Third-episode verdict: Fringe

The CarusometerA Carusometer rating of 3

Time for a third-episode verdict on Fringe, JJ Abrams new show for Fox about investigations into the weird areas of fringe science. After a first episode that was really rather good indeed, we’ve had a severe drop-off in quality. The problem is that although we have the fantastic John Noble as the equally fantastic Dr Walter Bishop, a mad scientist to whom all other mad scientists should bow down to and worship as their god, everything else is a little dull.

While Joshua Jackson as Bishop’s son is almost interesting, Anna Torv’s FBI heroine is about as involving as a 700-page instruction manual on repairing a steam iron. Even the magnificent Lance Reddick can’t rescue her boss from mere stern untrustworthiness. 

The plots and direction have also lacked all the promise of the pilot, with the Cronenbergian coldness and body horror now MIA, replaced with simple weirdness and an X-Files-esque conspiracy theory of outstanding tedium. Those stupid location-naming graphics are irksome, too.

On the whole, probably not worth sticking with, even though there are hints that there’s more plot to come. I might well keep watching, just to see if I’ve been proved wrong – I’ll let you know if I have.

So The Medium is Not Enough has great pleasure in declaring Fringe a three or ‘Minor Caruso’ on The Carusometer quality scale.

Author

  • I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.