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Season 1 Episode 1


Aired Friday 9:00 PM Sep 09, 2008 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
1,228 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

When all the passengers and crew on Flight 627 Hamburg-to-Boston die in a hideous manner, FBI agent Olivia Dunham investigates the event. While following up a lead, her partner and lover, John Scott, undergoes life-threatening chemical contamination. A desperate Olivia looks for help and finds Dr. Walter Bishop, who cannot help her because he has been institutionalized. The only way to even question him is with the help of his son Peter.

Olivia continues her investigations and goes to Nina Sharp, a manipulative executive. Olivia, Peter and Dr. Bishop begin to discover what really happened on Flight 627 and start to uncover a larger truth.moreless

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  • One of the best pilots ever

    This is so well written abd great acting, what an amazing show it turned out to be. Classic J J Abrams.
  • Full with stereotypes and plot goofs = disappointing pilot

    I suspected this to be like a TV movie because of its overlong runningtime, but director Alex Graves managed to make this look like a longsome introduction to the characters and I thought that was good. I also really enjoy the whole look of the show, that is to say cinematography, score, editing or the way they show the locations of the particular scenes. This and the mystery style of the show are enough to keep me watching it, at least for the 1st season. We'll see if it gets better or worse (both is possible).

    So, I think the 3 leads are quite interesting and I'm curious how John Noble did not get a nomination for an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. I also enjoyed the beginning of this pilot very much and I had great interest in where the story would go. But after watching the whole thing, I think this show (or at least the pilot) is overrated. There were really a lot of goofs in the storyline and J. J. Abrams has never proven better that he adores to fill something that would otherwise be quite good with stereotypes. I mean, the love story? It seemed fake as hell and was totally unnecessary to the storyline. Furthermore, I really wanted to believe the supernatural parts of this, but it was just impossible regarding the illogicality and stupidity of some scenes.

    Despite all my criticism, I've got to give this pilot its due for entertaining me for the whole running time - I actually think it passed quickly. The mix of action, crime, sci-fi, mystery and drama (yes, it really are that much genres in one) worked rather good, but overall it just doesn't fulfil its premise. The writers focused on the false stuff because even with this long run-time, I still didn't really get to know the villains and the way they've done it.

    Usually I wouldn't rate an episode to which I've got that much to criticize about that good, but I like the style of the show very much and I'm just hoping that this was nothing more than a false start.moreless
  • man's face comes off on plane. people dead. FBI investigates. Guy gets injured in explosion Woman desperate to save him. creepy genius scientist. smart (smart aleck) son with daddy issues. evil corporation. paranormal cases. there'smoreless

    Off to a pretty good start. Right away it grabs you and doesn't let go. It has the makings of a series classic. The underdog versus the evil corporation. Many are comparing it to the X-Files. Since I never saw that show, I can't make that comparison. However, I did see a comparison between Angel. Vampire detective versus evil law firm (Wolfram and Hart)

    The Bad: hmmmmm, I guess one thing I didn't like was the fact that they put the words of the city in huge block letters. And it was kind of slow at some points

    However, I am going to give it a far chance. Hopefully this show will be on for a long time. My Tuesday nights are going to be full this Fall. 8pm House 9pm Fringe 10pm Law and Order SVU.moreless
  • Pilot

    The first major hurdle of the "Fringe" will be to get rid of comparisons. What is difficult to guess, since the series show they have enough points in common with "Alias" and "X-Files," too obvious to avoid any parallels. (MINOR SPOILERS)

    When an international flight lands at Boston airport and discovers that the passengers and crew mysteriously died aboard the plane, the FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (newcomer Anna Torv) is called to investigate the case. After his partner and lover, John Scott (Mark Valley, "Boston Legal"), almost dying during the investigation, a desperate Olivia searches for someone to help save John, which leads to Walter Bishop (John Noble, "Lord of the Rings"), the Einstein of our generation. Only one problem: he has been hospitalized for about 20 years and the only way to reach him is through his son Peter (Joshua Jackson, "Dawson's Creek"), who wants, above all, keep well away from father.

    "Fringe," the new JJ Abrams series, explores an area of science that is done within the limits of orthodox, which is based on unusual scientific theories and models, and addresses topics such as telepathy, invisibility, astral projection, among others.

    The pilot episode of about 80 minutes, although weaker than the previous two Abrams, "alias" and "Lost" (note that it was just written by Abrams, unlike the examples mentioned have also been performed by himself, while Alex Graves have an exemplary work in the pilot) is full of excitement, suspense, fantastic elements, a few scares, and even a little comedy and romance.

    The cast is competent enough. The three protagonists manage to create a good dynamic between them. Anna Torv, which debuts on American television shows have been a good choice for the role and John Noble gets a great job with your Walter Bishop on the border between madness and sanity. The same is true of the secondary elements, especially in relation to the always enigmatic Lance Reddick.

    But the big problem is that the series falls easily into comparisons.

    Inevitably, we are tempted to compare it, for example, the "Alias" and "X-Files", known in Portugal as "Alias" and "Files" respectively. We have FBI agents investigating the paranormal, a blonde version of Sydney Bristow, a leading technology company shrouded in mystery and, most likely the basis for future plots, and the episode begins with an incident aboard a plane.

    Nevertheless, "Fringe" is certainly a series to follow next season and possibly the most addictive. The question is how far in life to allow FOX has the same, but the fact that the channel to be placed initially at the "House" and later in the season, along with "American Idol" allows you to good prospects success.moreless
  • Great Start

    The Fringe pilot was a good start to a promising show. I loved Lost and wanted more of J.J. Abrams great imagination. In this episode the Fringe team is trying to solve a case about a crashed airplane. All of the bodies on the plane have clear skin and you can see the inside of their bodies. This is one of the many cases featuring Fringe science. A crazy science where basically anything can happen. This show has some very nice sci-fi elements. The pilot was interesting and shows a promising start for this show.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Trivia: The glyphs first seen here form a code that spell out "observer."

    • Trivia: Right outside the Massive Dynamic building you can see the symbols for a pen and a rose. This is a clue to Christopher Penrose and Dr. Claus Penrose, who appear in the next episode "The Same Old Story."

    • Hidden Phrases

      During the beginning credits the words "Observers are here" can be seen. During the dream sequence the words "He's Not Dead" appear on a tombstone.

    • Trivia: The car they pull out of the garage resembles an MG sports car but the traditional MG logo was altered to MD, Massive Dynamic.

    • Trivia: When Olivia visits Massive Dynamic to find out about Richard Steeg, The "Observer" can be seen briefly walking down the street outside the building.

    • When the plane is losing height and going through some turbulence the screens are not folded. In case of an air emergency that's one the first thing that is done.

    • Trivia: The "leaf" is the first object out of the items shown before each commercial break to appear in an episode.If you look in the middle of the "leaf" you can see a triangle or Delta symbol on it. It appears on the Massive Dynamic handprint scanner.

    • When the various governmental agents enter the plane on the tarmac, the oxygen masks are deployed, apparently for no reason.

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Walter: If you want to watch, you can come closer. You work here?
      Astrid: Yeah. I'm Astrid Farnsworth, assistant to Agent Dunham.
      Walter: Who?
      (Astrid points to Olivia in the sensory deprivation tank)
      Walter: Oh, yes! I'm Walter... ummm...
      Peter: Bishop. Walter Bishop.
      Walter: Yes, thank you.
      Peter: Don't mention it.

    • Nina: (uncovers John's body) How long has he been dead?
      Man w/Gurney: Five hours.
      Nina: Question him.

    • Olivia: His name is Peter Bishop. He's a high school drop out; an IQ at 190, but just 50 points North of Genius- misfit, nomad. Hasn't held a job longer then two months. He's been a wild land fireman, cargo pilot and briefly a college Chemistry professor. He falsified a degree from MIT and even managed to get a few papers published before he was found out. Sounds like a massive pain in the ass.

    • Olivia: I can have you on a flight back here in four days, but first…
      Peter: Let me save you the time. I'd rather stay here in Iraq. That's how much I want to see my father.

    • Olivia: I thought you were a genius. You must have had a system?
      Peter: Of course there was a system. The house was cheating. But you try and tell them that.

    • Walter: Excellent. Let's make some LSD!

    • Bishop: It's not an exact science...
      Peter: It's not even science!

    • Olivia: CDC says the Hamburg flight was caused by a synthetic compound, which is like saying rain is caused by a wet compound.

    • Olivia: What is it?
      Walter: They… they have this horrible… pudding here. Butterscotch pudding on Mondays. It's dreadful.
      Olivia: It's Thursday.
      Walter: Oh? Oh, fantastic!

    • Walter: I thought you'd be fatter.
      Peter: You thought I'd be fatter? Excellent. First words, perfect.
      Walter: No, no, no, as a boy, you were rounder.

    • Walter: Oh!
      Olivia: What happened?
      Walter: I just pissed myself.
      Peter: Excellent.
      Walter: Just a squirt.

    • Walter: So much… so much happened here. And so much is about to.

    • Walter: The only thing better than a cow is a human. Unless you need milk. Then you really need a cow.

    • Olivia: You owe money to a guy nicknamed Big Eddie?
      Peter: No, I owe money to a guy named Big Eddie. He had it legally changed.

    • Walter: Didn't I mention it?
      Peter: Whatever you think you said, you didn't say it.

    • Walter: I have used this technique to extract information from a corpse once. You can do that if they haven't been dead for longer than six hours.
      Peter: Right, 'cause after six hours they're really dead.

    • Peter: The man who was just released from the mental institution, he wants to give you a drug overdose, then stick a metal rod into your head and put you naked into a rusty tank of water.
      Walter: No, I don't want to. No, I'd rather not. I'm just saying I can.

    • Charlie: You've cleared all this with Broyles?
      Olivia: Somewhat.
      Charlie: Oh, "somewhat" doesn't sound good. Is that a cow?

    • Peter: I still think that this is deeply irresponsible, and believe me, I would know.

    • (watching "Spongebob Squarepants")
      Walter: And this is a show for children?
      Astrid: Yeah, it's huge.
      Walter: Surprisingly profound for a narrative about a sponge.

    • Peter: Genetically, humans and cows are separated by only a couple lines of DNA so it's an ethical test subject.
      Olivia: Where did you learn that, MIT?
      Peter: No, actually picked that up reading books, you should try it sometime, it's fun.

  • NOTES (13)

    • There are eight pictures that appear when a commercial breaks is coming or for promoting the show.

      APPLE: the seeds in the apple are human embryos
      BUTTERFLY: the wings are made up of bones
      FLOWER: some of its petals are dragonfly wings and the center shows a Fermat's spiral
      FROG: has a symbol on its back for PHI
      HAND: it has six fingers
      HORN: has the Fibonacci spiral and has the number of PHI inscribed on the horn
      LEAF: has the delta symbol in the middle of it
      SMOKE: for a woman's face

      *in most of the pictures there is a small yellow dot.

    • Original International Air Dates:
      Australia: September 17, 2008 on Channel 9
      Sweden: October 2, 2008 on TV4
      United Kingdom: October 5, 2008 on Sky1/Sky1 HD
      Norway: January 1, 2009 on Tvn
      Finland: January 5, 2009 on MTV3
      Thailand: February 7, 2009 on True Series
      Hungary: March 13, 2009 on RTL-Klub
      Germany: March 16, 2009 on ProSieben
      Belgium: May 28, 2009 on RTBF2
      France: June 10, 2009 on TF1
      New Zealand: July 1, 2009 on TV2
      Poland: September 10, 2009 on TVN
      Slovakia: October 4, 2009 on Markiza
      Czech Republic: February 5, 2010 on Nova Cinema

    • Kirk Acevedo (Charlie Francis) and Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles) previously starred together on the HBO series Oz.

    • This episode began at a special time, 8:00 PM. In addition, its original airing was with limited commercials, allowing the 81-minute long episode to complete its airing at 9:35 PM.

    • This episode had an exclusive FREE preview UK screening on Saturday 4th October, 11.00am on the Apollo West End.

    • The cow acquired in Bishop's lab was to be a regular, but unfortunately this particular cow only appeared in the pilot. The production crew was unable to get permission to bring the bovine across the border from Canada to the USA where the remainder of the series was filmed. Recasting was required.

    • The press kit of Fringe sent by FOX contained an audio recorder with the voice of Lance Reddick on it.

    • This episode was released in CC-HDTV 720p-Dolby Digital 5.1.

    • Sky1 acquired the UK rights to this episode.

    • DC Comics released a prequel comic book on August 27, two weeks before the series premiere on September 9.

    • The budget for the show's "Pilot" episode was $10 million.

    • Filming location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

    • Joshua Jackson was reluctant to take this role and commit himself to a TV series again. In an interview with SCI FI Wire, he admits being attracted to the role because of J.J. Abrams, but he turned it down a few times. He didn't commit until he met Kurtzman and Orci, most famous for writing the re-imagined Transformers movie from 2007.


    • Peter: You're telling me, what, my father was Dr. Frankenstein?

      Referencing the book by Mary Shelley Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus. The story is about Doctor Frankenstein who creates a living being out of the parts of dead people, a being that turns against its creator.