Posted by:
Byron Brewer

The Wayback Machine: Fringe (2008)



This was not one of my all-time TV faves, but in viewing SF on TV sometimes beggers cannot be choosers. And Fringe did last awhile, after all.

So let’s dial up 2008 on the ol’ Wayback Machine, after we dust ‘er off, and head for Foxworld!

Fringe was an SF series created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. It premiered on FOXSeptember 9, 2008, and concluded on January 25, 2013, after five seasons and 100 episodes. The series follows Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and Walter Bishop (John Noble), members of the fictional Fringe Division of the FBI, based in Bostonunder the supervision of Homeland Security. (See, we did not go back in time too far.)

The team uses fringe science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences, which are related to mysteries surrounding a parallel universe,

Season 1 introduces the Fringe Division as they investigate cases that form "the Pattern" geographically centered around Reiden Lake in New York state, many of which are orchestrated by an international network of rogue scientists known as ZFT (Zerstörung durch Fortschritte der Technologie, or in English, Destruction through Advancement of Technology), led by David Robert Jones (Jared Harris), who are preparing for a doomsday event. The ZFT threat appears to end when Peter kills Jones as he attempts travel to the parallel universe.

In Season 2, the occurrences are found to be in conjunction with activities of the parallel universe, which is plagued by singularities occurring at weakened points of the fabric between worlds; over there, scientists have developed an amber-like substance that isolates these singularities as well as any innocent people caught in the area on its release. The Fringe team deals with more cases that are leading to a "great storm" as the parallel universe appears to be at war with the prime one, engineered by human-machine hybrid shapeshifters from the parallel universe. Walter is forced to tell Peter that he is from the parallel universe, a replacement for his own Peter who died from a genetic disease. Walter had crossed over on the frozen ice of Reiden Lake in 1985 to administer the cure for the alternate version of Peter, but, after accidentally destroying a dose of the cure upon transport, he instead brought the boy across; on return, they fell through the ice but were saved by the Observer September (Michael Cerveris), who told Walter of the importance of "the boy", which Walter took to mean Peter. Walter's crossing is what caused the singularities in the parallel universe, with ReidenLakeat their epicenter, and has been looking for a sign of forgiveness in the form of a white tulip. (Yep, we’re goin’ Twin Peakshere …)

Season 3 presents episodes that alternate between the two universes, while Season 4 begins in an alternative timeline (Oops! We went Lost instead, lol.), one in which September had failed to save the alternate version of Peter in 1985, according to the Observers.

The fifth and final season begins in 2036, following from a flash-forward fourth season episode "Letters of Transit". As September warned, Observers from the far future having ruined Earth for themselves, time-traveled to 2015 and instituted "The Purge," wiped out much of humanity, subjected the survivors to their control, and began modifying the planet's environment to be more suitable for themselves. I will spare you the rest save to say instead of a sled named Rosebud, we had a drawing of a white tulip. (Yeesh. This lasted five seasons??)

Let’s get back to 2014 and Under the Dome, Season 2 quick!