Like trying to live up to its extremely popular older brother, Fringe was unfairly being compared to Lost even before the first episode aired. Because of its co-creator â€“ JJ Abrams â€“ Fringe had the impossible task of having to live up to the cult built around that other Abramâ€™s show. On its own, Fringe held up quite well, as the first season on DVD shows. Though it took a few episodes to catch its stride and really discover what direction it wanted to go, the sci-fi drama, filled with stories of teleportation and alternate universes, stands out from the standard fare the genre usually churns out thanks to the fascinating characters and strong writing (both Abram hallmarks).
By the season finale, the show proved to not only be smart, but compelling, boasting the most jaw dropping television moment of the season, with the introduction of William Bell (played by Leonard Nimoy in a brilliant casting coup) in an alternate realty where the Sept. 11 attacks obviously never happened. The show, probably most reminiscent of early X-Files episodes, centers around an FBI agent (Anna Torv) partnered with a recently institutionalized scientist (John Noble) and his cynical son (played brilliantly by Joshua Jackson), all charged with investigating freak deaths and bizarre occurrences.
Most of these investigations are at least somewhat related to the not so subtly named Massive Dynamic, a global company with questionable motives. What Fringe has going for it that Lost doesnâ€™t is that the show can be viewed as a series or simply as a one-offs. Sure the on-again, off-again viewer may miss the bigger picture, but the episodes taken individually are still highly entertaining.
Fringe â€“ The Complete First Season/DVD/2009/Warner Home Video/1028 Mins.