(As an aside, it's still a bit surreal to me that there's so much SF-related genre programming on these days that we don't feel a desperate need to watch it all, and will casually drop shows that start to bore us.)
HBO's True Blood got a lot of buzz, but we didn't even make it through the opening episode. It's just Vampire Porn. There's no substance; just a determination to be edgy.
Both Fringe and Sanctuary lost us for the same two reasons: one, a lack of likable characters; and two, a completely unsurprising, pro forma approach to their "exotic, cutting-edge, imaginative" subject matter. They didn't grip us or intrigue us; they didn't keep us guessing. Even a show as rigidly formulaic as Ghost Whisperer will have us bouncing speculations over Who Did What To Whom off each other in any given episode; for shows that claim to be exploring the mysterious, Fringe and Sanctuary don't have a whole lot of mystery.
Fringe, in particular, is too dependent on Ass Pulls to hold my interest. This is one of those situations where Doing The Research makes a difference even in a fantastic setting: most episodes of Supernatural involve actual critters from folklore, and the writers throw in enough of their actual mythical attributes that those of us versed in the lore can at least make a stab at guessing the Monster Of The Week.
Fringe, on the other claw, doesn't really seem to bother tapping into the copious literature of actual fringe science and pseudo-science that it promised. It's just Making Shit Up -- or, more accurately, rehashing the same ol' unexamined sci-fantasy gimmicks that every other half-assed Sci Fi show has tossed around.
Please understand the magnitude of what I am about to say:
The science was more plausible on The X-Files.
There's Cognitive Dissonance there. The show and its hype lead you to expect a frighteningly Realistic Deconstruction Of Weird Science: anomalies in a rigorously possible world. Egregious violations of physical principles that might fit into a more fantastic scenario are jarring in the more realistic milieu, jarring enough to knock me right out of my Suspension of Disbelief.
And as any gamer knows... I disbelieve! It goes away. *click* Bye, Fringe.
Oh, and There's A Conspiracy. Did I mention that? It's just handed out, right up front: There's a
The Point of No Return on Fringe wasn't when I fell asleep in the middle of Episode 3, nor even when I found myself completely uninterested in watching the last half to see what happened. It was when I told Quel that I honestly didn't care what happened in that episode, and we both realized that neither of us liked the show enough to watch it by ourselves.
The Point of No Return on Sanctuary, on the other claw, was about halfway through the two-hour pilot, where one of Our Heroes finally has a face-to-face encounter with the Ominous Stranger Who Means No Good -- and we realized that we just didn't care.
That leaves one new show that we're still watching, and two more that sound interesting but haven't debuted yet. The one we're watching now is Almost Certainly Doomed. I'll cover the Good Stuff in another post.