28 January 2010


To lighten the mood a bit from the past week's posts -- in yesterday's mail I received my 500th rental movie from Netflix. For perspective, I became a subscriber in September 2006. Just about half of that rental total has taken place within the past year, when I was forced into early retirement by work-related injuries.

Film number 500 was a set of three episodes from season 1 of the TV series Fringe. The series takes its title from "fringe science", studies which depart significantly from orthodox academic disciplines or theories. I wonder if a show which combines the unusual (transgenics, psychokinesis, teleportation, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, precognition, dark matter, cybernetics, suspended animation) with FBI investigation of terrorist acts using fringe tactics, qualifies as a guilty pleasure?

With the resounding exception of PBS, I am not normally a fan of most broadcast TV (certainly not a fan of Fox, where extreme right-wing political ideology masquerades as news), nor even a fan of the paranormal (being a scientist by both training and inclination). I do include Fringe among my favorite cutting-edge shows with highly talented ensemble casts -- Hill Street Blues, The West Wing, NYPD Blue, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, and The Wire come to mind. The common threads are intelligent, original scripts combined with stellar acting and directing. In short, Quality with a capital Q.

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