***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!
Fringe Season 2 - 3 out of 5
The second season to J.J. Abrams' X-Files rip-off that tries to build and improve on the problems from the previous season but, seemingly, the show lies on a icy hill as every move it makes to go forward, it slides right back down to a mediocre, semi-entertaining show.
If you read my review of the first season, you know I had quite a few problems. Mainly, and I'm not the first person to criticize the show for this, is the fact it is a rip-off of the more entertaining program; The X-Files. But the problems didn't stop there. The show suffers from bad story progression and absolutely TERRIBLE character development. It was also plagued by the idea that, seemingly, J.J. Abrams was trying to make Joshua Jackson's character Peter Bishop into Sawyer from Lost version 2.o. And of course, my biggest complaint is the painfully bad acting of Anna Torv. Seriously, her inability to act is so bad that Sam Worthington and Shia LaBeouf are saying to themselves, "Shit, I mean we're bad but at least we're not Torv." However, with all the bad things this show had, it did have a single glimmer that kept me watching and hooked its claws into me so I would make it to this season. That glimmer can be summed up in one word: Walter. Walter Bishop (perfectly played by John Noble) is so damn addicting to watch and is the only character that the writers are trying with.
Now, with all the bad things that surrounded the last season, I must say the creators seemed to work on improving many of them. Sadly, not all were properly worked on and some of the problems still remain. Let's head down the list of my complaints, shall we?
Number 1) The show is a rip-off of The X-Files. Like I said before, I'm not the first person to have this opinion of the show and it seemed the writers were consciously trying to distance themselves from the far more entertaining program from Chris Carter starring Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. The show focuses more on the alternate dimension storyline which worked in distancing itself and providing a much more addicting and engaging story arc. However, there are still many episodes that are directly lifted from Chris Carter's show that helped put Fox on the map. The writers even made fun of this comparison as in the first episode they have some footage of The X-Files playing in the background. This would be amusing if the next episode wasn't two stories from Mulder and Scully's playbook mashed together in a sad attempt at trying to fool the television educated viewer.
Number 2) The show has bad story progression and terrible character development. Sadly, this wasn't improved. The story still progresses haphazardly--especially when it concerns the 2nd dimension. Rules are established early in the season about the other dimension and are seemingly forgotten about. Seriously, where were the double-decker cars and why does a dimension with such advance technology only use Zeppelins for aerial transportation? Secondly, the character development is sloppy at best as characters like Agent Dunham will have events in their past that are never mentioned until conveniently needed. This tactic was also seen in J.J. Abrams other poorly developed mediocre waste of time; Lost. Relationships between characters see the same weak treatment as characters will make great strides in their relationship in the final moments of an episode but these strides are ignored in following episodes like they never happened. However, this isn't surprising as no program J.J. Abrams has EVER put his name behind has EVER had decent character or story development.
Number 3) Joshua Jackson appears to be the new model of Sawyer from Lost. Surprisingly, this WAS fixed. In Season one, Jackson's character of Peter Bishop played out just like Sawyer. He always had a five o'clock shadow, was too cool for the room and spoke in a way that made me wonder if the slang discount store had a sale and he was trying to make the most of his purchase. The Peter of the previous season is no more and his character is more down to earth and realistic. This fact DEFINITELY made the season more bearable.
And now moving on to my biggest complaint...Anna Torv is a terrible actress. This was not improved and there is no way it will be. The woman is incapable of delivering a realistic emotion as she only has three faces: Complete Neutrality, Little Girl on Christmas Morning Style Joy and Complete Nausea. The biggest problem is she doesn't know when it is appropriate to use any of these faces. At times when she should be scared or mad, she looks happy. Then at times when she should be happy, she looks like she's going to throw up. There is really no way to fix this problem without replacing the actor and, in my opinion, Torv's acting is so bad, it wouldn't hurt the show to do so. Especially when you consider the fact that Fringe has moved to the dreaded Friday timeslot and is on the verge of cancellation. You need to pull out all stops and Torv is one of the biggest things that is working against you, Fringe.
But through all this crap, Walter Bishop is still FUCKING AWESOME!!! He once again proves to be the only reason to watch this show--WAIT, scratch that, there was a 2nd reason this season: The special guest/reoccurring appearance of Spock himself; Leonard Nimoy. Now, I'm not a Trekkie, I'm a Star Wars guy, buy Nimoy is a badass and he shows it as Dr. William Bell. (Sadly, his stellar performance also showcases how bad Anna Torv is as he acts circles around the woman very early in the season)
With some improvement, I really wanted to give this season a 4 out of 5 but a very VERY disappointing season finale with a EXTREMELY predictable ending caused me to once again land this show in the middle of my scoring spectrum. However, as mildly entertaining as this show is, John Noble once again provides me reason to continue on to season 3 just to see what Walter Bishop does next.