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December 20, 2008


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Tee hee. :)

Well, to start with, I agree that Anna Torv was a bit unsteady on her feet in the first episode. I had misgivings. I also thought that Joshua Jackson was a whiny pain in the ass and a total spare wheel. But (a) Torv improved a lot in preceding episodes and I now buy her character, and (b) the writers *wrote* Jackson's character as a whiny spare wheel, something explicitly tackled in a later episode.

The pilot felt...weird. That's what encouraged me to stick with it, the unconventional feel of it (past the formulaic building-blocks....all very X-Files). And it's developing nicely.

Re. the plot: I was worried it would turn into a straight Good Guys vs. Corporate America/Bad Politicians plot. But it's not that clearcut. In typical JJ Abrmas style, there's all sorts of stuff being flung into the mix. It's....really very odd.

No need to mention John Noble's mad professor. His gleeful happy naive sadistic childlike empathic nutter of a character completely eats the screen and has the best lines.

It's pseudo-science nonsensery. Absolutely. So was the X-Files. In fact the X-Files was 10 times worse. But Fringe's joy is that it doesn't do it with too much of a straight face. It's often in-your-face winking nonsense: look, Walter Bishop has a new idea that will change physics for ever, he's trying it out, *it's worked, first time!*, etc. In this, I'd argue it's following Star Trek's lead. Except these technologies crop up again in later episodes, so Fringe 1, Star Trek 0.


In this, it's like a very sophisticated throwback to mad American pulp science fiction. It's sometimes flawed and it started shakily, but it's daft and cool and they're doing a good job with the tone. So I'm along for the ride. :)


Mmkay, now you're just baiting me, what with calling this show sophisticated and saying it puts one over Trek.

Right. Well. Hmm. I'm not going to bite just now, as I'm kinda busy writing the project proposal for the fellowship that I absolutely need in order to stay fed and housed beyond next August (either I get it and stay on the gravy train for the next four years, or I don't and I go get fitted for a uniform at the DoubleMeat Palace) but here's what I'll do. I'll fire up *cough*azureus*cough*, finish up this proposal, finish the paper review I'm sitting on before the editor disemvowels me with his mind, and finish the white paper draft for the genome sequencing project I'm getting for Christmas (sort of). By the time I get all that done I'll be able to watch a couple more episodes, then get back to ya with either some major apologetic grovelling for my lack of faith in your awesome tv critic mojo (the mojo that once brought me to become addicted to Babylon 5, let it be remembered and celebrated for all time, a progenie in progenies) or with, as the Bard would put it, Scorn and defiance; slight regard, contempt, And any thing that may not misbecome The mighty sender [] ;-)

Note: just in case there was any doubt, no, the smiley isn't part of the original quote.



It's just that I went through the same process.

1) WTF? This is SCIENCE?
2) Ahh....it's "science".
3) Hahahah. HAHAH.
4) *yelling at the screen* No, it's easy, you just shoot 7 million volts through it! Are you STUPID? Come ON! Or how about resequencing its DNA, like you did on Walter in the last episode? But try the electricity first!


It's deceptive. If you take it as a serious drama series, then it's nonsense. If you take it as a very witty, very arch postmodern fun-fest that picks up the unfortunate public stereotype of How Science Is Really Done and then has lots of daft fun with it...well, my opinion is that it's a blast.

But you're a scientist. If anyone is going to take umbrage, it's scientists. Imagine for a second that you're a Classical historian. Now you're sitting down and watching Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. How do you feel? ;)

When you emerge from your Long Dark Winter of Work (I'm having one myself, albeit contracted blogging instead of academic writing) we need to catch up properly, and discuss things like this and other malarkeys.


Oh, and I take it that you're looking forward to that other JJ Abrams project in the works. You know, this one....


Which has a very exciting trailer indeed.

Anyway, I'll shut up now.


Hehe, I really don't know what you're talking about ;-)

Re: Fringe, your comments are a great comfort to me. For a while I thought you might have lost your tv mojo, and while I haven't entirely discarded that hypothesis yet (as you say, I'm a scientist; I need to collect more facts before concluding anything) it does seem like reports of your assimilation into collective mediocrity were widely exaggerated.

I do blame the pilot of Fringe for setting up the show as Serious Drama. I live in hope that I will swiftly pass through stages 2 to 4 of the Fringe "science" Appreciation Index.

In contrast, what braindead historian could take Hercules or Xena seriously for even a minute? (Incidentally, I'm toying with the idea of writing a review paper on the natural history of zombies for the journal Annals of Improbable Research. I know it's not mid-February, but Would You Be My Editor?)

Now, as the snow storm rages on outside, I have accomplished Task 1 of 3 (finish the fellowship draft, send to boss for review) and am moving on to Task 2 of 3 (write up paper review before editor goes berserk).

May you also successfully weather your own Long Winter, that we may enjoy much catching up. There has been too little shared malarkey in our recent past.


Oh, I've read a few pseudoacademic papers on Herc:TLJ here and there. I'll try to find them again. :)

I think you'll like "Fringe" when you see it in the light it's intended. I twigged when I considered that it's from the guy who made "Lost", which has a similar straight-faced approach to absolutely ludicrous plotting (and is of a similarly high standard. Season 4 was fine, fine work).

I would fall over myself to be your editor, or to collaborate in any way. :)

And yes, malarkey-sharing must recommence. Been too long, dude. (Yahoo Messenger? Skype?)

And save up some money for a week round Orkney and/or Shetland on bikes, already. Sometime in the not too distant. 'Kay?


Oh, and...when you have a spare moment (sometime in 2015, perhaps) - if you feel like employing your scientific, highly rational mind....

*Mike keeps his face very, very straight*

...in a very interesting comment discussion on an EcoSalon post I wrote at the weekend, then it's here:


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