So, last night was debut of Fringe, and the effective season premier of Terminator for me. I watched Fringe on Live TV (!), and then watched Samson and Delilah on Hulu.
Not sure where to start, so I guess I’ll go with Fringe since I watched it first…
I think they actually went a little too far with this first episode. I think they could have hinted more at a mystery without spelling it out so much. Maybe I’m just skeptical because I’ve seen Alias and LOST and I’m wary of JJ Abrams great concepts that fail to deliver on their promise. I’m worried that it will seemed somewhat contrived if they try to fit the fringe science experiments into every episode. Will it get to the point where viewers will be saying “Really? Another unfinished experiment that just happens to have relevance and possibly solve the problem we are currently facing? What a coincidence!” I am also concerned that the “mysterious” science has already been explained too much as being a product of rogue scientists from (and probably within) a large corporation. Are they going to have “unexplained phenomena” coming from other sources? Knowing JJ Abrams, I will be thinking that it’s all going to be tied back to Dr. Bishop and his former labmate.
I do like the look and feel of the show, though, with the blue-tinted graphics before commericals, and the 3D location overlays. I also feel like Olivia Dunham is what Serena VanDerWootsen will be like after college when she finally has her ultimate rebellion against the NY high society establishment. Not sure why, but that’s a plus for me. Speaking of actors, I have to wonder if Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) – aka the lead FBI guy on the Hamburg plan investigation – is somehow playing the same character JJ had him playing in LOST. Just something for the message board crowds to think about.
On to Terminator, but with a similar start… I feel like they went too far with it. I think they could have stretched the middle a little more and left the conclusion for another episode. What is with TV shows these days where they have to advance the plot through what feels like half a season’s worth of material in an episode? I’m afraid it’s a result of the audience’s increasing lack of attention span (and perhaps because there are so many alternatives) that shows feel like they really have to wow people or else everyone will stop watching and the show will be canceled. I can certainly understand that, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing it weren’t so.
As for Terminator itself, why was this episode called Samson and Delilah? I’m not that familiar with the story, but is it supposed to be that John is Samson and the cutting of his hair at the end is tying in to that symbolism? Other than that, it seems like just a reason to use that song at the beginning of the episode. Which, really, I don’t think conveyed the emotion it was supposed to. I only guess that because Sarah keep asking John if he’s okay, and she knows that he needs her today, but really, I didn’t understand why? Because they killed someone? If that’s the case, I don’t think they should have hidden it behind the veneer of the slow-mo action with the peaceful song behind it.
Finally, a comment on Hulu, since that was probably the best part of last night. I was able to watch Terminator in full screen HD on my laptop with no problem. I realize that there are still a lot of people who don’t want to watch TV on their laptop (cause they have friends to watch shows with!), or who don’t have a computer hooked up to a TV, but for me, the experience was great. I only remember seeing three 15-second ads, and the rest of the 45 minutes was just the show in HD. Not bad. And Hulu still has the best user interface of any online TV I’ve watched. NBC is still too cluttered with tie-ins for the shows, and ABC’s video player is nice, but doesn’t load even close to as fast as videos on Hulu.