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Fringe: The Complete First Season

Anna Torv , Joshua Jackson , Akiva Goldsman , Alex Graves    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 49.70
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Fringe: The Complete First Season + Fringe: The Complete Second Season (Sous-titres français) + Fringe: The Complete Third Season
Price For All Three: CDN$ 40.04


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Teleportation, mind control, astral projection, invisibility, precognition, spontaneous combustion, reanimation: these are among the peripheral sciences--or "pseudo-sciences," as one skeptic puts it--examined during the first season of Fringe, a Fox network TV drama debuting on DVD with the full first season (twenty episodes) offered on seven extras-laden discs. The notion that those phenomena could have a genuine scientific basis is intriguing enough. But co-creator J.J. Abrams (whose bulging resume as a director, writer, and producer includes Lost, Alias, and the 2009 Star Trek feature film) has even more on his mind. Along with the weird science, the series features a multi-agency task force investigating related acts of terrorism that may very well add up to a threat of unimaginable global proportions; people who are exactly what they appear to be (i.e., insane) and others who are anything but; plot twists galore; family drama, interpersonal relationships, corporate evil, cop chases... There's a lot in play here, and while it doesn't always hold together (and like any new series, it takes a while to hit its stride), Fringe is rarely boring, and never less than impressively ambitious.

The pilot introduces us to the main characters, principally FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv, good but not great in the show's central role) and others on the task force brought in to investigate some gross goings-on aboard a jumbo jet (a "self-eradicating, airborne toxin" reduced everyone to blood and bones). Seems this is but one part of "The Pattern," a series of synchronous, similarly shocking events that unfold as the show progresses; in subsequent episodes, lots of people are killed in graphic fashion by all manner of horrors, including scary monsters (slugs as big as a football, teethed parasites that can crush your heart), a gas that freezes a busload of passengers "like insects trapped in amber," people so radioactive they can literally make your brain boil… it goes on. Helping Dunham and the rest of the force figure it all out are scientist Dr. Walter Bishop (an appealing John Noble), who's spent the past 17 years locked up in the loony bin and whose research may be responsible for some of the crimes we witness, and his son-babysitter Peter (Joshua Jackson). As for the "fringe" element, Dr. Bishop and other, less benign geniuses jump-start a dead man's brain, photograph another victim's cornea in order to access the last thing she saw before death, connect Dunham to her boyfriend so she can experience his memories of the incident that left him comatose, use high-frequency vibrations to enable bank robbers to pass through a solid vault wall, and much, much more. As for where and how all of this ends up, let's just that enquiring minds will have to hang in for the long, complicated run.

Bonus features are many and varied; among the best are "Deciphering the Scene" (brief explications of key scenes in every episode) and "The Massive Undertaking" (detailing how certain special effects sequences were pulled off). --Sam Graham

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This can be the "Fringe" of something big. Oct. 6 2013
By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
I came to this series just looking for a time filler. I found my time filler and more. They hit the deck running and pull no punches so it does not take long to realize if you want to watch the series or not.

We start out with an inexplicable and mysterious problem. The public can never know but there may be some sort of diabolical cabal behind this problem. FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) is recruited to help track down the culprits. She is out of her depth in the science behind the problem and needs the help of an extraordinary institutionalized scientist Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) to help decipher the problem. Unfortunately Walter is not allowed to go out by himself so Olivia must also recruit his son Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) who also helps her and us interpret Walter's thoughts and fringe technology.

"Fringe" uses the standard go on forever series formula. First there is the immediate episode problem it either starts out at the front end or gets built up very shortly then we have our antagonist(s) usually temporary for this episode. We usually find that he has a good excuse to be a bad guy and we can empathize but they have to clean up the situation and live happily ever after. Laid over this is the extended series problem we get everything from vague hints to gratuitous gore. The antagonists (some likably evil) for the series sections may or may not die can mysteriously be written to come back and whose purposes are never totally explained so that we must watch the rest of the series.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best in sci- fi TV Jan. 4 2011
By JJZ
Format:Blu-ray
Fringe is a top notch sci fi show, great cast, lots of twists, and exceptional production quality. The first season isn't the best of the three(hopefully more), but it lays the necessary groundwork of an incredibly exciting saga. Fringe really raises the bar for a televisions series, you won't want to miss it.

This disc set includes a fair bit of extra content, behind the scenes for every episode, breakdown of practical & special effects, as well as audio commentaries. Only knock against it is the user interface on the top menu. The episodes aren't directly selectable, only the bonus content. No scene selection either, so you have to jump chapters during playback.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Oct. 17 2010
By EAP
Format:DVD
I love this show. It is like The X-Files without the aliens. Interesting and intriguing. Well worth a weekend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best sci-fi in a while May 16 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I love Fringe. I discovered it way late, after the series ended. Borrowed the DVDs from a coworker, fell in love, then ~HAD~ to get my own copy. Few are the tv shows I actually want to own, only 4 or 5 in all those I've watched, and this is one of them. Brilliant acting, clever writing, beautifully directed.

Anyway, many compare it to the X-Files. While I can see the link (both deal with FBI agents investigating the inexplicable), there are many key differences in what the shows talk about. X-Files revolves primarily around aliens and UFOs (not only that, but primarily), Fringe is about fringe science (telekinesis, parallel universes, telepathy, etc.) and there's a very deep plot line extending throughout all seasons.

While season 1 has more of a "Something happens. We investigate and solve the mystery. Case closed" feel to it, the further you progress in the season (and the seasons after that), the more the plot line of the series is continuous and link the episodes/seasons together... making it hard to talk about without giving any spoilers. So why not give it a try?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best TV series ever! Nov. 15 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Great opening season? Lots of suspense and thought provoking stories that get connected in future seasons! Way too bad it only went 5 seasons!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Not enough extras Jan. 26 2013
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Love the show, but as usual it's missing a few extras and a few more commentaries. The show alone is worth it though. A must for any fans of Sci-Fy, great acting, and X-files like procedurals.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good! Sept. 28 2012
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
Not the best Tv show out there but still, the moment I finished watching the first season I ordered the second one. If you love sic-fi you'll most likely like Fringe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great show! June 19 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Fringe is a show worthy of praise on many levels. Unlike other FBI/Sci-fi shows (X-files, for example), which were slow to develop, Fringe has an amazing cast, John Noble (Walter Bishop), Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop), Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham), Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles), and Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth), to name a few, who from the first episode of season one, showed their capacity to make the unbelievable stories credible. The emotional connection between Peter and Walter Bishop is palpable, and it develops incrementally as the season progresses, as Peter and Walter work through years of distrust, resentment, and disappointment. Fringe, in the best spirit of Sci-fi, is humourous, scary, poignant, and cutting edge. The show does not follow the usual pattern and takes many unexpected twists and turns, making it exciting to watch. The calibre of acting, the amazing special effects (which are cinema worthy), and the unpredictability of the show, makes it a great entertainment. Each season is more unexpected and gripping than the last. I highly recommend this show, not just for Sci-fi fans, but for anyone interested in dramatic, funny, and thrilling television.
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