FRINGE The Complete Fourth Season: Blu-ray/DVD Review

Warner Home Video
Release date: Sept 4th, 2012

Even though it features alternate universes, visitors from the future and shapeshifters , FRINGE is about people and how we affect the world around us. Season four is especially about how the presence, or absence, of a person can change everything and everyone.

At the end of season three, Peter Bishop sacrificed himself to prevent the end of two Earths. As season four begins, Peter Bishop does not, and has not as an adult, existed. Peter has been erased. We see the same characters we have been watching for three seasons, but many are different. Some changes are quite minor, while others are major and heartbreaking.

But Peter reappears, only to find that nobody remembers him. In this world, Peter died as a child. Walter Bishop, his father, can’t even look at the man that claims to be his son. Pain and regret prevent him from having anything to do with him. Peter convinces those around him to help him get back to his own version of the world. But the more time he is there, the more his impacts the lives of those around him. We see this version of Walter becoming more like the Walter we have come to know and love.

Video: The picture is presented in a 1.78:1 ratio in 1080p and looks amazing. In some ways, it is hard to compare it to the previous seasons since the overall look is a tad darker. But the colors are strong and the contrast is good. Scenes in the relatively dark laboratory of Walter Bishop are shot so as to allow us to see the details. Season four maintains the high standard set by the third season.

Audio: Sound is delivered with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. The mix is good, but this season does not deliver too many audio gymnastics so I can’t really offer too much praise for it. Just enough use of the rear-channels is used to keep you on your feet…so to speak. As I said, the music, background sounds and dialogue are nicely mixed.

Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish.

Extras: The extras are pretty lean. The highlight of the lot is The Culture of Fringe, a thirty minute discussion with actor John Noble, producers J.H. Wyman, and Jeff Pinkner, joined by USC physics/astronomy professor Nicolas Warner and USC philosophy/ethics professor Dr. Shlomo Sher. They discuss the Walter Bishop as a scientist, looking at it from an ethical and scientific perspective. It may sound dull, but it is quite interesting and never gets too deep or academic.

Season four of FRINGE is good television. The beginning is frustrating, but the fine writing and acting helped me get through that slow start and the second half of the season is exception. The show does a fine job of mixing science fiction with very real, very human characters and is worth owning.

Jeremy