Knee-jerk review: Fox's "Fringe"

1. This is probably one of our favorite TV shows.  Ever.  (And we haven't even seen every episode yet.  Our journey started with the second season.)
2. What started out as a kind of "X-Files" monster-of-the-week FBI procedural rip-off has changed into something very strange and very genius.
3. John Noble is doing the kind of work that would have gotten him a number of Emmy nominations if he'd been cast in a traditional drama.  He is nothing short of amazing.
4. It's a show that has reinvented several times, shifting and warping its premise with audacious "re-sets" in the first episode of each new season (i.e. Joshua Jackson's character gets erased from history at the top of season 4; Anna Torv's character is kidnapped in an alternate universe and her double sent to ours as a spy at the top of season 3; you get the idea).  
5. This final season is no exception.  Supposedly, all 13 episodes will take place completely in the future as our heroes fight the Observer occupation.  
6. If you don't know what an Observer is, you should probably go to Wikipedia and get caught up a little.
7. Egg stick, anyone?
8. Fox deserves credit for hanging in there when it didn't have to.  This is a show with very low ratings and no one would have blamed Fox for canceling it.
9. We could be wrong, but there's a sense that this show will have the kind of satisfying resolution that completely eluded the muddled, flat endings of "Battlestar Galactica" and "Lost."  And don't even get us started on the slow, painful death-rattle of "The X-Files," a show we stopped watching way before it ended.
10. We continue to hear stories of how troubled and crazy the show's production actually is, with actors arriving on set without knowing what they'll be shooting, rewrites happening 24 hours a day, chaos in the writer's room.  The show should be a complete narrative disaster.  We don't know why it isn't.
11. Plus, after every episode, you get to soak up a master's class analysis from Entertainment Weekly's "Doc" Jeff Jensen, whose epic weekly essays single-handedly made "Lost" seem thematically deeper and more literary than it really ever was.

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