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"Fringe" - {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Home Video
TV - Series
Release Date:
Special Features:

Commentary tracks, "Maximum TV Mode" pop up commentary on "OS", featurettes, gag reel, network promos


J.J. Abrams and Akiva Goldsman are both very talented writers who sometimes take illogical, cheating short cuts when working on scripts. We saw this often in "Alias" and other Abrams shows; as the plots became more and more convoluted we saw ex machina deus as the resolution of a tight, difficult plot rather than some sort of satisfying conclusion. Even well regarded shows such as "Battlestar: Galatcia" could be known to resort to this trick whether it was because Ronald D. Moore wanted to use the spiritual mythology he had built up so carefully over the course of the show or because he couldn't figure any other way out of the plot, it's still a writer's cheat that can leave a sour taste (as many fans of "Battlestar: Galatica" and "Alias" STILL feel about those shows) in the audience's mouth.***

SPOILERS: In the case of Goldsman he's done some outstanding work ("A Brilliant Mind") and down right poor ("Lost in Space") the same can be said of Abrams who penned two promising scripts that took cheats to new levels ("Forever Young" and "Regarding Henry"). Both are talented writers/producers/show runners who often back themselves creatively into a corner for a good reason they figure they'll come up with a conclusion as they go along. The third season of "Fringe" exhibited both of these problems--some very imaginative scripts that didn't deliver a good pay off in the third act. Having said that "Fringe" still has more interesting puzzle pieces in play for the fourth season (one of our main characters ceases to exist) and a major plot paradox (if Peter doesn't exist what caused damage to both universes in the first place and why are they working together) that hopefully Jeff Pinker and J.H. Wyman who are running the show on a day-to-day basis and writing/producing/plotting many episodes will be able to bring to a satisfying conclusion particularly if season four is to be the last season of the show (due to ratings--Fox renewed it because of DVR and age demographics for the series which reaches the most desired advertising group). Although the third season of "Fringe" had some weak episodes the show, on the whole, was even more challenging than the first two; the series brought the two universes of "Fringe" closer together than ever before.***

When we last left Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv)she was trapped in the OTHER universe replaced in our universe by Fauxlivia (Anna Torv)with Peter(Joshua Jackson), Walter (John Noble) and Astrid (Jasika Nichole) completely clueless that they were being manipulated as part of Walternate's plan to eliminate US.***

Walternate has Olivia infused with something that makes her believe she is Fauxlivia so she'll agree to a series of dangerous experiments while Fauxilivia tries to prevent the Fringe team from discovering what Walternate's ultimate goal is.***


Image & Sound:

The third season of "Fringe" looks exceptionally good on Blu-ray with a crisp, sharp looking presentation. Skin tones and textures look quite nice without the overuse of digital noise reduction.***

Audio is exceptional as well with a nice DTS HD Master Audio mix that's very active during action sequences.***

Special Features:

The extras are exceptionally good--we get audio commentary on "The Plateau" (disc one), "OS" where we get a commentary in "Maximum Episode Mode", i.e., a pop up visual commentary allowing us to experience the genesis of the story as it unfolded in the writer's room and through production and a conventional audio commentary on disc 4's episode "Lysergic Acid Diethyalmide" (the episode that's partially animated).***

We get a featurette on the production of "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide" where we discover for example that the original thought was to animate the episode like "Yellow Submarine" (they instead went for a "Johnny Quest" style animation using, of course, computer animation). One featurette has an amazingly long title--"Duality of Worlds: The Psychology of Duality, The Other You, Visualizing an Alternate World and A Machine of Destiny" (wow). "Constructing an Extra-Sensory Soundscape" takes you behind-the-scenes into the creation of the sound effects. "Secrets of Fringe: The First People" features consulting producers Jeff Pinker and J.H. Wyman discussing these mysterious people who created the machine. They don't exactly let loose with any spoilers.***

Finally we get a gag reel for the season as well as network promos.***

Final Words:

Despite some issues with craftsmanship when it comes to writing the show, "Fringe" continued to be fascinating television. The Blu-ray looks positively stunning at times with an exceptional lossless audio mix. The third season continues to advance the series story arc in unexpected directions. Recommended.***


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