Thursday, September 11, 2008

Torchwood and Fringe Comparisons

The Fringe series premiere and Torchwood radio play "Lost Souls" which aired this week are similar in tone and situations.  When I saw Fringe it reminded me of Torchwood since both shows feature a woman working in law enforcement who comes upon a paranormal mystery and collaborates with a team to keep the threat from the rest of humanity.  

Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) in Fringe and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles)  in Torchwood are drawn into the mystery and find themselves working with unusual associates.  Agent Dunham of the FBI learns of a chemical that killed all the passengers on an airplane, and during her investigation, her partner Agent Scott (Mark Valley) is taken ill as a result of exposure to the chemical.  The only scientist who is familiar with the condition, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), was sent to a mental institution after a lab accident years before.  They work with Dunham's assistant Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) and Bishop's son Peter (Joshua Jackson).  While Gwen Cooper joined the existing Cardiff Torchwood team, Olivia Dunham forms her own group in response to the results of "fringe science."

"Lost Souls, " aired yesterday by the BBC's Radio Four, takes place at the activation of the Large Hadron Collider, a particle accelerator in CERN, Switzerland.  As part of the Big Bang Day, the Torchwood radio play is available at the Radio Four website. Doctor Martha Jones calls Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones to the scientific base to investigate people going missing Both shows include people who exhibit translucent skin as a symptom of a deadly illness, and the team must find the cause and cure it. The team is brought together by circumstance and part of the drama is their attempts to reconcile their contrasting viewpoints in order to find the answer.  

Fringe is very atmospheric and intriguing, and like Torchwood shows the characters' personal lives along with their jobs.  Fringe will also deal with reanimation, supernatural science and even showed someone's hand in a jar in the trailer. Torchwood and Doctor Who viewers will be familar with the Doctor's hand which he lost during the Sycorax battle in "The Christmas Invasion," whereupon he grew a new hand due to his ability to regenerate.  Captain Jack Harkness then retrieved the hand and kept it in a jar to act as a detector for the Doctor, then it was used to clone the Doctor in the fourth series finale.  Fringe also predicts a situation like that in Torchwood's premiere episode "Everything Changes," in which a scientific organization plans to question a character who died by resurrecting that person.  I am interested to see where Fringe is going, but Torchwood is still more entertaining and groundbreaking.

No comments: