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The Fringe: Friend or Foe?

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Have you watched this new show: The Fringe? No, I haven’t yet. I probably will watch at least an episode or two, just to make sure my knee-jerk reaction is either justified or not.

What is this knee-jerk reaction? Well, it comes about the premise of this show, primarily. These are X-File-like stories about federal agents policing “dangerous science” of some form or another. Stuff like re-animation of the dead (I wonder if they’ll be making references to any H.P. Lovecraft material?) or nanotechnology or whatever. I think the idea is that they ensure that such science doesn’t damage society and civilization as we know it, by any unethical or reckless experimentation and so forth. Fine. That seems reasonable enough. But does the popularity of the show bespeak of another, underlying current of sentiment in our society today? As always, I think I am reading into things a little too deeply.

What worries me is how this show can be seen as a manifestation of our latent fears toward anything we don’t understand. Instead of magic, warlocks, sorcerors, demons, and whatnot, we’ve replaced these fears with “science run amok” — these monsters and dark practitioners have been exchanged for scientists, mutations, aliens, etc. I suppose we’ve just switched one set of superstitions for another, continuing to fear and dig our heels in against evolution.

Am I saying that careful monitoring and the emplacement of ethics for proper research is a bad thing? No, of course not. I just think it’s a little bit of an over-reaction, perhaps like the whole hadron collider scare. Perhaps it’s a little arrogant to think we have the power, even accidently, to destroy our race or our planet. I don’t want to start getting religious or far-out-there, but I have to consider that other forces out there might not let us get that far. Sort of like how all the world’s banks are helping businesses out of the hole they dug themselves in, lately… Okay, maybe that’s a bad example. The connotations either way imply too many more connotations.

Anyway, before I bunny-trail any further, I guess I’m going to have to check the show out and see what’s up. I love horror and disaster films, if only because they are so outrageous and I enjoy seeing how the authors and creators believe mankind will get done in. The more fantastical the better, since I really don’t believe in it. It is more of an expose on our own basic human natures; the survival instinct, the … “noble-izing” of the human spirit against horrible odds, etc. Wonderful human drama of the most extreme possible type. Just how this show supposes to give a cultural critique will determine the worth of this show to me. Will they really play off science as the new evil to be kept in check, or will it be the evil in our own human nature, where science is the tool, that will need saving? Are they trying to open our eyes and teach us a lesson? Or are they going for the cheap thrill and prey on our human fears and prejudices?

Yeah, so that’s what I think, so far. I predict an avalanche of similar sorts of shows. We’ll see if “Heroes” will take a similar tactic, or veer off onto its own course. You can be sure I’ll be back with something to say about it, sometime.

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Written by 2ndhandsoul

September 19, 2008 at 12:53 pm