Every now and then, when I can shake myself out of the sheer joy of this show existing, I try to analyze what, exactly, is working so well for me. On my personal blog, I've written a couple posts about TV shows before -- Six Things Stargate: SG1 Taught Me About Writing and Six Things Supernatural Taught Me About Writing -- but FRINGE is one I haven't gotten to yet. I'm definitely going to try some time.
I love the mystery of not knowing what's going to happen, because they've shown the viewer that anything can happen. One of the characters constantly reminds the others (and therefore the viewers) that the only limit to science (and the show) is imagination. Rules can be broken. Mysteries can lead to deeper mysteries. Everything can turn upside down in minutes.
The plot is complex, and again, anything can happen, but whatever happens always feels right. The writers clearly have a plan, and they're choosing the best ways to reveal information to the viewer. They do a great job of anticipating viewer assumptions, explaining things most people probably don't know, and being convincing even when the show is based on "fringe science." "Pseudo-science," they call it in the show.
I love the mix of serious and humor. Bad things happen, and things get worse, but someone is always there to make an inappropriate comment when the viewer really needs the tension to ease a little.
And oh, the characters. I love how Peter and Olivia both have tough outsides, and they're both so darn competent -- but the viewer gets to see those moments of vulnerability and insecurity. The viewer gets to see where they are human. And Walter! Hilarious, kind of scary, but extremely sympathetic because he knows that he's lost so much of his mind. And Astrid! She doesn't make it onto the covers of the DVDs, but dang, there's nothing that girl can't do. Plus she's kind and gentle, and often plays the role of the group's conscience.
I love how you can see how all the characters interact differently with one another. I love how their relationships evolve, how close they become, how much it hurts you when they hurt. . . .
Apparently I really can go on and on about FRINGE. There's nothing I don't like about this show. (Even if I do sometimes have to look away from gross things. And even if Walter is trying to ruin every yummy food there is by comparing it to disgusting things.) I'm pretty sure the writers begin their meetings with, "So, what can we do this week to make Jodi happy?"
Jodi Meadows is the author of INCARNATE. (January 31, 2012 - HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books.)
She lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. You can find her on her website and blog.
*A Kippy is a cat.