So Fringe and its parallel universes, grubs jumping out of chests (like THANKS FOR REMINDING ME OF THAT, SHOW!), absolutely terrible science, epic love affair, "We'll DESTROY THE UNIVERSE -- TWO UNIVERSES ! -- if that's what it takes TO RESTORE THIS FAMILY!" AND a cow in the lab finally came to a triumphant end this evening.

I have not enjoyed this past season at all, largely because I thought Fringe came to a decent end last season, and this season, set in a future I couldn't bring myself to care about since I was sure, this show being Fringe and its showrunners coming from Lost, that it was a future that would just be retconned anyway. So I was prepared for disappointment. And maybe a nice dog on the beach and a camera zoom into an eye.

But, Fringe delivered: a nice epic two part episode that tied up loose ends, made some nice references to past episodes, gave each actor a moment to shine, and, alas, brought back the damn cow. Sure, the episode as a whole makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and sure, much of the dialogue seemed to a meta statement from the show's writers of "SEE! Yes, all of our wacky, nonsensical plot lines and out of character moments and objectionable science DID HAVE A POINT and we are NOT APOLOGIZING FOR ANY OF IT," as again and again characters assured one another that they would make the exact same choices all over again given the same plot. And it contained all the things that makes Fringe Fringe: kick ass Olivia moments, supportive Peter moments, Astrid getting underused moments, Walter's questionable science moments ("Anti gravity bullets -- because it's COOL!") and yes, the inevitable gross out moments.

And that damn cow.

Bye, show. Thanks for five seasons of generally solid entertainment. Well, three, at least, and good episodes in the other two seasons.


Sidenote: This was the first time I've watched Fringe on the new, large HD LED TV, and....what the (*&^(*&)(*() was going on with the Observers' makeup? That was scarier than the Observers.
And speaking of Fringe --

Previous seasons of Fringe have explored the bizarre, the disgusting, the parallel, and the very bad science that happens when you keep a cow in the lab.

This season, Fringe has at least given up on the cow. (Unless it got Ambered, in which case, I don't want to know.) So that's a plus. But Fringe has also given up on something else, and it took me awhile to identify it: Hope.

(Also, "fun," but we'll get there.)

I'm behind this season, so perhaps this eventually did get addressed, but the first few episodes were almost relentlessly grim and depressing. Even the few moments of reunion/joy/happiness were, well, depressing. It probably doesn't help that the set designers, reading the scripts, have gone with, "Ok, well, grey it is then!" and the camera people have followed their lead with nice grey filters everywhere.

The result is a show that I'm just not looking forward to watching any more. It's odd. I'm not against grim and depressing – I mean, I've been reading and watching Game of Thrones. I will probably even end up watching Anna Karenina on DVD eventually, which if I remember correctly did not exactly have a happy ending in the book.

But some place in the third episode of this season I realized the problem. I'm assuming, because this is television, and this is the last season of Fringe and the showrunners know this, that the show is – eventually – going to end up with a happy ending. (As proof I show you the final episode of last season which had the possibility of being the last episode of Fringe ever when it was filmed.) And that's great. I love happy endings.

But they have to feel right. They have to feel justified, not contrived. And they have to fit into the universe of the story that has been written.

I could believe in happy endings in the first four seasons of Fringe: this was a show where people encountered monsters and flipped universes and parallels and fought or learned to work with them; the entire point of the show was, "secure the monsters for everyone's safety." But the part of the point of this season – set in a grim future – is to restore the damn monsters. So not only am I watching a grim, depressing and very grey future, I am watching a future where everyone wants things to go wrong again. (And on a sidenote, I'm watching a future that's suggesting that most of what was done in the first four seasons was completely wasted since they were all running around chasing the wrong monsters.)

I can accept the incredibly depressing ending of Anna Karenina because within the crafted universe of that story it can have no other ending. I have a bad feeling that at the end of Fringe, I'll be thinking of other possible endings. (For instance, not having this season.)

Anyway, thanks to this I haven't been watching as much Fringe as I generally would have, and while flailing to find something to watch that wasn't Fringe, ended up watching the new Upstairs, Downstairs. Oh, dear. Enough for its own separate entry. Which will have to wait a bit since I'm about to head out.
Ah, Fringe.

I haven't been writing regularly about Fringe this season because I was usually watching most episodes a week or so late on Hulu, although I made an exception for the last couple of episodes – which in turn reminded me of just why I rarely bother to watch TV live these days. The constant, constant commercials, where you never know just how long a commercial break will be. Oh, you get the commercial breaks on as well, but you can pause the commercials and go do something else if need be, and they are neither so frequent nor so long. But I digress. Anyway.

Spoilery for season four and the finale. )
Ordinarily this would be the time when I would render some snarky comments on the latest hijinks of the mad scientists and their extremely unscientific cow at Fringe, but this year, these snarky bits will generally be delayed for at least a week thanks to laziness (on my side) and greed (on Fox TV's side.) On my side, although we do get Fox live here, watching live TV requires, gasp, getting up and switching the TV from DVD mode to television mode, gasp, and then unless the other person in the household was watching football on Fox, which sometimes happens, adjusting the antenna away from watching football on ABC to watching Fringe on Fox, which might not seem like much but is generally more than I feel like doing for a show that will eventually and conveniently be popping up on my little computer where I can pause it midway for a snack or rewind bits that I like without a problem. On the other side, Fox, which previously released new episodes the day after original airing, now has them on a week's delay unless you are a Dish network customer, which we aren't. (Besides, Friday night is usually when we pop in a movie into the DVD player.)

(Nope, we don't have a DVR or cable, and at the moment, my checking account has explained in kind but firm terms that we won't be getting either for a bit.)

Instead, I'll just note that I finally got around to catching up to most of the summer episodes of the silly, fluffy Eureka and Warehouse 13. The fourth season of Eureka, post the time travel reboot, has been the show's best ever, allowing character growth and adjustment while adding different sorts of tension. Warehouse 13, a show I've previously been kinda eh about, also stepped up its game, with two solid episodes -- the exceedingly silly crossover with Eureka where everyone ended up as a video game character, which did crack me up, and the more serious episode where Mika chased after the person who assassinated her partner.

Neither show is going to change your life, but if you're looking for some fairly mindless, fluffy entertainment with the occasional jokes, they aren't bad. And, to give both shows credit, neither tries to put a cow in a lab (although what Eureka does choose to put in its labs also generally leaves me wiping tears from my eyes. I'll let you determine the cause of those tears.)
To answer a few questions sent in by email, the reason you haven't been getting any snarky comments from me on Stargate as it careens to its conclusion tonight is that the Syfy channel in its infinite wisdom has decided not to put up episodes of an already cancelled show/franchise on its site or Hulu until a month after initial broadcast, and while I in my little wisdom have decided that Game of Thrones is absolutely worth a trip to a nearby apartment especially because pizza is included, Stargate: Universe is most definitely not. If more recent episodes do pop up on Hulu after tonight, or if I allow myself to get Neflix in June/July (I'm saving it as a reward) then I might try to finish out the season, since I've invested this much time and am vaguely interested in how the show will fail to wrap itself up. Otherwise, eh.

Which – after a small digression to note that yes, I'm planning to write something up about that enjoyable popcorn flick, Thor – brings us to Fringe, which greatly cheered me up by providing an entire finale episode WITHOUT THE COW, and then proceeded to ruin that moment by further polluting an entirely innocent river. Oh, show. Sniffle. Cut for slightly more specific spoilers about the ending and other non-cow talk, and spoilers for Buffy: Season 5 )


Apr. 15th, 2011 10:23 pm
I tried an experiment tonight: actually watching Fringe in real time. (Usually I watch it on Hulu the day after airing.) For those who missed it, allow me to just say that even by Fringe, Lost, and X-Files standards, that was one whacked out episode.

(still laughing)

Spoilery for tonight's episode. )


Mar. 22nd, 2011 06:58 pm
Been zonked today, so instead of lovely intellectual ponderings about scattered ideas in my head and a few things mentioned at IAFA, you get my scattered thought (just one) on the most recent episode of Fringe:

I think I have finally found a use for that damned cow!!!!!!

Spoilery for the last couple of episodes. )


Jan. 24th, 2011 09:12 am
So, the quest to save Fringe now that it's been moved to Friday nights is on! It might have gone better if I'd actually remembered that it was on Friday nights, but, er, whatever. I don't have one of those awesome boxes that control ratings in any case.

Anyway! Three small and spoilery comments about Friday's episode. )


Nov. 9th, 2010 10:27 pm

I gotta say: after the sheer silliness, implausibility, bad science and you have got to be kidding me seriously bad science of a first season, in this third season, Fringe has finally become a pretty decent show. (One helpful factor: we are seeing far, far less of that cow.)

Spoilery yet riveting non-science. )


Oct. 7th, 2010 03:40 pm
So, while I continue to wait for this phone call, I may as well take a moment to chat about Fringe, which decided to merrily return to its "how can we, as an entertainment venue, best sicken the American audience this week" roots in last week's episode (yes, I'm behind…and will be behind on all fall shows until, um, at least December at this rate.) Also, I am terribly sorry to tell you that the cow is back.

Oh, Fringe.

Various spoilery things. )


Sep. 27th, 2010 04:26 pm
Fringe decided to open the season with something different: instead of, "how can we make our viewers toss their dinners this week," they went with…a taxi ride.

Mildly spoilery discussion of the season three opener and the finale of season two. )
Ok, now THAT'S how you do a season finale. It's also how you end an extraordinary 60 year acting career.

Others around the internet have said this better than I could, but in watching the episode, I realized that Leonard Nimoy has been part of my viewing existence for my entire life: I started watching Star Trek when I was a very, very small girl, and followed him through various In Search Ofs and more Star Trek and now this: his final role as a mysterious maybe-maybe not bad guy. I can more than respect his decision to retire, but well done, Mr. Nimoy. Well done.

Spoilers must note, however, that the mere presence of Spock DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE COW. )
....but I'm definitely thinking hate:

Fringe: the Musical.

If that cow sings, I am going to be very, very put out. I am just warning you all now.
Before the great event that is the season premiere of Lost descends upon us, I should perhaps say a few words about other television shows, which I haven't given up on, despite light blogging about it. I just haven't had much to say about White Collar, which I am watching only the extremely shallow basis that Matt Bomer is pretty (and yes, while I know the actor is gay, he is bisexual In My Head, which is the only place I'm likely to meet him anyway), or Leverage, which I am still adoring, despite not exactly feeling the love for Jeri Ryan's guest character, although she looks great if impractical in those short black skirts, but to make up for this, shirtless Hardison! I think I speak for many of us when I suggest that shirtless Hardison should be a strong, strong part of the future of Leverage. In fact if by some twist the Leverage team can only succeed in their stunts if Hardison strips, this is a plot twist I could live with. I'm just saying, Rogers.

(And if you haven't been watching Leverage, do yourself a favor and so do – it's a fun show.)

But, as said, I don't have much to say about these sorts of caper shows, or the romantic-mystery-comedy show Castle, another love of the season. I do have a lot of negative things to say about the horrific unevenness that was Dollhouse's second season, otherwise known as, when good concepts go wrong, and why suddenly attempting to squeeze ten years of plot development into ten minutes is likely to make me blink and go, er, what, but that possibly deserves a separate post of ranting.

Which leaves us with television's ongoing attempt to make us lose our dinners, Fringe.

Spoilery for recent Fringe episodes. )
And just to show that I'm not entirely negative about this year's television shows:

1. Really enjoying Castle, to the point where I must admit to a bit of heresy – I may – just may – be enjoying Nathan Fillion as Castle more than I did as Mal. Gulp. I know. I submit myself to your judgement.

(Not that the characters are all that different, really. Also, loved the return of Mal for Halloween moment.)

2. Also sucking me in: Flashforward, admittedly mostly because of the ongoing cliffhanger endings, which, let's face it, I'm an absolute sucker for (Lost! Come back to me quickly, Lost!). Also, the kangaroo. I am seriously hoping that in the season finale, we find out that This Was All The Fault of the Kangaroo, who, as it turns out, is a Evil Scientist Mastermind.

(Let's face this, too: if you're going to be an Evil Scientist Mastermind, why NOT turn yourself into a kangaroo? You have just enough strength in your paws to operate all of your dangerous evil scientific equipment, and when the bad guys show up, you have a wealth of options: look adorable, cute and helpless, the sort of kangaroo that would never hurt anyone; leap away, leading off a wild chase through city streets which, awesome, because, kangaroo; or alternatively, use some harsh kangaroo kung fu kicks on your enemy. But I digress.)

Also enjoying the show's willingness to play with the inevitability of time and the future and questioning the concepts of fate and destiny.

I do have some quibbles: several episodes in, I still don't like most of the characters, except Demetri, which is not good for keeping me sucked in long term, and not surprisingly the show hasn't been able to keep up the intensity of the first couple of episodes. But they have me hooked for now.

3. And one advantage to watching V and Stargate: Universe is that I am now regarding the insanity that is Fringe in a much kinder light.

They still need to get rid of the cow, though.
The general blogging silence over the past few days has been to spare you, my mostly innocent readers, from a stream of constant entries running more or less like this:

Ow, knee.

Knee, ow.

Oooooooooh! Look at all the pretty colors on my leg! Purple everywhere!

Apparently, my knee has decided to take up a second career as a balloon. I rather wish we'd chatted about this beforehand.

This riveting series of updates would then only be followed by yesterday's:

The water is off.

Why is the water off?

The water is still off.


Er. Is that a demon in the toilet?

Ok, either the toilet has taken up demon torture as a hobby or something damn strange is going on in the bathroom.

What would a water demon caught in a toilet look like, anyway?

Can I get a poem out of this?

Every drop you shake…
Every thirst you slake…
every earache you make every brain you break
I'll be watching you…

Do water demons actually slake thirst?

And so on.

I did, however, manage to catch FlashForward, which so far I have mixed feelings about. Lots of other people have already identified the two main issues: 1) the cool science-fictiony thing has already happened, leaving us knowing that nothing cool is going to happen again until April 29, not even remotely uncoincidentally the start of May sweeps (the show wins, hands down, for most blatant attempt to drive viewers to a chief sweeps episode seven months in advance ever) 2) the characters are, how to put this kindly, dull. Duller, I would say, than ditchwater, which actually has all kinds of awesomely cool critters living wildly dramatic lives inside it if you just take the time to look. The trouble with FlashForward is that it hasn't exactly convinced anyone to take the time to look. Not yet, anyway.

(Well, ok, I think many of us were looking at the cute babysitter and her decidedly fetching bra, but I mean, beyond a completely superficial look.)

I think part of the problem here was that the show had to focus on a lot – major worldwide disaster, bizarre and frankly not particularly credible partial explanation for worldwide disaster, without enjoying that time that most disaster movies have to introduce us to a nice set of Characters So Cliched We Already Know Or Can Guess Their Backstories, allowing us to Care For Them (or Not) in seconds. In theory Flashforward's characters are supposed to be a little less clichéd (the show hasn't shown any evidence of this one way or another) but regardless, we didn't see enough of them before the Great Disaster to know.

I did like the kangaroo, though. And the last 30 seconds or so.

Meanwhile, Fringe traded the cow for a lovely set of images gross even beyond Fringe's usual standards. Ugh. Sigh. Ugh.

More TV catchup later, although almost certainly sans Heroes; I had been watching it because my gaming group does, but I feel Fringe, cow or no cow, is enough of a sacrifice there, and so far, I haven't heard anything that's convincing me to give Heroes another try this season.

I don't care WHAT universe we're talking about, why is there STILL a COW in the lab? The ability of cows to muck up laboratory processes is universal across all universes. That is, universes with cows. Fringe, KILL THE COW. Well. Not literally. Given the frequent graphic nature of this show I would actually prefer to not have any on scene cow killing. But. Send the cow off to a nice retirement home for cows.


Kinda spoilery. )


Bones wins for not having a cow.

I'm sorry I typed that.


Bones has always been one of my guilty pleasures. Let's face it: it's not a great show. In fact, it is frequently dumb, and the less said about its microbiology the better. (In fact I would enjoy the show considerably more if it would just stop making insane statements about diatoms, thank you very much.) On the bright side, it does not have a cow in its lab, which puts it, scientifically, several steps ahead of Fringe. And also on the bright side, I love the characters and the will they/won't they of Booth and Brennan. (I'm hoping for "will" by the end of the season.)

Also, for the win, the season premiere had Cyndi Lauper. As a fortuneteller. And featuring one of her songs. I have a mad ongoing crush on Cyndi Lauper, and between this and the absence of cow, yay Bones.


Just starting to catch up on this so nothing much to say. Yet. And by "just catching up" I mean "will probably not be caught up until next September." But snark will be coming. Oh, yes it will.

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