Fringe vs. The X-Files vs. reality

With the season-one finale of Fringe airing tonight on Fox, we though we'd take a look at some of the more memorable instances of "fringe science" and how they relate to the real world.. and to the world created by one of its clear influences--The X-Files.

Science-y thing: Walking Through Solid Matter

Episode: "Safe"
Air date: December 2, 2008
Definition: The ability to pass through solid objects by disassembling and reassembling one's atomic structure (or electromagnetic forces) or the atomic structure of something else. In layman terms, holy s*** he's walking through walls!
Fringe reality: Bank robbers used the technique to rob banks by using a special device that messed with the walls' molecular structure. While the walls were all bendy, one just passes through. However, walk through when the wall was solidifying, and one ends up like the guy in the picture--a real wallflower.
Reality: Absolutely zero. Well, maybe Calista Flockhart can.
The X-Files did it: In the season six episode "Trevor," a man--who possesses the ability to walk through walls and other solid objects through throwing off the balance of their electromagnetism--kills others (and seriously invades their personal space) by walking through them. Ick!

Science-y thing: Spontaneous Human Combustion

Episode: "The Road Not Taken"
Air date: May 5, 2009
Definition: Spontaneous Human Combustion is "the alleged process of a human body catching fire as a result of heat generated buy internal chemical or nuclear action," according to Robert T. Carroll, author of The Skeptic's Dictionary. In layman's terms, it's the idea that anyone can simply burst into flames--or if you're lucky, explode!--for no apparent reason.
Fringe reality: A woman boards a bus, gets all hot under the collar, then proceeds to get REALLY hot under the collar and everywhere else. *Poof* She's charcoal.
Reality: There are reportedly more than 200 cases of SHC, but good luck finding any hard evidence of it from someone not wearing a tinfoil hat. The more likely cause of these "cases" comes from another killer: cigarettes.
The X-Files did it: Well, they sort of did it. In the season two episode "Soft Light," a man (played by Monk's Tony Shalhoub) discovers his shadow can incinerate people, leading Mulder to liken the situation to SHC.

Science-y thing: Progeria

Episode: "The Same Old Story"
Air date: September 16, 2008
Definition: A genetic condition, formally known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, that causes its young victims to age rapidly.
Fringe reality: A woman has sex, gives birth within an hour, and the bouncing baby boy becomes eligible to join the AARP and dies in another four hours.
Reality: We all go through relative progeria in our mid-30s, but real progeria can't be cured by buying a sports car. The fatal disease is legitimate, affecting about one in 4-8 million children, according to The Progeria Research Foundation.
The X-Files did it: Season two's "Død Kalm" saw Scully and Mulder investigate a ship in which the crew were all aging rapidly. The two agents also succumbed to the old-ification, forcing several hormonally-charged nerds to immediately switch channels at the site of an elderly Gillian Anderson.

Science-y thing: Therianthropy

Episode: "The Transformation"
Air date: February 3, 2009
Definition: The metamorphosis of a human into that of an animal. Lycanthropy, the ability werewolves possess, is the most popular form. Aphidanthropy, a word I just made up meaning the ability to turn into half-man half-aphid, is the least popular form.
Fringe reality: With the aid of a virus, a man is able to turn into some weird porcupine abomination and kill everyone on a passenger plane. Plane crashes, porcupine man dies, Walter Bishop plays with his intestines. What is it with J.J. Abrams and planes?
Reality: Popularized in folklore, movies starring Abbott, Costello, and Michael J. Fox, and campy 50s songs about various monstrosities mashing, just about everyone is familiar with the concept of werewolves and thus, therianthropy. However, regardless of what you may have seen at your local Furry convention, Therianthropy is totally bogus. But don't tell that to The Lizardman.
The X-Files did it: The X-Files did this like a billion times in some form or another. Werewolves were a topic of "Shapes," some other dude turned reptilian in "Alone," and another baddie shape-shifted into Mulder to get into Scully's pants in "Small Potatoes."

Science-y thing: Giant slimy slug parasites

Episode: "Bound"
Air date: January 20, 2009
Definition: A huge disgusting mucus-covered shell-less snail that feeds on humans. Did I really need to paint a picture for you?
Fringe reality: A cold virus mutates into a slippery annelid and becomes the biggest (and squirmiest) loogie you've ever coughed up.
Reality: There are giant slugs out there (just ask anyone from UC Santa Cruz), but none that will call your body home. OR IS THERE!?
The X-Files did it: In the eighth season's "Roadrunners," a weird cult worshipped a slug-like animal that sucked on people's spines.

Have more eerie similarities between Fringe and The X-Files? Let's see 'em in the comments section below!

Comments (57)
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Safe is more Dreamland Xfiles (se6). You haven't watched the X-Files, have you?
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JeffreyBaughm - for real man? There is nothing about Fringe that makes it better then X-Files. Scully or boring a$$ Olivia? Not even a question. Mulder or Dawson's creek guy? Waiting for him to cry each episode for Dawson. Walter... Walter is cool - but he's no smoking man. Fringe is a good show in it's own right, but taking - neh, stealing ideas that came before it is weak at best. You need to watch X-files again my man...
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Fringe is 1000 times better than the X-Files ever were. I was and still am a huge X-Files fan but Fringe blew it right out of the water.
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Fringe is for those who believes what it shows and the theories behind it and nothing more but X files is for those who think beyond.
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No way that Fringe can compare with x files. The X FILES show was one of a kind :)
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okay lets set the record straight here. Everyone saying TXF did it first....okay big deal they did another show has done this and if you watch this show and are commenting on TFX did it first you are a bigot. The show is called South Park and they even made an episode making fun of themselves called "Simpsons did it". Taking ideas on fiction scientific (or undiscovered) you can only do SO much. since the dawn of TV and science fiction you cannot even honestly say the x-files was original. I can recount a few episodes of outer limits and Twilight zone that the xfiles pretty much copied. So if all you people want to point fingers and say somethings original please find an original show that has not stolen their ideas from something and let me know...because thus far there is no such thing anymore. So yes the show may not be the most orifinal in the world but it is entertaining and isnt that the goal of programming on TV or the big screen to entertain these days people seem to forget that and want "new and original" hate to break it to ya kids.......will not be happening in our lifetimes. IE the raping of my childhood cartoons to make big budget movies, because no one has anything original left on them in Hollywood
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Fringe is ok. X-files was infinitely better. My biggest problem with Fringe is every case is something the alzheimer appearing scientist has worked on in the past. So basically, something he did, he now has to clean up. In comparison, I don't believe any of the X-files episodes was something Scully or Mulder ever did in their past that they had to clean up
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@angeland8: The X Files was by no means original! It borrowed many concepts and ideas from shows like The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, and they, in turn, took their inspiration from classic science fiction. So you can't knock Fringe simply by saying it's less original than The X Files. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is new these days. And both shows are great in their own right!
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Not really, the actors aren't remotely passionate in their portrayals. Except for the actor playing Boyle.
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I hate Fringe's comparison with TXF. Please stop them!

And one correction: Dod Kalm wasn't about Progeria. If this disease was ever mentioned, was in season 1 in an episode called 'Young at Heart' about a murderer that stalks Mulder and got younger instead of older. Dod Kalm was about water having too much rust and it caused some sort of dehydration.
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you cant just look at a few episodes and say that both shows are the same, you have to look at the overall picture and theme of both shows. We have to wait and see what fringe has in store for its audience.
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I loved the X-Files and I love Fringe... I dont care if some stories are similar... Fringe is a great show!
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I couldn't agree more!
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x-files: amazing
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X-Files was an original show, it had fantastic scripts, twists and anything you can imagine. Fringe has nothing new and original. I watched two or three episodes and stopped wasting my time.
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Yes X-Files has done everything. I mean EVERYTHING! before any other show could imagine.

Fringe has to keep it going for years before it can be remembered by many of us.

Bottomline: I love Fringe! after the X-File! (to be honest the last a few seasons X file did not that well...)
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X-Files is a classic in every sense of the word. Fringe is good but has a very long way to go to be in that category.
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I LOVE X-Files, have the series on DVD. But Fringe is 100 times better than it ever was. Sorry Spooky!!!!
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@ Corko21 - Before I stoop to your level of low level arguments and extreme fannyboyism, let me say this;

I've watched both shows, and a truckload of other shows for that matter. I'm sorry I hurt your feelings saying any of the characters from fringe bared any resemblance to those in X-files, but they do, in a watered down way so to speak - it's clear the characters in the X-files had stronger relationships and involvement in what they were doing. X-files and Fringe both have the structural similarity in that the things they investigate end up being the result of a high-level conspiracy. I admit, Fringe season 1 has been much more 'action packed' and 'engaging' than the same season of X-files. But don't forget that the X-files was made in 1993; they just didn't have the technology/budget to create the sugar-coated special effects you see on Fringe. What more is that X-files had a deep-running story which unfolded over 9-seasons, so far, Fringe only has one - we can't say what the future holds for it. Don't get me wrong, I like both shows, but I like Fringe less - understand my arguments, because I couldn't find yours.
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For Corko21 - If you don't think that Mulder and Scully investigated anything during the first season, I have to ask, did you see the second episode? "Deep Throat" was an episode where the Agents were just asking for trouble, sticking their noses where they didn't belong, and finding just a bit of the truth at the end.
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While the premise of Fringe is similar to that of The X-Files, Federal Agents "investigating" paranormal events, the characters are different. That's one of the reasons Fringe isn't as good. In The X-Files you had two FBI Agents, a believer and a skeptic, who had theories but had to work for the answers. In Fringe they just ask Walter, and then figure out how to stop the creature/evil guy. While the characters in Fringe are interesting (especially Walter) and well written, all of them combined don't comparer to Mulder and Scully.

But the idea of Olivia being an unwilling warrior in some coming war sounds very interesting, as does the Alternate Reality stuff.
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you are playing yourself, those 2 on Fringe can't compare with Mulder and Scully. I mean granted they have a nice supporting cast x wire and oz actor's, but let's get real the only thing they have in common is fox.



I like fringe however i'm a x-file fiend{the last movie sucked no alien's}i'm 55 so i'm sure fringe will have there own fiend's
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For jpopsuki - I'm not sure you've actually really watched either of the shows (or maybe your brain only half works) b/c your character comparisons couldn't be any blander/farther from the truth. Mulder can not be compared to Charlie Francis in anyway, Scully and Olivia Dunham are so far apart that the fact that you listed that first makes me think you must be at least mentally handicapped. The reason I feel comfortable saying Fringe is better than the X-Files is b/c (and I love the x-Files) the first season of Fringe was intensely more interesting/engaging than the X-Files which was just spooky/cool fun. P.S. Mulder and Scully didn't investigate the truth in the first season of X-Files, they just got attacked by something, Mulder would come up with a half-baked concept to gloss over the basics of it, and it would be case-closed. How is that different/better than Fringe where the cases are being tied together under one umbrella (even the filler episodes have some bearing on the overall season story).
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I'm an X-file freak myself, better known as X-philes. There is no replacing my fav show, but I have watched Fringe this year and it is a refreshing new show that does borrow, but in most art, everyone has their influence. Hope it's back for more seasons to come.
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Many shows have clearly been influenced by (or put bluntly; copied from) the X-Files; e.g. In Heroes and Smallville you sometimes encounter characters with similar powers to people in X-Files.

Fringe is a whole other story...I love Fringe, I love the effects, but it's way too much a 'rip' of X-Files, no doubt! Just look at the characters involved:

Scully = Dunham
Mulder = Peter Bishop (and/or Charlie Francis)
Skinner = Broyles
Spender = William Bell

Don't forget that the story structure and character background is almost identical in some cases; Dunham has powers because she was treated with some secret chemical as a kid, Scully is immune to diseases (Cancer) because she has some secret alien implant.

X-Files has aliens and hybrids living among humans, Fringe has those bald 'observers'.

It seems as if Fringe took the whole X-Files story, changed the characters and upgraded the effects, it'll only become more apparent as the show goes on.

One major difference between the two shows is this; in X-Files, Mulder and Scully actually have to investigate and uncover the 'truth', in Fringe, Bishop just knows all the answers.
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Yeah, Mr.Pibb is an alright substitue when there's no Dr.Pepper around.
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Um... But haven't all of these same things been done on Smallville, Buffy, and countless other Sci-Fi fantasy shows? Sure Fringe and X-Files may use some of the same tricks... Every Sci-Fi story does.
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Fringe is an awesome show, better than "o.k". I've only seen a few x-files episodes so i can't really compare, but obviously some of the same topics are going to come up in both, it doesn't mean fringe is copying anything.
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Ok lets face something... EVERYTHING ITS ALREADY INVENTED!!!!!!

Maybe Fringe its a bit like The X-Files but being "like" doesn't means IS "The X-Files" i agree that are some similarities but we all know that The X-Files was the revolution of sci-fi and open possibilities, ideas and new TV show based in paranormal research every tv show from now on is gonna look like The X-Files because that tv show cover everything every single mythology and legend abotu UFOS and all kind of things leaving nothing to be done as a NEW thing...

So yes Fringe is "a-lot-like" The X-Files... But its not The X-Files



XO XO



:):):):)
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Of course, a moron like you would post twice. Don't understand the concept of data transfer, clearly. But on to my point... You sound like the world's most famous idiot, Karl Pilkington, when you say things as stupid as "Everything is already invented". You know, someone said that a hundred years ago and in that time, we've invented air travel, space shuttles, smart phones, satellites, plasma tvs, infrared sensors, laser beams, super-computers, the internet, nuclear power plants, mp3 players, submarines (including one that can go over a mile deep while carrying a passenger), stealth technology, radar technology, we learned how to use airwaves to broadcast information, how to use metal to transfer data, how to stick dust particles carrying millions of bits of information onto a magnetized disk that allows it to be transported and copied, we made computer chips out of sand. The list goes on. Only a truly close-minded individual would make a statement as ignorant as "Everything is already invented".
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Ok lets face something... EVERYTHING ITS ALREADY INVENTED!!!!!!

Maybe Fringe its a bit like The X-Files but being "like" doesn't means IS "The X-Files" i agree that are some similarities but we all know that The X-Files was the revolution of sci-fi and open possibilities, ideas and new TV show based in paranormal research every tv show from now on is gonna look like The X-Files because that tv show cover everything every single mythology and legend abotu UFOS and all kind of things leaving nothing to be done as a NEW thing...

So yes Fringe is "a-lot-like" The X-Files... But its not The X-Files



XO XO



:):):):)
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this is a joke of a debate. Fringe is a pretty good show, one season in.
X-Files is one of the greatest shows of all-time...
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There are a lot of similarities between both shows (that probably has to do with the fact that the first inspired the second). But there are two different shows although both dwell in the "unexplained and impossible". X-files actually started giving you the possibility of not believing thanks to scully which provided a more down to earth approach to the first couple of seasons. Obviously sooner rather than later everything was explained without giving you the opportunity of doubting it. The problem is that fringe allegedly fights science not science-fiction so everything that happens in the show is proved without doubt (i mean there is the every episode moment where joshua jackson says literally "dad you're saying that because you are mentally ill and maybe i shouldn't have gotten you out" and ten minutes later "oh, you were right, who would've know..."). So yeah, good shows but one has 9 seasons and the other one just got a second run, too early to judge which one is better or even how similar they are, maybe if there are little green (or gray) men in fringe soon i change my mind.
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It's all been done before in one way or another. Frings clearly borrows from The X-Files. Chris Carter said he was inspired by Kolchak: The Night Stalker for The X-Files. But it's hard to compare Fringe with The X-Files simply because there is so much more of The X-Files to work with. I could easily find 20 episodes of The X-Files that top what Fringe has done. And the X-Files used "creature" episodes as filler in between the episodes that dealt with the major plot of the show: Aliens. And a few of those creature episodes were excellent.

Fringe could, maybe, end up being better than The X-Files, but they're not there yet.
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Fringe had a pretty good first season, same as X-Files 1st season which was ok. But how can anyone in their right mind even remotely compare it to the X-Files this early in the game. Time will tell. The X-Files best were epic episodes. Also the Scully/Mulder team may not be matched.
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Fringe is far better than the X-Files. I have the right to claim this since I watched every episode of X-Files at least twice, and now have watched every episode of Fringe. The reason Fringe is better is simple...even its "filler" episodes have some bearing on the over-arching story of the show. Whereas X-Files was the original filler episode king...there's were great and original...but altogether pointless. Also, Anna Torv is hotter/better actress than Gillian Anderson, and as the disbeliever FBI guy, Charlie Francis (played by the kick-ass Kirk Acevedo) is a far more interesting character, and also better done than the ridiculously one note Dana scully.
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Fringe does "it" better...
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Anyone ever notice that the theme music for Fringe (which I do quite enjoy) sounds an awful lot like the theme music from an ABC series a few years ago called NightStalker with Stuart Townsend???
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There is alot of similarties between the two shows. I prefer the X-files. It was more original. I like The Fringe but it dosen't have the magic touch you find in shows like Lost and The X-files.
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X-Files was then, Fringe is now. Hasn't everything been done before....

I am glad that Fringe is picked up for a second series. We love Dr. Walter Bishop, he, or anyone like him, wasn't in the X-Files. He is quite unique!
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X-Files was a cult classic, but even though, they borrowing some plots from old classic scifi and horror movies. So Fringe borrowing doesnt upset me,we loved x-Files and we are loving FRINGE.

But i think Fringe borrow plots from Alias too(JJ Abrams old show), so i believe there is a mix of both SHOWS and its GREAT. FRINGE FRINGE FRINGE
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xfiles copied itself a billion time.. fringe is almost the same you can see paralles with character counterparts with fringe and organisations.. coorporations the like

i like fringe very much... as good as xfiles.... xfiles is cult to me..like the hole story arch and all the episodes! hope fringe does the same on a.. well 6-7 season span :)

the truth is out there!
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I am a big fan of both Fringe an the X-Files.They have their similarities no argue about that but as you can see their ideas comes either from real and documented incidents or Urban Legends so there is no one to blame for steeling ideas.They just report things.As "dumstel" said below :"Fringe is the second step for what X-Files had set."I'm also very glad to see such an interesting show in this era.Finally I think that if both shows coexisted live on TV only then we could actually compare them.I hope to see more from Fringe as the mystery unfolds.
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The cinematography has improved since the X-files.Imagine some episodes featuring today's special effects and lighting.Both shows are incredible, each one in their time.
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I love both of the show but fringe is better for me because the scenes are more lightfull
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Xfile is too much conspiracy but Fringe is more scientific. Both shows are awesome
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If I compare the two series then sure, I'll see the underlines of the two. Bud in the bigger picture I think Fringe is the second step for what X-Files had set. X-Files was the beginning of everything that was strange in the world. Fringe just goes further telling that people where the ones to blame. Every little experiment you can think of has always a factor of fault in it. So to see them in a show like Fringe, is very interesting. And of course I know that it's fiction. Bud still it wonders me what scientifically is possible. J.J. Abrams is one of those writer/producers that see that if you take science and fiction and rap them in one big blender. It could make very good and interesting television. And in mine book Fringe DID that fore sure, keep up the good work.....
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With the SHC, I'd say X-files came closer in 'Fire', where a man could actually cause SHC (naturally without touching them or using a match=).)
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I find Fringe's mytharc much more intriguing. The way I see it, as this season finale makes certain, future episodes (and hopefully seasons) will steer this show much farther away from similarities it shares with The X-Files if the writers play their cards right.



Besides Fringe deals very little with mutants and paranormal beings in comparison to The X-Files. It's more about the scientific advances that allow these kinds of things to be created in the first place.
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There will never be another Mulder and Scully! They rule all!
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X-Files was (at least compared to Fringe) much more grounded, where as Fringe (like lost) has a weird logic all it's own and just runs wild with it
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while fringe is very similar to the x-files and it can reasonably be argued that that fringe is based on x-files, it aint a bad thing, and since fringe is a great show then basing it on x-files definitely worked very well.
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