Fringe has been one of the best science fiction shows to come on TV but it wasn’t the case from the beginning. The first season was pretty problematic, as it darted a lot between narrative-heavy developments and stand-alone monster episodes which added nothing to the main plot.
Despite the terrible 1st season, the show deserves a lot more attention and appreciation because of the way it handles subject like parallel universe, time travel and other things in the later seasons. Here is a guide to watching Fringe that should help you avoid the less consequential episodes and focus on the good stuff that relates to the ongoing narrative.
Fringe Season One: Skippable episodes:
1. “Pilot”: Watch. You have to watch the pilot. It explains who the characters are and what the basic premise of the show is and it also has some great moments.
2. “The Same Old Story”: Skip. These kind of episodes are the problem with Fringe season one — a stand-alone episode that adds nothing to the story and is not good enough on its own.
3. “The Ghost Network”: Skip. another stand-alone episode
4. “The Arrival”: Watch. The first major hints of the Bishop back story come out here.
5. “Power Hungry”: Watch. Features some serious developments to the narrative.
6. “The Cure”: Skip.
7. “In Which We Meet Mr. Jones”: Watch it. Introduces the big bad of the season, and the big bad of the season is played by Lane Pryce (Sherlock Holmes 2‘s Moriarty!) and it is awesome.
8. “The Equation”: Watch. Feels like a stand alone, but actually plays a key role to the ongoing narrative.
9. “The Dreamscape”: Skip.
10. “Safe”: Watch it.
11. “Bound”: Watch. Resolves events from “Safe,” and also introduces Olivia’s sister and niece, who add nice layers to Olivia’s character.
12. “The No-Brainer”: Skip. The name says it all.
13. “The Transformation”: Skip.
14. “Ability”: Watch. A lot of stuff goes down here. This episode is great.
15. “Inner Child”: Watch. Adds an interesting light on a key aspect of the show’s mythology.
16. “Unleashed”: Watch. A bit essential for the 2nd season
17. “Bad Dreams”: Watch. Revelations about Olivia’s childhood.
18. “Midnight”: Skip.
19. “The Road Not Taken”: Watch. By this time you will probably be in love with this show.
20. “There’s More Than One of Everything”: Watch it. The season ending is perfect. A lot of shocking events take place and you will start realizing why this is one of the best Sci-fi shows.
“The Road Not Taken” and “There’s More Than One of Everything” will lead up to a show which doesn’t prefers to waste the time of their audience anymore. The later seasons are too great and doesn’t need a skippable guide. You can easily get there by following this list.
The only episode in season 2 you should skip: Episode 11, “Unearthed,” is a season one episode that was held over from season two for some reason, and thus has absolutely no relevance to the season plotline.