (that you can travel back and forth between) - different sets of possibilities - that leap in perspective wasn't too hard to make this season.

There are some other sci-fi tropes that Fringe has put unusual (if not novel) twists on - such as "The Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter," where your mad scientist character always has a lovely innocent daughter he's very concerned about... on Fringe, the daughter is a son (Peter). Of course, in a way, Olivia is also Walter's "daughter" as well, being one of his former child test subjects.

And on Fringe, amazingly in this day and age... drug use is just another tool for enlightenment. Fringe's attitude toward drug use is very clearly "Drugs are not bad... it's what you intend to do with the help of drugs that might be bad."

Edited by Money Magnet, Apr 12, 2012 @ 8:46 AM.

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#344

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Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 3:34 PM

The show I think of when it comes to alternate timelines and sticking with them is Eureka.

So, SPOILERS for that show ahead.

In the beginning of the 4th season (I think the 4th, syfy and their half season crap confuses me), 5 of the main characters were thrown back to the 1940s. When they returned, the timeline was different due to someone from the past coming back with them. The changes centered on the town, and got progressively smaller the further away you got from the town and its influence. So, they came back and one character was suddenly married to a complete stranger, the others had different jobs, or the status of their relationships were completely different, etc.

And, at least so far, they've stuck with that timeline. So, the rest of the characters, like the lead's daughter, have a whole different set of memories and experiences than the time travelers.

Hmmm, I not sure why the comparison only came to me now. There are obviously lots of differences, e.g. no one on Eureka ended up not existing because of the change (plus the show is a lot lighter in tone than Fringe), but it was interesting to see how 1 change could affect the lives of everyone in that town, as well as seeing the time travelers adjust to these different versions of their friends, children, lovers, etc.

There was also a timeline storyline in the 1st season, which was also quite interesting from a character point of view.

Edited by megsara, Apr 12, 2012 @ 3:35 PM.

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#345

sleepingwalker

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Posted Apr 12, 2012 @ 9:21 PM

I for one think the reset in Eureka was a disaster. However, it was largely mitigated by the fact that most of the main characters were from the old timeline. This meant that their relationships with each other remained intact. Having Peter and Olivia be the only ones to remember the old timeline seems tough. Eureka had such promise but it really fell apart. Fringe has really held together nicely through all the weirdness. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this current mess to sort out well.
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#346

CheerAngel

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Posted Apr 21, 2012 @ 6:15 PM

Last night's episode really reminded me hugely of the season 1 finale of Dollhouse. Both self contained images of a dystopian future. And both with not clear indication if what the characters are doing in the main plot are preventing the apocalypse or bringing it on.
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#347

Money Magnet

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 6:51 AM

Having endured a forced exposure to more of HartHansonWorld now that The Finder leads in to Fringe, it suddenly hit me the difference between Fringe and these shows (Bones being another one I can't stand watching for more than 10 minutes - I dunno, I start breaking out in a rash or something).

The Finder and Bones are allegedly set in "the real world" but the characters and situations bear little to do with anything resembling reality. Example: the girl who's on parole in The Finder. She's more of a character concept from a writers' meeting than anything that actually resonates on a human level (comic level, dramatic level, or otherwise). Same could be said for the whole show.

That said, I can hardly be snotty about it when it's obvious that most TV viewers seem to prefer shows like this, if the ratings for Bones and The Finder are any indication. People don't like drama: and if you dare to present drama on TV, better make it as cartoonish as possible.

Fringe is set in a completely cartoonish world but deals with real, 3-dimensional people and ideas. This (along with complexity in storytelling style) is not preferred by audiences and during the history of TV, perhaps never has been, with very few exceptions.
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#348

jophan

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 6:58 AM

Well, The Finder wouldn't be on Friday night except that it isn't something viewers prefer. For myself, I can watch it (sometimes). It reminds me of Psych but not quite as dumb. Bones, I agree with you.
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#349

Money Magnet

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 8:57 AM

It's been a while since I watched Bones but the overall impression I got of it was that it was an hourlong sitcom with one camera and no laugh track. Which may be the point entirely.

Whenever I think of Bones, I start hearing chipper "cutesy-poo comic scene" music in my head, even though I'm fairly sure they don't ever play it on the show. If they play it on the show, it belongs in every scene.

What other shows have I watched, or tried to watch recently? There's Haven. I have only sampled a few episodes but I found it more bearable than other shows I've tried, even though (of course) it's not in Fringe's league. I have liked Eureka, which has a very "Star Trek the Next Generation" vibe to it, in a good way (ST:TNG, which I watched religiously back in the day, just comes across as incredibly bland now in retrospect). Except they're in a town, not on a spaceship.

The Walking Dead, at least what I've seen of it, seems very well-made, but I'm just not into zombies. Or vampires, which rules out The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. (Also, I don't have HBO and don't intend to get it unless a Fringe cast member gets a show on there in the future...) I never got into Dexter either; I guess I just didn't think the lead character was all that special.

There are many shows I'd like to try, but it's hard to mentally commit to one and do the necessary watching... I do best when I come in during the middle anyway (as I did with Fringe) and if the show interests me, I seek out the older episodes and catch up. Had that experience the other day when I was channel switching and happened to come upon a scene of an unfamiliar show that just seemed high quality to me so I made a mental note to check it out. Unfortunately, the show is "In Plain Sight" and it's almost finished.

I promised my mom I would watch Lost (the rest of it, seasons 2-6) but I'm sorta procrastinating. Also, have never seen Alias.

What's sad is that somewhere out there, there's a Vampire Diaries fan who's making a mental note to watch Fringe someday ;-)

Edited by Money Magnet, Apr 22, 2012 @ 9:09 AM.

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#350

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 9:20 AM

Bones was a pretty decent if preposterous procedural until the characters became Flanderized into cartoon caricatures of their former selves. About the only one who has escaped this is Hodgins, who was pretty out there to begin with. It becomes especially obvious when you compare episodes from the first or second seasons with the ones that are on now. As for the Finder, I've watched a few minutes of it and find it cliched and fairly dull; a placeholder, nothing more.
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#351

MsTaken

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

I know this is a bizarre comparison since the shows differ so radically in genre, scope and tone, but I actually see a couple of similarities between Fringe and Community. I know, I know; I must have been dipping into Walter's stash ;) But I just view both shows as uniquely ambitious, intent on constantly shifting and evolving even at the very real risk of alienating a portion of their audiences. I know this sounds like a description that should be applicable to many or even most TV shows, but in my experience, it's exceedingly rare to find shows that won't or maybe even can't remain content with the same format. Both are forever taking huge risks creatively that, for me, have resulted in almost as many strikeouts as home runs (yes, it's baseball season!)---but the 'highs' are higher than almost anything else seen on TV, and even the failures are the interesting sort of failures that force us to question our own expectations and analyze what makes for quality, pleasurable fiction. Both can be frustrating and even a bit pretentious in their insistence on dragging me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone and in sometimes seeming 'weird purely for the sake of being weird', but ultimately I'm grateful that neither show is content to remain static or 'normal' even if they could...and I don't think they can. Oh, and both shows also have ongoing, unsurprising struggles with attracting larger audiences.

Community and Fringe both also place an intense emphasis on the importance of family, (our self-created families even more than our biological ones) and the struggles and joys of true connection among damaged but redeemable people. All JMO, of course.

Edited by MsTaken, Apr 22, 2012 @ 10:10 AM.

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#352

prodigalchicken

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 11:45 AM

MsTaken, will you marry me? Seriously, though, I agree. Community (despite Chevy Chase's insane assertion that it's a "mediocre sitcom"--what is he smoking?) is the most unique network comedy (the Arrested Development of its day, perhaps) and Fringe is perhaps the most unique network drama. Both have small (Nielsen small, that is but very vocal audiences. And yeah, everything else you said :)
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#353

CheerAngel

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Posted Apr 22, 2012 @ 2:56 PM

I've often argued to friends that Fringe and Community are mirror images of each other. The main word I use to describe both most is "ambitious".
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#354

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:12 AM

Perhaps inspired by "Desmond"'s surfacing on last Friday's Fringe, I decided to resume watching Lost where I left off (beginning of Season 2, which is coincidentally around the time that Desmond arrived on the show). I'll stick with it, but unfortunately, watching the first 2 eps of Lost Season 2 reminded me of why I stopped watching it in the first place. (Lost fans, you might want to plug your ears now)

I think I stopped watching it because I grew tired of the Lost formula: 1. Characters run around in the jungle screaming at each other, 2. Characters pause to have an obligatory one-on-one dialogue, usually about someone else, 3. New weird coincidence or "connection" is introduced and thrown on the pile of puzzles. Next episode: Replay what you just saw, except from someone else's POV. All in all, up to this point the writing (and by the showrunners, never a good sign) reminds me of student writing: listless dialogue scenes that obviously stands for "Insert character conflict here." The writers know they need beats to fill out the trajectory of the episode and season, but have nothing interesting to fill in the beats with.

Also, while I love Michael Giacchino's action music for the big screen, and I know Chris Tilton is his protege, there is no question that Tilton is a more talented (and subtler) composer who can actually hit emotional beats. I'm finding I need to watch Lost with the sound turned down because Giacchino's score just is so intrusive. (It pains me so to say this! Giacchino is a fantastic composer on many other projects.)

Anyhow, comparison with Fringe: the main thing is that Fringe's episodes MOVE. Fringe's overarching storylines move, and move quickly (perhaps too quickly for some fans' liking?) Lost, by comparison, has a sluglike pace.

I'm told the series gets better, especially when Desmond comes to the fore, so I'll push forward into new territory.

Edited by Money Magnet, Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:14 AM.

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#355

lojo5

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:38 AM

I am still not quite sure what I thought about Lost, and I watched it religiously from the time of the pilot onward. I was very confused, and still am...maybe I just tried to make too many connections and looked for continuity, which it lacked. But, I did love Desmond...

Edited by lojo5, Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:39 AM.

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#356

MsTaken

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:45 AM

MsTaken, will you marry me?


Yes! Especially if you pretend that that question is a subtle nod to Arrested Development, another wonderfully weird, ratings-challenged show mentioned in your post.

I've often argued to friends that Fringe and Community are mirror images of each other. The main word I use to describe both most is "ambitious".


Yup---and, even when the execution falls short of their lofty goals or fails to resonate with portions of the audience, I find myself more interested in analyzing and learning from both shows' relative "failures" than I am in most other shows' more modest successes.

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone in seeing the Fringe/Community parallels; I was starting to worry that someone had slipped something from Walter's stash into my thank-god-we-have-it-in-THIS-'verse coffee. ;)

Also, while I love Michael Giacchino's action music for the big screen, and I know Chris Tilton is his protege, there is no question that Tilton is a more talented (and subtler) composer who can actually hit emotional beats.


I'm torn on this one. I found Giacchino's score more...noticeable. It was more personally resonant and memorable for me, but I totally get your point that it can be far more obtrusive as well.

listless dialogue scenes that obviously stands for "Insert character conflict here."


Heh---well, I love LOST a lot more than you do (though I'm a weirdo who didn't fall in true TV love with LOST until S4, so there's still time for it to sneak up on you, MM!), but I wouldn't consider dialogue a particular strength of either Fringe or LOST. Both shows can include some clunky, stilted, anvilicious dialogue in even their most otherwise stellar episodes IMO. This is probably more of a personal preference issue, though; I have an admitted obsession with the kind of sharp, clever and endlessly quotable dialogue found on shows like Buffy, Gilmore Girls, Community, Arrested Development etc., but I can certainly see how that ultra-witty dialogue wouldn't always work on shows like Fringe and LOST.

I will say this for Fringe over Lost, though; IMO, Olivia is roughly a zillion times better written than ANY of LOST's female characters. (How that show could create so many memorable, compelling and vibrant male characters while simultaneously (IMO) writing some of the most disappointing female characters ever remains among that show's greatest mysteries for me!)

Edited by MsTaken, Apr 23, 2012 @ 8:46 AM.

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#357

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:01 AM

Disagree with you on several points there Magnet's point.

1. Lost and Fringe both have a very specific writing formulas.
Lost: One character has a issue that parallels to their flashback + lots of character interaction + a cliffhanger/WFT ending.
Fringe: One character has a issue that parallels with the case of the week + one death every fifteen minutes + a link to the greater mythology in the end.
I personally prefer the backstories over the case of the weeks stuff, but that's just a matter of preference.

2. Lost and Fringe both had similar pacing issues. Lost generally favors the character backstories over forward momentum and overarching plots, while Fringe is often guilty of dragging it's feet in the first half of every season (except season 3).

3. To this day, I can not remember a single tune composed by Tilton. Even though Giacchino is sometimes intrusive, every other time wI find his work so gorgeously done and transporting.
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#358

lizw65

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Posted Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:04 AM

the Lost formula: 1. Characters run around in the jungle screaming at each other

Heh--this was my impression of Lost too, from the bits and pieces of the show I accidentally watched. Actually, my verdict was "a bunch of bad actors running around in the dark screaming"; I could never get up enough interest to view a single episode in its entirety, let alone follow the story, and from what I've read the overall premise does nothing for me, so its unlikely that I'll ever go back and watch it. (Apologies to those who followed and loved the show; I intend no disrespect.)
ETA: Interestingly, one of the most common complaints I've read about Fringe on other sites is that it moves at a glacial pace, and that any conncetion to the overarching mythology tends to get inserted into the last five minutes almost as an afterthought. I happen not to agree with this, having no problem with the pacing; I do however think that Fringe is best watched in a marathon gulp over the course of a few nights rather than in tiny sips. I tend to view each season of the show as a novel in a series, to be "read" without interruption; I find that the narrative hangs together much better that way.

Edited by lizw65, Apr 23, 2012 @ 9:16 AM.

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#359

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 11:43 AM

I am still not quite sure what I thought about Lost, and I watched it religiously from the time of the pilot onward...

To be perfectly honest, I see more in common between Lost and Game of Thrones than between Lost and Fringe.
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#360

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Posted May 3, 2012 @ 12:08 PM

Interestingly, one of the most common complaints I've read about Fringe on other sites is that it moves at a glacial pace, and that any conncetion to the overarching mythology tends to get inserted into the last five minutes almost as an afterthought.


That only happens once in a while, though. And I hate when that happens because the "Lost chord" gets played (dissonant strings crescendo).

But Fringe doesn't move at a slow pace - it's just that sometimes the writers get stuck on a side idea and try to dissect it to death (*cough* OliviarejectingPeterinSeason3 *cough*). The rest of the time I think the plot zips along, almost to a fault, where some beats are skipped over too quickly even though they have lots of interesting potential. Aside from the back half of Season 3, which I thought was relatively a mess, I think the plots move so quickly that if you miss a few episodes you'd be completely left behind.

Then again, I have no impatience with COTW's/MOTW's. They do advance the overarching plot many times, and always serve to elaborate on major themes of the season.

I haven't watched Game of Thrones and haven't wanted to.

I'm pressing on with Lost but knowing that a cast of zillions lies ahead, intimidates me a bit.
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