Even before the first episode of Fringe debuted last season on Fox, sci-fi fans were anxiously awaiting its arrival. The summer promos promised tales about alternate universes and parallel worlds, and it seemed as though a successor to The X-Files had finally arrived.
Plus it was a J.J. Abrams creation, something that provided it immediate credibility. Then it debuted to a slow start, got bumped for World Series coverage, then finally took off creatively once Fox put it back on the airwaves and left it alone.
On Tuesday, Fringe: The Complete First Season (Warner), a seven-disc boxed set, appears covering all 22 episodes. But those are merely a small part of what’s among the most lavishly packaged set that’s even been issued for a show with only one season under its belt. There are so many features that it might take all fall and into the winter before you could get through all of them.
These include several behind the scenes and making of featurette, including ones devoted to specific shows, and others documenting the special effects and discussing casting and production decisions.
Abrams and other writer/producer types like Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtman, J.R. Orci, David Goodman, Bryan Burk, Akiva Goldman and Jeff Pinkner are featured in a trilogy of full-length commentaries.
Still, the biggest thing that’s helped make Fringe a mild hit is the chemistry between its main stars and the ongoing conspiracy theory subplots.
Anna Torv’s combination cool sleuth/bombshell FBI agent, Lance Reddick’s nutty yet also brilliant and intuitive mad scientist and Joshua Jackson’s dutiful but wary son are reluctant partners trying to decipher multiple mysteries. Sometimes they’re dealing with odd powers, other weeks it’s teleportation or mind control or some other wild and unconventional event.
Plus there’s the mandatory evil corporation lurking in the background. This time it’s Massive Dynamic, a conglomerate operation that not only has eyes and ears in the FBI, but also has a link to Torv’s character. Blair Brown and Kirk Acevedo are two others with murky pasts and questionable ties to the various things happening.
With Fringe moving this season to a new, much tougher time slot (Thursdays at 8 p.m. on WZTV-17) opposite CSI on CBS and Grey’s Anatomy on ABC, it’s a good bet Abrams and company are going to really roll the creative dice.
More TV on DVD
Strangely, despite universal critical praises, the prospects for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency don’t look good for a second season. The show, based on Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling series of novels, debuted with a stunning pilot and had five other solid shows. Jill Scott ably portrayed the head of the only private detective agency in Botswana. It was also filmed in Botswana and South Africa and looked gorgeous.
Tuesday The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (HBO), a three-disc set, will be released. Fans who want to see a second year should flood the folks at HBO with e-mails and requests because, as of press time, the show’s fate was uncertain at best, and this new boxed set may ultimately be the last time anyone gets to see it.