TV review: Fringe

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It’s been two weeks since the most recent episode of “Fringe” aired, and in that time Fox released its mid-season lineup for 2011. “American Idol” will take over Thursday nights, pushing “ Fringe” to the television wasteland known as Friday night.

This isn’t good news for the multidimensional series that literally spans dimensions. Friday night is where series on Fox — especially science-fiction ones — go to die.

Since 2000, “Dark Angel,” “Firefly” and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” have all seen their demise after moves to Friday. Even having big names like James Cameron or Joss Whedon attached couldn’t save them.

It’s a surprising move, given that “Fringe” has seen a steady increase in ratings — mostly thanks to DVR viewers — since its first season, as it has developed into one of the finest shows on network television.

The show features two parallel universes that, after a scientist named Walter Bishop (John Noble) hopped between them to save his dying son many years ago, have a hard time coexisting. Walter’s trip created blackhole-like “soft spots” in the alternate universe, and now that other universe plans to take revenge on our world. Making things interesting is the fact that most people in our world also exist in theirs.

Eight episodes into the third season, each universe’s Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is toiling in the wrong dimension. It’s exceptional storytelling — Torv has become the show’s strongest asset by playing both our Olivia and the other universe’s Olivia (aka Fauxlivia) with depth and intensity. We’re watching a star come of age.

Thursday’s episode, one of the season’s best, has both Olivias attempting to return to their respective universes. Our Olivia has become aware she’s not in the right place as brainwashing techniques have worn off, and Fauxlivia’s true identity was revealed to Peter (Joshua Jackson) in the last episode’s cliffhanger.

The careful dichotomy between the two universes has been brilliant so far, and Thursday’s installment is no exception. So keep your eye — or DVR — on “Fringe” after its move. We’re heading into the show’s finest hour … if not its final hour.


9 p.m. Thursdays on Fox

Beginning Jan. 28, Fridays at 9 p.m.

4 stars out of 4