'Fringe' Friday: Fox launches Web series 'Past + Present + Future' to recap the sci-fi epic


Image Credit: Liane Hentscher/Fox

As mind-boggling as Fringe can be, devoted fans of the Fox TV series probably have no need for a refresher course about the show’s now-elaborate mythology. Yet “Past + Present + Future” – a new series of recap videos that launches today at Fox.com – is worth checking out for longtime viewers (and is a must for newbies curious to check out the sci-fi drama in the wake of its acclaimed third season), especially with Dr. Walter Bishop himself doing the narration. The first installment provides a big picture overview of the series. The second installment – called “A Tragic Past” – begins the deep dive exploration of the saga.

John Noble makes for an engrossing, entertaining guide, his sonorous voice finding the right balance of gravity and wink. “Bishop and Bell were once the Lennon and McCartney of science, lab partners intent on pushing the boundaries and blurring the perceptions of reality,” Noble narrates, just ahead of a memorably hilarious clip from the show in which the actor’s mad scientist character explains, with grave seriousness: “When Belly and I were younger men, we regularly ingested large quantities of LSD.” (Cut to: Joshua Jackson’s droll reaction shot. “You don’t say?”) The recap series is a compressed, chronological summary of Fringeverse history, providing a clear, coherent picture of Fringe’s epic puzzle narrative. “It’s like a condensed Reader’s Digest version of Fringe,” Noble tells EW via email. “It will tantalize and entice Fringe fans, new and old, with the rich and extraordinary story we’ve been telling for 66 episodes, and prepare them for the ongoing adventures in Season 4.”

Which, by the way, begins Sept. 23.

As for my theory that the title “Past + Present + Future” is a cryptic clue to the newly created jumbled-up Dr. Manhattan-meets-Minkowski spacetime nature of the Fringeverse in the wake of Peter’s reality-rebooting quantum leap in the season 3 finale – and that the mysteries of Fringe can be explained either as a mash-up of C.S. Lewis’ unfinished final novel The Dark Tower and Stephen King’s cycle of Dark Tower novels… or as a fancifully odd adaptation of the two-part album series “Past:Present:Future” by the Dutch pop band Ch!pz — no sane individual associated with the show, including Noble, cared to comment.

The countdown to Fringe Friday has begun.

Twitter: EWDocJensen

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Comments (34 total) Add your comment
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  • kim in kentucky

    WOO HOO! I know what I’m watching on-line this weekend (plus just got season 3 on dvd – gonna try to watch all 3 seasons before 4 starts). And once again, James Noble was robbed of an Emmy nom!!

    • Ruby

      John. John Noble. Otherwise, yes, he was indeed completely robbed.

      • kim in kentucky

        oops, sorry about that! thanks for the correction (guess I was too excited to think clearly – LOL!)

  • ICK

    Awesome show. It’s too bad nobody watches it and FOX puts it in the death slot of Friday nights.

    • boocat

      Alot of people dvr it…..

    • Fingerlakes Dave

      Nobody watches it????????????????

    • g33k

      for the fringe curious: search for “fringe catch up playlist” on youtube and you’ll find a playlist called “Fringe: catch up to S4 w/o watching the 1st 3 seasons” for those of you interested in watching but not having to search for all 12 different parts in the proper order. :-)

  • Aimee

    If Fringe was not moved to Fridays, it would have certainly died. And there are a lot of new folks interested in the show. This series of web episodes will help.

    • Mike

      Agreed. In this one case FOX was actually trying to HELP the show. They kept saying it, but I believed it after they renewed it. And now the night is getting more competitive with NBC trying to throw Grimm out there on the Sci-Fi/Fantasy night. I think CW started a trend when they moved Smallville/Supernatural there and the Fridays of old could be making a comeback. Maybe it WAS a death slot, but there is hope that Friday programming has turned a corner.

      • Andie

        I think NBC is making a terrible decision by holding “Grimm” til the end of October. I understand why it makes sense to hold “Chuck” and why they’d want “Grimm” to have “Chuck” on a lead-in, but viewers who like sci-fi shows will already be watching Fringe or SPN. As a viewer who spent the summer watching (and falling in love with) Fringe, I no longer even care about Grimm. I’m not worried about it. Once Upon a Time is supposed to be the better of those two shows, anyway.

  • Kate

    I watch it on Friday nights. I have been catching up on the second season on Saturday night replays, but still have only season the pilot (I am one of those who couldn’t stand the pilot and somehow chose Grey’s Anatomy over it, then got sick of that, and starting watching the Office again just to hear that this show got good). I hope my phone will play it since it can’t play anything on ew.com.

  • Ann

    I’ll be watching it on Friday nights. No doubt about it.

  • Nick

    So many words spelled wrong in this story I stopped reading.

    • UGH

      This is EW, not rocket science.
      I have to agree about the terrible scheduling on Friday nights by FOX. This show deserves a larger audience and more promotion than all of the other garbage it airs.

      • Ellen

        I love Fringe too… but it had a chance on both Tuesday and Thursday.

        It was doing OK on Tuesday, but then Fox got overenthusiastic and moved it to Thursday 9pm – the REAL “death slot” – and it got DVR’d almost to death.

      • UGH

        Yeah but they probably only moved it for Idol or something equally stupid and it just got lost in the shuffle at that point. It’s a really good show. I would think it would perform better on Sunday or Monday.

      • Ellen

        They moved it to make way for Glee. (yecch)

    • boocat

      What the hell are you talking about?

  • Ellen

    I stopped watching The Office in the fall of 2009, started watching this, and never looked back.

  • f


  • Lexi

    First half of season one was kinda bad but it did developed into a great show..Can’t wait for it to come back. I want to know where Peter Bishop is..Just where the HE.LL is he??

    • boocat

      On the island….. I couldn’t resist saying that….

  • Sammie

    They should have left it on Tuesday for real..And I also hate Glee it makes my head hurt ughhhh

  • charlie’s angel

    My question is why did i see the actor that portrays Charlie on Prime Suspect commericals???!!! Is Kirk Acevedo no longer on the show?

    • Ellen

      Kirk is on Prime Suspect now, but he will likely be back on Fringe occasionally as a guest star.

  • Cheesy

    Love Fringe so much, but will have issues with the 9 pm Grimm/Fringe/Supernatural time slot. Why oh why can’t one of these shows go to the 8 pm timeslot with Chuck, or better yet the 10pm slot against nothing?? Me and my DVR are very unhappy. :(

  • boocat

    Can’t wait for the new season. Since LOST ended, this is the only show really worth watching.

  • Pam MacVittie

    LOVE Fringe,best show.

  • Kira

    Please let this mean that Doc Jensen will be reviewing Fringe this coming season!!! This show deserves someone willing to review the mythology more.

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