It’s an accepted fact of modern media, I guess, that Fox TV is the dumbest network out there, even with the ongoing NBC Leno/Conan dance of disaster. Fox do things on occasion that entirely defy belief, like those in control of scheduling have no idea that people watch the shows or might be mystified by their utterly stupid choices.
The show that got the visitation from the angel of confusion this week was Fringe, a show that Fox has previously damaged before with long gaps in the episode run. If you tuned in then you’d have been greeted this week with an ‘all new Fringe’ called Unearthed. Well, I say ‘all new’, but very quickly after the shock opening I got entirely flummoxed when long dead Charlie Francis appeared alive and well!
For a moment, I wondered if the station had screened the wrong episode and that I’d seen this one before. I hadn’t, but Unearthed was, in fact, the 21st episode of season 1, which, for whatever wackadoo reason, Fox decided to keep in the can. Curiously, it also wasn’t on the season 1 DVD boxset, so until now it was officially a lost episode.
So did any warning or explanation come up beforehand? Nah, viewers are terminally stupid so why should Fox explain anything?
This show got very poor viewing figures probably because people assumed it was an old one, once they saw Charlie and clicked away to another channel!
So, after all that, was it any good? No, it wasn’t that wonderful, to be honest. The basic plot was about a girl in a coma – who wakes up as they’re about to disassemble her for spare parts – speaking ICBM launch codes.
Fringe turn up to meet the pushy religious mother and now ‘possessed’ daughter in an attempt to make sense of it. The whole scenario screams ‘filler’ at you, and there are no references to bigger plot points or Massive Dynamics.
The girl who plays the possessed teenager acts reasonably well up to the point she’s supposedly under the control of a dead submariner, where she starts doing the devil voice from The Exorcist thinking she’s Linda Blair.
There’s also a horrible flippy-floppy deal with the way that religion is treated where Walter gets very annoyed with a priest early on and then later on starts talking about faith at the end. I know his character is supposed to be unstable, but his transformation into a more spiritual person seemed driven by Fox’s viewer demographic more than any logic here.
Overall, it was a weak story that ended with a very poor twist and for Fringe fans little would have been lost had it remained that way. The only real enjoyment I got from it was an early scene where the Fringe team is reviewing film of one of Walter’s old experiments, where he’s wearing a totally ridiculous wig to make him look younger.
Walter: Hello, I’m Dr. Walter Bishop. This is test subject number six.Peter: What happened to subjects one through five?Walter: I believe the university settled with them out of court. They probably never had to work again. Not that they could.
It’s dialogue like that which makes me watch this show, not Fox’s penchant for trying to wreck it with off-the-wall scheduling choices.
Luckily, we don’t have to wait many days before totally new Fringe returns, and, hopefully, this won’t confuse the viewers more than they’ve already been perplexed.
Read our review of episode 10 here.