23. "Over There," Fringe
Air Date: 5/13/10-5/20/10
When Fringe first debuted, J.J. Abrams was still the producer with the Midas touch behind hits like LOST and Alias (and Felicity, if you were into that kind of thing), so audiences were troubled when Fringe wasn't an instant winner like his previous works. The uneven sci-fi series got it together by the end of season two, however, delivering a blockbuster two-part finale that finally capitalized on all the series and the talent behind it had to offer.
In the world of Fringe, a second universe exists parallel with ours, and its inhabitants are secretly plotting war. When Peter (Joshua Jackson), recently revealed to be a native of "that side," is taken, the super-powered Olivia (Anna Torv) resolves to do the unthinkable: venture to the Other Side and bring him back. Armed with brain-addled genius Walter Bishop (John Noble), the enigmatic William Bell (Leonard Nimoy), and a couple of equally empowered individuals, Olivia crosses universes and discovers just how different things are over there.
On Earth-2, fringe events plague the island of Manhattan regularly, and Fringe Division agents are publicly celebrated heroes in sharp contrast to the covert operation that they are over here. Walter is the Secretary of Defense, the man behind all of the small-scale attacks on Earth-1, and somehow Peter figures into his ultimate plot.
In the effort to get audiences to return, Abrams gave us great special effects that depict the differences in Earth-2, some small and some huge, and action sequences like the knock-down, drag-out fight between Olivia and her ruthless Earth-2 double. And the final twist is pure J.J. Abramsâ€”simple, yet genius, leaving the viewer thirsty for the next season.