Fringe fans have known for a long time that the show is special. It was the quality of the show and the dedication of its loyal fan base that led to its fourth season renewal. FOX president Kevin Reilly called the fans “some of the most passionate and loyal fans on the planet.”
Fringe fans on Twitter will always remember producer Joel Wyman’s tweet: “Fringe was picked up! Thanks Fringedom!” Thanks to organized efforts like The Fringe Network, fans were also able to Twitter-trend Anna Torv, Fauxlivia, Walternate, and a special hash-tag created for the season finale title, #TheDayWeDied.
It’s now time for fans to show their passion and loyalty once again. Many have expressed disappointment and frustration with the lack of official awards recognition for what they consider the best drama on television.
Fringe is among the list of nominees for the Critics' Choice Television Awards. Presented by the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, it honors the best in television. Dramas that aired between June 1, 2010 and May 31, 2011 were eligible for nomination. The awards ceremony event will occur on June 20, 2011.
Many well-respected television critics adore the show, and they heaped praise upon it for its creativity and risk-taking ventures. Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker even went as far as to write an article explaining to readers why Fringe deserved a fourth season.
Fans need to rally around this nomination, and show the voting committee why Fringe is worthy of a win for Best Drama. As an intensely loyal Cortexifan, I’ll start.
Why is Fringe an Amazing Drama?
Fringe is more than just science-fiction. The show masterfully blends elements of science, emotion, conscience, morality, philosophy, intrigue, action and romance. It is at its very core the story of three people drawn together by extraordinary circumstances. Eventually, these three form what they consider an “odd little family unit.” There is a certain investment that viewers feel for the characters of Olivia, Walter and Peter. Fans care so much about them that they cheer for their victories and cry for their sorrows.
The writing for Fringe does not take the easy route. The show consistently pushes the envelope for excellent storytelling. The choice to alternate between two worlds for several episodes was one of the most satisfying for viewers. Also, an extremely unique love-triangle developed, when other shows would not have dared to attempt it.
Continuity is also a show staple. Fringe evolved this season from a procedural/mythology hybrid, to a full-blown serial drama focusing on the mythology. Events and clues from prior seasons resurface in later episodes. One of the most fundamental this season was the use of a Greek phrase from Season Two that means, “be a better man than your father.”
The showrunners obviously have a plan for the direction of the show. For the viewer paying attention, the payoff is immense. This aspect also makes Fringe one of the shows with the highest replay value. Many fans are re-watching the entire series this summer in order to make new connections with information from season three.
The Critically Acclaimed Third Season
The amazing third season was the best yet, and is highly deserving of the win for Best Drama. After a long summer hiatus, Fringe returned with a bang. It was on fire for the first half of season three and white-hot as the season finished.
At the end of season two, fans were left in shock as F.B.I. agent Olivia Dunham was left behind in the parallel universe, having been switched with the alternate Olivia. Meanwhile, Walter and Peter return to their universe with Olivia’s alternate self.
The story-arc for the first eight episodes partially concerned Olivia’s struggle “Over There.” Viewers were presented with a glimpse of the parallel universe in the Season 2 finale, but this world was made more real in the third season. The viewer was immersed in a world with a few differences from ours. For one thing, the Twin Towers still stand “Over There.”
However, the world is dying due to disturbances caused when Walter from our world came through a tear between universes, and took its Peter Bishop back with him in order to save his life. People “Over There" often deal with vortexes and wormholes. The Fringe Division is part of the Department of Defense. When an unstable anomaly is detected, they are deployed to determine if Amber protocol needs to be initiated. Amber is a gaseous substance that solidifies, thus sealing tears in the universe. Unfortunately, it often catches people as it is dispersed. The viewer sees how desperate the people of this world have become.
Olivia's journey home led to many complications and opportunities for character growth.
The complicated relationship between Peter and Walter Bishop offers a heartening, but also tragic look at one of the best father/son pairs on television. The third season highlighted acceptance and forgiveness on many levels for the two of them.
The relationship between Peter and Olivia reached its apex this season. They are often hailed as one of the most well-progressed television couples. The obstacles that the two of them faced together were unlike any endured by any other romantic pair on television this season. Their relationship developed organically as they found how to forgive, trust, and love one another. Peter made a huge sacrifice in the name of love at the end of the season. When Olivia lost her life, he felt he had nothing left to lose and made a game-changing decision.
The war between the universes drove the plot for most of the season. Many viewers became attached to both of the worlds, and were frightened by the possibility of one of them being destroyed. The people "Over There" became just as human as the people "Over Here." Fans cared about Fauxlivia, Lincoln Lee, Charlie Francis, Henry Higgins, and the son of Fauxlivia and Peter. Many of the characters hoped for a peaceful resolution that allowed both worlds to survive.
Characters and Actors
This drama has shown steady character growth over each season. This season was the most progressive in fundamental changes for each of the main three characters. All of the cast gave stellar performances. Anna Torv and John Noble especially had to step up their games to play two different versions of the same character.
Walter/Walternate (John Noble)
Walter Bishop experienced a range of emotions this season, and Noble nailed it. Walter had come to terms with the consequences of his actions. He also had to accept that Peter was his own man, and to let him choose his own destiny. Also, Walter came to grips with the fact that he was still a good man. He realized that he could stand on his own, even if he was no longer whole.
Walternate was shown as a man driven to protect his world, no matter what the cost. What had initially started as despair from Peter’s kidnapping, turned into a failed marriage. Walternate made the universal war personal, and it seemed to no longer just be about getting his son back. In the finale episode, set in the future, his display of vengeance was complete as he destroyed what Peter loved most.
Olivia/Fauxlivia (Anna Torv)
Torv convincingly played several roles this season, which has astounded fans and critics alike. She played Olivia, Alternate Olivia, Olivia thinking she’s the other, Fauxlivia pretending to be Olivia, 2026 Olivia, and even did an amazing impression of Leonard Nimoy when his William Bell character possessed her body.
Olivia suffered long and hard this season. She was taken from the man she loved and injected with the memories of another version of herself. All so that Walternate and his scientists could find out how Olivia had the ability to cross between worlds. The season showed the strength and resolve of Olivia Dunham. Her will to survive and get back to Peter saved her life. But when she came home, she learned that her alternate had lived her life, and that Peter had fallen for her in every way. Olivia saw Fauxlivia as “like her, but better,” and this really brought questions about individuality to the forefront. All the while she shut Peter out thinking that he preferred the other Olivia over her. As time progressed, she found that she is her own person, and that Peter loves her for who she is. She came to see herself as something special instead of a broken soul.
The alternate Olivia, also known as Fauxlivia, was a happy-go-lucky gal that became immersed in a covert operation to save her universe. She was cocky, but showed signs of being unsure of herself. Goaded on by the shapeshifter Newton, she crossed her moral line and seduced Peter. She eventually came to see that the people “Over Here” were not the monsters that Walternate had her believe them to be. Peter especially got to her conscience when he told her that he believed there had to be a way to save both worlds. When she returned, she brought “something more" with her. An unplanned pregnancy, with Peter Bishop as the father, turned her world upside down. She became humbled, and with the accelerated birth of her son, she realized the true cost of the war between worlds.
Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson)
There is only one living Peter Bishop in both of the universes, so Jackson did not have the opportunity to play an alternate version of the character. But he gave impressive performances, many of which were heart-breaking to witness. His scenes in the episodes Entrada, The Firefly, Reciprocity and The Day We Died were some of his best work.
As a child of two worlds, Peter felt like he did not really belong in either. But he came back here for Olivia when she told him, “you belong with me.” Peter really thought that “Olivia’s” slight changes in personality and mannerisms were because she had entered a relationship with him, and she was happy. He did question it, but didn’t pursue his suspicions further. When he discovered the truth, there was doubt that he was angry at himself for dismissing the differences. He was so relieved when his Olivia came home, but pained because he had to tell her the truth. Peter did tell her everything as much as it hurt, because he felt it was the right thing to do.
Although he struggled with it all season, Peter came to accept his destiny regarding the ancient machine which was the key to either creating or destroying universes. However, when faced with the possibility that he made the wrong choice in destroying his home universe, he was willing to change it, no matter the price.
Episodes of Note:
Olivia: The Season opener set up the first eight episodes of the season. Olivia was broken down and injected with her alternate's memories. She escaped, but by the end of the episode, she believed that she was the other Olivia Dunham.
Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep: The very last scene had many fans on the edge of their seats. The scene alternates between the death of nemesis Thomas Jerome Newton and Fauxlivia's seduction of Peter.
Entrada: Peter was informed that Olivia was trapped in the alternate universe, and that he was sleeping with the enemy. After great struggle and sacrifice, Olivia made it home. But she had no idea that someone else lived her life and loved Peter while she was gone.
Marionette: One of the larger themes for this season has been individuality. What makes us who we are? When a man brought his dead love back to life, did he really bring her back? Because of this, Olivia wondered why Peter could not recognize that the Olivia he was involved with was not her. She told him bluntly after she broke down at the end of the episode, "She wasn't me. How could you not see that?" Shortly followed with a heartbreaking, "I don't want to be with you!"
The Firefly: The mid-season premier marked the return of the mysterious Observer. He asked Walter for some help, and it turned out that the favor involved Peter.
6B: Olivia finally accepted the pain that Peter endured from his mistake, and realized how easy it was for people to be fooled when they are so desperately in love. She took a leap of faith that had many fans smiling at the end. She told Peter, "I want what you want," and led him sweetly by the hand up the Bishops' staircase to his room, and the scene faded to black.
Subject 13: This is a follow-up to the second season's critically acclaimed episode, Peter. It took place six months later. Walter tried to use the universe crossing abilities of his cortexiphan subjects to return Peter to his home universe. One of the subjects was a young Olivia Dunham. An astonishing reveal was made.
Bloodline: A group kidnapped Olivia from "Over There" and accelerated her pregnancy to term. The birth scene had many fans in tears for the suffering of a character that many were not fond of, and that some downright loathed. The fact that it could make viewers feel compassion for someone perceived to be the “evil” twin, is a testament to a great story and excellent writing.
Lysergic Acid Diethylamide: This is an episode that showcases just how far the characters will go to save each other. Peter and Walter use LSD to enter Olivia’s mind in order to release her from the hold of William Bell’s consciousness.
The finale arc (6:02 AM EST, The Last Sam Weiss, The Day We Died)
These three episodes bring season three to an epic close. Questions are answered, and viewers find out the fate of the universes as well as the future of beloved characters.
The finale ending has consistently been among the lists of top cliffhangers for this broadcast season. Prepare to be wowed when watching, and have some tissues ready.
Bloodline, Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, 6:02 AM EST, The Last Sam Weiss and The Day We Died are available to watch at Fox.com.
Here's to winning the Critics' Choice Award for Best Drama!