Thursday, 14 January 2010

Fringe on Fox

I watched one of the best episodes of Fringe I've seen last night. It was an "Unaired" episode I found. It was called Unearthed, and should have been shown as part of Season 1 last year.

So I wondered, as no doubt so are you now, why wasn't it shown? There was never talk of it being canned like so many other wonderful sci-fi series last year. Having watched it for about ten minutes or so, I started to hazard a guess as to why it hadn't been shown. ten minutes before the end I knew for certain!

The story is about a girl that is pronounced brain dead. The mother decides to switch off the life support, and the girl promptly dies. During the surgery to remove her organs, the girl wakes up, spouting an alpha-numeric code. Standard Fringe plot so far. As we'd expect, the team get assigned to investigate the phenomenon at hand.

Without listing any spoilers, as it's well worth a watch, I will reveal why I believe this episode wasn't aired. Being an atheist ("No, I'm shocked!" you cry) I noticed straight away the last rights being performed on the girl before the life support was switched off. The mother was Catholic. As the plot progressed as I have already described, the mother protested to the team's help with her traumatised daughter and their investigation. In true suspicious style, often seen in people of faith protecting their children (or at least that's what they think they're doing) the woman asks "Are you a religious woman, Agent Denham?", she replies "No.". "Then I imagine that you sit in judgement of those of us who rely on faith to guide our decisions about what's best for our loved ones". I was in complete shock! No more than people with faith sit in judgement of us, believe me!!

In moving on the plot prompts discussions of faith and leans slightly towards advocating scepticism (given we are dealing with a series primarily based upon the ties between one world and a parallel one, not really shocking!), a questioning of scientific methods, and an outright accusation of being false, when the scientist suggests a paranormal theory THAT IS BASED ON THE EVIDENCE AT HAND (in Fringe world anyway!).

Obviously the challenging of religious folk in not something that Fox are willing to stomach in their series. It is common, these days that we witness such cowardice in religious discussion. I fear that one of the main reasons for this is companies such as Fox being unwilling to start the discussion off in the first place, just in case some fundamentalist gets offended and switches off their TV. I am all for tolerance of beliefs, but not for tiptoe-ing around them, especially when a majority belief system such as Atheism, or Humanism depending on your preference of term, is frequently side-lined and undermined by those organisations whose power is simply a nostalgic nod to what once was so important.


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