English is not my native language so I apologize for the errors that are bound to exist.
Would I recommend Fringe?
Well … Yeah, but is complicated.
Very much like Buffy, you have to go through a shitty start (a season and a half in this case) to get to the good stuff, later to the great stuff, to then lose some steam and end with a disappointing yet not bad finally.
Fringe is kind of an episodic show, very much a procedural, then turns into sort of a spy show, goes back to procedural and ends up being a rebels vs empire, all of these facets with lots of sci-fi shit.
At the beginning, the show suffers from not enough focus on character, specially from the episodic stories, so you don’t really care about the people committing the crimes or the people investigating them. They focus to much on how cool or weird are the sci-fi stuff and on the investigation, and not enough on the most important part, the part that makes you care.
It also suffers from stupid behavior, characters that are supposed to be competent or really smart being fucking idiots when the plot needs them to, which allows the stories to continued, it happens with the episodic ones as well as the larger plots. Is all very shitty.
And I would not forgive the treatment that Gillian Jacobs got. Bastards!
Of course, is a J.J show, despite the fact that his involvement from a writing perspective is limited to co-writing two episodes during the shitty part of the show and co-creating the lore. In J.J. Abrams fashion, the show has a lot of mysteries that promises is going to answer. They do, in fact, answer them. Not absolutely all of them, but those ones are really not important. The big ones are all there.
The big reason I would recommend Fringe is the existence of Walter Bishop. Even when the show was shit, he still was really good. It was weird, like there was a writer who only wrote him and then fuck off.
Walter is a complex character who constantly has to face the damage he has done when he was a different man, a scarier man. He is not all there in the head, which causes both funny and sad scenes, besides creating some mystery and character exploration. He’s funny, he’s clever, he’s goofy, sweet and energetic, and of course, very, very interesting.
A thoroughly entertaining and memorable character.
With time, the majority of the main cast gets enough development and exploration for them to work and leave a mark, but at least for me, I did not care much for them. Except for Astrid, who is really sweet and clever, and has a good friendship with Walter that I wish it was explored a bit more.
Main characters and others are not evil just because, which is really great. Is all very layered.
Anyway. The show looks good, the acting is usually good, bla bla. And despite mistakes, has a lot of good stuff in it, and season 3 is particularly good. Almost every episode in season 3 has good stories that are thematically related to the characters or the world.
And the characters are usually very smart, which was very shocking to me. I was so confused, it all happened so fast, the quality just jumps halfway season 2. Is almost like the writers were force to write those early episodes.
And, surprisingly, "Peter" is one of the best episodes of television ever made. It was a surprise cause it was in Season 2.
By the way, the scientific mumbo jumbo is very funny cause, you google the explanation they give in the show and surprise, it does not work like that.
The ending is rushed thanks to the cancelation, but the character work is on point and none of them get destroyed. And that’s the most important part.
As a whole, the show works enough to deserve a passable note… for now.