What to Watch prides itself on often offering a wide variety of material from TV seasons to On Demand exclusives to remasters of classic flicks. Not this week. All six of the New Releases that you may be drawn to in your favorite store or on your favorite service are movies, and all released in the last 18 months. But the variety within those movies is remarkable. A Best Picture winner, action flicks, a superhero, and two indie drams that waste talented casts. Pick your favorites. Here’s how we would rank ‘em.
CHICAGO – I find it fascinating that “Fringe,” the show that always seemed to be on the bubble for renewal and was always included in articles about low-rated programming, appears to be one of the most influential on the Fall 2013 season. FOX has two new dramas in the Fall and they’re both from “Fringe” alum — J.J. Abrams’ “Almost Human” and Robert Orci & Alex Kurtzman’s “Sleepy Hollow”. They’re clearly looking for, believe it or not, the next “Fringe.” For while the smart sci-fi drama never found a huge audience on TV, it found an incredibly loyal one on Blu-ray, On Demand, iTunes, etc. and those fans can now complete their collection with a bittersweet but complete fifth and final season release.
CHICAGO – Warner Bros. transfers for their current television shows are the best in the Blu-ray market. Take for example the fourth season of “Fringe,” a visually striking show that’s even more so on Blu-ray than on its original broadcast. With 1080p and 5.1 audio tracks, the show looks more like film than television. And the wealth of bonus material on what will be the penultimate season of this cult hit is impressive.
CHICAGO – FOX just announced that they have renewed the low-rated but fan-loved “Fringe” for a fifth and final season to air in the 2012-13 season. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there will be only 13 episodes left in your favorite show, although writers will surely make them count, knowing that they can wrap up all of their plotlines with a series-ending arc.
CHICAGO – There are very few programs as ambitious or refined as “Fringe.” Low ratings have proven that it’s not a show for everyone and I’ll admit to dipping in and out of it myself over the first two seasons, but I was struck by the confidence on display in season three, recently released on Blu-ray and DVD. In many ways, this program is redefining what it takes to stay on network television with low ratings but impressive numbers in other arenas. Check it out and see why.
CHICAGO – Game developers have spent decades fine-tuning the art of puzzle-solving. How do I get from point A to point B? How do I defeat enemy X to do so? It is the foundation of almost every video game. But most developers have used the same tools to build on that foundation, primarily building their houses with hand-eye coordination, whether it’s jumping a platform at the right time or shooting an enemy with perfect precision.
CHICAGO – When the second season of “Fringe” premiered, I wrote, “If any show is going to go from mildly popular to breakout hit in its second season, I expect it will be “Fringe”.” While that certainly didn’t happen in terms of ratings (the show actually dropped 2.5 million viewers from its weekly average), the critical and cultural buzz around the series has grown. It feels more and more like “Fringe” is the current show that’s beloved by those who watch it even if it’s looking less likely to break through to a wider demographic.
CHICAGO – “Fringe” is one of the best shows that people aren’t watching. The writing is strong, dare I say better than “Lost,” and the cast is even stronger. Like every show, “Fringe” has had some really great and not so great episodes, but overall the series is great, as proven by tonight’s strong installment entitled “August”.
CHICAGO – If any show is going to go from mildly popular to breakout hit in its second season, I expect it will be “Fringe”.