'Fringe':Save this show! A guide(and a plea) for new fans ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

'Fringe':Save this show! A guide(and a plea) for new fans

      Email Post       3/11/2011 03:41:00 PM      

I have been monitoring Entertainment Weekly's website for weeks, knowing that they were overdue for a decent Fringe article. Imagine my delight when my March 18th issue arrived today in the mail and I found a 2-page article on our favorite show! Enjoy the entirety of Ken Tucker's article below.
Happy Fringe Friday all!
(And if you're a P/O fan go out and buy the issue-there's a nice pic of them on page 64.)

'Fringe': Save this show! A guide (and a plea) for new fans.
by Ken Tucker

The bonds of family, the ecstasy of romance, the exhilaration of intellectual inquiry, and a secret government agency working to protect you from all kinds of crazy, weird stuff. If I told you there was a TV series featuring all of that, plus great acting and superb action sequences, wouldn’t you want to watch that?

Sure you would. And people who are watching Fringe now know it’s doing something rare. It’s a TV show working on all levels, characters with which anyone can identify, imaginative scripts, crackling dialogue, and a positive message (boiled-down: All you need is love). It’s the kind of show that, every time you finish watching the latest installment, you want to see its next episode right now.

A new episode of Fringe, titled “Os,” airs tonight, and as I explain and exhort in the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on sale today, you’re making a mistake if you miss it.

But if you’re not watching Fringe — and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is a passionate please-save-Fringe plea to you and to the dear, intelligent, how-much-flattery-do-you-need folks at Fox — here’s what I suggest: Forget everything you’ve heard about Fringe. Banish the notion that you’ll be confused by the serialized nature of its storytelling, that it’s too deep into its mythology for you to catch up. It’s not.
Because like the best TV, Fringe works on a number of levels, and one level is, it’s highly entertaining, accessible stuff. All you really need to know about Anna Torv’s Olivia Dunham and Josh Jackson’s Peter Bishop is that they’re brave investigators for the FBI’s Fringe Division, seeking to solve the mysteries of our world, which may be in jeopardy from another, alternate version of our world. And, by the way, Peter and Olivia are in love in a manner that’s so glowing with passion yet so challenged by emotional roadblocks thrown in their way, they make Romeo and Juliet look like Phil and Claire Dunphy.

And all you really need to know about John Noble’s Walter Bishop is that he’s a brilliant scientist who’s also emotionally fragile, playfully eccentric, and a junk-food junkie (it’s unlikely any other genius has referred to Pop-Tarts as “delicious strawberry-flavored death”). Oh, and by the way, Noble deserves an Emmy for his extraordinarily delicate, wide-ranging performances.

At its big, red, throbbing heart, the show tells the story of a love so powerful, it crosses universes: When Peter was seven, he died. His brilliant-scientist father, Walter, having discovered that there was a parallel universe containing doubles of everyone here, transported himself to that Other Side and brought back that universe’s Peter, to love and to cherish. In doing so, he created not just a rift in the universes (which are now dangerously, explosively out of balance), but also a rift between father and son (when Peter discovered who he really was, and grappled with the idea that he belonged to another Walter, a “Walternate”).
This is the bare-bones version of Fringe, which is creatively capacious enough to also take in the dual nature that resides in every one of us; arcane conspiracy theories that end up as eerie realities; and the over-arching idea held by every regular reader of Entertainment Weekly that we can experience everything – politics, art, philosophy, and cures for loneliness — through the culture around us.

From The Twilight Zone to Battlestar Galactica, the sci-fi/fantasy genre has been downbeat, dystopian, pessimistic, and bleak. In that context, who can blame viewers leery of Fringe, after seeing all those Fox promos in which the heroes yelp variations on “Our whole universe may end!”? We get enough of that kind of message on other channels, like Fox News and MSNBC. Successful, hit TV shows, all hits of any pop-culture kind, have one thing in common: reassurance. They make you feel that, when you get up off the sofa, you’ve not only been entertained and, at best, mentally stimulated, but you’ve also been assured that life goes on and the future is sustainable.

This positive, utopian, optimistic message is the one Fringe delivers; it’s just that it comes wrapped in a package that some people have too quickly pigeonholed as “dark,” “gritty,” “complicated,” and “it might make my head hurt.”

I’m not going to guilt-trip you and say that if you don’t watch Fringe, you’re helping to create an atmosphere in which daring new shows won’t make it onto future network schedules. Instead, I’ll be sad that you’re not sharing in what could be the best puzzle-pieced epic since Lost, and the best portrait of a fractious family since Frasier, or perhaps even M*A*S*H. Because right now, Fringe is promising you nothing less than the world – two of ’em, in fact.

Why do you think Fringe isn’t more popular? Will you be watching it?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this is true, but supposedly, Fox considers the number of views on the Fox.com website. So perhaps people who do not fall in the Nielsen or DVR category could watch the show through Fox (even if they also watch it live). What will happen will happen, but for those wanting to fight for the show or something like that, it's a consideration...

Dennis said...

See: http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2011/03/11/why-dont-tv-ratings-measure-online-viewing-or-itunes-or%E2%80%A6/85459

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should have been clearer. Views on fox.com aren't considered in TV ratings, but I've been told that Fox considers, separately, the number of views on their website. Different beasts entirely. On-line views through the website would certainly be less important than TV ratings, but perhaps they do matter a bit...

Anonymous said...

I always re-watch on sat. and on Fox.com, I hope it counts for something, but if not, I still would, I love Fringe!

Lostie said...

I usually re-watch on hulu. Maybe I should be re-watching on fox.com instead??

Anonymous said...

I've started watching on fox instead of hulu. Maybe it does no good, but it makes some sense that Fox would give some consideration to views on its website (even though TV ratings are most important).

Anonymous said...

awe, what a nice article, if Fringe gets canceled I am seriously going to cry!

Anonymous said...

I'd love to watch it on the Fox website, but unfortunately for anyone outside the US (Australia in this case) we can't access any video content at all on Fox (or the links here). Our local TV channel after doing a fantastic job last year, running us less than a week after the US, don't seem to have any commitment to it at all. We started 6 weeks late, have been stopped with out warning twice, played double episodes (once again little or no warning that they were going to do it) to bring us up to date – but we now don't know when it's going to start again! I now watch episodes where ever I can find them online, then watch them again on TV when they finally show and buy the DVD's as soon as they come out. It would be nice if they let the overseas diehard fans show our support, especially as our local netwrok doesn't care.

Anonymous said...

Ditto for Ireland! I'd love to watch in a way that would help the show stay on air.

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