Fringe Episode 104 - The Arrival

      Email Post       9/30/2008 09:00:00 PM      

After a deadly explosion rocks a construction site in New York City, Broyles solicits the aid of our unlikely threesome to investigate a strange cylinder mysteriously found at the scene completely unharmed by the surrounding devastation...

What do you think of the procedural aspect of Fringe?

Set Your DVRs - Fringe's 'The Arrival' Arrives Tonight

      Email Post       9/30/2008 11:21:00 AM      

Episode 4, The Arrival, airs tonight on FOX at 9/8c.

A few reminders:

We hold an open thread discussion for each episode beginning at 9 Eastern over at Fringe Episodes. As you can see, we also attach a weekly poll to each episode discussion. This week I'm taking suggestions as to what the poll(s) should ask. Comment in reply to this post with your poll requests.

For those of you who can't wait, you can catch up on spoilers for tonight's episode and brows Fringepedia.

Also at 9 EST, the easter egg hunt over Fringe Screencaps begins. The hunt is proving to be the most popular Fringe activity on Tuesdays. So much so, that we suspect it has something to do with making Fringe must see DVR TV.

For the week of September 8-14, the premiere of Fox’s Fringe had the largest audience via DVR viewing with 2.211 million viewers via DVRs. -- TV by the Numbers

Fringe Dwellers Podcast: Episode 5

      Email Post       9/29/2008 11:18:00 AM      

In the fifth of the Fringe Dwellers Podcast, Jen and Adele gleefully discuss the details of the newest Fringe episode, The Ghost Network. We cover the ratings, question the whereabouts of Gene, religious symbolism, Astrid Farnsworth, Boston and new theories (our own and yours)and opinions including our pick for William Bell casting.

Listen now:

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

If you have a comment or question for Adele & Jen, you can email them at You can also leave a voicemail for them at (206) 333-0072, or reach them on Twitter as fringedwellers, or Facebook as Gene the Cow Worshippers

A.V. Club Interviews J.J. Abrams

      Email Post       9/26/2008 12:43:00 AM      

Go to the A.V. Club to read article in its entirety or view Fringe specific excerpts here...

The A.V. Club: How do you generally feel when a new TV show of yours is about to première? Anxious? Confident?

J.J. Abrams: Well, it's a cocktail of excited for people to see it, terror that no one will watch it, and relief that something I've been working on for so long will finally be out there. Oh, and panic that I can't make more of the little changes we've been making all along. All the times I've been lucky enough to be a part of a show that's actually gotten on the air, it's always that same mixture of excitement and utter fear. Which is kind of what I hope people will feel when they watch Fringe. [Laughs.]

AVC: One thing about TV that's different than movies is that you can adjust as you go, and if you're on the air long enough, you can respond to the audience response. Do you pay a lot of attention to what critics and fans say when they write about your work?

JA: Oh, sure. I mean, the noise you hear after people see something you do—whether it's a TV show or a movie—that always makes you see that thing slightly differently. Without question. The ability of a television series to make adjustments is something you've got to take advantage of. And test-screening a movie can be helpful too. But the part that can be dangerous is when you take those notes as gospel, instead of taking them with a grain of salt. The key is to use the response as one of the tools in your box, as opposed to using it to determine what you do.

AVC: You didn't direct the Fringe pilot.

JA: No, I was directing Star Trek, and the studio didn't want me to put that on hold so I could go do my TV thing. [Laughs.]

AVC: Do you want to direct an episode?

JA: Well, I'm hoping. Maybe a season finale or a season opener or something. I've been wanting to do it since the pilot. We have great directors working on Fringe, but when someone else directs something that you're involved with, it's always their vision, and the director in my head is definitely wanting to get involved.

AVC: The pilot of Fringe opens up with an airplane in trouble, which is similar to the opening of Lost. Was that a conscious nod, or just a coincidence?

JA: What happened was, we were discussing what the opening of the show should be, and we talked about so many different things, so when the plane idea came up, the last thing on my mind was Lost. Later, we realized it sounded an awful lot like what we did on Lost, but by that point, honestly, I thought, "Who cares?" It's appropriately creepy, and large enough in scale to fit the bill for an opener.

AVC: If you look at a lot of the TV and movies you've been involved with, like Cloverfield or Lost or now Fringe, you seem to be trying as hard as you can for as long as you can not to reveal the trick.

JA: I think that that's partially true. Like with Cloverfield, the whole idea with the marketing and the quick release was for people to have an experience as it happened, instead of pre-experiencing it by reading all about it. But I feel like with Fringe, the mandate is to try to do something week-to-week that's a procedural like CSI, but a skewed procedural, that's as creepy as humanly possible. While with Lost, on the one hand, it is a show that seems to duck answering questions. At the end of the pilot, you have Charlie asking "Where are we?", and that's something the audience still wants to find out. But week-to-week, that show answers a lot of questions, just not always the ones people feel are the ones that matter.

I think that even if you're wondering if two characters are ever going to kiss, drawing out the inevitability is part of the fun. Whatever the genre happens to be. Now in a movie, you get all the answers by the end, except in Pulp Fiction, where you don't ever really get to know what's in that case. But even in movies—a great example is North By Northwest, where you don't really know what the microfilm is, but who cares? By the end of the movie, the answer that you get is not really the answer that you thought you wanted to know. The answer you get is: "Oh, they're in love, and now they're married, and these were the circumstances that led up to that. They almost died a number of times, but they survived and they found each other," I feel like in telling stories, there are the things the audience thinks are important, and then there are the things that are actually important.

Fringebusters - Science vs. Reality

      Email Post       9/25/2008 05:52:00 PM      

Popular Mechanics has been running a per-episode series of articles (1, 2, 3) examining whether the 'science' on Fox's Fringe is reality based or factually challenged?

The Dapper Alchemist took a similar approach with his dissection of The Same Old Story. Update: TDA has posted a second dissection, this one of Episode 103 - The Ghost Network.

Fringe is of course science fiction, so separating out those elements of the show which are grounded in real science from those that aren't, isn't exactly criticism even though it may sound like it. Nevertheless, Fringe did raise the bar for itself when its creators--J.J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman--all confessed to turning to real science news for inspiration.

That said, we thought it might be fun to have our own weekly series on the science of Fringe. If you'd be interested in writing it up, putting it together or editing it (read: It would be your column, so it would be up to you how it was written), drop me a note () or leave a comment with your proposal or suggestions.

FOX, Fringe and the Demographics that Matter

      Email Post       9/25/2008 02:47:00 PM      

Having never followed a television show's ratings week to week before, I'm happy to leave the analysis and pontification of how Fringe is fairing to the experts. In this case the experts would be the crowd over at TV by the Numbers:

With real competition, Fringe shed 28% of its audience from last week. It also lost 19% of its 18-49 demo and 11% of its 18-34 demo. Still, it won the 18-34 demo for the hour by a wide margin, and was competitive in the 18-49 demo.

Fringe | 9.651 Million Viewers | 4.2/10 18-49 Rating Share | 4.0/11 18-34 Rating Share

Polly says:

Amazing numbers for Fox in the demo. Fringe held up pretty well against DWTS. (All those 18-34 yr olds are probably too young to see the similarities with the X-Files.) Actually last nights episode was the first one that made me want to watch again next week, so good job. Now if it could just make me want to watch it live!

Andrea says:

Maybe I’m not getting the “amazing numbers” for Fringe. It did just a bit better than the pilot, and the 28% decline from last week is a bit alarming.

Also those 18-34 year olds know it’s ripping off X-Files. They watch because Abrams’ name is attached.

I do see FOX probably giving it a full season order, however. FOX has to stop the bleeding on the other nights.

Holly says:

FOX’s numbers are amazing, but not in a good way. It’s amazing how much House has dropped and that Fringe lost more than 3 million viewers week-to-week.

Outlander says:

What’s interesting to me is that Fringe lost 1 million viewers from 9:00 to 9:30. While a few other shows lost maybe 150k or 100k viewers during their episode, none lost as many as Fringe.

Robert Seidman says:

Outlander, House did run over into 9pm slightly (accordingt to my DVR). It could be that when that’s factored out of the final numbers the drop for Fringe won’t be as steep — but still will likely be steeper than it was for other shows.

Robert Seidman says:

Bob, you used the word “disastrous”. House is certainly still printing cash for Fox. I’m not sure about Fringe only because of the limited commerials, but I will not be surprised if Fringe’s numbers drop off even from where they are. …

Andrea says:

“CBS wasn’t Fox among 18-49 year olds either. Or ABC, and was just barely better than NBC (but better is better).’


You’re right, but at least it wasn’t a 2:1 drop in that demo. Also, you have to look at drop in the demo for House and Fringe. The total audience loss is affecting the demo. (Of course I’m not saying anything you don’t already know.)

If ABC actually had a hit in the 8pm hour, it might actually compete with FOX in the demo.

Robert Seidman says:

Andrea, the week over week drops in viewers and demo for House and Fringe were as surely expected by Fox as they were by us as last week was not yet a full landscape of new competition. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think CBS’ numbers were bad at all — I just don’t view them as great relative to the demo competition. I agree CBS won’t be Fox and isn’t looking to be among 18-34 year olds, but that they had not even one half hour of a 2.0 or better in that demo can’t be deemed great even by the brass at CBS.

FrankJ says:

I think FOX should be concerned about the million viewer drop-off after the first half hour of Fringe. It’s basically shed all the House viewers. By the end of the night it was back to it’s premiere numbers.

FOX may have another stand-alone show on their hands. They really need to find a better way to pair these shows together.

Robert Seidman says:

Frank, all I can do is speculate.I think it’s MUCH too early to even speculate easily about Fringe — last night was it’s first airing against full competition and it held 80% of the House lead-in. If it continues to perform in the demos as it did last night, I don’t think Fox will be displeased.

Realm Reader says:

This may be pure conjecture but wasn’t the mid-season finale of Eureka on at the same time as Fringe? Think maybe some of the hardcore sci-fi fans may have decided to let the DVR pick up Fringe that night.

Holly says:

I think you’re comparing apples to oranges a bit. House and Fringe are the best Fox has to offer. Tonight’s ratings are head and shoulders above what Fox will get any other night (in demo and viewers). On the other hand, NCIS has always been one of the oldest skewing shows on CBS.

If you compare House to NCIS, yes, House wins in the demo. But if you compare what each network expects out of these shows, I think Fox is way more concerned about House’s numbers than CBS is about NCIS’s

Robert Seidman says:

Well if your take on CBS is “when you ain’t got nothing (in the demo), you got nothing to lose”, I agree CBS is less worried.

But I doubt the Fox programmers are clueless and had to expect some drop off simply by changing timeslots for a show with already diminished ratings post-writer’s strike.

Whether it’s wise to try to build a new franchise with Fringe I can’t say and time will tell. But I don’t buy analysis that says “Fringe is back to its premiere numbers and House is doing it no good.” Its premiere was heavily promoted and aired against zero competition (unless you count the CW).

dave says:

Fox should be encouraged by House pulling in a 5.0+ in the demo in its fifth season in a new weaker time slot. This is still a home run for the network.

Fringe is a hit, not a homer which is what I’m sure fox was hoping for, but I doubt their upset. The network would kill to have Fringes numbers on their Monday night shows.

Cookson says:

Obviously it’s nice to have really high “overall” viewers, but we all know that the 18-49 and 18-34 numbers are more important. Nice for Fringe… even though I’m about to just watch the rest on DVD..

Cameron says:

What did I tell you about Fringe? I said to wait and see how it did against some strong competition and sure enough it came off second best. That didn’t surprise me, what did surprise me was NCIS beating House by a considerable margin!! Neber saw that one coming at all.
I personally found that conversation both fascinating and an education. I hope they're right about the importance of the 18-34 and 18-49 demographic. If Fringe needs anything--and this is my opinion--it needs time.

Fox Fringe: Walter's Lab Notes #3

      Email Post       9/24/2008 01:50:00 AM      

In this weeks Walter's Lab Notes, Dr. Bishop mentions Petrarchan sonnets, Cassandra (from greek mythology, had the gift of prophecy, and the curse that no one would ever believe her predictions), and Sassafras (an ingredient in Root Beer Floats).

The objects shown in the folder are the Duck Rabbit optical illusion, photos of crystalized people, and Roy McComb's drawing.

Fringe Episode 103 - The Ghost Network

      Email Post       9/23/2008 09:00:00 PM      

In the third episode of this new procedural thriller that explores the blurring line between the possible and the unimaginable, our unlikely trio investigates a horrific bus incident in which the dead bodies of commuters are frozen inside a bus like insects in amber.

What did you think about "Episode 103 - The Ghost Network"?

Fringe Tonight!

      Email Post       9/23/2008 07:49:00 PM      

If there's one night of the week when Fringe Television's pistons are all firing at once, this is it. Tonight, at 9:00 Eastern, the Episode 103 - The Ghost Network post will go up over at Episodes and kick things off. If you want to read what others are saying about tonight's episode of Fringe, or add your 2¢, check out Episodes.

This is also the time of the week when our Screencaps section earns its keep. Have a look at last week's screencaps and easter eggs, one of which might be the clue about tonight's episode of Fringe. Then there is the all important task of gathering up tonight's easter eggs in search of the clue that foreshadows next weeks episode. If you think you found one, or just have a suspicion, let us know and we'll grab it for you.

Tuesday has also proven to be a busy night over at Fringepedia, where at 9:00 Eastern, the article page for The Ghost Network episode will be unlocked and work on the definitive account of the episode will begin. Just have a look at the Fringepedia article for last week's episode, The Same Old Story, if you're not clear on what to expect.

Fringe Dwellers Podcast: Episode 4

      Email Post       9/23/2008 07:38:00 PM      

In the fourth episode of the Fringe Dwellers Podcast, Jen and Adele give you their opinions and perspectives on the second episode of Fringe, The Same Old Story. We discuss the negative reviews on the internet, the new official podcast, the differences between the Pilot and the newest episode, the father-son dynamic and theorize about the possible return of John Scott.

We also reply to your great emails, comments and questions alike. Thank you so much for your support!

Listen now:

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

If you have a comment or question for Adele & Jen, you can email them at You can also leave a voicemail for them at (206) 333-0072, or reach them on Twitter as fringedwellers, or Facebook as Gene the Cow Worshippers

Fringe News Roundup

      Email Post       9/23/2008 01:21:00 PM Aussie actress Anna Torv is busy keeping secrets on 'Fringe'
Anna Torv has just returned to her Manhattan apartment from another demanding shoot on the set of Fox’s new suspense series, “Fringe” (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. EDT). But her workday is not done.

“I have to cram pages of dialogue for tomorrow,” the actress says on the phone. “And I have to learn a couple of lines in another language so they don’t sound like gibberish.”

What language is that, Anna?

“I don’t think I can say,” she responds. (more...)

You get that a lot when asking about “Fringe.” The series, from TV’s uber-producer J.J. Abrams ("Lost), is shrouded in mystery.

Each episode delves into a shocking underworld where weird science meets the supernatural. Both in its dark tone and its suggestion of massive conspiracies afoot, “Fringe” is reminiscent of “The X-Files.”

“It’s all very, very top-secret,” says Torv, who stars as buttoned-down FBI agent Olivia Dunham. In two weeks she’s done more for the pantsuit than Hillary Clinton ever did. “We get the scripts and everyone is gagging to find out more clues. We sit around trading theories.”

Olivia is charged with cracking these occult cases. Her helpers are an eccentric scientist (John Noble), who has spent the last two decades in a mental institution, and his reluctant handler and son (Joshua Jackson of “Dawson’s Creek").

“Fringe” is off to a healthy start. In fact, this week’s episode had 47 percent more viewers than last week’s debut (13.4 million vs. 9.1 million) - a boost attributable to its lead-in: the season premiere of “House.”

Snatches of foreign dialogue aren’t the only language barrier Torv faces in playing the role. The newcomer must also erase all traces of her Australian accent. There’s a coach on the set to help Torv and Noble (also an Aussie) sound American.

“You get into a groove and it becomes less cumbersome,” Torv says. “Every now and then you slip up. You always lose it when you have to scream loudly or get emotional.”

After years of restrained dramatic roles in Australia and Britain, Torv is delighted to suddenly be an action star.

“I love running and jumping,” she says. “The days that I spend (shooting scenes) in the lab, I get edgy and agitated. I’d rather be out in the street chasing people.”

Just being selected for the part was something of an adventure.

“We had been searching for our Olivia for along time,” says Alex Kurtzman, the show’s cocreator and executive producer. “We got down to a scary place - three days before the pilot was scheduled to begin production.”

The casting director brought in a tape of Torv, whose last name reflects her father’s Estonian heritage, auditioning for another show. The producers were so impressed they immediately arranged a transpacific teleconference so they could watch the actress do some scenes from the pilot.

That cinched the deal. Torv quickly secured a visa and flew off the same day to Toronto to begin shooting.

“Given the fact that Anna literally had a day and a half to prepare for the pilot,” says Kurtzman, “she did an extraordinary job. And she’s growing into the role more and more each week.”

Things haven’t slowed down since production of the series shifted to New York.

“I had five days to get it all sorted out - to get a Social Security number and find a flat,” says the actress, who looks like Cate Blanchett on the show, but more like Claire Danes in real life.

She loves what she’s seen of New York, but she really hasn’t had much of a chance to explore her new environs yet. “I leave my house, get in a van, go to work, get back in the van and come home to sleep,” she says.

Nor has she had time to savor her instant stardom. “All the billboards (promoting the show) went up this month,” she says. “I was lamenting the fact that my mom wasn’t here. ‘Look, Mom!’ But I’m glad the show is finally out there. It means I don’t have to explain what it’s about anymore.”

Torv wrapped her role in “The Pacific,” next year’s WWII miniseries produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, before being cast in “Fringe.” (The 10-part HBO saga about three Marines was shot in Australia.)

But she has no other projects on the horizon. In fact, she is flabbergasted at the very idea.

“Oh God, I’m not thinking beyond tomorrow,” she says. “I’m literally going day to day.

“I remember when we were shooting the pilot, the lovely Joshua Jackson would say to me, ‘Nothing prepares you for American TV.’ And I was like, ‘I’m sure.’ And now I’m saying it to myself every day: ‘Nothing prepares you for American television.’ “ Joshua Jackson Injured In A Prop Mishap
Actor Joshua Jackson was left with a bloody nose after a dangerous stunt on his new TV show sent him rushing to the emergency room.

The former Dawson's Creek star plays the son of an eccentric scientist in new series, Fringe. However, his return to the small screen was short-lived when he had to be taken to hospital after a copper wire was shoved up his nose for a scene, hitting a vein and jeopardizing his role.

But he's convinced the show will be a smash, telling the National Enquirer, "I can now say that I have literally put my blood into this show." Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman on Fringe & Trek

Crave Online: How many episodes will you be writing yourselves?

Roberto Orci: We'll see. We did the first one after the pilot to sort of show out how to do it in an hour format. Now Pinkner and the staff, it's going to be their turn.

Alex Kurtzman: It's funny, we were not planning on being that involved day to day and what happened of course is that we totally fell in love with it and so it became impossible not to be. Jeff Pinkner runs the day to day and he's doing an unbelievable job so we're there just to kind of help him in whatever way we can.

Crave Online: What was the idea to make cows a running theme?

Alex Kurtzman: Actually, the funny thing about the way that the cow came into the show is we were writing a scene and I had this instinct that something weird should happen in the scene. I was like, "We need some element in the scene." And Bob said, "What about a cow?" That's how we work. One of us will raise a question and then one of us will start pitching out answers. Suddenly we had a cow that actually weirdly organically had a real fit in the show. That's how the cow came about.

Crave Online: Do you think by episode 13 or 14, you'll run out of cow stuff?

Alex Kurtzman: We might run out of cow stuff. We might. You've got to use the cow very specifically, very sparingly, although you can never have too much cow, can you?

Screenwriting duo Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are quickly becoming Sci-fi gurus. After a stint on Alias, they landed the job of bringing Transformers to the screen. Now they have its sequel, the Star Trek prequel, and the new TV series Fringe all going on this year. The duos watched Fox PR bring cows to the streets of San Diego during this summer's Comic Con to promote the show's oddball themes.

Crave Online: Are you J.J. Abrams's go to guys now?

Alex Kurtzman: That's certainly a really nice way of putting it. I think we just really like working together. It's easy. We have an immediate language, an immediate understanding. We have all the same references. We grew up loving all the same things and so it's easy. When you're doing these kinds of shows which are challenging, you really want someone who just understands the language of it immediately.

Roberto Orci: Oh, we do one together and one apart. It's like we're dating without commitment. We see other people.

Crave Online: Does he have a mandate for a kick ass girl in every show?

Alex Kurtzman: I think we actually all gravitate towards women for some reason as protagonists of our shows. I couldn't exactly tell you why. I think maybe because in a man's world, especially in the world of a federal agency, you are pushing a lot harder, there is more of a struggle. That's always interesting to us.

Crave Online: How many episodes will you be writing yourselves?

Roberto Orci: We'll see. We did the first one after the pilot to sort of show out how to do it in an hour format. Now Pinkner and the staff, it's going to be their turn.

Alex Kurtzman: It's funny, we were not planning on being that involved day to day and what happened of course is that we totally fell in love with it and so it became impossible not to be. Jeff Pinkner runs the day to day and he's doing an unbelievable job so we're there just to kind of help him in whatever way we can.

Crave Online: How do you balance the standalone episodes and major story forwarding ones?

Alex Kurtzman: I don't want to give away too many of the individual story plots but I think it was very important to all of us to make sure that each episode feels like a standalone. Yet you will know that there is a much bigger mythology that kind of runs across both the season and the series. So while a problem will be set up and a problem will be solved in each episode, there are larger mysteries that play out.

Crave Online: Does it have to be one or the other?

Roberto Orci: No, it can be both. For example, the pilot, there is an arrest, there's justice, you catch somebody but clearly there can be more going on. That's a great template for how if you want to see more in what the episode is, you will. But if you're my father in law and you just want to see an arrest and you want to see justice, you'll see that too.

Crave Online: After doing Transformers and Star Trek based on classic properties, did you have an itch to come up with something your own?

Alex Kurtzman: We always do. Doing things like Transformers are great for their own reasons but yeah, you always want to invent something original. We actually just did a movie called Eagle Eye that we've produced and that was an original. It was actually an original concept from Spielberg and we kind of developed it with him. It's really gratifying to do that kind of thing.

Crave Online: How does it feel to be on the ground floor of Fringe versus joining Alias midway?

Roberto Orci: It's fantastic. It's also you can't blame anybody else. There's no, "Well, he didn't do this right on the pilot." Now if something is not appropriately set up or if the skeleton of the show is somehow off, it's going to be our fault.

Crave Online: What was the idea to make cows a running theme?

Alex Kurtzman: Actually, the funny thing about the way that the cow came into the show is we were writing a scene and I had this instinct that something weird should happen in the scene. I was like, "We need some element in the scene." And Bob said, "What about a cow?" That's how we work. One of us will raise a question and then one of us will start pitching out answers. Suddenly we had a cow that actually weirdly organically had a real fit in the show. That's how the cow came about.

Crave Online: Do you think by episode 13 or 14, you'll run out of cow stuff?

Alex Kurtzman: We might run out of cow stuff. We might. You've got to use the cow very specifically, very sparingly, although you can never have too much cow, can you?

Crave Online: How did cows end up becoming so weird, like since Twister?

Alex Kurtzman: I don't know, I think people love cows. I think they're just sort of fascinated by cows. Cows are a mystery.

Crave Online: We do slow down when we drive by farms.

Alex Kurtzman: We do. Yes, we do. We wonder what it would be like to graze.

Crave Online: Are any movies being pushed away to focus on this?

Alex Kurtzman: No, because there's two of us, we found a really good balance. It's one of the major benefits of having a partner. We find a way to do it all.

Crave Online: How weird is it to be at Comic Con and not talk about Star Trek and Transformers?

Alex Kurtzman: It's weird actually. It's very strange because all we want to do is talk about Star Trek but we can't. And Transformers, we're literally in the middle of shooting it. We finished writing it maybe a month and a half before. Literally we finished it and they started shooting it. I think maybe next year at Comic Con we'll have more to say about Transformers because it's going to be coming out right before Comic Con next year.

Crave Online: Michael Bay said he wrote some of Transformers 2 during the strike. When you got back were you surprised where the script had gone?

Roberto Orci: No, he just took our treatment and transferred it to screenplay format. He picked a few characters from Hasbro and wrote what kind of things he needed in production but he didn't write a script.

Crave Online: Were you involved in choosing new characters?

Roberto Orci: We were involved up until the strike and then shortly thereafter. Of course, it's a continuation of the first movie. It's the characters that we selected from the first movie in addition to some of the ones we wanted to see that we couldn't put in the first movie and some of them were even in our original drafts.

Crave Online: Was it fun to just pick through the catalog?

Alex Kurtzman: Actually, that's weirdly deceptive because it's really hard. It's hard. The more robots you have, the harder it becomes.

Crave Online: Some died, so they were eliminated.

Alex Kurtzman: Some of them died but there are literally hundreds of transformers in both the mythology and the toys. Really what it's about is figuring out who are the ones that are going to matter to the story? Who are the ones that are relevant to the story? The easiest thing in the world is to throw in all these robots but you don't want to do that if you can't make some kind of personal connection to them.

Crave Online: Is one of them a girl?

Roberto Orci: It's possible.

Crave Online: Are the hackers gone?

Roberto Orci: They will not be returning. We love them. If they would have fit, [we'd have them back]. Our lead for the movie is Sam and Mikaela. They are now going off, this is two years later. We didn't want to just bring characters back just to bring them back. They had to be organic to the story and they weren't.

Alex Kurtzman: Sam's going off the college and I can't say too much about Mikaela but obviously, the end of the first movie set up that they finally got together so now the question is are they going to be able to stay together.

Crave Online: What was the decision to start two years later?

Alex Kurtzman: I think we just felt ultimately like any other way into the story felt like a cheat, that you needed to pick up where they left off and see what was happening with their lives now.

Crave Online: What have the transformers been doing on earth for two years?

Alex Kurtzman: Well, you'll have to see the movie and find out.

Crave Online: But it's addressed?

Alex Kurtzman: Yes.

Crave Online: Were you able to have any bigger ideas since they've established that it works on screen?

Roberto Orci: Yeah, the first movie was very much structured as a mystery, such that the transformers are revealed at sort of the midpoint. This time, this is a different structure. It's a different movie, it's a different story. The transformers are there from minute one and that's something that now we actually felt confident we could get away with because we saw that it could work and that you could have these sentient robots and you're happy when they're on screen.

Crave Online: My favorite scene is the backyard. Are there any great small funny moments in the sequel?

Roberto Orci: Absolutely. It's still a continuation of these characters. Tonally it's similar. If you like the first one, you're still going to get that intimate story of who Sam is and what he's doing but if you're a sci-fi fan of it, because we can start the movie much more transformer-centric, it's a more balanced story with higher stakes as many sequels tend to be.

Alex Kurtzman: I will tell you that a key to that was the parents. That was a really big part of it was the fact that he was hiding the robots from his parents. Those parents are just unbelievably great. They're so funny and so I think you will be seeing the parents again.

Crave Online: When you write a Star Trek script, how awesome is it to see J.J. built the set?

Alex Kurtzman: It's insane. It's just insanity. The fact that somehow we've inherited that mantle is insane. It's such a responsibility. We take it so seriously and between all of us, Bob and me and Damon Lindelof and Bryan Burk and J.J., there are different degrees of fandom and different degrees of knowledge and different perspectives on what Trek is. It's a really good mix of people because I think it will ultimately allow us to stay very true to canon and also bring something new.

Crave Online: Are you tempted to write in dramatic pauses for Kirk?

Alex Kurtzman: [Laughs] No, because the tricky part about it, and this is actually hard I think on all the actors, is the actors who played those parts in the original series and established those characters, are legendary. Everybody knows those actors and everybody knows those characters. So you have to be consistent with that if you are going to cast new people in those roles and yet, you have to bring something new to the mix. So the actors were walking this very tricky line of not giving a cartoony performance that's really mimicking the original actors, and bringing their own thing to the table.

Crave Online: J.J. was marveling at how you established Kirk and Spock's bond

Alex Kurtzman: It's the most gratifying thing I think for us about the movie is watching that.

Crave Online: How did you conceive of it and how was it never explored before?

Alex Kurtzman: We did a lot of reading of the books. I think we consider the books canon to a large degree so it's very important to us to stay consistent. But there is a bit of a hole and there's actually different mythologies about their history so it's a matter of staying consistent but also figuring out how you can play around a little bit anchored by the rules Why Fringe Is SF TV's Most Reassuring Show
We admit it; We're fascinated by Fringe... what makes the show so compelling for us... is the way that... it's actually the most upbeat and reassuring show you can imagine for mainstream America. Here're our top reasons why each episode of Fringe is an hour of being told that everything's okay, really:
  • Everything Weird Can Be Explained Away
  • Science Is Magic And Can Do Anything
  • Corporate America Is On Our Side
  • The Good Guys Always Win

Site News: Watching Fringe Online and New Feed Options

      Email Post       9/22/2008 12:49:00 PM      

Dear Subscribers: Please be aware that we have updated our subscription options. As Fringe Television has grown--and longtime readers will tell you, we've grown quite a bit--so have the number of feeds. To address this growing complexity we have added two new combined feeds--one with spoilers and one without--and created a syndication page with a list of all the available subscription options.

Dear Viewers: If you haven't joined us over at Fringe Episodes for our weekly watercooler discussions of Fringe, it's not/never too late now that in addition to talking about each episode with fellow fans, you can watch each episode as well. In other words, watch episodes of Fringe anytime you want (and for free) and right where your fellow fans are watching and talking about them too. It's a virtual viewing party.

BBC Interview: JJ Abrams on Fringe Clues

      Email Post       9/19/2008 04:28:00 PM      

In what might be the longest JJ Abrams interview ever, BBC's Chris Moyles talked to JJ Abrams about Fringe, Star Trek, Lost, Cloverfield, and Monster Plane.

JJ confirms that there are clues in each episode that we should be watching for:
Q: You talked about Cloverfield and all the little clues, I'd like to know with Fringe if are you going to be doing the same for the series.

JJ: Yes, there are odd little clues on the show, there are these commercial breaks, there these odd little icons that come up

Q: Apples, and hands and things?

JJ: Apples and hands. And those all have certain weird meanings. There are little clues in every episode, about the next episode. So if you watch, it doesn't matter... you don't have to find them, but people like me, I'm obsessed with this crap.
JJ's other word of advice "Look out for an observer". Maybe this guy?

We have already seen that the Pen Rose rebus clue from Pilot was a hint at Dr. Penrose in The Same Old Story. What do you think will be the hint for next week?

* Thanks to SpoilerTV for finding this great interview!

Fringe Scenemaker: The Same Old Story

      Email Post       9/19/2008 03:55:00 PM      

The Fringe Scenemaker video is a behind the scenes look at the filming of the "eye ball" scene, from Fringe episode 102 - The Same Old Story.

Fringe Music: The Black Angels, The Glass Helmets?

      Email Post       9/19/2008 01:35:00 PM      

Fox added some notes to the official episode 102 recap - the "Songs in The Same Old Story", which include:
The band name The Glass Helmets may ring a bell for Cloverfield fans. The band was mentioned in a Cloverfield viral video on the website.

It's not clear if TGH is a real band. A MySpace account for TGH appeared during the Cloverfield ARG, and does not appear to have been updated since.

Fringe Video Recap: The Same Old Story

      Email Post       9/18/2008 09:33:00 AM      

Here is the Official Fringe Video Recap from FOX.

One interesting thing to note - whoever put this together used some old footage, because they have the wrong Massive Dynamic building. Oops!

Fringe Episode 102 - Promotional Photos

      Email Post       9/18/2008 09:33:00 AM      

If you haven't been over to (spoilers bad!), you might have missed these promotional photos from Fringe Episode 102 - The Same Old Story. Plus, here are a few new ones as well!
Fringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story - FringeTelevision.comFringe Episode 102: The Same old Story -

Wayne's Take On Fringe Podcast: Episode 7

      Email Post       9/18/2008 09:33:00 AM      

Voice actor Wayne Henderson shares his "takes", as well as your "takes" all about the Fox TV show Fringe!

The Wayne's Take on Fringe podcast, episode #07, discusses of The Same Old Story, and shares some excellent listener feedback.

Listen now:

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes

Wayne's Take On Fringe Show notes

Listener feedback voice-mail at 206-984-1446.

Fringe Tidbits

      Email Post       9/17/2008 02:57:00 PM      

The magic of House rubbed off on the second airing of Fox’s Fringe as it soared to an average audience of 13.363 million viewers (almost 50% above its premiere of ~9 million), an 18-49 demo rating of 5.2 and an 18-34 demo rating of 4.5. -- TVbytheNumbers
Question: Fringe was so awesome! Got any scoop? -- Olivia
Ausiello: You betcha. The show is already beefing up its cast, adding to the roster an as-yet-unchosen actor to play the recurring role of Ian Spencer, a twenty-to-thirtysomething hipster whose forensics expertise comes in handy on tough cases. Not sure if his sense of humor helps, too, but hey, can't hurt, right? -- EW
Speaking of the cast, keep an eye out for creepy bald guy.

Fox Fringe: Walter's Lab Notes #2

      Email Post       9/17/2008 04:20:00 AM      

In this weeks Walter's Lab Notes, Dr. Bishop mentions celermitosis (i.e. fast mitosis), Nixon, epigenetic inheritance, methylation, the Hellenic Sphinx, grilled cheese sandwiches, his Vista Cruiser, and Tiresias.

The riddle he mentions is called The Riddle of the Sphinx, which comes from Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus: "Which creature in the morning goes on four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening upon three?" The answer is "Man - who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and walks with a cane in old age".

Fringe Episode 102 - The Same Old Story

      Email Post       9/16/2008 09:00:00 PM      

Our unlikely trio’s strange partnership begins as they investigate the mysterious death of a woman who conceives, carries to full-term and births a baby in the span of hours, and her baby who ages 80 years in a matter of minutes...

Was Episode 2 better than the Pilot?

Note: The Pilot proved to be loaded with easter eggs (hidden content). Have a look at the Fringe Episode 101 Easter Eggs for what you might have missed, and be sure keep a watchful eye out for new easter eggs in tonight's episode. If you spot one you can request a screencap here.

Ready for Tonight's Episode of Fringe?

      Email Post       9/16/2008 07:05:00 PM      

Let's see... Where's my checklist?

Episodes. Along with the usual episode discussion starting at 9:00 Eastern, we'll be asking, "Was Episode 2 better than the Pilot?" Hope to see you there.

Screencaps. You may have seen the Pilot, but did you catch all those easter eggs (hidden content compliments of the creators)? Well, now that you know to watch for them, be sure to let us know if you see any.

We also have spoilers from tonight's episode for those of you who just can't wait. For those of you who can, be sure to check back for the post episode Podcast (complete with Australian accent).

Last but certainly not least, a special thanks to everyone who has helped to get Fringepedia out of the starting blocks and up to speed. JJ Meter For Fringe Pilot

      Email Post       9/16/2008 01:20:00 PM has a funny video from Comic-Con, where they interviewed people coming out of the Fringe Pilot screening, and asked them to rate it on a scale of Armageddon to Lost. Then they present The JJ Meter to Abrams, then asked him to rate himself.

Check out the video below.

Official Fringe Podcast Now On iTunes

      Email Post       9/16/2008 12:57:00 PM      

The Official Fringe Podcast is now on iTunes, sort of... Since Fox has not put it on iTunes themselves for whatever reason, we have created our own OFP iTunes feed that you can subscribe to using this address:


FringeTelevision In Advertising Age

      Email Post       9/16/2008 12:20:00 PM      

FringeTelevision was featured in Advertising Age magazine recently, and that article was mentioned on the front page of the Official Fox Website (Fan Site Gets Shout Out). However, the article is now only available to paid subscribers, but luckily we have a cache of the article:

Click here to read full article
Fans Go Viral Over Fox's 'Fringe'
Network's Enigmatic Online Campaign Builds on 'Cloverfield' Base

By Claude Brodesser-Akner
Published: September 04, 2008

Many of the same online fans who inadvertently helped market the J.J. Abrams-produced 'Cloverfield' are now back and doing the same thing for his new series 'Fringe.'
LOS ANGELES ( -- Fair warning to entertainment marketers: Once fans get bitten by the viral marketing bug, they could be infected for life.

Case in point: the online marketing backing "Fringe," the forthcoming TV series from J.J. Abrams ("Lost," "Alias") that has its debut on Fox next Tuesday. The show -- about an FBI agent guided by an unhinged genius scientist -- already has a dozen rabid fan sites devoted to it, dissecting a handful of clues dispensed through a cryptic Fox-created website,

It worked before
Of course, that "Fringe" will have a fairly active viral-marketing component comes as no surprise, given that Mr. Abrams also produced "Cloverfield," a horror film whose online hype helped it make it the most successful January film release ever.

Indeed, "Cloverfield" fan sites like Cloverfield Clues racked up some 2.6 million unique visitors and just shy of 5 million page views. Created by a Lexington, Ky., software engineer named Dennis Acevedo, Cloverfield Clues was getting some 70,000 visitors daily prior to the film's release in theaters last year.

But what is surprising is that many of the same online fans who inadvertently helped market "Cloverfield" are now back and doing the same thing for "Fringe."

Mr. Acevedo, for example, has partnered with another self-described Abrams fan, an Orange County, Calif.-based administrative assistant named Edward Michaud, to create They're already getting 2,000 unique visitors for a site about a show no one has seen.

Raised expectations
Susan Bonds, president-CEO of 42 Entertainment in Pasadena, Calif., was not surprised that Mr. Acevedo is back at it.

While not affiliated with "Fringe," she was responsible for producing the alternate-reality game for this summer's Warner Bros. blockbuster "The Dark Knight," which has become the second-highest-grossing film of all time.

Said Ms. Bonds: "My feeling is that 'Dark Knight' and 'Cloverfield' changed things. They allowed the audience to really live in the fiction, and so overall, expectations are raised."

And the benefit is overwhelmingly accruing to both marketers and advertisers, Ms. Bonds said.

"With viral sites ... we learn not only how many unique participants, and where they are, but average length of time they experience. That's time spent with your brand or property -- about 10 minutes, on average. That's incredibly valuable to making people fans for life."

And Mr. Acevedo is nothing if not that. He has managed to see a leaked pilot episode online -- as well as the finished version from a Fox press kit, though he won't say how.

"I don't know if I want to reveal how I got it," Mr. Acevedo said.

Mysteries abound
There are a dozen other "Fringe" fan sites puzzling over viral marketing clues about esoteric plot points -- videos of sheep walking in perfect circles, mysterious Braille dots and math formulas -- but "only three or four that are really up to date. They're my competition."

So far, though, Mr. Acevedo says "Fringe" has been holding back on the viral treats, relative to "Cloverfield." A viral website,, a glancing reference to a corporation in the pilot of "Fringe," exists online but is not yet live [it is live now], though he said he's monitoring it closely.

"As far as viral marketing, it's been very, very limited. There's really only been seven pieces of evidence released. It's not a full-on interactive game -- at least, not yet."

Cautioned Mr. Michaud, "My sense is they're laying the groundwork."

Executives at Bad Robot, Mr. Abrams' production company, declined to comment on their plans for the show's marketing, but people familiar with the situation said there will be plenty of viruses floating around -- after the first episode airs.

Fringe Episode 102 Preview

      Email Post       9/15/2008 10:51:00 AM      

Following the encore airing of the Fringe episode Pilot, hosted by Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson, a 4-minute preview clip of the second Fringe Episode was shown.

You can find this sneak-peek clip over at along with Episode 102 promotional photos, plus plot summaries and photos for Fringe Episode 103 and Fringe Episode 104.

Fringe Encore With Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson

      Email Post       9/15/2008 02:06:00 AM      

Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson hosted the encore presentation of the Fringe season premiere - "Pilot".

Fringe Dwellers Podcast: Episode 3

      Email Post       9/14/2008 08:46:00 PM      

In the third episode of the Fringe Dwellers Podcast, Adele and Jen get their hands dirty delving into the mysteries of the Fringe Pilot. We discuss the gruesome teaser, cast chemistry, changes from the leaked to televised versions and the cow. We also read the emails and voicemails from our listeners.

Listen now:

You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

If you have a comment or question for Adele & Jen, you can email them at You can also leave a voicemail for them at (206) 333-0072.

BTW, we have added a Podcast tab at the top, which will link you directly to all the Fringe Dwellers podcasts and Official Fringe Podcasts.

Now You Have to Watch Sunday's Rebroadcast of Fringe

      Email Post       9/12/2008 11:53:00 PM      

Jeff Pinkner reveals to Blog Critics that FOX's encoure presentation of Fringe--Sunday, September 14th at 8/7c--will be hosted by Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv.

Pinkner explained that not only will series stars Joshua Jackson (Peter [Bishop]) and Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham) host the rebroadcast, FOX will also show "the first act of episode two at the tail end of the pilot." The second episode, titled "The Same Old Story," will deal with an investigation into the deaths of a woman who experiences a vastly accelerated pregnancy and what the press release describes as a "senior citizen" newborn. FOX will start the ball rolling on the evening with an exclusive first look at a scene from The Day The Earth Stood Still, followed by a preview of 24: Redemption, the two-hour standalone special episode of 24 coming in November. -- Blog Critics

Official Fringe Podcast with Roberto and Alex

      Email Post       9/12/2008 08:34:00 PM      

The Fox Fringe website has released the first Official Fringe Podcast (OFP), with Fringe Executive Producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. In this first episode, Alex and Roberto answer fan questions - even one from our own Edward!


Here are the fringe science / conspiracy theory websites mentioned in the podcast: What can you tell us about

Roberto Orci: That was one of the websites that inspired us, that inspired the show along with and Just various sort of alternative news sites out there that in a way cover the kind of the fringe science type articles that you don't always find in mainstream news organization sources.

Fox Fringe: Walter's Lab Notes #1

      Email Post       9/12/2008 05:49:00 PM      

The official Fox Fringe website has a new feature hidden on the Episode Recap page: Walter's Lab Notes.

The notes for "Pilot" include photos from the lab, a diagram of the synaptic transfer system, comments about the experiment: "Project 269 Exploration 17", and a recipe for Banana Bread!

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