Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Fringe": Science channel restarts the series with the graphic-looking Pilot: watch your body, and check for mindreaders

Yesterday (Tuesday, November 21, 2012) I noticed that imdb was pushing the series “Fringe” on the Science channel  -- now in its fifth season on Fox – restarting from the 2008 Pilot last night. I had never used Science before, and had to hunt for it – it was 110 on Comcast and did not seem to have a HiDef channel. Life’s not perfect, right? 
The 2008 “Pilot”, essentially an 81-minute feature film directed by Alex Graves and written in part by J. J. Abrams, starts when a distressed passenger on an overseas flight to Boston gives himself an insulin injection on the plane (that’s permitted, and I didn’t want to see his gams).  Pretty soon, his body disintegrates, and so does that of everyone else on the plane, which lands at Logan on auto-pilot.
Enter FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Trov), a kind of Scully (X-Files) but even physically tougher.  She’s intimate with her partner Scott (Mark Valley) when called into the case.   That will lead her to work with the son Peter (Joshua Jackson, often in B-horror movies), son of the “fringe scientist”  Walter Bishop (John Noble), who had spent a lot of time as an “M.P.”, institutionalized.  Peter seems more authoritative and mature than some of Jackson’s earlier characters, at one point saying it’s good thing to learn things from old fashioned printed books. 
Whatever chemicals destroyed everyone on the plane (turning them almost into skeletons) soon infects Scott, who is put into a medically induced coma, his ruined body (his skin is ossified) on display to the heartbreak of Olivia.  Her investigation leads to a company called Massive Dynamic, headed by a woman Nina (Blair Brown) who is not afraid to shock everyone with the revealing of her artificial arm.
An important part of the science  (and FBI forensic investigation) is the reading of brain waves or “dreams” from the comatose (or at least from people who are asleep), including Scott, which may be possible to continue even after he dies.   Possibly this aspect of the plot was an inspiration for Christopher Nolan, who would go on to write and direct a much bigger treatment of this idea in the 2010 film “Inceptiion” (Movies blog, July 16, 2010).  If the government really could read minds (or if people could) and post the results on the Internet, what would happen to privacy, beyond what happens now?  The "No Lie MRI" alternative-to-polygraph may do just that. 
I’ll have to check more into what is happening now on the series about “fringe science”.

The Fox site for Fringe is here

The Science Channel (not to be confused with SyFy) has a couple of recent one hour documentaries that I just missed.  One is “Solar Storms”, about the threat of geomagnetic solar storms and the damage than can be done to the power grid by huge coronal mass ejections.  Another is “Megastorm”, an explanation of how Hurricane Sandy became a superstorm, and still another is “Alien Storms”, about weather on other planets (try Titan).  I will look for reruns of these (which may occur on the Discovery Channel) or for DVD”s or instant replays on Netflix, but I don’t see them yet.  They will be important to see.  If anyone knows where to find them (or when they will rerun) please comment. 

 Picture (first): Imagine, if you will, a model railroad running on a Mobius strip.  The other "side" below any point on the strip is the same "place" a couple hundred years ago.  A vehicle for time travel?  Fringe science and mathematics, anyone?  This is all "algebraic topology".  

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