Fringe

Season Four

 

Fringe: The Complete Fourth Season

Created by J.J. Abrams & Alex Kurtzman

Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci

Music by Michael Giacchino & Chris Tilton

Cinematography by David Moxness

Production design by Ian D. Thomas

Editing by Jon Dudkowski, Luyen Vu & Timothy Good

Produced by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci & Tamara Isaac

Directed by Joe Chappelle, et al

2011-12

 

Production:

Television: Fox

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Cast:

Anna Tory

Joshua Jackson

Lance Reddick

Blair Brown

Jasika Nicole

Seth Gabel

John Noble

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Feature film: 1080p

Codec: AVC @ 25 Mbps

BD-50 dual layer x 4

22 Episodes @ ca. 43 minutes

Runtime: 1012 minutes

 

Audio:

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Dub: Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Subtitles:

Feature: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian & Swedish

 

Extras

• A World Without Peter

  1. The Observers

  2. The Culture of Fringe

• Beyond the Fringe (4-page excerpt)

• Beyond the Comic Book

• Have You Seen Walter Lately?

• Deleted Scenes

• Gag Reel

• Ultraviolet Digital Copy

• BD-Live

 

Standard Blu-ray case, w/ hinged-pages

Release Date: September 4, 2012



Product Description [Warner]
“Following the critically acclaimed fourth season, Warner Home Video is thrilled to release Fringe: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD and Blu-ray,” said Rosemary Markson, WHV Senior Vice President, TV and Special Interest Marketing. “This year, in addition to two hours of never-before-seen special features, our Blu-ray release will feature exclusive content and a free HD digital copy offer for all 22 episodes.”

Created by J.J. Abrams (Lost, Star Trek, Super 8), Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman (Hawaii 5-0, Star Trek, Transformers films), the fourth season of Fringe stars Anna Torv (The Pacific), Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek), Lance Reddick (Lost, The Wire), Blair Brown (Altered States), Jasika Nicole (She’s Out of My League), Seth Gabel (The Da Vinci Code) and John Noble (The Lord of the Rings films). Fringe is produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television and its executive producers include Abrams, Jeff Pinkner (Lost, Alias), J.H. Wyman (The Mexican, Keen Eddie), Bryan Burk (Star Trek, Lost) and Joe Chappelle (CSI: Miami, The Wire). Kurtzman, Orci and Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) serve as consulting producers.

Two parallel universes continue to collide as mysterious forces work to overwrite the laws of physics in the release of ‘Fringe‘ Season 4. The critically acclaimed fourth season of TV’s most thrilling sci-fi series features 22 mind-bending episodes with over two hours of brand new special features, including two Blu-ray exclusive featurettes, and an offer for a free 23-page digital comic.
 
Background
Set in two parallel worlds, the FBI’s Fringe Division investigates unusual incidents that defy explanation. When unimaginable events threaten existence on a universal scale, Special Agent Olivia Dunham, eccentric fringe scientist Walter Bishop and his alternate-universe born son, Peter, continue their mission to heal the rifts between the two worlds. To complicate matters further, Peter has mysteriously returned to a universe in which he never existed – a virtual stranger to the Fringe team – while a God Complex-driven madman is crossing between realities with an absolute endgame in mind that will destroy both worlds. Wrestling with questions of identity, destiny and existence, the Fringe team must not only struggle to reset their reality and find each other again, but save both universes…by sacrificing more than one of their lives! 

Fringe revolves around three unlikely colleagues – a beautiful, young and determined FBI agent (Anna Torv), a brilliant but off-the-wall scientist (John Noble), and his sardonic, roguish son (Joshua Jackson) – who team up to investigate a series of peculiar deaths and disasters known as “The Pattern.” The trio suspects that someone is using the world as a laboratory. And many of the clues lead them to Massive Dynamic, a shadowy global corporation that may be more powerful than any nation.
  
Critical Reception
Screenrant.com
To put it bluntly, everything old is new again. In a move reminiscent of Eureka‘s universal shift, the timelines of Fringe’s dual realities have both been greatly altered by the erasure of Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson). After the events of last year’s finale, it appears that not only is Peter not present in the, uh, present, he died as a boy in both universes, or something happened to create that impression. This creates a plethora of questions with answers seemingly a long way off. Peter is the catalyst for almost every major event in Fringe thus far. If he never existed, why did Walter cross universes in the first place? How did the two Fringe divisions come into contact? How is Walter’s psychosis being handled if Peter was originally brought on because he was the only one who could help? If Peter wasn’t there to explain the stabilized connection between universes, why aren’t both sides shoving nukes through the doors? Why was the faithful bovine Gene so cruelly and unceremoniously recast? (That one might not be relevant to every fan.) – Michael Crider
 
IGN.com
This season of Fringe had an unusually lofty and perhaps unfair expectation to live up to – it had to provide a resolution to the Season 3 finale bombshell that Peter was erased from time and space and "never existed". Many critics and fans (myself included) worried that "The Day We Died" may have been Fringe's "jump the shark" moment and only a brilliant resolution in Season 4 could save the show from collapsing under the weight of its own massive plot twist. . . The season opener, "Neither Here Nor There", didn't do much to answer the burning questions left from its predecessor. Instead it focused on showing us a world without Peter – a world drastically different than the one we knew and had come to rely on. The episode set the stage for the continuous redefinition of Fringe lore that would mark the entire season and leave Fringe fans uncertain about the future and whether the events of the previous three seasons really mattered. . . This season as a whole, though it had many bright spots, was only "good enough" to justify renewal for a fifth and final season. – Ramsey Isler

Entertainment Weekly 
The universes have merged, the Olivias are being snarky with each other, and if you think Fringe has forgotten anything in its history/mythology, you underestimate these wily master producers. (Two words: John Scott.) Will you see Peter Bishop? Yes, but in a surprising way. Just as intriguing: We get a lot more of Lincoln Lee — our universe's Lincoln Lee. A new form of shape-shifter, a new way for an Observer to ''erase someone from time'' — have I intrigued you enough? All this, plus a Fringe Division case involving heavy metal poisoning, and I'm not talking about the music Walter's playing in his lab. – Ken Tucker
 
Metacritic User
Funny how the worse the show gets, the more rabid the last of its fanbase becomes. Fringe peaked early in season three but the writers soon forgot what the main draw of their show was. Bell's warning of the "last great storm" and Olivia having to grow into her destiny as the "guardian" have been all but forgotten. Season four is a clusterf*ck of uncompelling "will-they-wont-they" drama mixed with terribly lazy plot devices and forced character derailment all in the name of forcing a completely juvenile "power of love" theme down the audience's throat as if the show was a freaking Nick Jr. program. Furthermore, some of the most compelling mysteries of the series are either dropped completely or answered with pathetic handwaves so that the showrunners can set up season five's generic-dystopian-fascist-state plot (which came right the hell out of nowhere with no development or buildup). You know you have a serious writing problem when the presence of the brilliant Leonard Nimoy actually makes your story worse. The alternate timeline was ultimately a baffling and pointless addition to the show. Fringe has transformed from smart compelling sci-fi series, with respect for its audience, into a petty ham-fisted joke, worthy only of the few codependent shippers who still defend it. - DarthKate8215
  
Image : 8/9
According to Wikipedia, Fringe is broadcast in 720p, and since it is filmed in true HD, we 1080p videophiles get the benefit of the upgrade.  Close-ups, which seem to be the bread & butter of television photography, are handles especially well.  They almost seem to be lit special for the prospect.  Elsewhere, colors are cool but, in their way, lifelike and more robust than we usually find in movies of this genre.  Contrast is nicely controlled, with deep blacks and sensible extension into transparency. What appears to be a slight but noticeable film grain effect is put to good use.  Transfer artifacts are minimal and unobtrusive.
  
Audio: 9/7
It’s taken longer for Warner Home Video to get on board with uncompressed audio for television shows, regardless of how interesting or challenging such audio tracks might be.  It was only with the Fourth Season of The Big Bang Theory that Warners discovered DTS-MA HD.  I suppose one could cut them a little slack for “just a comedy show” but after all, it’s just a matter of pushing this button instead of that one when mastering the set.  That rant out of the way, Warner woke up to the need for an HD track for Fringe on the Third Season, and duplicated that thinking for this one as well.  Dialogue is well shaped and placed, the pneumatic slithery sound effect that separates the two universes, crowd noises, and all the bits that generally accompany and complete the textures of the various escapes and arms fire are present in all their gnarly glory.
  
Bonus Features: 5
No audio commentaries this time around – indeed, the previous season’s video release had only two.  While not exactly exhaustive, the half-dozen Bonus Features covers the waterfront in high-definition content.  The most extensive and interesting of these are: 
A World Without Peter: Peter left at the end of the previous season, but in a world of alternate universes, can he be nearby.  What to do until the messiah returns.
The Observers: This season we get to finally understand who these guys are and what they up to.
The Culture of Fringe: A lively 30-minute roundtable hosted by Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen.  In attendance with vigorously thoughtful comments are Exec Producers J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner, actor John Noble, and USC professors Nicholas Warner (Physics, Mathematics & Astronomy) and Shlomo Sher (Philosophy & Applied Ethics).
  
Recommendation: 7
Like Lost, Heroes and The X-Files, Fringe is one of those sci-fi/fantasy series that invents itself as it goes along.  These shows rely on the notions of paradox, the old switcheroo, now you see it now you don’t, things aren’t what they seem - all of which sleight of brain we humans seem to have a special affinity for.  Add snappy writing, fascinating characters, engaging actors and technically competent production values and you can’t lose.  Well, the fanbase can’t lose anyhow.
 
I admit to having watched Lost all the way through twice and, despite all rational sense still find it something of a grabber.  Fringe, like Lost and Alias, has a great title that all by itself makes for a seductive marketing idea.


Leonard Norwitz
© LensViews
September 5, 2012
 
 




 
                                   



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