I was an enormous Alias fan. I avoided Lost for two reasons, one rational and one completely irrational.
1) Alias got… difficult to follow sometimes, and occasionally I wanted to find JJ Abrams and smack him in the face for lacking a particularly well constructed plan for the show. I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest in another one of his shows if it meant the resolution would feel less than fulfilling.
2) JJ ABANDONED ALIAS FOR LOST AND LEFT POOR ALIAS BLOWING IN THE WIND LIKE THE POOR ABANDONED SHOW THAT IT WAS. (This is only sort of true).
Still, I was excited about Fringe because I do still love JJ, and because, I’ll admit it, Joshua Jackson is hot. I had an enormous crush on him in the Mighty Ducks. Charlie Conway was freaking awesome.
After the first few episodes of Fringe, I was sort of disappointed. I liked it okay, but it did not come close to inspiring the kind of obsession and love that Alias did. I couldn’t even exactly verbalize what the problem was, it was just lacking a certain spark. And the scheduling has been so strange since Christmas, that up until last week, I had let the show get away from me.
But here’s the thing: since the show came back from Winter hiatus, it has been on. And here are five reasons to catch up.
1. Anna Torv has made incredible leaps and bounds as an actress, aided by much improved writing of her character. The interaction between Olivia and the Bishops has been amazing. The introduction of Oliva’s sister and niece, while sort of random and strange, helped ground Olivia and turn her into an actual human being character instead of the sort of emotionless FBI agent she sometimes was last year. And, (I’ll get to this in a minute), the mythology has made me so incredibly curious about her character’s history.
2. Seriously, the mythology has started to sort of blow my mind. There’s a German manifesto about the coming showdown between alternative realities, there’s the crazy stuff going on with Olivia and Massive Dynamic, there are hints about Peter’s past being less than ordinary. While early on in this show’s run, I would watch the episodes and think, maybe, “that was sort of a cool story, moving on,” I know find myself thinking about WHAT IT ALL MEANS. This is both exciting and sort of scary, because I am still scarred by the end of Alias…
And there was a 47 floating around the wall of newspaper clippings on last night’s episode, which was a nice shout out.
3. The secondary characters have developed A LOT. I have always, inexplicably, adored Charlie the FBI agent. Seriously. LOVE HIM. It’s nice when you love a secondary character and he gets a little bit to work with, which happened last week when we got to see a lot more of Charlie, and finally got to see Olivia do something for HIM after weeks of Olivia being all “Charlie, I know this is crazy, but could you please do this crazy thing for me” and Charlie being like “Yeah, sure.” Asterid’s gotten a little more to work with, too, and Broyles is starting to feel like a little bit more of a character instead of a plot device.
4. The stories of the week have gotten awesome. This show obviously makes an effort to be slightly accessable by doing contained episodes about invididual mysteries that also connect to the mythology. But the episodes since the show has come back have really ratcheted up the awesome. The episodes have been creepy and weird and incredibly compelling. The beginning of last night’s episode, just a woman pushing her daughter’s stroller in a subway station, already had me creeped out and worried, and the whole episode had my complete attention.
5. I actually don’t think it’s going to get cancelled! I bring this up because, well, Dollhouse. Despite pretty chaotic scheduling (seriously Fox, I know you love 2 hour American Idols, but do you really have to just do it every couple weeks for no particular reason? It gets confusing), the show has solid, if not spectacular, ratings, and it generally wins the 18-48 demo in its time slot, so it should be safe for next season. This is comforting, and makes me feel less crazy for investing time in it. (Also, Zack Whedon is a writer on this show so, if you want a Whedon brother on Fox, this may be the one to put your money on).
So if you gave up on Fringe, if you’re not sure about it, COME BACK.
Most of the episodes are on hulu. It’s worth it.