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Fringe. Division.
April 21, 2012 6:14 PM   Subscribe

The Future of Fringe. This week's episode of Fringe, 4x19, "Letters of Transit" shows us the future of the show - both in universe (recap, speculation) and for our world: Joshua Jackson says, "If you watch [Letters of Transit], you’ll have an understanding of where they want to take the series.” There are three episodes left for season four (teaser for 4x20, "Worlds Apart") and if Fox doesn't give Fringe a possible thirteen-episode fifth-season renewal, they have shot two different endings for season four. (Spoilers and speculation for Fringe.)
posted by crossoverman (122 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
Note: no explicit spoilers beyond 4x19 in any of the links, except for trailer type spoilers in the 4x20 teaser.
posted by crossoverman at 6:22 PM on April 21, 2012


Letters of Transit reminded me in several ways of Epitaph One from Dollhouse. I don't mean that in a bad way, either. It was an interesting projection forward a few years from the Now to see where the series and situation might go if given a chance.

I really REALLY have all my fingers and toes crossed for a half-season wrap-up for Fringe. I think they've created a universe and scenario which deserves to have a real ending, not something rushed but something fully developed.

Fox would be smart to give the series that last 13 episodes. At the end of this season, they will stand at 87 episodes. Granting them 13 more and a complete finish for the series will give them the magic 100 episodes which syndication seems to like to have, and allowing for a real wrapup will make for a delicious DVD box set when it's all done.

The show creators started out aiming for an end-point, not an eternal series. Let it be a lengthy television novel and the marketing of sales can write itself at that point. Series that don't get to end don't end up in syndication or with high box set sales.
posted by hippybear at 6:26 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


*obtains bag of curiously specific sugary food stuff*
posted by The Whelk at 6:26 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I could never get over that bit about "Your father was an expert in the field of fringe science," or words to that effect. All of Kurtzman and Orci's scientific illiteracy and, I think, sheer terror at science was only slightly balanced by John Noble's marvelous balancing act as Walter Bishop. Noble can sell K & O's bullshit with verve and pizazz. He deserves better writers.

And don't get me started on red matter.

posted by RakDaddy at 6:33 PM on April 21, 2012


ohgodohgodohgod. This season is just getting better and better, and I am STILL BEHIND on Hulu. This is mostly because I keep re-watching episodes, and I don't just 'leave it on in the background' like I do with most - I create a block of time and then carefully watch each episode.

I am so glad something like this can exist on television. Warts and all.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:40 PM on April 21, 2012


God, I love this show. It scratches my X-Files itch and then some. John Noble is a god.
posted by rtha at 6:42 PM on April 21, 2012 [6 favorites]


John Noble is awesome, yes.

But Anna Torv is so dedicated that she spent an entire season playing a severely emotionally damaged character so well that everyone thought she was a bad actor, and played a long game to the point that you had to see her playing multiple alternate versions of herself over months to realize how goddamn good she actually is.

Seriously. Look at Olivia pre-Peter to post-Peter to Fauxlivia to Amberlivia. Thousands of tiny decisions played like Bobby goddamn Fischer. It's ballet. It's art.
posted by Shepherd at 6:52 PM on April 21, 2012 [26 favorites]


As a program on Fox, I'm already mentally preparing for it to be canceled because Fox has a way of taking away things that I like. In Fringe's favor is a half season could get to the magic 100 for syndication. Also Fox canceled Terra Nova. Alcatraz and Finder will probably not see 2013. And House is ending so aside the schedule is sort of light.

I really enjoyed last night's episode. It felt like a part 1 of a 2 parter. I hope we get a part 2 next season.
posted by birdherder at 6:53 PM on April 21, 2012


I lost Fringe right around when real Olivia got trapped in the other universe. Now I'm wondering if I should pick it back up. I enjoyed it, mostly, but... how good is it now?
posted by Night_owl at 6:55 PM on April 21, 2012


Also, Finder is adorable. Maybe not great, but adorable.
posted by Night_owl at 6:57 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm still upset that Fox cancelled VR.5.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 6:58 PM on April 21, 2012


I wonder why producer don't adjust the contract with the network around season 3/4 to make hitting that magic 100 episodes valuable to the network?

I'm about as much a veteran SF reader/watcher as there is, but I missed a few episodes and I'm pretty lost.
posted by sammyo at 7:04 PM on April 21, 2012


That title sequence that is in the first link is the best of the many title sequences Fringe has used over the years.

Also:
WHAT.
THE.
FUCK?
FRINGE?!???

This show is awesome.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:27 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


but... how good is it now?

Really good. So. Good.

(I'm unsurprised by the cancellation of Alcatraz, which was pretty damn pretty but otherwise left me cold - except for when it made me mad by having thunderstorms in every episode. That just doesn't happen here. And I hope they keep The Finder around, which is very well-done fluff.)
posted by rtha at 7:27 PM on April 21, 2012


I lost Fringe right around when real Olivia got trapped in the other universe. Now I'm wondering if I should pick it back up. I enjoyed it, mostly, but... how good is it now?

It's really really good. The meta-plot is excellent, the characters (and multiple versions of them) are well done and engaging each of them in their own universes and story lines. The ways things keep folding back on themselves is excellent. The (basically) reboot at the beginning of season 4 let things be fresh and exciting while still continuing the meta-plot.

I think it's one of the best long-game series to come along in a great while. I never watched Lost, but the impression I got was that it was a lot of dead ends and red herrings. I've never felt that with Fringe.

I'd suggest going back to the beginning of Season 2 if you're going to try to pick it back up. That's when the setup for what we're currently watching begins, and there's a lot of tangled bits which you'll want to refresh itself on before continuing.
posted by hippybear at 7:28 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a program on Fox, I'm already mentally preparing for it to be canceled because Fox has a way of taking away things that I like. In Fringe's favor is a half season could get to the magic 100 for syndication. Also Fox canceled Terra Nova. Alcatraz and Finder will probably not see 2013. And House is ending so aside the schedule is sort of light.

Fox's execs have said in past seasons that they're fond of the show. Frankly, I think that's shown in the fact that it was still around this season despite last season's dismal ratings (yes, they put it in the Friday night death spot. But the writing has been pretty inconsistent for the last two seasons too*).

I loved this last episode, though. Though Fringe is super soft corny sci-fi, I love how it uses its SF premises to examine the character relationships from a million different angles. It's really really great. It's basically wrapped up to be what Lost and the X-files should have been--fairly well-conceived, character-driven SF that just gets deeper and deeper while remaining true to its initial mysteries.

*Low-point: human-porcupine hybrid flies off an apartment building while carrying his love in his arms. Had the last episode not been so squee-worthy, I might be declaring right now that Fringe had "flown the porcupine," so to speak.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:29 PM on April 21, 2012


I'm still upset that Fox cancelled VR.5.

Also, psh, I've got you beat. I'm still upset that Fox cancelled Alien Nation.

No, really. I actually just bought the last Alien Nation licensed novel needed to complete my collection this week. I'd been putting it off for years because after this, no more George Francisco. The day I turn the last page of Alien Nation #8: Cross of Blood will be a bitter, bitter day.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:33 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


The ways things keep folding back on themselves is excellent.
Indeed. In ways both obvious and subtle, the way season 4 has made nearly every single season 1 "monster of the week" throwaway episode relevant to the over-arching plot is amazing. From overt (porcupine monster!) to subtle (lighting and scene setup during a love scene that mirrors one from the first season) to REALLY subtle (white tulip centerpieces), the attention to detail for me ahem, obsessive viewers is a real treat and unlike some shows of this ilk it does appear that EVERYTHING MATTERS.

Also, I love Astrids and grieve Blincoln.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:33 PM on April 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also this is my equivalent of DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, which I still love. It's obvious the creators feel at least a cursory relationship to it, as evidenced by the alternate iconic comic book covers that exist in Redverse)
posted by PapaLobo at 7:42 PM on April 21, 2012


I'm still upset that Fox cancelled VR.5.

Also, psh, I've got you beat. I'm still upset that Fox cancelled Alien Nation.


I'm still upset that Fox cancelled Strange Luck.

Wait, no I'm not. I'm upset that I still remember Strange Luck, but I can't remember where I put my keys.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:43 PM on April 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also this is my equivalent of DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths, which I still love. It's obvious the creators feel at least a cursory relationship to it, as evidenced by the alternate iconic comic book covers that exist in Redverse)

Remember, that's not Batman. That's the Mantis!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:47 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, I'd go so far to say as that's M.A.N.T.I.S! In Amberredverse at least.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:49 PM on April 21, 2012


While I think 2x16 "Peter" through 3x15 "Subject 13" is the absolute high point of the series, this new version of the series' universe in season four has been outstanding. I know some people have been put off by season four's refusal to play by the rules of expected TV narrative (ie, by fixing what happened at the end of season three), but I've found it absolutely fascinating - on the level of how a person's personality is formed, how they are affected by the universe around them and how different/similar they might be if the universe around them changed (or if their past was changed).

It was one thing to explore different versions of these stock characters in the Blue and Red universes, but to see how they and their world changed by plucking one character out of the equation has been pretty incredible. And changing the premise yet again (as foreshadowed in this most recent episode and in the teaser for 4x20) for season five is something I really, really want to see.

I've really enjoyed how well this show has evolved from episode to episode and season to season. And while I ended up admiring Lost a great deal, because Fringe has never been afraid to give answers and treat all the characters with respect (and, frankly, make me care emotionally more than Lost ever did), I really need for season five to happen - not only so we don't lose such a great show but also so it gets to have a proper ending.
posted by crossoverman at 7:53 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


They've brought the monsters of the week to relevance? That's hilarious. Must have some great storytellers in their writing lineup. I'll have to pick it up once the series is over for a really good marathon.
posted by Night_owl at 7:57 PM on April 21, 2012



I'm still upset that Fox cancelled The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
posted by bakerina at 7:59 PM on April 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


(But Brisco or no Brisco, I love Fringe to bits, and I hope that Fox will keep its grubby little mitts off that time slot.)
posted by bakerina at 8:02 PM on April 21, 2012


That title sequence that is in the first link is the best of the many title sequences Fringe has used over the years.

I really enjoyed that too.

Also seeing a more fun version of Walter this last too episodes - the Amber universe version of just about anything has been slightly more boring but he's had it the worst.

Basically it feels like the show is back on track just in time to be cancelled.
posted by Artw at 8:36 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not Penny's Boat!
posted by iamck at 8:55 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Fringe. It has filled the hole in my heart that XFiles left behind. I've always felt left out by the Buffy and Firefly fandoms because those weren't my favorite shows, and while I've checked in on the Fringe podcasts breaking down the psuedo science and mythology, I wish people would go even more nuts with it. If someone wants to start a Fringe convention, I will gratefully attend.
posted by haplesschild at 9:00 PM on April 21, 2012


We have yet to start season 4 over here, and I'm about to break the law by torrenting it because this stuff is all over the net, about how awesome it is.

In the meantime I have to band-aid my yearning with PoI, Touch, The Finder and Rubicon (yeah so what!?) and hope, just hope it doesn't get whore'd out to Pay TV.

However we do have the Kim Dotcom reality show...
posted by arzakh at 9:10 PM on April 21, 2012


Rubicon (yeah so what!?)
Watch Homeland instead. It's what Rubicon wanted to be.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:18 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Watch Homeland instead. It's what Rubicon wanted to be.

Yeah, I like high-brow, slow-burn shows, but Rubicon ended up going nowhere and Homeland could have existed as a beautifully contained one season drama - and yet it gets to have a second season. Very impressive show.
posted by crossoverman at 9:29 PM on April 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Didn't wanna mention Homeland cos I'll get a flood of spoilers. Unreasonably awesome series!
posted by arzakh at 10:32 PM on April 21, 2012


The first half of season 1 failed to grab me so I stopped watching. Is it just not my bag, or is there a point where it got good and I should pick it up again?
posted by londonmark at 1:05 AM on April 22, 2012


(Warning - my comment probably has some spoilers in it:)

Really? That last episode (4x19) took such a random and goofy turn IMHO. The Observers suddenly go from non-interfering vanguards of humankind to violent enslavers... really? And they are obsessed with dressing like 1950's Mad Men with the fedoras. It was just so over-the-top silly.

Walter's character change of direction is an interesting idea, but as a freedom fighter rather than a radical metaphysics scientist / inventor, it seems like he won't have the setup to be as deeply flawed as he probably could/should be?

The silly new "FRINGE" opening sequence, the "Amber" frozen-in-carbonite time travel, the total nonsensical turn the Observers have taken, the goofy 1984 Big Brother military state, Walter's random new device to build, the complete and total venue change into a post-apocalyptic version of New England... it feels like something has gone horribly, horribly wrong with one of my favorite shows.
posted by blahtsk at 1:05 AM on April 22, 2012


It is insane to me that we can live in a world where dreck like Modern Family and NCIS can be so ridiculously popular while Community and Fringe constantly teeter on the edge of cancellation because of low ratings.

WHAT. THE. FUCK. SOCIETY?
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:54 AM on April 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


If someone wants to start a Fringe convention, I will gratefully attend.

Would you be satisfied by PaceyCon?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:02 AM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


The first half of season 1 failed to grab me so I stopped watching. Is it just not my bag, or is there a point where it got good and I should pick it up again?

You really shouldn't consider season one representative of the series as a whole. Fringe doesn't even reveal its main conceit until the last episode (the last scene, even) of the first season, and only starts to develop its main themes (and characters) from season two onward. Season one of Fringe is a well-executed, but formula-driven and anemic, X-Files derivative; season two on is much more interesting, much more complex, and much, much better.
posted by maqsarian at 2:13 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agreed, maqsarian.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:17 AM on April 22, 2012


Really? That last episode (4x19) took such a random and goofy turn IMHO. The Observers suddenly go from non-interfering vanguards of humankind to violent enslavers... really? And they are obsessed with dressing like 1950's Mad Men with the fedoras. It was just so over-the-top silly.

So... it wasn't sudden. The Observers are future humans who have come back from a far future Earth (2609) whose atmosphere has been poisoned. These violent enslavers came back to 2015 to control a planet that wasn't their own because they destroyed the future version of Earth.

The Observers we've been watching until now - the "months" (September, etc) - are entirely different and not part of the invasion at all. They may well be here to stop the invasion or lay the groundwork to stop the invasion - amongst other things.

The silly new "FRINGE" opening sequence, the "Amber" frozen-in-carbonite time travel, the total nonsensical turn the Observers have taken, the goofy 1984 Big Brother military state, Walter's random new device to build, the complete and total venue change into a post-apocalyptic version of New England... it feels like something has gone horribly, horribly wrong with one of my favorite shows.

You do realise that next week we're back to episodes set in 2012, right? This future stuff isn't even pertinent unless the show gets a fifth season - and then it doesn't replace the show we've been watching. This is just a possible future, one of which I suspect will be avoided if the show gets a final year on air.

As for what maqsarian wrote:
You really shouldn't consider season one representative of the series as a whole.

You're right, it isn't. But the very end of the season reveal is foreshadowed in the second half of the season, particular through Peter and Walter's story.

I suspect the turning point probably happened after the initial 13 episode order, when a new series can't really start laying the ground work for future seasons if it doesn't even know if it will get a full first season.

So stopping midway through season one is a mistake, sure. But the pieces do start falling into place before the finale. And then once that set-up is done, season two is like a whole new, better show built on a solid foundation.
posted by crossoverman at 3:27 AM on April 22, 2012


...and again, the writers have managed to make a lot of those X-Files-like one-off episodes have actual meaning 3 seasons later. Thought I do kind of miss Mark Valley and Kirk Acevedo.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:13 AM on April 22, 2012


OK thanks guys, you've convinced me. I'll give season 2 a go then, cheers.
posted by londonmark at 4:23 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


That last episode (4x19) took such a random and goofy turn IMHO.
Fringe has a history of going random and goofy with the 19th or 20th episode of any given season, starting with season two, which gave us BIG HONKING SPOILERS AHEAD Brown Betty and season 3's Lysergic Acid Diethylamide.

The writers of Fringe's refusal to adhere to the trite formulaic methods of standard television storytelling in these two episodes and their willingness to fuck with your perceptions of identity, love, relationships and reality are what make this show better than The X-Files ever dreamed of being.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:52 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Question about the alternate universe I may have missed the answer to. If the alt-universe is so much more technologically advanced than ours, why are they still using Hindenburg style blimps?
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:26 AM on April 22, 2012


I rather enjoyed last night's episode, though it was glaringly obvious from one second in who Etta would have to be, especially given how much they avoided using her last name. (Actually I first heard people calling her Ella, but got past it shortly. I feel there must be significance to the name Etta that I cannot think of.) I will retroactively hate it if we never see that time period again, though.

One more full or half-season to wrap things up would be nice.
posted by jeather at 5:44 AM on April 22, 2012


Hite's Law of Alternate Histories: "All Change Points, from Xerxes to the last presidential election, create worlds with clean, efficient Zeppelin traffic."
posted by Artw at 5:46 AM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


If the alt-universe is so much more technologically advanced than ours, why are they still using Hindenburg style blimps?

Because all alternate universes have blimps.

There are still blimps in 'our' reality, i.e., the blue reality. For example. Plus, there is some interesting research and development with respect to modern commercial uses, like cargo transport.

So, the red universe is just way ahead, and have better blimps than the blue reality, which is why they are in wider commercial use.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:49 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think the episode necessarily points exactly to where Fringe is going (or would be if renewed), but I think it may offer a glimpse into what Jones & Co. (and possibly even Bell) are really about. Remember early on in S.1 when they captured Jones' henchman Mitchell Loeb, and he said something to the effect of "At least tell me you know who we're fighting against?"
posted by gimli at 5:57 AM on April 22, 2012


Why John Noble hasn't won an Emmy confounds me.
posted by Gungho at 6:05 AM on April 22, 2012 [10 favorites]


So this is the new X-Files, huh? We just finished a marathon rewatch of all 9 seasons of that. I tried Fringe years ago, just the first season, but kind of drifted away from it. Is it worth another go?
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:08 AM on April 22, 2012


Have loved Fringe since Season 1. Definitely a show that you have to pay attention to but it rewards you.
posted by gen at 6:09 AM on April 22, 2012


Is it worth another go?

Absolutely. It's not the X-Files, clearly, but it's as good in a different way.
posted by gen at 6:10 AM on April 22, 2012


Well it's either Fringe or Riget, so maybe we'll ease in to the crazy with a season of Fringe first.
posted by tumid dahlia at 6:13 AM on April 22, 2012


So this is the new X-Files, huh? We just finished a marathon rewatch of all 9 seasons of that. I tried Fringe years ago, just the first season, but kind of drifted away from it. Is it worth another go?

No, it's not a new X-files. It actually has a different central science fictional premise, and from the end of Season 2 onward, episodes mostly focus on that rather than on the whole paranormal procedural thing.

I LOVED the X-files, and Mulder and Scully's character relationship was beautifully scripted, but man did the overall conceptual plotting go off the rails. Fringe has taken some silly pit stops, but it's a much better conceived show.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:02 AM on April 22, 2012


I rather enjoyed last night's episode, though it was glaringly obvious from one second in who Etta would have to be, especially given how much they avoided using her last name. (Actually I first heard people calling her Ella, but got past it shortly. I feel there must be significance to the name Etta that I cannot think of.) I will retroactively hate it if we never see that time period again, though.

I thought they were calling her Ella at first, too. Did you miss her full name? Spoiler-space:












Henrietta, or a feminized version of "Henry," Fauxlivia's son with Peter.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:05 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


So this is the new X-Files, huh? We just finished a marathon rewatch of all 9 seasons of that. I tried Fringe years ago, just the first season, but kind of drifted away from it. Is it worth another go?

Fringe season 1 is good, it's not great, it's not bad. It's enjoyable. Things finally pick up in season two though, that's when they really start screwing around with time and universes, and it juts gets fucked and fucked in the best possible way, so yeah, go back. Watch the first season, it won't blow your mind, but think of it as a first course for better meals that are coming and more than satisfying. Enjoy.
posted by Fizz at 7:09 AM on April 22, 2012


OK thanks guys, you've convinced me. I'll give season 2 a go then, cheers.

There's a lot of stuff in Season 1 which sets up background for things which really take off in Season 2.

If you're not going to watch season 1, then at least go to Wikipedia and read individual episode summaries, because you'll miss out on things like Olivia rediscovering what happened to her during her childhood, etc.

And... when you do pick up watching, start with the final episode of Season 1, which is basically the first half of a two-part episode which ends with the first episode of Season 2.
posted by hippybear at 7:23 AM on April 22, 2012


start with the final episode of Season 1
The ending of which caused pieces of my brain to be splattered on my living room wall which I just cannot seem to remove. Mainly because it was so tastefully, yet shockingly, done.
posted by PapaLobo at 7:26 AM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was on the fence after season one but season two hit the " wow I was not expecting a network TV show to pull a xantos gambit like that" button and then they did it AGAIN. It's kind of the inverse of the X Files, the standalones are dull and you wait for the continuing stories.
posted by The Whelk at 7:32 AM on April 22, 2012 [5 favorites]


Where are the female observers???
posted by prefpara at 8:23 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the future, women will evolve to keep their secondary sex characteristics in their hats.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:05 AM on April 22, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have been watching Fringe. The biggest bone I have to pick is that it is subject to what I call Small Cast Syndrome. Sure they've worked around this brilliantly, but it's vexing that we both never see who Broyles is reporting to, and that this small team and Walter's terrible little lab are handed so many bodies and strange artifacts.

But I'd watch season 5, 6 and 7 if they went that far.
posted by Catblack at 9:08 AM on April 22, 2012


I just assume that their world is populated by the rest of the casts of the various shows they are from.
posted by Artw at 9:26 AM on April 22, 2012


it's vexing that we both never see who Broyles is reporting to, and that this small team and Walter's terrible little lab are handed so many bodies and strange artifacts.

Well, the focus of the show is on Fringe Division, which in some of the universes ONLY consists of Walter and the team surrounding him, which was formed ad hoc at the beginning of the series in order to look into things which fall outside of easy investigation by normal FBI techniques, specifically The Pattern and the actions of ZFT and David Robert Jones.

As far as who Broyles reports to, he seems to have several irons in the fire. One assumes he reports to his superiors at the FBI, but the impression I get is that he only reports results and doesn't get specific with exactly how the results are achieved. That is, I get the idea that Fringe Division is kind of a pet project of his, maybe even with the details kept a bit under his hat, and that he passes along only as much as he thinks the higher-ups need to know rather than giving them full details and perhaps having the existence of such a unit questioned.

He also seems to have ties to Massive Dynamic, as both him and Nina Sharp seem to be pretty comfortable using each other as resources in order to achieve their own ends in various ways.
posted by hippybear at 9:27 AM on April 22, 2012


They so need to do the show where they connect up to our universe, the one where each of the members of the Fringe division are actors in Hollywood, performing in a series called "Fringe". They could then arrange some amazing event that gives the show huge publicity to ensure it has a bunch more seasons.
posted by sammyo at 9:31 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


It occurs to me that Fringe could pull off an awesome "When They Cry"-like story.
posted by charred husk at 10:15 AM on April 22, 2012


If it gets another (half) season, I hope that season includes more Astrid. I think networks seem to be doing more allowing shows to finish off plots instead of just cancelling them, so I'm going to be optimistic.


Henrietta, or a feminized version of "Henry," Fauxlivia's son with Peter.

I caught her full name, but had no idea why it was so important. I totally forgot what the baby's name was (Henry doesn't even ring a bell).
posted by jeather at 10:21 AM on April 22, 2012


They should do an episode with Leonard Nimoy appearing in the manner of the dad from Strangers with Candy.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on April 22, 2012


I caught her full name, but had no idea why it was so important. I totally forgot what the baby's name was (Henry doesn't even ring a bell).

It was the name of the cabbie who helped Olivia escape the redverse and in whose cab Fauxlivia delivered her child.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:56 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jeannie the cow's grazing day outfit is why I love this show so much.
posted by billyfleetwood at 10:57 AM on April 22, 2012


So basically the savior of the universe is named after Bubbles.
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on April 22, 2012


I watched Fringe from the pilot, and I quit halfway through first season. In the middle of second season, so many people were telling me that it was so much better that I decided to give it another shot. Since I'm a completist, and I had mostly forgotten what I'd seen (since, IMO, the first half of first season is exceedingly forgettable), I loaded in some snack food and some alcohol and powered through S1 in a weekend marathon.

When people ask me if they should watch Fringe (especially the ones who say they watched from the start but quit halfway through first season because it was bad), I tell them to do exactly what I did, if they have the time/inclination. Once you get past the part where FOX was so busy doing everything they could to fuck up the show, the quality of the storytelling goes up some ridiculous number of levels.

I personally wouldn't start with the S1 finale and then go from there, and not just because I'm a completist. The S1 finale only packs the punch it does if you've spent time with the characters and their world before you get there.

I really wish I could find the interview with Lance Reddick--it's online somewhere, dammit--where he speaks really openly about how FOX was fucking with their storytelling in early S1. FOX wanted the show to be more episodic than serialized (standalone vs arc), and so the first half of S1 was very Monster of the Week, and the show wasn't going anywhere in particular. Once Abrams was able to get FOX to back off, suddenly the show became compelling and fascinating.

If I hadn't read all about the network interference, I would have thought they just had serious trouble finding their feet. Knowing the story about the first season and the network now, I just wonder why the hell FOX orders up one high-concept series after another if they don't want any fucking high-concept series. What the hell, FOX. Pass on the frickin' show so that it might find a home somewhere that doesn't immediately want to change what it bought, and won't cancel it when it fails to find an audience.

(Plus, knowing all of that makes the fact that the writers have managed to back-weave those S1 MotW stories so that they are directly relevant to the current, built-over-the-past-three-season megaverse that much more impressive.)
posted by tzikeh at 11:02 AM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


When I hear the name "Bubbles", AbFab is all that comes to mind.

But I do have to say, that in the (thus far) two new episodes which have aired, Bubbles shows amazing scheming and ability to play the situation despite her apparent airheadedness. So perhaps it all makes sense in whatever context it is used.
posted by hippybear at 11:03 AM on April 22, 2012


billyfleetwood: Jeannie the cow's grazing day outfit is why I love this show so much.

The cow's name is Gene (geddit? Gene?)
posted by tzikeh at 11:05 AM on April 22, 2012


FOX Close to Renewing Fringe for a Fifth and Final Season
posted by tzikeh at 11:21 AM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Woohoo!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:30 AM on April 22, 2012


If you think about it, it's amazing ANYTHING gets renewed, the metric TV execs are most interested in being "number of people watching the show live" - because who the hell does that anymore for shows they are actually interested in?
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on April 22, 2012


I do! I get almost as excited about Fringe Fridays as I do about Mad Men Mmmmsundays.

However, I am also a freak with no social life.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:40 AM on April 22, 2012


Through a freak of timing I was actually in front of a TV as the last one started. So I waited 5 minutes and watched it on DVR.

I dunno, maybe I'm the weird one.
posted by Artw at 11:44 AM on April 22, 2012


Nah, you're not weird. My TV viewing is structure so that much of the things I watch I see first run, or maybe delay the beginning by 15 minutes or so in order to skip commercials.

The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Smash, Fringe, Alive... I watch all those live. Frequently The Rachel Maddow Show live, because what the fuck else is on at 6pm that I want to watch?

I do time-shift a portion of what I watch, but then my TV viewing habits are pretty sparse compared to much of the rest of the viewing public, so what I do time-shift is mostly on late at night or is recorded in the middle of the night for later viewing. The few series I do follow, I generally catch as they happen, or very close to it.

As I linked in a previous thread someplace, some 80% of all television viewing in the US still happens as live television broadcast.
posted by hippybear at 11:49 AM on April 22, 2012


It was the name of the cabbie who helped Olivia escape the redverse and in whose cab Fauxlivia delivered her child.

Ah, another name that escaped me. This is probably because I kept calling him Bubbles.
posted by jeather at 11:51 AM on April 22, 2012


I was over in this askme recently and was surprised to get a bunch of favorites for my recommendation of Life, because I didn't think that that many people had seen the show - I thought it was me and maybe three TV critics who watched it. It only lasted two seasons.

But those two seasons were among the best television I've seen, and although I'm still sad it got canceled, the writers were apparently given enough lead time to be able to do a decent wrap-up. It reminded me that that an endless number of seasons only creates opportunity for a show to go way, way downhill, leaving viewers with a bitter taste and the difficult task of saying things like "Well, the first season was pretty good; two and three were great and four was nearly as good, mostly; five was rocky in the middle and then got really good; six and seven were meh except for eps 6.04, 05, 08-9, 7.01, 10, and 12; then I quit watching because WTF."

So I'm glad if Fringe gets renewed, and that renewal is known to be The Last One, because I think that's a good way for a great show to go out.
posted by rtha at 12:06 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really wish Fringe was streaming on Netflix, I find it's hard to get friends to watch a show with an overarching story when there's a, what, $30/season cost to get caught up? Whereas you can get pretty much anyone with a Netflix account to give Breaking Bad or Mad Men or so many others a shot.
posted by jason_steakums at 1:52 PM on April 22, 2012


Google is telling me there are NO hair salons called "Fringe Division' WTF AMERICA?
posted by The Whelk at 1:58 PM on April 22, 2012 [8 favorites]


There are plenty of them in the alternate universe where there is no Batman. That's the choice you get: cleverly named salons, or the Dark Knight.
posted by hippybear at 3:03 PM on April 22, 2012


Dammit thats also the universe with no peanut butter I hate that place.
posted by The Whelk at 3:09 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


no Batman

no peanut butter

this is indeed a disturbing universe
posted by maqsarian at 3:15 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


I read the recap in the post, and holy crap I need to go to Blockbuster right now because WTF wow. I want to start over and then just not sleep for two weeks while I watch until I'm caught up and whining because when is the next episode?
posted by Night_owl at 3:16 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


holy crap I need to go to Blockbuster

speaking of alternate universes
posted by maqsarian at 3:18 PM on April 22, 2012 [7 favorites]


Blockbusters are those print-on-demand DVD kiosks in the mall from like thirteen years ago before everyone got fiber optic connections right?

Wait ...who was the president after Clinton in your universe?
posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on April 22, 2012 [2 favorites]


because when is the next episode?

Friday nights on Fox. Check your local listings. There's only 3 left right now, so get 'em while they're hot.
posted by hippybear at 3:23 PM on April 22, 2012


this is indeed a disturbing universe
NO COFFEE!!!!!!!
posted by PapaLobo at 3:38 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


NO COFFEE!!!!!!!

oh my GOD how adorable was Redstrid when Astrid brought her coffee!!
posted by tzikeh at 3:46 PM on April 22, 2012 [6 favorites]


FOX Close to Renewing Fringe for a Fifth and Final Season

That article suggests we may not hear until the Fox upfront - which is scheduled for May 14th. The final episode of the season airs on the 11th. Hopefully the showrunners know before the 11th so they know which version of the finale they need to broadcast!
posted by crossoverman at 4:15 PM on April 22, 2012


as far as Broyles goes, here's what I remember:

In at least one universe, Broyles and Nina had an . . . intimate relationship in the past.

In at least two universes, Broyles has military rank, some level of 'colonel,' which indicates his joint task force draws from more than just the civilian side of the gov't.

In the red-verse, the staffers of Fringe Division (a DoD component) wore what here in the real world are US Navy issue uniforms.

And yes, Season 1 has its faults, but there is much tying-together from one season to the next.

was surprised to get a bunch of favorites for my recommendation of Life

That's zen.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:18 PM on April 22, 2012


Redstrid
One of the most fun games to play is coming up with names for the various alternate versions of our Heroes. Walternate is my favorite. Never cottoned to Bolivia, but Fauxlivia works fine for me. Blair Brown herself coined "Meana" for her counterpart. Broyles needs a nickname (Broils? Coz isn't that happened to at least one analogue of him?). And I think I coined Blincoln (though since we saw Blincoln first I guess he should be A-Lincoln geddit? hah hah hah). Redstrid, though, is perfect, especially given the highlights in her hair.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:36 PM on April 22, 2012


But if we ever come across an evil Astrid, I'm calling it here and now: Bastrid
posted by PapaLobo at 4:37 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


One of the most fun games to play is coming up with names for the various alternate versions of our Heroes.

Oh, man, if the universe from "Letters of Transit" comes into being, does that mean we'll have Nolivia?
posted by tzikeh at 5:26 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like Walternate and Fauxlivia. Restrid is great. I also liked (alas) Scarlie. I've never been keen on any version of Nina, William Bell, Lincoln or Broyles. (Names, anyhow. I like their alternate versions.)

I sort of wish alt-DRJ hadn't been evil, though.
posted by jeather at 6:57 PM on April 22, 2012


I sort of wish alt-DRJ hadn't been evil, though.

But, wait... he's the same DRJ from season one, except now he's not dead because Peter didn't kill him because Peter ceased to exist in this version of reality? Right?

I don't think he's the DRJ from the Red-verse, he's the DRJ from the Blueverse which is now the Amberverse (technically the "no Peter" Amberverse, since I think the Amberverse indicates that the two universes are linked).

*brain breaks*
posted by crossoverman at 7:23 PM on April 22, 2012


*brain breaks*
posted by crossoverman


Well if YOU can't figure it out ....
posted by PapaLobo at 7:29 PM on April 22, 2012 [4 favorites]


He's the same DRJ as we met before, he's still working toward completing his ZFT plans, he hasn't been foiled by Peter, and he's making a lot more progress toward whatever nefarious ends he has envisioned than he was before.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 PM on April 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, of course, you're right. I am impressed at all the plotlines I have managed to totally forget or be confused by. I just remembered that DRJ was killed, so he had to be alt-DRJ. I forgot that Peter killed him and that no one else killed him instead once Peter became sort of semi-existing, I just assumed he was the DRJ from the other universe, who hadn't been killed.

(The reason I said this is because we have characters who are more or less good in our world, and more or less bad in the alt-world, or goodish in both, or badish in both, but not so much villains in our world who aren't villains in the altworld.)
posted by jeather at 7:55 PM on April 22, 2012


I love the "I told you that story so I could tell you this one..." aspect of this show so, so much. For example (ROT13) frrvat nzore'f cerfreingvir cebcregvrf pbzr onpx nf na vzcbegnag cybg cbvag jura vg bevtvanyyl frrzrq yvxr n bar-bss "zbeny dhnaqel bs gur jrrx" guvat.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:40 AM on April 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The most recent episode made me feel like the writers had gotten bored with the current storyline.
posted by charred husk at 11:42 AM on April 23, 2012


The most recent episode made me feel like the writers had gotten bored with the current storyline.

No, this most recent episode continues the tradition of Fringe having an episode 3-4 episodes from the close of the series which pushes the boundaries of what is expected by the audience up to that point.

Season One had Episode 19: The Road Not Taken, in which we get our first real glimpses of the idea of there being a parallel dimension.

Season Two had Episode 20: Brown Betty, the musical episode.

Season Three had Episode 19: Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, the episode which included a lot of animation as characters explore the inside of someone's mind.

Season Four had Episode 19: Letters of Transit, the one which just aired this past Friday.
posted by hippybear at 12:06 PM on April 23, 2012


The most recent episode made me feel like the writers had gotten bored with the current storyline.

They're leading us down a path on which are sprinkled breadcrumbs from previous episodes. We may or may not have walked this path before, in the universe or one of its alternates. We may have been on a parallel path, or a branching one. Only one way to find out.
posted by rtha at 12:18 PM on April 23, 2012


Among the stranger things I've learned while poking around online as the result of this thread is that Fox has created science lesson plans to go with several Season 2, 3, and 4 episodes of Fringe.
posted by hippybear at 2:32 PM on April 23, 2012


The most recent episode made me feel like the writers had gotten bored with the current storyline.

The show has jumped forward in time before. And if the show gets a fifth season, they will most assuredly jump forward in time again. I think it's smart for them to show us these possible futures, since narratively it keeps us focused on seeing if the characters can avoid that future.

But, as above, the show has always done off-the-wall premise episodes that not only shake things up but also give us new perspectives on the story we've been watching all along.
posted by crossoverman at 2:42 PM on April 23, 2012


The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way about the latest episode of Fringe is that the character of Henrietta seems remarkably similar to Eve, the 'war child' in the recent Season 4 of Being Human. Like Etta, Eve is the blonde rebel-leader/messiah progeny of two main characters, who lives out her destiny in a jumped-forward dystopic future where the human race has been subjugated by non-human masters. In both cases, the desaturated dystopic future is (it would seem this is true about Fringe, at this stage) outside the regular timeline of the show.

I'm sure this is nothing more that coincidence, but it seemed weird.
posted by hot soup girl at 6:36 PM on April 24, 2012


Renewed! Woohoo!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:45 PM on April 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Fringe Season Five Trailer!
posted by Harpocrates at 5:21 PM on April 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Even better than getting a fifth season, it's a fifth and final season - the show gets to wrap up and finish its story. I will miss it, but we'll have 100 episodes and that's plenty. Amazing that a show that battled to get a second season will get a fifth and final. Yay!
posted by crossoverman at 9:03 PM on April 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


And hopefully no padding.
posted by Artw at 9:39 PM on April 26, 2012


And hopefully no padding.

Yeah, I think thirteen episodes precludes the possibility of padding. There are two universes to deal with.
posted by crossoverman at 10:38 PM on April 26, 2012


12 really dumb monster-of-the-week episodes and a quick wrap up where Peter returns to space?
posted by Artw at 10:41 PM on April 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am glad they get a final season to wrap up (and make use of the future universe(s?)) -- I like when shows have a defined ending date and don't just go on until they or their ratings suck.

I just hope they wrap it up better than they did Lost. Or Felicity. I didn't watch Alias, so I will assume that show ended well and that Fringe will follow in its footsteps.
posted by jeather at 4:30 AM on April 27, 2012


There are two universes to deal with.
After tonight's episode, I'm rather sure there's far more to deal with than that.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:44 PM on April 27, 2012


Please don't go BSG on me you fuckers.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:16 AM on April 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Please don't go BSG on me you fuckers

Oh frack me, I was wrong
It was God all along
Looks like you finally made a Luditte
Yes we finally made a Luddite
Made a Luddite out.....oooof meeeeeee.....
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 AM on April 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got very emotional when the two Walters talked to each other this week and watching the two universes get separated - it felt like the end. And I have no idea where the show heads now. But I'm excited by the possibilities.
posted by crossoverman at 5:39 PM on April 28, 2012


*Huge* season 4 wrap up post at TV.com.
posted by antifuse at 6:07 AM on May 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


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