Blu-Ray Review: Stellar Release For Second Season of FOX’s ‘Fringe’

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CHICAGO – When the second season of “Fringe” premiered, I wrote, “If any show is going to go from mildly popular to breakout hit in its second season, I expect it will be “Fringe”.” While that certainly didn’t happen in terms of ratings (the show actually dropped 2.5 million viewers from its weekly average), the critical and cultural buzz around the series has grown. It feels more and more like “Fringe” is the current show that’s beloved by those who watch it even if it’s looking less likely to break through to a wider demographic. Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Those who once though that “Fringe” would be the new “Lost” or “24,” now seem resigned to the fact that it could be the new “Firefly,” another FOX program underappreciated when it aired but now unabashedly adored. It took some time for “Fringe” to settle into a groove after some stumbling in the first season but the storytelling confidence on display in the second season feels almost like a different show.

Fringe: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 14th, 2010
Fringe: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 14th, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

After serving little purpose in the first season, Joshua Jackson developed into a charismatic lead in the second, Anna Torv broke out of her sometimes-wooden style, and John Noble, well, he’s stolen nearly every scene since episode one. Great supporting actors like Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, and Kirk Acevedo were finally given more to do on a consistent basis and the buzz around “Fringe” grew even as ratings fell.

Fringe: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 14th, 2010
Fringe: The Complete Second Season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on September 14th, 2010
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

Despite its continued growth, there’s still room to build on “Fringe” and I expect the third season to be its best yet. There’s still something a bit lackluster about the one-off episodes like a scientist who experiments with scorpion DNA or an episode about human bombs. They’re not “bad,” but they’re a bit generic, not unlike the final season of “The X-Files.” It’s still entertaining, but not quite memorable enough with all the competition out there for your TV time.

However, when “Fringe” dives deep into its alternate universe mythology, as in the remarkable season premiere “A New Day in the Old Town,” it can be riveting television. And it’s made all the more so by a spectacular HD transfer, one of the best of the season of TV on Blu-ray. “Fringe” in HD looks amazing with just the right level of contrast and vivid color. It’s a great mix.

And it’s accompanied by a notable amount of special features, including deleted scenes, commentaries, and behind-the-scenes featurettes.

“Fringe” may never develop into the blockbuster hit that FOX hoped it would be but they’re clearly creatively pleased with the show or they wouldn’t have renewed it for a third season after its ratings drop in the second. See what gave them hope with one of the most complete and well-made Blu-ray releases of the month with “Fringe: The Complete Second Season.”

Special Features:
o “Unearthed” - an extra episode that was produced in but never aired in season one
o “The Mythology of Fringe”
o “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” on 6 episodes
o “In the Lab with John Noble and Prop Master Rob Smith”
o Commentary on 4 Episodes by Series Stars and Creative Team — Episodes 2.4, 2.15, 2.19, and 2.22
o “Unusual Side Effects” — Gag Reel
o “Dissected Files” — Unaired Scenes

‘Fringe: The Complete Second Season’ stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, and Kirk Acevedo. The show was created by J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci, & Alex Kurtzman. The Blu-ray and DVD were released on September 14th, 2010. It is not rated and runs 968 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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