Tags: Alex Kurtzman, Anna Torv, BD-Live, Blair Brown, Bryan Burk, J.J. Abrams, Jasika Nicole, Jeff Pinkner, John Noble, Joshua Jackson, Kirk Acevedo, Lance Reddick, Mark Valley, Peter Weller, Roberto Orci, Warner
has an average rating of 8.6 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on FOUR 50gb discs
Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps
include bonus episode & a bit more
– 2009 – 2010
– 968 minutes
Overall Verdict – Amazing Show / Solid 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” and also recently worked together on the 2009 “Star Trek” film that Abrams Directed. Most know J.J. Abrams from creating “LOST” which was a huge hit series (now about to be in it’s final season) and that same type of mysterious Sci-Fi blending into drama style can be found in this series as well. The show almost feels like a “next generation” of the “X-Files” series from the 90′s but less focus on strange happenings related to UFO’s and such. 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 second season.
“Hypnosis, Pyrokinesis, Hive Mind, ESP, Neuroscience, Clairaudience, Cyronics, Parallel Universes, Astral Projection, Protoscience, Mutation, and Genetic Enegineering“
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. Sure, things like teleportation and reanimation only exist theoretically and haven’t been invented 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. First and honestly foremost, even though the show isn’t technically supposed to have him as the main character, 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 30′s and previously had a partner she was romantically involved with — more on that later in the season. The son of Walter is also in his 30′s 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 them 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“. Now here are some other things you should know about the show and its plot. First off, there’s definitely a bit of conspiracy that all ties back to a giant conglomerate company by the name of “Massive Dynamic” founded by Dr. Bishop’s former lab partner — whom he claims stole his ideas. This company makes everything in the world our show exists, from airplane engines to replacement arms. Speaking of which, a replacement arm was made for the lady who is the current spokesperson and head of the company while the founder (“William Bell“) is on a mysterious hiatus. That lady is “Nina Sharp” (played by Blair Brown) who is always co-operative with the FBI, namely our main character of Olivia Dunham but Sharp doesn’t always seem to be telling us (Olivia and the audience) the whole story or 100% truthful.
ALL of that write-up I did for last season is worth repeating here but there’s A LOT of new stuff too. I’ll discuss that more though below after the episodes list for the season.
The full 22 episodes for The Complete Second Season are included. They are listed below:
- Episode 1 : “A New Day in the Old Town“
- Original Air Date: 09/17/09
- Original Air Date: 09/24/09
- Original Air Date: 10/01/09
- Original Air Date: 10/08/09
- Original Air Date: 10/15/09
- Original Air Date: 11/05/09
- Original Air Date: 11/12/09
- Original Air Date: 11/19/09
- Original Air Date: 12/03/09
- Original Air Date: 12/10/09
- Original Air Date: 01/14/10
- Original Air Date: 01/21/10
- Original Air Date: 01/28/10
- Original Air Date: 02/04/10
- Original Air Date: 04/01/10
- Original Air Date: 04/08/10
- Original Air Date: 04/15/10
- Original Air Date: 04/22/10
- Original Air Date: 04/29/10
- Original Air Date: 05/06/10
- Original Air Date: 05/13/10
- Original Air Date: 05/20/10
Overall the second season of “Fringe” proves to me to be just as good, if not actually better, than the first season and continues to keep me wanting to tune in for each new episode. This second season reveals A LOT more about things — of which I won’t go into detail about as to avoid spoilers. There’s some amazing theme episodes here that serve as honestly some of the real highlights and my personal favorites from the season. Those episodes, #15 “Peter” and #19 “Brown Betty” are very unique and breakthrough as well as obviously retro. There’s some great guest-starring roles this season, namely Peter Weller (who played “Robocop” originally in the first film) and another huge name in Sci-Fi reprising his role — of who I will not name, as to, again, avoid spoilers. Let’s just say that “Fringe” has really proved to be to me a more breakthrough and though-provoking and mind-opening show than the other show these guys (Abrams, Kurtzman, and Orci) created — that being of course “LOST“, which has since concluded. That show didn’t to me personally offer much close, where-as this show seems to offer up more clues and “steps” closer to closure each episode. This show also feels like my generation’s new answer to something along the lines of what “The X-Files” was to the unexplainable and mysterious back in the 1990′s.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in VC-1 on FOUR BD-50′s (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Discs) using the 1.78:1 aspect ratio.
Disc 1 uses 37.7GB total. Disc 2 uses 37.7GB total. Disc 3 uses 37.1GB total. Disc 4 uses 34.6GB total.
IMDb’s technical specifications for the aspect ratio indicate this was shot on 35mm film using Arricam LT cameras and then mastered digitally to a HDTV source. This isn’t quite as good as the show being shot in Hi-Def but it does look pretty darn nice. The black level is solid here, the color palette is pretty vibrant and fleshtones are pretty accurate despite the slight bit of a variation on cool and warm tones added it seems in post-production to give the show a unique look and surely add some subliminal messages as well — if you take for example the strange objects shown before and after where commercial breaks would be in an off-air broadcast. No complaints really there about the show’s look, it translates nice to Hi-Def but comes with a slightly visible amount of film grain, especially in darker scenes. This film grain present tells me that Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) has not been applied and that is for the best. The amount of detail present in close-ups is at times very impressive, especially the ones of John Noble who plays “Walter“. It seems like a tiny improvement visually over the first season. The only thing that concerns me though is that the last season was actually a total of less episodes than this season yet they put the first season on FIVE discs, where-as this season has 3 (technically 4) more episodes and only gets put on FOUR discs. That decision seems to have caused a tiny, tiny bit of compression to be slightly visible in some episodes. It’s not totally a problem per se but it is visibly noticeable and worth noting.
Also worth noting, the episodes “Peter” and “Brown Betty” have a unique visual style to them which conveys really nicely here in Hi-Def. Speaking of that unique visual style, the episode “Peter” obviously has a soft tone to it to have this 1980′s style to its video as well as title sequence and location fonts. All and all, this season earns (yet again) a solid “4 Star Rating” for overall video quality. Also, just as I said last season, this looks much better than the off-air broadcasts on FOX in what I believe is still 720p if they haven’t made the jump yet to 1080i, let alone 1080p. Regardless, fans of the show that watched it when it aired on FOX are in for a treat here with a whole lot less compression.
Audio Quality on this release is in Dolby Digital 5.1 @640kbps — same as the previous season of the show released on Blu-ray Disc. It still upsets me just as much as it did a year or so ago when the first season came out that they opted to not give this show a lossless 5.1 mix but I’m willing to get over that. Now having said that, believe it or not there’s actually some somewhat impressive 5.1 audio sequences here. Namely stuff like in the episode “Jacksonville” where the mix shows off an abundance of LFE (bass) in what we are led to believe to be an earthquake. There’s also a good amount of rear channel presence in that episode and specific sequence, such as a dog howling in the background. Another good episode to show off the stronger points of this 5.1 mix is “Peter” which features a very retro 1980′s style (themed) score done by Michael Giacchino & Chris Tilton, who do the music on all the other episodes of the show. Speaking of the original musical score, it’s done somewhat justice here and gets good use out of the 5.1 mix. Dialogue is delivered very, very distinctly throughout and will never once have you reaching for the remote to adjust the volume — trust me on that. This show, while it remains to continue sadly not get a lossless 5.1 mix, does still manage to deliver a solid audio presentation that again (just like last season) is worthy of a “4 Star Rating“.
Bonus Materials are presented in both Hi-Def (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) video using the VC-1 codec with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo @192kbps sound — unless otherwise noted below.
Disc 1 includes:
- “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” for Episode #1 “A New Day in the Old Town” (4:16 – HD)
- “Dissected Files” for Episode #2 “Night of Desirable Objects” includes Sc. 25 Walter Asks Astrid to Squeeze Gene (0:46 – SD) and Sc. 47 Peter Pulls Book That Might Give Hughs Clues (1:02 – SD)
- Audio Commentary by Creative Team for Episode #4 “Momentum” with Jill Risk, Matthew Pitts, Danielle Dispaltro, Justin Doble, and Charles Scott, IV.
- “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” for Episode #4 “Momentum” (2:44 – HD)
Disc 2 includes:
- “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” for Episode #7 “Of Human Action” (3:58 – HD)
- “Dissected File” for Episode #10 “Grey Matters” includes Sc. 69 Red Dress Girl is Real (1:48 – SD)
- “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” for Episode #12 “What Lies Below” (3:18 – HD)
Disc 3 includes:
- Audio Commentary by Blair Brown, John Noble, and Moderated by Damian Holbrook for Episode #15 “Peter“
- “Dissected File” for Episode #16 “Olivia. In The Lab. With The Gun.” includes Sc. 30 Olivia Recognizes Timothy (1:59 – SD)
Disc 4 includes:
- “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” for Episodes #19 “Brown Betty” (3:39 – HD)
- Audio Commentary by Creative Team for Episode #19 “Brown Betty” with Tanya Swerling, Billy Gottlieb, Chris Tilton, and Jay Worth
- “Dissected File” for Episode #20 “Northwest Passage” includes Sc. 46-47 Sheriff Ann Mathis Asks Peter About His Faith – Alternate Ending (1:09 – SD)
- Audio Commentary by Creative Team for Episode #22 “Over There Part 2“
- “Fringe: Analyzing the Scene” for Episode #22 “Over There Part 2” (3:15 – HD)
- “Dissected File” for Episode #22 “Over There Part 2” (1:42 – HD)
- “EXTRAS” :
- BD-Live is included only on the fourth disc in this 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).
Overall, the bonus materials are pretty decent. You get some episode specific featurettes on a select few, and the same goes for audio commentaries from the “Creative Team”, plus you get bonus episode (which technically aired in this season but is included as not part of the season, just as supplemental material). Then you have the almost 27 minute-long featurette discussing the science of the show, the 3 minute “gag reel” and even a 7 minute featurette which the always lovable John Noble (“Walter” on the show) with the propmaster are showing us around the lab. This is enough to leave fans of the show pleased with what the get in terms of supplementals (bonus content) but it is by no means going to “wow” them like most TV shows do these days that come to Blu-ray.
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.