Fringe: The Complete Second Season (2009) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy / Mystery / Science Fiction
Warner Brothers || NR - 968 minutes - $69.97 || September 14, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-09-20


Buy this DVD from Amazon.com!
.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): J.J. Abrams & Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci (created by)
Cast: Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown, John Noble


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • 4 Episode Commentaries
  • 8 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

Comment on this and other movies on the message board!


.::THE FILM::.

Often sophomore years of great and popular first season debuts can be hit and miss as these series start off with a bang with interesting stories and characters but runs out of gas. In regards to “Fringe”, however, a sophomore slump was not in the cards as, despite what I felt was a ho-hum season premiere, was instead a strong season with only a couple episodes that weren’t up to snuff.

Agent Olivia Dunham (ANNA TORV) and FBI consultants Peter Bishop (JOSHUA JACKSON) and his off-balance father Dr. Walter Bishop (JOHN NOBLE) are a part of the FBI’s Fringe Unit headed by Agent Phillip Broyles (LANCE REDDICK). For those not in the know, this unit is sort of unofficial within the government and is there to investigate the unexplainable cases that crop up and most often they are related to the series’ season-long story arc: a parallel universe that is similar to our own but on a different course of history. Take for instance, the first season ends with Olivia meeting Massive Dynamics founder Dr. William Bell (LEONARD NIMOY) in his office and when the camera pans out we discover his office is in the World Trade Center which had not been attacked in this universe.

What I felt about the first season of “Fringe” is what I felt about season 2 and this is a flashier, well polished and 21st century version of “The X-Files” with plenty of freak-of-the-week plotlines mixed in with a more conspiratorial season long arc. Not that that’s a bad thing as the early years of “The X-Files” were fantastic before going off the rails later on. And the same potential, which has been met thus far, is there for “Fringe”.

In this second season, we open up the premiere on a street in New York City and a car crash, one car registered to Dunham but she is nowhere in sight but through some mysterious reason and some fiddling by Walter, an hour after the crash, Dunham comes crashing through the windshield. Despite being determined to have irreparable brain damage she manages to make some recovery. Unfortunately for her, though, she is being chased by a shape-shifter, a person that is able to take the form of anybody they come in contact with using a special device.

That’s the early gist for season 2 with a good portion focusing on an assault by the alternate universe and on Olivia’s involvement that began with Walter’s experiments on her and others when she was a child in Jacksonville. The season’s B-plotline (as I like to call it) is on Peter and him coming from the alternate universe taken by Walter in order to save him from a thus far unnamed disease after which Walter meant to take him back only to keep him at the behest of his wife. Of course, those actions have consequences as the Walternate (as he’s called in the alt universe) is not so nice and has devious plans as we find out in the 2-part season finale.

Mostly this season has solid and entertaining episodes from ‘Grey Matters’, ‘Jacksonville’ and ‘White Tulip’ to the ‘Over There’ finale, these are great to excellent episodes that both further the mythology but also manages to keep interesting storylines going. That being said, there is at least one big stinker and that is ‘Brown Betty’, a fictional telling by Walter to Olivia’s niece about a 1940s film noir crime mystery. I don’t know what it is with Fox and their shows but “Bones” did this with especially disastrous results since theirs served as the season finale so it wasn’t that awful by comparison yet still was almost unbearable. Sure, it might be fun for the cast and crew to work on as a changeup from the norm, but it was anything by fun...

So outside of that singular episode, I thought “Fringe” season two was very entertaining and even as someone who isn’t that interested in mythology and seem to favor more stand-alone episodes (at least while watching live) but on Blu-ray and DVD, it makes for a much more enjoyable viewing than worrying about missing an episode or two and being lost and just giving up (see: “24”).



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Episode Commentaries – There are tracks for 4 episodes including: ‘Momentum Deferred’ with Jill Risk (assistant to co-showrunner Jeff Pinkner), Matthew Pitts (writer’s assistant), Danielle Dispaltro (writer’s assistant), Justin Doble (script coordinator) and Charles Scott, IV (music supervisor); ‘Peter’ with John Noble (Walter Bishop) and Blair Brown (Nina Sharp), moderated by Damian Holbrook (TV Guide Magazine); ‘Brown Betty’ with Tanya Swerling (co-producer), Billy Gottlieb (co-music supervisor), Chris Tilton (composer) and Jay Worth (VFX supervisor); and ‘Over There Part 2’ with co-writers/executive producers Jeff Pinkner, J.H. Wyman and Akiva Goldsman (who also directed).

These commentaries are wide ranging as we get to hear from various members of the crew we normally don’t get to hear from in other TV series while also mixing it up with the writers as well. The tracks were not terribly fascinating to me but they are informative enough for bigger fans of the show.

Analyzing the Scene (TRT: 21:10; HD) – These short featurettes are available on 6 episodes that just examines key scenes from those episodes. So, for instance, we get one for the premiere showing us how Olivia (Torv’s stunt double) going through the car windshield. These aren’t all that fascinating but you do get behind-the-scenes glimpses and comments from the cast and crew about the scene.

Dissected Files (TRT: 8:26) are several deleted scenes from 5 episodes but don’t really amount to very much. Unfortunately they are presented in letterboxed widescreen except, strangely enough, for the season finale which is in widescreen and in HD.

In the Lab with John Noble and Prop Master Rob Smith (6:36; HD) – Noble and Smith takes us on a tour of Walter Bishop’s lab set and the props inside it used throughout the season.

Beyond the Pattern: The Mythology of Fringe (26:49; HD) chronicles the changes from season 1 of the series into the second season and creating the alternate universe and how the characters changed throughout the year. The featurette has interviews with members of the cast (including Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson) and those behind the scenes (J.J. Abrams, Akiva Goldsman and others).

Unusual Side Effects (3:22; SD) is another way of calling it a gag reel.

The “Unearthed” Episode (43:57; HD) – This originally aired as the 11th episode in season 2 but was originally meant to air in season 1 but never did and instead just confused fans since it was placed in this season. The reason for the confusion is it, spoiler territory, features Agent Charlie Francis who of course gets killed in episode 3 (well, technically episode 1).

And finally, on the fourth disc is the handy BD-Live portal. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

“Fringe: The Complete Second Season” is presented in its original on-air 1.78 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Much like the first season, this one similarly has clear visuals with good detail levels on the various people and objects, especially the close-ups. I will say that there are certain moments that do seem to be on the soft side and isn’t as crisp compared with other Blu-rays, but all in all I thought this was a nice looking video.

Warner once again only provides a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track and while I still prefer a lossless audio, this one is more than suitable for a show like this. The main theme blares out through the speakers while the dialogue makes use of the center channel and any sound effects come through the side and rear speakers.



.::OVERALL::.

“Fringe” season 2 is certainly superior to its already great freshman season and outside of one absolutely dreadful episode, I found the others to be anywhere from good to downright excellent or perfect. The Blu-ray has a nice looking picture in HD and the standard audio is more than suitable for most users while the features, while good, are not outstanding and don’t compare with the season 1 Blu-ray.