TV Fanatic Mid-Season Report Card: Fringe

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With our favorite prime time shows on hiatus, TV Fanatic is taking a look back at some buzzed-about programs and grading their performance this fall, with a look toward 2011.

Previously this week, we gave a B+ to Smallville. Up now: Fringe.

Best Episode: No contest here. "Entrada" blew the roof off the already stellar season by giving us a whiplash-inducing flip flop between worlds as Olivia struggled to finally make her way home, Fauxlivia's identity was exposed and poor Alt-Broyles got "The Fly" treatment just as he was beginning to win us over.  Bonus points go to this episode for coining the term "vagenda."

Hold It, Peter!

Worst Episode: Trying to decide on the "worst" episode in this creatively satisfying third season is like digging through a stack of $100 bills for the one with most creases. While still a strong effort, "The Plateau" leveled off on the excitement to which we've become accustomed. Plus, it activated in us a weird phobia of ballpoint pens we're still trying to shake off.

Best Character: Even if we put on a blindfold and tried to pick at random anyone in this deserving cast, something tells us that scientific forces would still pull us straight toward Walter Bishop. No one blends bonkers with brilliance quite like Walter. His crazy tangents, filter-free commentary and penchant for red vines and pastries while carving on cadavers make him the most irresistibly quirky scientist since Doc Brown in "Back to the Future."

Worst Character: Lincoln Lee. We still haven't seen a hint of Lee "over here" (that we know of anyway) and aren't exactly making a connection between his presence and this battle-between-worlds business. If there's a point to his character, who sounds an awful lot like a Marvel Comics character, we can't figure it out. But we'll say this for the guy: he can rock a mean third degree burn.  

Best Performance: Without question, Anna Torv's nuanced approach to Olivia Dunham's emotional gamut run completely obliterated our expectations and has buoyed the phenomenal first half of the season to new heights. If any performance from any actress on any show so far this season screams more loudly, "I Deserve An Emmy," this is the one.

Most Macabre Moment: A perennial creep-fest, Fringe has some of the most gruesomely hard-to-watch moments on any other show except for perhaps The Walking Dead. But watching a mentally deranged doctor play puppet show with a corpse in "Marionette," as tears stream across his pallid cheeks, tugged on our freaky strings like no other.

Hopes for 2011: Fringe has thrilled us beyond our wildest dreams this season. At this point, all we can really hope for is a fourth season.

Overall grade: A+

Agree with this assessment? Disagree? Sound off now!

Jeffrey Kirkpatrick is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Definitely an A+. Have to disagree with you about "The Plateau" being the worst episode. I actually thought that one was quite brilliant. I'd put "The Box" in this "worst episode" box--although it wasn't bad. I personally think Olivia has surpassed Walter as best character. Anna Torv has definitely turned in a superb, Emmy-caliber performance. I was sorry to see her snubbed by the Golden Globes. She doesn't just play two versions of Olivia Dunham; she's really playing three or four when you examine all the impersonation that's been going on.


definitely A++++ this season's been the most thrilling and the best in action and performance, not to mention the vagenda.


A++++++ Thank you for giving Fringe a comment it truly deserve


Definately A ++++
I love Walter
Anna Torv derserves many Emmy's and whatever else is out there.
I actually liked The Plateau and thought that The Box would fall in that category.


I totally agree that season 3 has consistently blown our minds with this roller coaster of a ride through two universes. Not only has our main cast continued their broad range of emotional development, but we also get to see and possibly care for their "Other Side" selves. I look forward to many more thought provoking, character-driven episodes of Fringe yet to come!!


Way to own it Fringe, the A+ is well deserved.
January 21 can't come sooner!!


The A+ rating is absolutely well deserved. Fringe has an awesome team of writers, producers and actors. Season 3 thus far has been EPIC and full of emotion......and i have loved every second of it! Not sure i could put any episode in the 'worst' category....and i agree with you about the character Lincoln Lee. We havent seen enough of him or know enough about him to form any kind of attachment. And as for Anna Torv....well the words 'pure brilliance' dont seem enough to describe this womans outstanding performance this season. Anna portrayed 2 characters who look the of whom i love and cried for and the other whom i screamed at and wanted to choke. To evoke that kind of reaction from an audience shows just what an OUTSTANDING job she has done.


Totally agree especially with best character Walter Bishop is the person I would most like to have dinner with.


A+ well deserved. Can't wait for it to come back after the break!


"Trying to decide on the "worst" episode in this creatively satisfying third season is like digging through a stack of $100 bills for the one with most creases." True. But fan consensus seems to be that the "worst" episode was either "Amber [numberican'tremember]" or "6955 kHz." "The Plateau" was actually pretty cool.

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Fringe Quotes

I feel fine, hon.


Afro, do you have any music?


Fringe Music

  Song Artist
Song Poor Little Fool Ricky Nelson iTunes
Dear mr fantasy Dear Mr. Fantasy Traffic iTunes
Blue bayou Blue Bayou Roy Orbison iTunes