Thinking of watching Fringe

I know vaguely what it’s about and I have heard the show went from a Monster of the week format to serialized and got much better as a result. It’s on Netflix so I thought I might check it out finally.

If I do, where should I start? What should I skip? No specific spoilers please. Thanks.

Definitely an enjoyable show. I wouldn’t agree that it got better because of the serialization. (In fact, some aspects of the serialized version of the show are pretty over-the-top plain silly, in a way that turned a lot of people off of the show.)

I’d start from the beginning and watch all the way through.

Nah, it pretty much started off with core story and maintained it(fairly well, actually) through to the end.

It has plenty of monster-of-the-week episodes as well and is a really great show.

It’s not at the absolute top of science fiction shows or anything, but it is certainly a very strong show and may even be quite underrated.

Also, there are only 100 episodes, so it does not overstay its welcome(cough, X-files). :slight_smile:

I seem to be in the minority, but I found it quite mediocre. It never really grabbed my attention, even at its best.

I’ll split the difference and say that you ought to be able to tell right away if it’s your thing. I liked it well enough to watch all of it and miss it now that it’s gone.

For added thrills you might keep a notebook and chart the directions it changes from and to and see if you can decipher what the creative staff was trying to do, and how much viewer reaction must have driven their choices. Of course, that’s true with every series I ever watched. But Fringe did appear to be searching for its identity all the time.

Also, consider how empty the whole thing would have been were it not for John Noble.

There’s at least two of us in that minority, then. For all its failings, X-Files is 5 stars in my NetFlix queue and Fringe is either 3 or 4.

A big part of the problem for me is the characters. I’ll refrain from any spoilers, but I find that the team’s composition and reason for existing are both implausible and some individual characters are just plain freaking annoying most of the time. When you have a foundation that weak, it almost doesn’t matter what you build on it.

For the OP: I think you have to start at the beginning if you really want to get it all. Each season (so far, I’m halfway through the whole thing) seems to skew off on its own little tangent, but you’d be pretty lost if you just jumped into the middle or skipped any big pieces.

We enjoyed Fringe a great deal. The main thing is not to depend too much on the long-running arcs to make much sense; they go quite a ways off the rails and most get laboriously pulled in in the last two seasons. Watch it a little more show-by-show and enjoy the connected bits but don’t put too much weight on them.

Besides watching for an Observer in every episode (many are just brief cameos), apparently every episode from season 2 on has a clue to the next episode’s plot. F’rex, one has a sign with a fountain pen and rose, and the next ep’s bad guy is named Penrose. None are anything you can figure out in advance, but looking for them in review is fun.

And Walter manages to be a delight for all five seasons. I simply can’t think of another mainstream character acknowledged to be a prolific druggie - he’s on acid about every third episode - without it being turned into a ponderous Drugs R Bad, M’Kay? theme. Walter will say things out of the blue that will make you flinch, blush or say “What the fuck?” right out loud. (“Oh… I have an erection.” [turns to blonde co-star] “It’s not you. I just had an idea.”)

And the fourth episode from the end, seasons 2-5, is the bizarre one.

Have fun.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fringe, mainly because of John Noble. I was disappointed when it ended, but also grateful that it ended before becoming unwatchable.

I hope it stays on Netflix for a while, as I want to watch it again but not quite yet.

It’s definitely not the most implausible series I’ve ever followed. (Currently, that’s The Blacklist).

I tried it, dropped it (for various reasons), then came back to it. It took me a little while to get used to John Noble’s character, Walter, but he becomes really quite adorable, and then the mysteries and adventures deepen.

The Abrams factor. I.e., when the writers get bored, head off in a completely new direction, dropping all of the hints and plot threads that seemed to be so important when they were introduced, and maybe remembering to address them again, and maybe not. That was one big reason I disliked it. I was burned by Lost, and JJ Abrams’ habit of doing this is really beginning to irritate me. Fringe had lots and lots of threads that ended up abandoned.

I enjoyed listening to the DVMPE Fringe Podcast (which only covers the last two seasons). Iain MacKinnon has amazing powers of observation. There’s actually some visual hint in each episode that refers to the coming episode. I never would have known this. (And the glyphs at the commercial breaks spell things, too.)

I have to (mostly) agree with Smeghead. The show had it’s moments, but it never got as good as it should have been. I certainly don’t regret watching it, but I have no desire to watch it again knowing how scattershot the plotting was. I’d rate it a cut above “mediocre”, but not by a whole lot. If I had to give it a letter grade, it would probably be a B- or C+ (with occasional A moments or episodes).

I’m currently watching the series now. I can’t think of any other non-sitcom show that brings on the funny like Fringe does. Walter is a fucking riot!

I started Tivo’ing the reruns a few years ago, and liked it a lot. But they were being shown in random order, and I gave up trying to make sense out of it. I might watch it properly on Netflix, if I have time.

Karen from “Will & Grace”, and Jenna from “30 Rock” are the only ones I know.