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- TV Series: Fringe
- Episode: The Ghost Network
- Starring: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble
- Written By: David H. Goodman, Roberto Orci
- Directed By: Frederick E.O. Toye
- Series: Fringe
FRINGE: The Ghost Network
There's a Ghost in this Machine
By Stephen Lackey
September 25, 2008
The Fringe Team Investigates Strange Deaths on a Bus in FRINGE: The Ghost Network(2008).
We’re three episodes into Fringe and it appears to really have found its stride. The episode isn’t perfect – some character development and story balancing remains to be done. The mix of humor and darker storytelling is starting to meld into a series that’s dark but not as pitch black as The X-Files or Millennium was. This truly is the creators of LOST riffing on The X-Files. LOST has darker moments but there’s a good bit of humor in that series also, coming in particularly from Hurley and Sawyer. In fact, some of the best humor of LOST comes from one of the darkest characters: Sawyer. In Fringe, the humor comes from one of the most pivotal characters in the mythology and in each weekly case: Dr. Bishop. In a nutshell, one of the biggest issues with the series is starting to come together nicely.
Many fans are complaining about the huge titles but they actually play along with humor and other elements of the show to set the style for the series. Speaking of style, the show featured a bit more color this week than in previous blue tinted episodes. In particular, an aerial shot features lots of bright sun and crisp flashes of green in the city. While the color pallet choices here don’t play an important role in the story, it’s nice to see the series get away from the hospital blue color filters once in a while so the show doesn’t look too much like a music video.
The story this week is a good one and it isn’t just a case of the week, it’s also tied directly into the mythology of the series. Actually, every case of the week is tied to the mythology but this week’s story is directly connected to the shady people that the Fringe team is searching for. By the end of the episode, they mystery becomes extremely compelling and finally Fringe hits that special place of TV series addiction reserved for shows like LOST and Battlestar Galactica.
The best parts of the episode are actually those sequences that further develop the mythology and the characters. Peter still needs a real reason for being around other than just taking care of his father. He doesn’t necessarily get that development this week but he does get even more mysterious when he has to deal with a photographer that’s tailing him. For the last two episodes, Peter has been tasked to get some old object that his father stashed prior to getting committed to the institution. This may feel a bit ridiculous with too much use so hopefully it doesn’t get abused every week. Olivia is endearing but she still needs a back-story and finally the assistant FBI agent in the lab could probably use a bit more to do.
It’s exciting to see this show find its way and get better with each passing week. Fringe is so far meeting the challenge of crafting a story of the week for each episode and twisting in bits of mythology that gets more and more intriguing. Fringe may be the best new series of the year if it can continue to improve each week.