Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman on 'Neither Here Nor There,' Fan Support, Alt-Nina, and More ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman on 'Neither Here Nor There,' Fan Support, Alt-Nina, and More

      Email Post       9/20/2011 09:56:00 PM      

FRINGE: Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman on ‘Neither Here Nor There,’ Fan Support, Alt-Nina, and More
September 20, 2011 by Marisa Roffman

After having arguably the biggest cliffhanger of the season — no, seriously, where the heck did Peter Bishop go?! — FRINGE is finally back this week with new episodes! (I won’t judge you if you do a happy dance. Swear.)

And while it would be way too spoilery to do a traditional “You Ask, I Answer” for the first two hours of the season, I think I found a solution you guys will be a little happier with: teases straight from FRINGE executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman!

I spoke with Pinkner and Wyman earlier today, and they spoke about about their very big premiere, the fan support, alt-Nina, season 4, and more…

What can you tease about the premiere?

J.H. Wyman: As far as teasing goes…
Jeff Pinkner: I think we can say the FRINGE world absent Peter Bishop looks very different.
JW: We’re going to set up the season arc from numerous characters’ perspectives. You’re going to get a full understanding on where the season will be going.

I don’t envy your position right now…there is very little you can say about the premiere without spoiling important elements.JP: It’s sort of like a fun Catch-22: you want to talk about it, but everything you say in some way might spoil the viewing experience.

Which we obviously don’t want to do. I know you both have tweeted about the absolutely amazing “Where Is Peter Bishop?” video some fans made. How difficult is it for you to try and balance the desire of the fans — which, in the grand scheme of things, is to have Peter back on our screens as soon as possible — with the story you feel you need to tell?JP: You know what’s funny? What you just said was a lot of our conversation with the network and the studio as we pitched them our season-long arc. And they, coming from a fan perspective — and also a marketing perspective — [said], “We need Peter back right away because people miss Peter and we need him back.” And our counterargument was, “To really establish his absence will take a little while.” And truly a little while, not a long while, because we know there is good audience frustration and really bad audience frustration.

So the balancing act is specifically the one you pointed to. We need to establish the condition of these characters’ lives in order to set the story, and we also need to feel a sense of loss, because otherwise his return, when it happens, would have no meaning without feeling his absence. And hopefully we’re striking the right balance. I guess we’ll see. We think we are.
JW: A lot of the fans, they’ve communicated via Twitter and things like that and letters that we’ve gotten that they trust [us] — and it’s nerve-wracking because, it’s “Oh my Gosh, what are you guys doing?” but this is a show that consistently — part of its DNA — is refiguring things in a new context for the viewer.

For instance, seeing amber in season one, no one had any idea and now it’s been recontextualized and you know what it is. There’s always a reason for everything. It’s part of our storytelling. We don’t want to frustrate people with these far-out questions that don’t get answered or bait people along. We want to give answers. And I think we’ve proven that we do that. So when we first heard the reaction of people [asking], “Where’s Peter? Where’s Peter?” we were hoping they’d say, “These guys have a plan, and I totally understand. And I care because I’m invested.” And that they would realize that — the reason they are feeling so strongly is because they are invested in the program and we wouldn’t let them down. We wouldn’t try to let them down.

And obviously the fans have shown their support in a massive way with the aforementioned “Where Is Peter Bishop?” video. How did you guys feel when you saw it?JW: Me personally, I was so floored. And it felt so incredible to see how much the fans love the show and what they’re willing to do and their commitment. It was really moving.
JP: It’s stunning. They played it in a Fox departmental meeting yesterday. That’s not the kind of thing that happens. I’ve never heard of such a thing. And it was a surprise to both of us! Speaking about spoiling, neither one of us had any idea such a thing existed or was in the works until it was presented to us over the weekend. And as I tweeted, at the risk of sounding soft, it choked me up. It was amazing.

And what was kind of amazing about it — or what was additionally amazing about it — is it wasn’t designed as a save the show campaign. It was just a gesture of love, not for us, but for Peter and the actors and the production. It was amazing.

Well, they love you guys, too. You’re both on Twitter, you’ve seen that.JP: Yes, and it’s incredibly flattering, but we’re not this show. We oversee it and we run it, but there are so many unbelievably talented people who participate in the production of the show, so far be it from us to take more credit than its due.

Which is 100% fair, but you two do write a fair number of episodes per season. Can you share which of the first batch you two wrote?JP: Well, as showrunners, it’s our responsibility to oversee or to do a pass on all episodes, but our names are specifically on the first one, along with [fellow executive producer] Akiva [Goldsman], who got a story credit. And we cowrote the fourth one with him.

I know last time I asked you for an episode title, I possibly got you in trouble and it definitely ended up changing, but would you be able to share what the title is for that episode or the fifth hour of the season?JW: You know what, Marisa, we didn’t get in trouble, it was basically Jeff and I — it was funny, because we did have a title, but when Jeff and I were working on the story a little bit, inadvertently, we said, “Neither Here Nor There” in regards to a character and then we both looked at each other and said, “That should be the title” and changed it. So it was truly creative, we weren’t trying to dupe anybody, we just found a better title that meant more to us.
JP: [Episode] four is “Subject 9″ and we shouldn’t reveal episode 5 yet.

“Subject 9″? Should fans be reading into the similar title to another episode you’ve done?JP: Fans are free to read into whatever they want!

Very good to know. Will this be the year we finally meet alt-Nina?JW: We can’t say that. Suffice to say that… [Long pause] FRINGE is a show that we can do things that you would not expect. And I think that’s the best way to say that. Like, for instance, we’re the only show that could probably do a love triangle with two of the same people. We’re the only show that could do the quintessential kidnapping, but it’s across universes.

I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say we’re going to treat the much-anticipated understanding of Nina Sharp “over there” — we’re going to try and treat it with the same sort of, “Oh my gosh!” as we have with the other aspects [of our story].

That is a very good tease.JP: She’s a special character and we want to make sure she gets her due.

Fair enough. And while it’s great you guys can tease alt-Nina, I will say, I do appreciate that you both have been open with the fans that it’s not a matter of “if” Peter returns, but rather a matter of “how” and “when.”JW: We would never do that! There were two things where we were like, wow, I can’t believe people would think we would do that.

And the first thing is, obviously, getting Peter Bishop out of the program. That is insanity. He’s such a huge part of the show and people should know that. He’s just inextricably linked to the DNA. So that’s one thing we couldn’t believe people would think we were thinking of.

The second one is, that people would believe that we would do one of those things that I think is a terrible trick, is you wake up and nothing had happened. That you invest three years of your life in a show and nothing you watched was real anymore. We would never do that. Everything is real. Everything did happen. You are on Peter’s side. You are with Peter this year and you are rooting for him to get things back to normal.
JP: We’re both fans of storytelling — the stories you love are the ones that don’t betray your trust; that don’t betray your investment in them. The story doesn’t always go the way you’d hope it goes, but that’s what allows for hope and payoff. If it was always a series of happy events, by the time you got to the end, you’d be bored. There has to be struggle, there has to be disappointment along the way, but we’ve made it very clear we have no intention of betraying people.


Be honest: are you counting down the hours until the FRINGE season premiere? Make sure to tune in Friday at 9 PM on Fox!


Anonymous said...

Actually, what they really mean is that they wouldn't betray the Walter and Olivia fans. The writers do not care at all about Peter.

cortexifan said...

I can't wait to find out what's going on. So stoked.

trent said...

"We wouldn’t try to let them down."

Words. Give me evidence over words any day. This is some of the evidence I have:

Audience: Fauxlivia couldn't be more different, she doesn't even try to be like Olivia. Peter will notice.
You: Ha! Gotcha! She doesn't need to act like Olivia, because here's the truth about Peter: he's a drooling moron.

Audience: "Be a better man than your father"? The writers would never dump a baby on us. Fringe is better than that. Such things belong in cheap soap operas.
You: Sorry, but that's the only way we have to humanize Fauxlivia, because erasing that sneer from her face is too much effort. But there is a twist! The baby's blood can power the machine!
Audience: Did I miss the part, where Peter's blood was available at several points?
You: Drama! Triangle! Fauxlivia is humanized!

No. The best thing is not to trust you. This is what I think you will do, based on what you've done in the last 3 seasons: the other characters don't need Peter at all, things work like a well-oiled machine without him (see the last 3 seasons). Peter's role as Walter's caretaker will be taken over by the other characters (S3). The doubles will work together and be amazing without him. If you show how Peter had any effects in the events before the bridge was created, it will be to show how damaging he was (The Firefly and how Peter was responsible for Roscoe's son's death). But Walter feels "incomplete" without him! There is no logic behind that, because he's doing fine without him, but ~feelings~ are a force of nature in fiction and although it won't be based on anything tangible, like Peter's usefulness, you will bring him back to... give Walter angst. As soon as he's back, you'll put him neatly on a shelf, where you won't give him much to do, unless you need to give Walter and Olivia angst (see last 3 seasons).

There is a reason you made "Peter Bishop" write a letter, where he said he trusted you. You are aware of the general uneasiness. I wasn't born yesterday.

"He’s such a huge part of the show and people should know that. He’s just inextricably linked to the DNA."

Not when you have replaced him with Lincoln. After reading the reviews, that's what you've done. Congratulations, guys! What's the point of bringing Peter back? Because Walter feels sad? Nothing cotton candy can't fix. Blue not pink!

"Everything is real. Everything did happen. You are on Peter’s side. You are with Peter this year and you are rooting for him to get things back to normal."

Just because everything happened just the same without Peter doesn't mean it's more valid, you're still making the point that Peter's story was for nothing. Back to normal? Come on! I don't want S3 "normal" back. You changed the characters to fit the plot. The triangle you're so proud of was awfully executed. The "love" story between Peter and Olivia was underwhelming and tedious. They felt like a 100-year old couple, instead of a vibrant new love. I can see where you're going with Lincoln and Fauxlivia, more unnecessary romantic drama. And normal means that awful baby back. Just no.

RONEO said...

Wow, some people really know how to break the spirit.....
I'm glad I've enjoyed Fringe so much till now, and I can't wait for next season premiere. And I'm a big, big Peter's fan. I can't imagine what it would be watching a show I so much disliked.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you lucky people in the US - the new season sounds great, but I have no idea when Sky will be showing it over here! Such riches to come! Really sorry to see Charlie gone, though. He's been a favourite of mine since season 1.


Anonymous said...

sans Peter, there's no Observers or shapeshifters..or Henry (Peter/Fauxilia's son)...lots of things have changed. the questions is that "does Walternate need to destroy the other universe?" he doesn't have a motive to do that, does he? they all have no memory of Peter!!! what are they supposed to do now?

trent said...

"Wow, some people really know how to break the spirit....."

It's called reality check or trying not to be gullible or having a different perspective.

"I can't imagine what it would be watching a show I so much disliked."

I can't imagine what it would be reading deferring opinions I so much disliked. Who knows, maybe John Noble is too irresistible for me.

FU said...

Buzz killers... The show is awesome!
The ups and downs are necessary or we'd be bored stiff. Yes i got pissed off when Peter came across as the dumbest genius ever. I panicked when Olivia was trapped on the other side and when the rumour was hot that she was going to be killed and I'm still catching my breath that Peter vanished, but it's those story lines that lure me back just to see if they 'fix' things.
Roneo I'm with you, I don't understand how people can watch a show they don't like and i am completely dumbfounded at the consistency of their participation in various forums. If i don't like a show i simply don't watch it and i definitely wouldn't bother checking out forums dedicated to them. wtf right?

Anonymous said...

"we’re the only show that could probably do a love triangle with two of the same people".

Yes but doing it again and again, is not really creative, it becomes like the good old recipe for an audience made of morons. And if the price to pay is to make a whore win the battle, it's too much damage for the beautifull characters we had during season 1 and 2, and above all a very bad taste storyline, that I'm alreday very desapointed about. I hope they will wipe the faux typical bitch and try to create a real character, Humanizing her for her qualities not for how ugly and stupid she can be. And for the ones who are surprised I keep interest for Fringe, I would say, I liked season 1 and 2, I liked the perspective of getting to the other universe, and knowing the characters from over there, but I didn't like what I saw. I hope that season 4 will restore balance between the two words. lol

greycobalt said...

Trent...take a break buddy. The entire show for me is the dynamic between Olivia/Peter/Walter, and even though it's going to be different at the beginning, they'll get it back there. Everything's been awesome so far, just try to enjoy the ride.

As for the episode title (Subject 9), that has to be referring to the Cortexiphan trials, and that subject is most definitely going to be Lincoln (in my opinion). My first reasoning for this is from the second season finale, when Nick Lane was dying on the bridge in the park, he saw Lee and asked "Lincoln?" before dying horrifically. Nick was the one that remembered all the other kids clearly, so it makes sense as to why they'd throw that line in there. It would also give our Lincoln a more direct tie into Fringe division instead of just stumbling into it. Lincoln with some powers would be pretty cool.

Unless of course in the new timeline the trials were never conducted, in which case I made all of this up to test you all. :)

Standbyyou said...

Let me break it down to you folks, you guys get two olivias, two Lincolns, two Walters, two Emmy worthy actors who keep getting all the great materials and you know what we Josh fans get? An idiot who doesn't exist and an actor who hardly is acknowledged for his acting. What's the problem with Peter not existing? it's not as if the audience treated Josh/Peter as if he did exist, not with Olivia and Walter around and their perfect personalities and perfect choices.

Anonymous said...

well, I really don't get it. First of all to make it clear that I'm a great fun of Joshua. All these days I read the forums and all I hear is how mistreated Josh is etc.

First of all, Josh is a part of a show with several actors. If the show was only about him, then it wouldn't be a show anymore but a boring monologue!

Joshua doesn't mind to be part of a team. He has said more than once in his interviews that he is happy for the way that the show turns out and that he actually had encouraged the idea of the finale of S3. (Peter never existed - no sides taken)

Then, where is exactly the problem????

I love the show and I can't wait to see how it turns out. Until today, I haven't been disappointed at all!


lauramypet said...

Huh, if fringe isn't about one character then why is it that I can't read an article or review without the reviewer talking about what a great actor john noble is or Anna torv is so emmy worthy? Why is it that people keep singling out only ONE character while not acknowledging the others?

Like I said before, these writers would never have john or Anna away from the show but josh, jasika, lance and Blair always get their screentime cut. So care to explain why john and Anna are the two actors who were in every episode and the show isn't just about one person?

greycobalt said...

I truly don't understand where the EXTREMELY biased and livid Joshua Jackson and Anna Torv fans come from. Why can't you be both? I'm both. I'm a fan of everyone on that show. Olivia episode, I'm thrilled. Peter episode, I'm thrilled. Walter/Astrid episodes, amazing. Why does it have to be about one person? It's an ensemble cast that comes together to do amazing things.

If they hated Peter, he wouldn't be the revolving point of the show right now. He had his own episode several times, most prominently in "Northwest Passage", and he's had flashback episodes, and also basically starred in the season three finale.

And to the Anna Torv people who freak out constantly, I don't even know how to respond to you.

Basically, you guys are all completely missing the point and impact of this show. It's incredible, and each person involved in it is hugely significant in their own way. Screen time does nothing to interfere with that.

BRYNGE said...

lol this show is awsome...they will complain untill they get their fringe fix ...OFFICER TRENT YOUR EVIDENCE IS do know that it wasnt untill peter came back to our universe that this issue you got with blood became an option right.IT WAS HIS SECOND AND ONLY OTHER OPTION.i dont think a vile of peters blood would transfer to the other side properly so a baby was needed ....
Not to mention that all he could really do was activate the machine but Peter himself is needed to USE the machine.blood and conciousness

just call me subject 27 IF YOU THINK IM WRONG

Anonymous said...

I wonder if subject 9 is Peter, and I wonder if Bell's line about how Peter's holding up was referring to what's happening now.

also, what was the original title that was mentioned?

trent said...

"you do know that it wasnt untill peter came back to our universe that this issue you got with blood became an option right."

You do know that Altlivia was on a mission over here for a couple of months and that she had plenty of opportunities to get his blood, like in Entrada for instance. You do know that Walternate had a bunch of shapeshifters over here, who could have taken Peter's blood and sent it over there. There were many ways to solve that issue without recurring to a baby.

BRYNGE said...

you do realize you ignored part of my comment. I dont think a vile of peters blood would transfer to the other side properly so a baby was needed ....
her mission was to assemble the prime universe's version of the device,them not having the breakthroughs of our prime universe.and also take a peice any peice to prevent our side from having the machine fully functional. while he studies Olivia's Cortexiphan-induced powers.BY THE WAY SHE FAILED she was not able to bring anything over...WALTERNATE GOT LUCKY PERIOD

trent said...

Altlivia's fetus transfered without problems, why wouldn't a vial of blood do the same with the necessary protection? And Altlivia didn't fail. She stole the piece of the machine, gave it to the guy in the typewriter shop and Walternate got it a few weeks afterwards.

BRYNGE said...

true i forgot that she gave it...and i suppose the vial would under the right conditions..but again that wasnt her mission ..and got lucky that she was having his was after she returned they realized blood was an option...
and yeah peter was in denial.thought that the experinces she went through made her more open.changed her.reality check no show is perfect sci-fi or not but dont kill it for others.LOL another reality must get people mad when GFS LIKE PB BETTER.I SUPPOSE YOU GOT A PROBLEM WITH DARK MATTERS TWISTED BUT TRUE TOO LOL ...TRENT THE CENT

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