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FOX's "The Finder" is a keeper

April 22, 2011 - Andrea Johnson
FOX can consider me sold on "The Finder."

On last night's episode of "Bones," FOX tested characters for a spin-off series that could possibly air this fall. The premise: Booth's old military acquaintance Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults) suffered a brain trauma in Iraq that left him with the useful ability to find absolutely anything. It also left him eccentric, detached from the world and a bit of a worry to his partners, Leo (Michael Clarke Duncan), his "legal adviser" and Ike (Saffron Burrows), a female bar owner and pilot with a Cockney accent and a habit of mispronouncing common words.

Brain damage aside, Sherman comes across as a charming character with a loopy sense of humor. His ability to find things – whether it's the seventh-grade science fair medal that Brennan lost years before or the location of an 18th century ship wreck – looks pretty unbelievable on paper but felt believable in the hour he was on the air. I barely noticed that the regular cast members of "Bones" were missing because I was so caught up in what Walter, Leo and Ike were up to. The actors have an easy chemistry with one another that should carry a series.

As a series, I'd predict "The Finder" will have a lighter, more whimsical touch than "Bones" and a stronger sense of place. Walter, Leo and Ike seem firmly planted in a waterfront bar somewhere in the deep South, most likely Florida. I didn't bother to look up where the series is actually set.

"The Finder" appears to be based on a series of novels by Richard Greener, but I would guess that the TV series will bear as little resemblance to the books as "Bones" does to the mystery series by Kathy Reichs it was based upon. In each case, the only similarity between the characters may be the name and the profession. That's not a bad thing, since it gives the TV writers more room to stretch creatively if they don't have to follow every plot twist from the books (which I haven't read.)

"Bones" itself still has its entertaining moments, though the "will they or won't they?" non-romance between Booth and Brennan has long since worn out its welcome.

"The Finder" represents something new and different. I hope it will be on the air in the fall.

"Fringe"

The miraculously renewed "Fringe" is airing its countdown to doom tonight, the first of a three-part finale that promises to change two dimensions forever. There are ominous hints that a character may die. Actress Anna Torv, who plays Olivia, said she was left speechless by the finale and had to call the head writer and ask "What does this mean?"

On a show where every character has at least one double in an alternate universe, killing one or more of the characters doesn't mean the actor is out of a job, so I wouldn't necessarily worry about Torv's or anyone else's future employment prospects.

Still, it should be interesting to see which of the main characters "die" in the finale.

Olivia and Alternate Olivia have both been put through the wringer this season. Killing one of them off seems like overkill (pardon the pun.) But the show's writers do love to torture their heroine, so it's not out of the question.

There have been plenty of hints that Peter will have to enter Walternate's Machine of Doom and die to head off an Apocalypse. He says no way, no how is he getting in that machine, which in TV Land usually means the exact opposite. Whether it will kill him or destroy one or more of the universes is another question. Since the writers have prepped us to expect them to kill off Peter, I don't think Peter will actually die.

No, my bet for the dead man is the one no one has seriously suggested: Walter (John Noble), the lovable mad scientist. Walter started the war between our universe and the alternate universe when he stole Peter from the other dimension after his own son died. It would make sense for him to sacrifice his own life to restore balance, maybe by climbing into the machine himself. Walter's my favorite character, so I hope I'm wrong. I'd hate to lose him and have only the evil Walternate around next season.

"Fringe" airs at 8 p.m. Fridays on FOX.

 
 

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