TV review by
Will Wade, Common Sense Media
Fringe TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Moody conspiracy drama is creepy, complex, and masterful.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 23 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Loyalty is a tricky thing in this show. Most of the characters are trying to expose a vast conspiracy that stretches to another world and threatens everything in this one. But some characters have questionable motives and even serve as double agents. There's lots of suspicion and fear here.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Olivia is a strong, independent woman with a complicated past and some extraordinary abilities. She and all of the other characters have plenty of flaws, though most of them are usually trying to do the right thing. Walter makes no secret of the fact that he has enjoyed doing drugs for much of his life; his methods and behavior in general are quite unusual. Some characters turn out to be double agents and/or working for a separate agenda.


Plenty of action, including gunfights, car chases, explosions, and some pretty gruesome medical experiments that lead to even more gruesome deaths (with badly decomposed/disfigured bodies shown in detail).


There are some romantic encounters, some of which show women in their underwear. Sexual relationships are implied.


Language includes words like "damn," "hell," "bitch," and "ass."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking. Dr. Bishop sometimes experiments with LSD and other substances (including marijuana).

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, like The X-Files, this sci-fi/action show combines conspiracy theories and sometimes-violent thrills. There are plenty of explosions, gunfights, and dead bodies (some of which are pretty gruesome to look at), as well as a bit of suggestive content (some scenes show the female lead wearing very little) and drug experimentation. The show promotes some unusual scientific theories, including interdimensional plots, dangerous biological weapons, advanced cybernetics, and much more. Most of these are clearly impossible, a few seem quite plausible, and some fall somewhere in between, which could have teens wondering where to draw the line between hard science and make-believe.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byprabesh2001 February 20, 2016

Great and smart show for mature tweens and teens

Great show, It requires a strong concentration in order to understand the plot. Very smart and cleverly written. Best science-related show.
Adult Written byEyesCovered May 4, 2012

Overall, Fringe is Best Show With Smart Characters.

I love Fringe. It is my favorite show on TV. Been watching it since day 1 and will continue watching it. But, you really should know that...

There is that w... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byOneCrazyCartoon February 15, 2014

Fringe for Teens, Not Kids

I discovered Fringe in the recommended section of Netflix. After watching a few episodes, I find it a great thrilling ride only a producer like J.J. Abrams (Los... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byFoxDragonFilms December 29, 2013


This is really one of the best shoes I have ever watched.

What's the story?

FBI agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and the FRINGE team started off investigating a dark, international conspiracy that featured an enormously powerful technology corporation, a long-running dispute over secret paranormal research, and an honest-to-goodness mad scientist, Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble). As they dug deeper, Bishop's craziest ideas turned out be true, revealing that the plot stretched all the way into a parallel universe. The resolution of that plot has long-lasting impact on all of the characters. Also along for the ride is Dr. Bishop's son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), who's equal parts genius and rogue and has some major secrets of his own.

Is it any good?

J.J. Abrams excels at delivering this kind of taut, complex drama, filled with conspiracies, secret projects, and hard-to-believe scientific discoveries. The man behind Alias and Lost manages to please fans of smart sci-fi shows with Fringe, another engrossing, thrilling drama. Mad scientist Walter is an especially appealing character, the likes of which haven't been seen on television before -- he's happy to combine LSD visions, playful banter about dinosaurs, and impossibly complex theories about parallel universes.

The series' one notable flaw is really the same issue with Abrams' past hits. Fans are happy to ride along to see where he's going, but as the story has evolved, it's also become increasingly difficult to for new fans to jump aboard. Fringe is a complex and entertaining series, but there's a lot that won't make sense to people who haven't done their homework.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of shows like this one. Are theories like the ones explored here realistic? Does that matter? Is it fun to watch a show like this one precisely because it's unrealistic? Why do you think so many movies and TV shows focus on massive conspiracy theories?

  • Talk about the drug use in this show. Is it presented in a positive or negative light? Teens: What's your reaction to the use of drugs in the show? Do you feel any differently about drug use after watching?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills and sci-fi

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