20 Things We Love About Fringe

Jayne Nelson (the one from this universe, not her alternate twin) explains why Fringe Division is the best in its league…

It’s the show that plays fast and loose with the laws of physics, the laws of gravity and just about every other scientific law there is. Professor Brian Cox would not approve. But if you take off your lab coat, put your feet up on the sofa and forget scientific accuracy, Fringe is one of the most brilliantly-imagined fantasy dramas to come along in ages – it even has parallel universes to choose from!

1 It’s The New X-Files

Once you could have used this as evidence to prove why Fringe was rather lacking. Back in season one it seemed the show ripped off a different X-Files concept each week; the gruesome, unexplainable body counts were tailor-made for Agent Mulder, and Agent Dunham walking down endless dark corridors with a torch was Scully all over again.

But times have changed. Now we’re far enough away from The X-Files to miss it and its bonkers conspiracy theories, neatly echoed in Fringe by the manipulations of mega-corporation Massive Dynamic. And Fringe is carefully harking back to Mulder and Scully’s finest hours without falling foul of what eventually made The X-Files falter: repetition. This is The X-Files’s younger, fresher, snazzier little cousin.

2 Walter/Walternate

If there’s one thing all Fringe fans are united on, it’s their belief that John Noble deserves an Emmy for his performance as Walter Bishop. Of course he’ll never get one because Fringe is sci-fi (sigh), but that doesn’t mean we can’t praise him to the rafters right here. Noble’s depiction of a confused, broken genius who loves ice cream, often forgets to put on his clothes and once experimented on children like lab rats is extraordinary. And to add to the joy, we get his cool, collected and impossibly dangerous alter ego as well, and with the delicious moniker “Walternate”.

3 The Concept

It took a while to take form – the show spent a while rummaging around in Olivia’s head and focusing on her dead boyfriend – but when we finally got to discover Fringe’s mega plot-arc, it was epic. Walter Bishop lost his son to a deadly illness; invented a way to cross into a parallel universe; kidnapped his son from there and brought him back. In doing so, he sparked off a series of paradoxes and glitches that resulted in cracks appearing in both universes, ensuring that one of them has to be destroyed for the other to survive. Fringe Division is set up to fight both the widening, devastating effects of this damage and to defeat their alternate universe foes – and it’s all delivered as straight-faced, straight-up sci-fi drama. Delicious.

4 There’s A Cow In It

Yup. A whole cow, stabled quite happily (or so we’re led to believe; the RSPCA may beg to differ) in Walter’s lab at Harvard. She even moos from time to time to remind us she’s there and once appeared covered in large, Twister-style spots. Named Gene – because cows are genetically similar to humans, dontchaknow – she’s a reassuring bovine presence on the show. Also, she’s handy whenever Walter fancies a milkshake.

5 Peter Bishop

Kudos to Joshua Jackson for downplaying Peter so perfectly, stepping back to allow his on-screen father to eat up the scenery and calmly letting Anna Torv’s female lead be the focus of the show (how nice for the man to be the sidekick for once). And yet, while Peter is often quiet or laid-back, he also displays a wicked sense of humour and a furious urge to do what’s right, making it hard to imagine the show without him.