Saturday, April 23, 2011

Love, Nerd Style

I adore the television show Fringe. It's smart, funny, and oh-so-well written. I mean, the writers actually remember what happened previously and then build on it. Unheard of, right? Too many times I encounter shows where the writers seem to have creative amnesia. Characters switch personalities from one episode to the next, and plot threads are dropped, never to be picked up again. (I'm lookin' at you, Glee.)

The Fringe writers remember everything. That little something that happened way back in the third episode that you didn't think had any importance? They'll go back and transform it into a major plot point. And unlike shows that dangle a carrot in front of you only to rip it out of your reach over and over and over again (Now I'm lookin' at you, X Files!), Fringe presents its viewers with both mysteries and answers on a regular basis, always chugging forward toward bigger and better stuff.

The show does a great job of giving you characters you care about as well as intriguing puzzles for you to try and solve--food for the heart and the head.


Being the dork that I am, I love a good opening titles sequence, and Fringe's intro is terrific. It's dark and mysterious, and it reads like a quick cram session for the viewer. Words like "astral projection" and "parallel universes" float across the screen as if to say, "This is the kind of weird stuff we'll be spending our time on, so buckle up."

In the second season, after spending a lot of time referencing a particular character's work in the 80's, an episode ended up being set entirely in 1985. To the delight of the fans, the opening titles followed suit with 80's-style graphics and such unheard of terms as "personal computing" and "cloning" floating across the screen. Fun, right?

Even further into the second season, the show's protagonists traveled to a parallel universe, and the show's intro changed yet again. From that point on, viewers would have a quick way of being able to tell in which universe an episode was set.

Finally, a word to the wise: Don't ever try to eat anything while you're watching Fringe. Just trust me on this one.

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