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DVD Review: Fringe: The Complete First Season

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Teleportation. Mind control. Invisibility. Astral projection. Mutation. Reanimation. Phenomena that exist on the Fringe of science unleash their strange powers in this thrilling series, co-created by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Alias), combining the grit of the police procedural with the excitement of the unknown. The story revolves around three unlikely colleagues ? a beautiful young FBI agent, a brilliant scientist who?s spent the last 17 years in a mental institution and the scientist?s sardonic son ? who investigate a series of bizarre deaths and disasters known as ?the pattern.? Someone is using our world as an experimental lab. And all clues lead to Massive Dynamic, a shadowy global corporation that may be more powerful than any nation.

Head on over the jump to check out my review of the 7-disc first season DVD set.

Fringe: The Complete First Season

Available To Own On (click to purchase): DVD and Blu-ray

Official Site Link: www.fringethedvd.com

Release Date: September 8, 2009  

TV Show

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good sci-fi drama and Fox’s Fringe fits that mold perfectly.  Make no mistake, while Fringe doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before, what it does do that many shows fail to accomplish — and thus die off — is do so much so consistently strong.

The key draw for me in any series is its characters and Fringe is no exception.  Peter (Joshua Jackson) and Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) make a strong buddy cop-type pairing, while Peter’s father Walter Bishop (John Noble) manages to steal nearly every scene he’s in.  His character — recovering from his years living in a mental hospital — is brilliant and quirky, and Noble plays his character absolutely brilliantly.  You can always count on Walter to say something so strangely perfect.

As with most J.J. Abrams shows, there are clues and easter eggs aplenty running throughout the series.  A lot of threads haven’t been fully unraveled but that’s what makes them so enjoyable to keep track of.  A plus for some not willing to go episode-to-episode with unanswered questions — (Lost fans know what I’m talking about–although I don’t find anything wrong with that approach ;)) — is that many of the questions go answered, and based upon the little amount of information we have about the second season, much more will also be answered before the second season concludes.

Then there’s also the case of a special guest-star, whom in the case you’re going in blind I won’t spoil. But suffice it say, it’s a nice treat and I’m looking very much forward to see his character in season two.

EXTRAS

“Commentary Tracks” – This set has three commentary tracks, and they all represent a good spectrum of the show’s creative team.  The first track features creators J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci discussing the pilot episode.  That’s followed up with episode three – “The Ghost Network” — featuring episode writers David H. Goodman, J.R. Orci joined by executive producer Bryan Burk.  And the last track is on episode 17 – “Bad Dreams”, featuring episode writer/director Akiva Goldsman and producer Jeff Pinker.  I found the first track to be the best — mostly because of the wealth of information revealed — but they were all worth listening to.

Dissected Files (deleted scenes)” – Cleverly labeled “Dissected Files”, several deleted scenes are sprinkled about the various seven discs (coupled with their respective episode).  One thing to note is that Fox tried something different this season with a few of their shows (Dollhouse included) with longer run times, something they won’t be doing next season.  Even with the extended run-times (each show ran about 10 minutes longer than most primetime television series), it’s surprising that there’s still a good deal left on the cutting room floor.

“Fringe: Deciphering the Scene” –Each episode of the series contains these short two or so minute featurette focusing on a behind-the-scenes part of the episode.  In total you’ve basically got enough content to fill a full episode’s runtime.

“The Massive Undertaking” – Meanwhile four episodes of the show are treated with this special feature, which runs about 10 minutes.  They’re basically extended “Deciphering the Scene” aspects.

“Roberto Orci’s Production Diary” –Roberto Orci provided a video diary from the show’s early episodes and it is presented here on this set.

“Evolution: The Genesis of Fringe” – Basically a quick “what’s this about” type featurette.

“The Casting of Fringe” Just as is implied by the title, this featurette delves into the casting of the series.  In addition to cast reflections, the featurette includes audition tapes for several characters (and of course the one of Noble’s Walter doesn’t disappoint).

“Behind the Real Science of Fringe” – A rundown at the role science played in the series in every episode.

“Gene the Cow” –Mostly a pointless look into the Gene the Cow, whom Walter has in his lab.

“Unusual Side Effects” Gag reel.  Some good moments here and there.

FINAL OPINION

Fringe is a series that plays absolutely perfectly on DVD.  It has all the things you look for in a series; an interesting premise, a great cast, great writing and great stories and that’s why I highly recommend this DVD set (and Blu-ray) and give the show and DVD a score of 4.5/5.

Fringe premieres its second season on Fox on Thursday, September 17th.

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