Tags: Alan Ruck, Alex Kurtzman, Anna Torv, BD-Live, Blair Brown, Bryan Burk, Christopher Llyod, J.J. Abrams, Jasika Nicole, Jeff Pinkner, John Noble, Jorge Garcia, Joshua Jackson, Kirk Acevedo, Lance Reddick, Mark Valley, Maximum Episode Mode, Michael Cerveris, Paula Malcomson, Roberto Orci, Ryan McDonald, Seth Gabel, Warner
has an average rating of 8.6 on IMDb
1080p in AVC on FOUR 50gb discs
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
includes an EXCLUSIVE feature & more!
– 2010 – 2011
– 962 minutes
Street Date: September 6th, 2011
Overall Verdict – Amazing Show/Great Presentation
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Show Itself was created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci. All three of the show’s creators previously worked together on another show, “Alias” as well as more recently the 2009 theatrical reboot of “Star Trek” that Abrams Directed. Most know J.J. Abrams for also creating the hit TV series “LOST” which has since concluded. This show, “Fringe“, almost feels like a “next generation” of “The X-Files” series from the 1990s but less focus on strange happenings related to UFOs and such and more scientific in its roots. In fact, the main title credits to the show really brief you or serve as a disclaimer in combination with images (subliminal) on what to expect from the show. The following listed below are some of the (mostly science related) things to expect in “Fringe” — this third season.
“Wormholes, Singularity, Speciation, Synesthesia, Transhumanism, Pandemic, Reanimation, Neural Networks, Telepathy, Transcendence, Retrocognition and Biotechnology“
Now, with that being said it may seem a bit hard to wrap your head around the idea of some of those if you’re of the close minded persuasion but I don’t think this show was really aimed at that audience anyway and now three seasons in I can safely assume if you are reading this you have a clue. However for those maybe not so caught up on the show or just curious to know about my take on the show I will again say this. Sure, things like teleportation and reanimation only exist theoretically and haven’t been obtained or discovered yet but it’s plausible that someday they may be possible. All of this really is science related even though some of it is on the borderline of just what some consider strange phenomena. It is explained here in each episode by our three main cast of characters that the show revolves around. Below I’ll introduce you to the primary three characters the show revolves around.
First and honestly foremost is the brilliant but overly eccentric scientist “Dr. Walter Bishop” (played by John Noble). Dr. Bishop had previously went insane and was institutionalized for over a decade but thanks to the help of a FBI agent and his son he has been released to help investigate strange happenings that have left our government in disbelief. The FBI agent, “Olivia Dunham” (played by Anna Torv) is in her early 30s and previously had a partner she was romantically involved with — which you see very early on in the first few episodes of the first season. The son of Walter is also in his 30s and named “Peter Bishop” (played by Joshua Jackson). His back story is that basically he was a con-man pretending to be a M.I.T. grad before Agent Dunham persuaded him to help the FBI and essentially, join the team alongside his father Walter. Joining the primary cast a lot more than ever this season are Walter’s lab assistant “Astrid Farnsworth” (played by Jasika Nicole) and Agent Dunham’s boss “Agent Phillip Broyles” (played by Lance Reddick).
So that’s our main characters, as well as the cast of the most familiar faces you’ll be seeing on “Fringe“. Things have certainly come a long way in the first two seasons of the show and they are about to go a whole lot further here this third season. I’ll be discussing a tad bit about this season and since it may be considered “spoilers” by some, I’ve put something accordingly to indicate where that section begins and ends.
Now here are some other things that are going on this season. The company “Massive Dynamic” founded by Dr. Bishop’s former lab partner — “William Bell” — is now ran by Walter along with the help of “Nina Sharp” (played by Blair Brown). The whole beginning of this season and essentially the entire season focuses on, or rather continues on, how at the end of the last episode of the previous season you’ll remember that they (Olivia and Peter) went through to the parallel universe and a conflict was established here in the final episode of the second season. Well now they’ve come back but the only problem is one of them happens to have managed to come as their parallel-self; causing the other (original) person to stay behind in the parallel universe. I’ve not made this a total spoiler here, as those who saw the previous seasons will know what I mean.
There’s some really good acting here by the main cast (as always) as well as some other supporting cast members in the parallel universe like “Charlie Francis” (played by Kirk Acevedo) and “Lincoln Lee” (played by Seth Gabel) who also makes an appearance in the normal universe as well. Speaking of the parallel universe, you need to be prepared to recognize the shifts between which universe you are in via “glimmer” and also the intro credits to the show. If the majority (or entirety) of the episode takes place in the parallel universe it will start out with a red set of intro credits. Whereas if the episode is in the normal universe it will start out blue credits.
The full 22 episodes for The Complete Third Season are included. They are listed below:
- Episode 1 : “Olivia“
- Episode 2 : “The Box“
- Episode 3 : “The Plateau“
- Episode 4 : “Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?“
- Episode 5 : “Amber 31422“
- Episode 6 : “6955 KHZ“
- Episode 7 : “The Abducted…“
- Episode 8 : “Entrada“
- Episode 9 : “Marionette“
- Episode 10 : “The Firefly“
- Episode 11 : “Reciprocity“
- Episode 12 : “Concentrate and Ask Again“
- Episode 13 : “Immortality“
- Episode 14 : “6B“
- Episode 15 : “Subject 13“
- Episode 16 : “OS“
- Episode 17 : “Stowaway“
- Episode 18 : “Bloodline“
- Episode 19 : “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide“
- Episode 20 : “6:02 AM EST“
- Episode 21 : “The Last Sam Weiss“
- Episode 22 : “The Day We Died“
Overall the third season of “Fringe” proves to me to be just as good, if not actually better, than the first two seasons were and continues to keep me wanting to see each new episode. This third season reveals not only A LOT more about things — of which I won’t go into detail about as to avoid spoilers — but it adds a lot more drama. There’s some amazing episodes here that serve as honestly some of the real highlights that make it my personal favorite season of the show; so far. Let’s just say that “Fringe” has really proved to be to me a more breakthrough and thought-provoking and mind-opening show that seems to offer up more clues and “steps” closer to not necessarily closure as much as further enlightenment with each episode (chapter in the story). This show truly is my generation’s new answer to “The X-Files“.
One final note here regarding this third season, there are some good guest starring roles, namely Christopher Lloyd (best known for playing “Doc Brown” in the “Back to the Future” film trilogy), Alan Ruck (best known for playing “Cameron” in the film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“) and Paula Malcomson (best known for her roles on TV shows like “Deadwood” and “Sons of Anarchy“) as well as a short and unaccredited appearance by Jorge Garcia (best known for playing “Hurley” on the show “LOST“).
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on FOUR BD-50′s (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Discs) using the 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
Disc 1 uses 38.7GB total. Disc 2 uses 35.3GB total. Disc 3 uses 37.7GB total. Disc 4 uses 34.8GB total.
According to IMDb‘s technical specifications for the aspect ratio this was shot on Super 35MM film using the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL camera. This seems to have changed as I remember it originally on the first season (at least, maybe second as well) being shot only on 35MM film and a different camera. Sufficed to say, the show is apparently now shot differently and a clear improvement comes with that visually, but more on that later. The black level is solid here, the color palette is somewhat vibrant and fleshtones are accurate. No complaints yet again really about the show’s look, in fact it translates very nice to Hi-Def via the Super 35MM source and now comes with a slightly less visible amount of film grain, especially in darker scenes. Whereas the previous seasons (I believe shot on 35MM) were more grainy. The fact that from a Super 35MM source that grain is present tells me that Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) has not been applied, at least not too heavily anyway. The amount of detail present in close-ups is very impressive, especially the ones of John Noble who plays “Dr. Walter Bishop“. Walter (John Noble) just always seems to bring out a lot of detail in his facial structure, expressions and such — seen HERE via screenshot.
Let’s talk a few things here specific to this season. One thing worth noting, the episode that takes place in the 1980s, “Subject 13” has not only the cool retro title sequence and theme music at the beginning but it also has its own unique visual style to it; which honestly is quite fuzzy (“soft”) and at times almost purposely out of focus. This is done on purpose to seem like a 1980s TV show and/or film — seen HERE via screenshot. In that episode there’s also footage that is supposed to replicate Betamax camcorder footage — seen HERE via screenshot. This is cool and the older “videophiles” and/or tech crowd out there will get a kick out of this.
All and all, this season earns a new and improved “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality; whereas the previous two seasons got 4 star ratings. Speaking of which, this show continues to have an impressive presentation and actually seems to have got a little bit better, worthy of justifying that higher rating — in my own personal opinion. Lastly, I’ll say again, just as I said about the previous two seasons, this looks much better here on Blu-ray than it does in the off-air broadcasts on FOX; as it comes with less compression.
Audio Quality on this release is in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, a definite improvement over the Dolby Digital 5.1 the previous two seasons received on Blu-ray Disc. The most noticeable thing here in that upgrade from the Dolby Digital 5.1 (in original off-air broadcasts) and what was previously on the two earlier seasons on Blu-ray is a large amount of fidelity that comes with a lossless 5.1 codec like DTS-HD Master Audio. You’ll notice that the sound effects (Foley) such as gunshots, glass breaking, explosions and whatnot all have a new more bright, realistic sound to them. The show’s original Score by Michael Giacchino and Chris Tilton sounds a lot cooler and such. There’s just as good rear channel presence here and possibly a little bit more LFE (bass) than before. It really translates into some impressive stuff at times and is sure to leave fans who watched (heard it in DD 5.1 in the original broadcast) pleased with the improvement in terms of sound. The mix isn’t 100% perfect though, I did spot some occasions where I was hearing some tiny amount of hiss coming out of both the front and rear channels. Stuff like that should have been “cleaned up” before home video release; in my opinion. Still, it’s enough of an improvement with enough “bells and whistles” so-to-speak to validate a “4.5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality. Thanks to Warner for FINALLY giving this show a lossless sound mix. About damn time!
Bonus Materials are presented in both full 1080p Hi-Def (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) video with Dolby Digital 5.1 @448kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
- BD-Live is included on each disc in this 4-disc set. This requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player with Internet connectivity to access online content from the studio (in this case Warner).
Disc 1 includes:
- Audio Commentary by Executive Producer, Jeff Pinkner, Episode Writer Monica Owusu-Breen and Editor Timothy A. Good on Episode #3 “The Plateau“.
Disc 3 includes:
- “Glimmer to the Other Side” is a Blu-ray Disc EXCLUSIVE feature for Episode #16 “OS” that allows you to experience the episode with Warner‘s new “Maximum Episode Mode” which gives you pop-up commentary from the cast and crew, which is hosted by two of the show’s Executive Producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. You’ll find a screenshot of what this feature looks like HERE. This features Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps sound.
Disc 4 includes:
- Audio Commentary by Producer Tanya Swerling, Editor Luyen Vu and Visual Effects Supervisor Jay Worth for Episode #19 “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide“.
- “Duality of the Worlds” is a featurette split up into the following chapters:
- “The Other You” (9:04 – HD)
- “Visualizing an Alternate World” (8:23 – HD)
- “A Machine of Destiny” (4:16 – HD)
- “The Psychology of Duality” (8:31 – HD)
- “The Journey Home” (1:27 – SD)
- “Entrada” (2:02- SD)
- “The Day We Died” (2:02 – SD)
Overall, the bonus materials are pretty impressive this time around with new “Maximum Episode Mode” video commentary on the one episode as well as almost an hour or so of very worthwhile featurettes (most all in Hi-Def with 5.1 sound this time around), plus audio commentaries on the three select episodes. It’s enough to leave fans pleased and worthy of a decent “3.5 Star Rating” for bonus materials.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Apologies for possible slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.