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Fringe: The Complete Third Season Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Portuguese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Danish, Finnish, French, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Running Time: 1012 Min.
  • Discs: 4 (4 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 6, 2011
  • List Price: $69.97

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Purchase Fringe: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

BestBuy.com:
Fringe: The Complete Third Season [4 Discs] [Blu-ray] - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG  thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:5/5]

What started out back in 2008 as what looked to be another sci-fi drama in the vein of The X-Files has turned into so much more. Fringe, now getting ready to head into its fourth season, has evolved beyond a simple paranormal sci-fi drama with male and female FBI agents into a complex, intriguing world all its own, very distant from the X-Files clone it looked to be.

Fringe: The Complete Third Season, perhaps the best season yet, takes the series into territories that explore nearly mind boggling theories of physics, philosophy and religion. It’s a quantum leap forward for the show that makes it completely unique, unlike anything on television today.

When we left the series last, the implications of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble; The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King) tinkering with opening holes between alternate universes to kidnap and save the life of an alternate version of his son Peter (Joshua Jackson; TV’s Dawson’s Creek) were just coming into focus. Peter and Agent Olivia Dunham’s (Ana Torv; TV’s The Pacific) relationship had begun to tentatively change from friendship to something more, and the team had gone over to “the other side” and been stuck in the alternate universe.

In season three, the Fringe team escapes from the alternate universe, all but Olivia who is trapped and replaced by “Walternate” (the alternate Dr. Bishop, who is Secretary if Defense in the other universe) with her alternate self on “our” side. Back in the alternate universe, Olivia is brainwashed into believing she is the Olivia from that side; apparently Walternate wants to use her to be able to travel between worlds in what he sees as his ongoing war against our universe. Meanwhile, back in our world, “Fauxlivia” has infiltrated Fringe division, has deepened her relationship with Peter Bishop, and is working to cover up a mystery that links the two universes, but can also lead to the destruction of the entire world. But when Olivia finally returns, her and Peter’s trust is frayed, yet they must work together to piece together clues of an ancient mystery that ties him to a “doomsday machine” that could either bring together the two worlds, or tear one of them apart.

With total episodes dedicated to the alternate world (even given their own, special red title card), a unique episode that is almost completely animated, a “doomsday machine,” and an ever deepening mythology, Fringe is delectable and enticing sci-fi television that has come into its own in this third season. It has moved out of the shadow of The X-Files and filled the void left behind by LOST that so many other series have tried and failed to fill.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

This is what a sci-fi series should look like in high definition. From the very beginning, Fringe has lent itself well to high-def with its slick, high production values and beautiful use of lighting and special effects. Well, this AVC/MPEG-4 encodement, appearing at a progressive 1080p/24, looks clean, clear and sharp here. The Super 35mm source is richly detailed with deep blacks, beautiful flesh tones, and an abundance of shadow detail. There is only the slightest evidence of softness on occasion, most likely to do with the cameras and lighting rather than the encodement.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Now this is what I’m talking about! Finally, Warner has gotten over their insistence on strapping their TV on Blu-ray releases with DVD-era lossy Dolby Digital audio. This season of Fringe, at least, gets a bona fide lossless track. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is a clear upgrade. It sounds full, clean, and punchy. It can’t go toe-to-toe with the best, most aggressive cinematic 5.1 mixes, but there are certainly lots of moments in this series where the sound comes alive with explosions, gunshots and all sorts of other sound effects that fill up the five channels nicely, and they are bolstered by a hefty amount of low frequencies. High frequencies are smooth as well; really natural and airy sounding.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

There is a strong supplementary package here, with audio commentaries from the writers and producers plus a really cool “Maximum Episode Mode” feature for the episode “Os” (that’s the symbol for osmium, for all of us who fell asleep that day in high school chemistry class.) Disc 4 carries the bulk of the supplemental featurettes, all in 1080p, but my Oppo BDP-93 wouldn’t play them for whatever reason. No worries, my Playstation 3 tackled them without issues.

The supplements provided on this release are:

Disc 1:

  • Commentary:
  • “The Plateau” audio commentary with Jeff Pinker, Monica Owusu-Breen, and Timothy A. Good.
  • BD-Live

Disc 2:

  • BD-Live

Disc 3:

  • Maximum Episode Mode: Glimmer to the Other Side – Picture-in-Picture commentary, behind the scenes access, and an interactive journey through the mythology of Fringe for the episode “Os”.
  • BD-Live

Disc 4:

  • Commentary:
    • “Lysergic Acid Diethylamide audio commentary with Tany Swerling, Luyen Vu, and Jay Worth.
  • Duality of Worlds (1.78:1; 1080p/24):
    • The Other You – The alternate universe depicted in Fringe, at its core, isn;t solely the making of science fiction. Examine the themes of an alternate universe and the effects they have on he actors and the portrayal of their characters.
    • Visualizing an Alternate World – Writers and producers share the visual style they wanted to depict in the alternate world. Join the production and art departments as they reveal the inspirations and designs used to bring that world to life.
    • A Machine of Destiny – A look at The Machine and the effect it has on Peter and the worlds around him.
    • The Psychology of Duality – Though the characters share the same DNA, learn how the actors developed variations on their performances. Then, see how the looks of the actors were changed to fit their alt-world selves through the wardrobe and hair/makeup departments.
  • Constructing an Extra-Sensory Soundscape (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – Experience how the creative team behind Fringe taps into your psyche to toy with your subconscious through audio.
  • Secrets of Fringe: The First People (1.78:1; 1080p/24) – Jeff Pinker and Jay Worth answer fan questions about who The First People are and their ties to Peter and Dr. Bishop.
  • Gag Reel (1080p/24)
  • Animating the Lysergic Acid Diethylamide Episode (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Network Promos:
    • The Journey Home
    • Entrada
    • The Day We Died
  • BD-Live

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4.5/5]

An absolutely superb season that moves beyond its influences and carves out a space of its own in the annals of sci-fi television, Fringe: The Complete Third Season is brilliant sci-fi marvelously rendered to Blu-ray Disc from Warner.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B003L77G38[/amazon-product]

Purchase Fringe: The Complete Third Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

BestBuy.com:
Fringe: The Complete Third Season [4 Discs] [Blu-ray] - Widescreen Dubbed Subtitle

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4.5/5]
The Series
[Rating:5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

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