When this little show originally launched, it sounded like “The X-Files” combined with “Eureka:” monsters, technology, and government conspiracies instilling both a sense of wonder and the sinister. The title implies “fringe” science, things either too advanced or too far-fetched to be believed. But with an intimate group of core characters played by a few great actors (John Noble, Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson) and very clever writing under J.J. Abrams “Bad Robot” moniker, the show has steadily built a compelling mythology, but has it found its audience?
Over the two seasons the show has run, we’ve learned that two theoretical scientists managed to open a one-way window into a parallel universe, observing scientific advances and duplicating them in our own world. While one built a technology business empire, the other became personally involved with his other world doppelganger in events that mirrored his own tragedy in life. When he could bear it no longer, he found a way to cross to the other side and take back what he had lost, setting a number of events into motion that would affect both universes.
The details between these two places has become something of a scavenger hunt to spot the differences, from television shows to movie roles and from comic book titles to President Nixon’s profile on the fifty-cent piece. In the first season finale, we learned that in their universe, the World Trade Center towers still stood but their White House had been destroyed. And since there was never a Hindenburg disaster, giant airships regularly dock at the Empire State Building to offload passengers.
With the close of the second season, we’ve learned how important the cast of characters are to this multiversal crisis. One thing that still doesn’t feel right, however, is the romantic inclination on the part of two of the core characters that just feels forced onto them. With the seasonal cliffhanger set and a third season one its way, however, its just one more detail in a show that thrives on thinking way outside of the box. Where will it go from here? I’ve got a few theories, but only J.J. Abrams knows for sure.