Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday nights are Fringy

There's a new show I'm following: Fringe, Tuesday nights at 9:00. It's a paranormal/scifi/conspiracy show, and the pilot aired last week. I only wanted to see it because it has John Noble in it, but the first episode was rather intriguing, so now I want to see where it goes.

People say that it's a ripoff of the X-Files, and I see a bit of a resemblance to Threshold, which I discovered last year when it was being shown on the Space channel. I didn't see the X-Files, but I recognize the conspiracy theory theme, only this time it's some giant corporation which is the siniser manipulator - of what, I expect we'll get to know over succeeding episodes. I hope this doesn't go the same way as Threshold, which was cancelled and just ended without any resolution to the threat of aliens infecting humans and transforming them into super-strong maniacs.

This time, there's a mad scientist who's been confined in a mental asylum for 16 years, and he worked with another scientist who went on to become the head of Massive Dynamics, the mysterious research conglomerate that's connected to the government, and is somehow linked to a spate of "fringe science" incidents erupting around the world. Last week, it was a synthetic virus that got loose on an airplane heading for Logan Airport. In a matter of minutes, everyone on board dissolved into a mass of bones and melted flesh - very creepy, especially as it happened during a wild thunderstorm! (But my experience of watching 'Mayday' has taught me that in real life, no pilot would fly into such violent weather, so that slightly spoiled the scene for me.) By the end, one of the FBI guys turned out to be on the wrong side, and was somehow connected to Massive Dynamics, so we don't know if they are trying to cause all these incidents for their own sinister ends, or if people inside are diverting their research and the horrible incidents are a result of losing control of experiments.

Tonight's episode has to do with a girl who suddenly experiences an entire pregnancy in about half an hour, and the trailer showed her giving birth to something that caused the hospital staff to scream and faint, so it's going to be interesting to see what creepy effect is let loose on the world tonight.

UPDATE: Well, that was creepy, but thankfully not as gross as I feared. The monstrous childbirth scene was unnerving, but everything was suggested, and nothing shown, which is the best way of getting the maximum effect without making people sick. The sound effects were the worst - there was a ghastly ripping sound and the mother suddenly died on the table, and all the doctors and nurses were just stunned into silence, which was very effective - you just knew that that was something that was NOT supposed to happen, but you never knew just what it was. And then everyone started screaming at the sight of the newborn, but we never saw that, either, so we could imagine the worst.

The rest of the episode didn't match up with that opening scene for sheer visceral punch, but it was still pretty good. John Noble is very good in his role of Dr. Bishop; I was afraid that once they took him out of the mental institution, he'd lapse into a mildly-eccentric, humorously avuncular role, but he gave a flash of really nasty venom in one scene, to remind us that he probably IS mentally ill, and it's not a cute and funny condition.

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