I’ve finished watching Fringe a while ago, and I must admit I still feel a certain emptiness. Last time I felt like this was when I finished Harry Potter. Stephen King’s It almost killed me. I hate the feeling. It’s like someone yanked a piece of my life that never was and hid it somewhere in some alternative universe, maybe.
A lame feeling. Bitter-sweet. I hate it one sentence. In the next one I’m revelling in it. I’m revelling in the fact that I have experienced the non-existent, that there were imaginary people who shared there lives with me. I admit, it is a bit voyeuristic.
I have memories of a life never lived, journeys never taken and people never met. And I miss them. And love them.
Now, Fringe itself. As you might have noticed, there is a certain impediment to me taking even a moderately objective position when writing about the series. I mean, the shit I’ve typed probably killed every and any possibility of a plausible review. But let’s not kid ourselves. Objectivity is as elusive a construct as is reality, so fuck it.
I’m very ambivalent about Fringe. Even now, while I’m missing it and pining after Walter, Olivia and Peter, I’m still not sure how I feel about the show itself. It’s weird, narratively dishevelled, continuity completely displaced. It’s just, well weird. But the thing is, once you fall in love with the characters, once they get under your skin, it seems that the plot itself can take whatever crazy-ass turn it wishes to take. It can have Grand Canyon sized holes. But who cares. You just want those guys to be ok, to be happy and alive.
Walter Bishop grows on you like one of those parasites they have in shows like Fringe. He’s someone you would like to have around the house. You know he’s a pain in the ass, too much work and effort. Still you know that the benefits of him being in your life and in the world make both better. Most of the times you end up liking him despite yourself. He’s not an easy guy to like, but you just can help it. He’s so damn cute! And John Noble is such an amazing actor who can make you believe pretty much anything the screenwriters want you to believe. He can be adorable and intimidating, lovable and diabolic. You just need to put in an order, and John Noble delivers.
Olivia, Peter, Broyles, Astro, Charlie, and Lincoln are a bit slower on growing. They’re more like a 75,000 year-old virus which sleeps deep underneath the surface until some evil, oil-drilling corporation brings it up to the surface. Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is an acquired taste if there ever was one. She’s pasty, very monochromatic, but if I had to choose a colour for her, I’d call her beige. I hate beige, it’s so blah. But Olivia isn’t. The show goes on and somehow beige becomes acceptable because it is tainted with strength, audacity and determination. As universes overlap and stuff gets crazy in Fringe, you realize Anna Torv is actually a decent actress and is capable of acting the same person with a different background where you actually notice which version she is at a given moment.
Peter Bishop is the most difficult to like. He’s treats his father, one of the most lovable characters ever, like shit. Sure, his father is in fact an evil genius with a knack for experimenting on children, but come on! Peter also has a face of someone who used to be friends with James Van Der Beek and Katie Holmes back in Dawson’s Creek. Joshua Jackson was a bold choice to say the least, because I think nobody associates him with words like: cool, mysterious, powerful, sexy. But somehow, Joshua manages to pull it off. I think it was the hardest for him, with that teenage-idol-I-was-in-Dawson’s-Creek face. I think the fact that Walter loves Peter so much makes the viewer love him too. If Walter loves him, there has to be something good about the guy, right?
The Peter-Olivia relationship, although having plenty soap-opera quality, is actually unobtrusive, which is a rarity especially when a romantic relationship is crucial to a show.
I miss shows like Fringe, like X-files and PSI Factor. I mean, as shitty as some of them were, they still opened my mind to endless possibilities and universes, and I loved them. I miss REAL science fiction. Like, where there’s science on which the fiction is based. We need that stuff to keeps us wondering, to shake us out of our safe places for at least 45 minutes a day.
We know police officers catch bad guys, we know that there is corruption in politics, we know normal people sell meth, we know that as a race, we are prone to idiocy. Yeah, a lot of us are socially awkward yet somehow adorable. And it’s nice to see those “truths” produced nicely, confirmed by Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey, Matthew McConaughey…
However, from time to time, I crave for fiction that’ll open the shutters and let a new, eerie light shine on all the things we think are real and sure.