Sunday, July 12, 2009

"Fringe" and "Star Trek"

Spoiler Alert. If you haven't see the season finale of "Fringe", titled "There's More Than One of Everything", stop reading and go here to Fox's website and watch it. If you don't care or have seen it continue on.

There's a nice set of coincidences between "Fringe" and "Star Trek", the original series. First, there's the creators of "Fringe", J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. Orci and Kurtzman were the writers of the new movie "Star Trek" and Abrams directed it. Kurtzman and Orci are trekkers. Then there are the concepts shared between the two shows. Teleportation. Alternate Reality. More on that below.

What about guest stars? In the season one episode, "The Road Not Taken", Clint Howard stars in a hilarious role as a crazy Trekker. Remember him as the alien Balok in the original series, the "Corbomite Maneuver?" Here's that show.

That brings us to Leonard Nimoy, Spock in Star Trek, as the mysterious William Bell in the season finale. First, the concept of alternate realities was explored in Star Trek. Specifically, the second season episode, "Mirror, Mirror" in which Kirk and the away team are accidentally transported to a parallel universe where the Federation is replaced by the not so humanitarian Terran Empire.

In "Fringe" season finale, FBI Agent Dunham goes to New York to meet William Bell. As she rides the elevator there is a flash of light, and she crosses over to an alternate reality. She goes to Bell's office. We see a copy of a newspaper. The headlines read that the Obamas are moving to a new White House. It seems that basketball player Len Bias is still alive. As Bell enters the room, Dunham asks, "Where am I? Who are you?" Check out the backlighting of Nimoy. It highlights his ears! Get the joke? It's a reference to Spock's ears. Check the scene below.

Of course, where she's at is answered when Dunham looks out the window of the building. The camera pans backwards and we realize she's in the World Trade Center, circa 2009 but in an alternate reality. While I enjoyed Abrams' shallow "Star Trek" with reservations, this show like his "Alias" demonstrates the gutsy and very creative story telling that he is known for. It makes one yearn for more answers on the mythology of "Fringe."

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