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Five things that could help 'Fringe' revisited

September 23, 2010 | 11:15 am

3shotDiner_W1.4 Last November, I wrote a post about five things that could help “Fringe.” It was still pretty early in the second season. Like most sophomores, “Fringe” was still trying to decide what it wanted to do with its life. Did it want to follow in its parents’ footsteps? Momma “Lost” and Daddy “X-Files?” Did it want to branch out to explore opportunities? Did it want to take a year off and go backpacking across Europe?

As ‘Fringe’ returns Thursday night for the third-season premier, I thought it would be a good time to go back over those five things I thought could help and see how ‘Fringe’ is doing.

#5 – Stop Beating Around the Bush

Season 2 was the season we were promised “Fringe” would “get to it,” but in November, we were still waiting for “it” to be “gotten to.” There were only vague references to Peter’s past and tiny glimpses into the alternate universe.

How did “Fringe” do? A+

We got episodes like “Grey Matters,” which revealed the lengths at which Walter and William Bell went to hide the secrets of moving between words (and a hint at what Walter would be like if they hadn’t). Then came “Peter” (probably my favorite episode of the series), “The Man from the Other Side,” and the huge finale. Now as we head into Season 3, we have an all-out war with the other side. “Fringe” got to it, passed it and kept going.

#4 – Crack out the “Lost” DVDs

This was my big call for “Fringe” fleshing out its characters. “Lost” had the great mechanic of flashbacks, flash forwards, and flashes to the waiting room of the afterlife, which helped make their characters more human.

How did “Fringe” do? B+

The only reason this isn’t an A is that my call to character deepening was mostly for the sidekicks: Nina Sharp, Broyles, Astrid (oh, dear, sweet Astrid). All three of those characters got their moments over Season 2 (Broyles sang!), but the heaviest work was done on our three leads. Walter toiled over telling Peter the truth, and what an amazing truth it turned out to be. Olivia had some character development pushed on her in the finale, but I’m ready to run with it. And Peter. Wow. Peter went from a guy who was there to take care of his dad and occasionally supply a nefarious criminal leads to being a driving force in Fringe Division and the possible destroyer of worlds.

#3 – Stop killing your bad guys so fast

Man, “Fringe” was really knocking them off right after one another in Seasons 1 and 2. David Robert Jones, Mitchell Loeb, Evil Shape-Shifting Charlie, Sanford Harris. (Do you remembers all these guys?)

How did “Fringe” do? A++

Not only do we now have the “big bad” for the show, “Fringe” managed to bring Charlie Francis back from the dead. Sure, it’s alternate reality Charlie, but on the other hand, he’s filled with some kind of worms. Way cooler.

And what better villain to have than Walternate? Walter Bishop is by far the most incredible part of “Fringe.” There are so many aspects I love, but someone who doesn’t even like “Fringe” has to admit that Walter is a great character incredible portrayed by John Noble.

Now you have Noble also playing the bad guy. If there’s anyone you want playing a man driven to the near insanity by the loss of his son, it’s John Noble.

#2 – Pick up your loose ends

Season 1 of “Fringe” had a new bit of craziness every week that seemed to be forgotten by the time the next bit of craziness appeared. Plus there were secret meetings, Peter’s underworld enemies, and tons of other details that seemed to have been forgotten.

How did “Fringe” do? B

The season finale brought back together individuals that the Fringe Division had met during all their cases to open the door to the other universe, which was a really nice touch. The crazy amber chemical that killed everyone on a bus in the first season was brought back and explained. Most of the last episodes were dedicated to exploring Peter’s history. Nice work, but I’d say this: Now that “Fringe” seems to have found its direction, don’t forget to stop in on Season 1 occasionally to grab ideas (like that guy who could listen in on the secret phone network. Bring him back once).

And finally:

#1 – Move back to Tuesday

Remember that? “Fringe” on Tuesdays? Those were the days.

How did “Fringe” do? Eh, who cares?

I have an HD DVR now. I mean, it still stinks that “Fringe” is fighting “The Office” for ratings, but I just record the NBC comedies and watch them Friday instead. I’m more worried about my beloved “Community” battling “The Big Bang Theory.”

Thursdays have become “Fringe” night for me, and I like it. It’s a nice way to lead into the weekend.
“Fringe” premiers Thursday night on Fox. Being a highly respected television journalist, I was allowed to watch the episode, titled “Olivia,” earlier in the week, and it’s excellent. If it is any indication of what to expect from Season 3, we’re in for a treat.

— Andrew Hanson

Five things that could help "Fringe"

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Photo: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble and dozens of little Easter Eggs. Credit: Fox Television.

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