On the Fringe of quality…

So over the last week or so I’ve watched all 14 episodes of J.J. Abrams’ new X-Files meets post-911 show, Fringe. After more than half a day’s worth of watching the show I can’t quite figure out of it is any good.

The show is formulaic in the extreme. Each episode consists of the following with little change up: Weird happening – SCIENCE – more weird happenings – SCIENCE, redux – chase scene – resolution. The show seems to pull strange – “fringe”, hence the name – out of nowhere. Stuff happens and the good Dr. Bishop pretty much already knows what’s wrong. There isn’t really mystery or real tension in any episode – just the resolution of the same Mad Lib plot over and over again.

Here is a sample bit of dialogue:

Olivia: Some crazy dude escaped from prison!

Dr. Bishop: He must have used a teleportation device that I invented to save my sick son by traveling back in time.

Peter: Witty retort.

Don’t even get me started on how annoyingly trite the whole “the pattern” business is.

But – and this is a big but – there is still something appealing about the show. Is the acting?

Anna Torv plays a wispy and spectral version of Mulder and Josh Jackson plays his character like he was someone pulled off the street and given a script to read in front of a camera. The best part in the show is played by John Noble who does a good job of seeming brilliant and crazy while making utterly bat shit science sound plausible.

I’m talking a lot of shit about this show – because there is a lot shit to talk – but honestly I mostly enjoyed watching it. I kept coming back to it through out the past week. Even though I could see through gruesome special effects to the show’s repetitive core.

Honestly, I’m perplexed. Is Fringe a good show? Not really. But it is very watchable.

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