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Is the Observer in Fringe inspired by Half-Life 2's G-Man?

by: Chuck -
More On: EIC Ramblings
If you've been watching the new Fox show Fringe (and you should be, it's actually a pretty solid show) you've no doubt noticed that each show has an appearance by the mysterious Observer.  A man in a trench coat who appears in the background  of nearly each show (and was the focus of one show) and observes the goings on of the show.  If you haven't seen it or missed him you should check out this video that shows every appearance of the guy in the show:
After watching the video and the show I was a reminded of Half-Life 2's mysterious G-man who also pops up along the way and watches what Gordon Freeman is doing. The two share a few common traits:
 - The both wear dark suits
 - The both carry around a suitcase
 - The both show up when things are about to get interesting.

I'm not going to say the folks behind Fringe have ripped off the character or anything but the two do seem very similar in terms of appearance and how they are used in their respective genres.  Here's a compilation of clips of the G-Man's appearances in Half-Life 2, let me know what you think in the comments and hopefully we can get an answer from someone at Fox through the power of the Internets
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