So not too much to report.
I watched the season premier of Fringe last night. Fringe is a show about an FBI detective (Olivia Dunham, who's part of a sort of task force) who investigates deaths and other events which seem to defy explanation through normal scientific, forensic, and investigative means. In the course of investigating these events she eventually comes to work with a former Harvard biochemist (Dr.Walter Bishop) who used to do experiments in unorthodox, "fringe" science for the government, and his son (Peter Bishop), who is helping the professor out following his release from a hospital for mental illness.
I was pretty skeptical of the show to start with, thinking that it was just some sort of X-Files knockoff, but the show has really grown on me over time. I mean, it's not flawless, and there are occasionally some moments that seem cheesey and some plot points which seem fairly contrived (there's a lot of deus ex machina, via pseudo-scientific tomfoolery), but the characters have grown on me (they're pretty well written and well acted), and I've come to appreciate the fact that the show seems to be going in a direction that X-Files was never willing to truly follow through with- taking some of these "unexplained" events and dragging them right out into the light where they can be more fully explained and confronted head on.
As it goes into its second season, Fringe has made it clear that it's not afraid to do things that might have been considered "over the top" by X Files standards. In fact, this was always one of my chief complaints with X-Files. It was a show about aliens and the supernatural, but in some ways it always felt like the show was afraid of (or embarrassed by?) its own subject matter (well, I think mostly the creators felt like they might scare away a large part of the relatively manstream audience they had garnered if the show began to feel too much like science fiction or fantasy). X Files featured aliens and all manner of creepy crawly monsters, but we only caught glimpses of them in the shadows or out of the corner of our eye or in a dash of indecipherable movement, and the explanations of what we were seeing could be taken as much for fanciful speculation as credible theory (the audience knew better, cause we trusted Mulder, but he never seemed to really find himself a "smoking gun" when it came to proof of the supernatural). Plus, X-Files just never had a satisfying conclusion, in my opinion. the climax of the show essentially was a lame courtroom drama which provided more anecdotal evidence of the supernatural and the promise of continuing government cover ups. Not much of a payoff after all of those seasons.
Fringe, in its second season, has already begun to move out of the shadows. On the season opener, Agent Dunham appeared out of thin air and crashed head first through the windshield of a vehicle, and this event occurred at a crime scene in front of a dozen or so FBI agents. As the strange events on the show continue to grow stranger, they also seem to be growing more public. There's a suggestion that an invasion may be imminent and that beings from another dimension (aliens, of a sort) are crossing between worlds- and that some of them may be preparing to do some pretty nasty things to the world that we live in.
Anyway, like I said, Fringe doesn't seem to be afraid to go right over the top. It may make the show sound a bit silly, but I think you have to risk a bit of silliness if you want to deal with the fantastic (and, if executed correctly, these same subjects can fill the audience with wonder instead of being problematic). Also, on Fringe, the disbelief of the characters themselves (they see these things, but still have a hard time wrapping their heads around them and/or accepting them) helps to keep the story sort of grounded, and ultimately it could lead to a conclusion that's more satisfying than the one which was evetually offered up by the X-Files. If the ultimate goal of investigation is to be able to offer irrefutable proof of something, it's nice to know that the show's writers and producers may actually allow the characters to reach that end (although, on Fringe, as with X-Files, the ultimate goal will end up being something more of the "save the world" variety as opposed to simple investigation).
Soooo- too much about Fringe. I like the show, though. I like Anna Torv.
And here's Jon Stewart interviewing Bill Clinton about health care reform on yesterday's Daily Show. I know Bill had his hang ups, but I really miss that man.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Exclusive - Bill Clinton Extended Interview Pt. 3|
It struck me as I was watching this that while Obama and Clinton both have a tremendous sense of optimism and hope, Clinton brings an additional sense of experience to the table and a veteran's sensibility. I like an support Obama, but it times I fear that he's a bit naive. It's good to hear someone who's been through a large number of political battles still expressing confidence that we can get this health care reform thing done, and that we can do it in a way that will insure all Americans. (also interesting to note that Clinton talks about the ability to overcome a Republican fillibuster- a tone that's a little more adversarial than what Obama has typically expressed with his continued preference for bipartisanship.)
Oh yeah. I also think that Obama was probably right to tank that missile shield program. Most of the stuff I've read about it said that it wasn't likely to be that effective, anyway, and it was going to be really expensive. And no, I don't see the move as kowtowing to the Soviets (I actually think the missile shield might have been unneccessarily belligerent on the part of the U.S. in the first place). I just think abandoning the program was a smart move for the U.S. (from the little knowledge I have on the whole thing). And it sounds like we're still going to pursue some kind of missile defense system (focusing on short and medium range missiles) in the region, anyway.
Gotta run. Maybe more later.