Fringe, the new mystery genre show created by JJ Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, got a big boost in the ratings for its second week, with a little help from Fox’s hit show House. We have details and a mini review of episode 2 "Same Old Story" below.
4 million more tune in to Fringe
Last week’s premiere of Fringe brought in OK numbers and so a big test for the show was going to be week two, and the good news for the Abrams team is that it passed the test. Fringe won its time slot in both overall viewers and those in the key demographics bringing in a total of 13.4 million, four million more viewers than the premiere. An obvious help to the show was following Fox’s hit medical drama House, which brought in 14.4 million viewers, and together Fringe and House helped Fox win the night.
Review – Fringe episode 2 – "Same Old Story"
While the $10 million 90 minute pilot for Fringe felt more like a film, the second outing settled in and felt more like series television, which is actually a good thing. You can start to see how the show is going to work, with a scary opening teaser introducing a mystery, a meeting of the ominous ‘committee’ that oversees the investigations into ‘The Pattern,’ flowing into a procedural show with our main characters solving the case, but at the same time hinting at the larger overall mythology.
Forgoing a ‘previously on Fringe’ the post-credits segments went long on exposition and review of what happened in the pilot, which dragged a bit, but were probably very useful to first-time watchers (and as the ratings shows, that was probably a good call). It has been a stated goal that the show will not be one of those that require you to watch every episode (like Lost or Heroes), but hopefully the show doesn’t end up having to repeat itself too often.
The mystery of the week involving super-rapid aging and a serial killer was interesting, but a bit predictable. What was promising is how ‘the monster of the week’ plot was actually tied into the mythology of ‘The Pattern’ and the Massive Dynamics Corporation. There were just enough Lost-style hints and new mysteries introduced (including the shows final image) to keep mythology-obsessed fans going and wanting more. Also the ‘fringe science’ of the week (recapturing images from a dead body’s optic nerve) provided a nice gross out moment for horror genre fans.
As for the character relationships, there was improvement across the board in this area from the pilot with some poignant scenes between all the shows main cast with John Noble (Walter Bishop), Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles), and Blair Brown (Nina Sharp) so far pulling most of the load. However, the chemistry between Anna Torv’s Olivia Dunham and Joshua Jackson’s Peter Bishop is starting to shape up nicely and we can see the beginnings of an arc for the two (let’s hope they don’t take this into romance and ‘will they / wont they’ territory too soon). Also the cow made a brief cameo, but Noble continues to provide most of the show’s comedy.
So far so good with Fringe. The challenge for the show going forward will be to balance the procedural mysteries of the week with the overall mythology as well as continuing to develop the characters and give them arcs for the audience to want to make the show ‘must see TV.’
Death doesn’t stop Fringe team from questioning people
Watch episode and extras online
If you missed it, you can watch the show online at Fox.com, in HD. Plus Fox has a full recap and also a bonus feature of ‘Walter’s lab notes.’ It is worth touring around the official site as it is clear that FOX is using the web in a very proactive way to both extend the Fringe experience as well as help fans catch up with the show if they miss something.