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Fringe Oral History
January 17, 2013 6:19 PM   Subscribe

"TVGuide.com talked to stars John Noble (Dr. Walter Bishop), Joshua Jackson (Peter Bishop), Anna Torv (Olivia Dunham), Jasika Nicole (Astrid Farnsworth), Lance Reddick (Phillip Broyles), Blair Brown (Nina Sharp), Mark Valley (John Scott), series co-creator Abrams, executive producers J.H Wyman, Jeff Pinkner and Bryan Burk, Warner Bros. President Peter Roth and Fox's Chairman of Entertainment Kevin Reilly about the bumpy road to the series finale, starting with the conception of the show. This is the first in a four-part series. Check out Part 2 and Part 3." (Part 4 is pending.)
posted by hippybear (155 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh Fringe, so good, and yet so bad at the same time.
John Noble keeps me watching. But it's hard.
So very hard sometimes.

I have a plan. A plan to watch the finale this weekend.
posted by Mezentian at 6:30 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been reading along with this. I can't believe tomorrow are the final episodes. I've watched the show since Day One, and no more new FRINGE to look forward to is a sad prospect.

Nevertheless, I want to thank fellow fans, but most importantly Fox for not giving up on this show and despite anemic ratings for a network show, we now have a program that has lasted five seasons and has been given the opportunity to end on its own terms.

I will be watching tomorrow night, melancholic but celebratory of this incredible program that has distinguished itself as one of the best science fiction, nay, best shows on television, period. A show that went to brave new places, to new worlds (literally!!!), and plumbed the deepest pathos and highest exalted joy.

I think this an apropos sendoff....
posted by theartandsound at 6:32 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


A fantastic show with an amazing team of actors. The best sci-fi show you're not watching, in all likelihood. If you enjoyed X-Files, this is a fitting follow-up - its peaks are not so high, but the troughs are not so low, either (has anyone actually finished watching X-Files??). And "filler" in Fringe, like in the X-Files, is still excellent TV, which is something that few serial dramas can manage.

But I do feel that the show I was watching pretty much ended at the end of season 4. This last half-season renewal was really unexpected, and has somewhat the feel of fan fiction.
posted by mek at 6:33 PM on January 17, 2013


Saw this randomly on Stellar.io: draft of the final episode script on Instagram (I don't watch the show, don't know if this a joke image or what)
posted by mathowie at 6:37 PM on January 17, 2013


Mathowie, that's the script from the most recent trailer.
Accurate too.
posted by Mezentian at 6:39 PM on January 17, 2013


[[ GIANT RESET BUTTON ]]
posted by Artw at 6:44 PM on January 17, 2013


Spoilers, man.
We have no idea if they're going to use the Giant Reset Button again!
posted by Mezentian at 6:46 PM on January 17, 2013


I miss this show already.
posted by hijinx at 6:47 PM on January 17, 2013


My bet: The next world they'll make is our own!
posted by TwelveTwo at 6:53 PM on January 17, 2013


Entertainment Weekly's Entertainment Geekly podcast has Darren Franich and Jeff Jenson spending over an hour talking about Fringe.
posted by hippybear at 7:00 PM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


My bet: The next world they'll make is our own!

They fly the lab into the sun!
posted by Artw at 7:04 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Walter never escaped the mental ward.
posted by TwelveTwo at 7:07 PM on January 17, 2013


It's actually Lost.
posted by Artw at 7:08 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's actually Lost.

Too soon!
posted by Mezentian at 7:11 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just started watching this tonight, half way through the pilot and checking into metafilter and saw this thread. Is that, like, totally spooky or what?
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:22 PM on January 17, 2013


Phlegmco(tm): just don't read any of the links unless you're spoiler-tolerant.
posted by hippybear at 7:26 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thanks hippybear. Much obliged.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 7:38 PM on January 17, 2013


I like how this is one of those rare cases where Fox got it right, sticking with a SF show until it could reach an appropriate end. You can still feel the cases of fast forwarding, though. Season 5 was probably supposed to be Etta's birth, season 6, the invasion and set up of Walter's plan, season 7 where we are now. Still, it's nice to have an ending. And Fringe seems poised to remain true to its premises, which is so rare for TV SF. Yes, LOST, I'm looking at you.

I've been rewatching old episodes here and there, and I'd forgotten what a beautiful, perfect ep "Northwest Passage" is, by the way. Amazing writing and acting all around. Wish that one got talked up more.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:49 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Noble: We were aware that slowly, slowly people started to say, "Well, perhaps they're not so bad." I thought it was a major achievement for the writers.
Word, John Noble. I wrote a blog post early on in Fauxlivia's development about how I didn't like her and yet I pretty much came to think that I was totally wrong and Fauxlivia was a great, rich, well-developed character. Really a triumph. Very nuanced.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:55 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Indeed, PhoBWanKenobi. There was much discussion about how awful Torv was until the alternate universe came into big play, and suddenly it was completely obvious that she wasn't actually a flat-affect person who happened to fit into this one character, but that she was making conscious decisions about how Olivia was played, and Fauxlivia was played in this other way....

Why this show hasn't gained more accolades for its acting across the board is beyond me. At this point, many of the actors have played 3 or 4 different versions of their characters, and have provided them all with individuality while retaining their sameness at their cores.

Fucking brilliant.
posted by hippybear at 8:01 PM on January 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


I miss Autistic Astrid.
And Gene.
posted by Mezentian at 8:16 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


There was much discussion about how awful Torv was until the alternate universe came into big play, and suddenly it was completely obvious that she wasn't actually a flat-affect person who happened to fit into this one character, but that she was making conscious decisions about how Olivia was played, and Fauxlivia was played in this other way....

This really was a revelation. I'd have never have guessed that she had the range she has based on the early episodes, or that her apparent "bad acting" would turn out to be the emotional key to such a complicated backstory. I don't know if they planned it all or if they got lucky.
posted by gerryblog at 8:23 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


We all miss Gene.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:24 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


And Gene.

Gene was ambered, right? Gene lives.
posted by gerryblog at 8:24 PM on January 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Gene lives.

Well, they better bloody well de-Amber her. And put on her hat and coat.
posted by Mezentian at 8:26 PM on January 17, 2013


Thank you Fringe, and all involved in its creation and production. Unless tomorrow's finale goes horribly awry, this will be ONE JJ Abrams-backed show that won't leave me feeling unfinished and empty.

AND JUST GIVE NOBLE THE FUCKING EMMY ALREADY.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


AND JUST GIVE NOBLE THE FUCKING EMMY ALREADY.

Sadly, I don't think we've really gotten classic Walter this year (aside from a few bright patches like the first episode with the flower, and last episodes father/son chat - which really only worked with history), but he should have gotten it for the Self Lobotomy scene in S4 alone.

The *ting*ting*ting* noise, and the slow pan reveal is one of the creepiest things I have ever seen on TV.
posted by Mezentian at 8:51 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nevertheless, I want to thank fellow fans, but most importantly Fox for not giving up on this show and despite anemic ratings for a network show, we now have a program that has lasted five seasons and has been given the opportunity to end on its own terms.

theartandsound, that is the first time anyone has ever thanked Fox for a programming decision on this website, and possibly anywhere on the internet.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:51 PM on January 17, 2013


AND JUST GIVE NOBLE THE FUCKING EMMY ALREADY.

QFMFT
posted by hippybear at 8:55 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


From Gawker/Scientific American:
There’s no way that Fringe’s Observers could really be toe-tappers.
posted by Mezentian at 8:56 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to miss the hell out of this show.
posted by rtha at 9:32 PM on January 17, 2013


Right now, the most implausible part of the show is that Peter's 1996 Dodge Caravan is somehow functional and in good condition in 2036.
posted by schmod at 9:54 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just shot the final day of inserts at the stage about a week and a half ago. Always amazing to see how fast they shut a production down. I'm gonna miss Fringe. Very hard to work on, but an incredible family of people. Keep getting all misty as I read about the build up to the finale.
posted by thirtyeightdown at 10:13 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


What was hard about it, thirtyeightdown?
posted by rtha at 10:26 PM on January 17, 2013


I watched a bit of the first season, enjoyed it, and planned to keep up with the show. Things get in the way, and before you know it, it's season 5.

Anyone recommend a good viewing order to catch up on the "meat" of the show? A guide to the Mythology episodes or some such?
posted by erskelyne at 11:27 PM on January 17, 2013


A little out of date.
posted by Artw at 11:33 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


What was hard about it, thirtyeightdown?

It's a very ambitious show, and at the same time, not a monster hit, so they never had huge budgets to meet their expectations. This translates in to some pretty harsh hours, and given the setting of the show, lots of nights, rain towers, pushed meals, location moves, and huge set ups with smaller crews. Typical week is Monday start at 0700, 2.3-3 hrs late breaking for lunch, and then wrap around 2200-2300. Call times then slide down the list as the week goes on to minimize turnaround, and by Friday you're starting at 1400, and getting home at 0900 on Saturday morning. Repeat for 10 months. Episodic TV, especially sci-fi and high concept stuff can be really hard on your personal life. With very good reason it used to be known as Cringe among local Vancouver crew.

That being said, they really hit a nice groovy the last season and a half. Two new fantastic cinematographers, Michael and David, and a real gelling of the entire organization. It felt like the end of something special when we were racing around like maniacs trying to keep up with Joel Wyman's vision for the finale.
posted by thirtyeightdown at 11:40 PM on January 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


*Really nice groove.
posted by thirtyeightdown at 11:49 PM on January 17, 2013


Really hope that another good SF show takes it's place - they're thin on the ground these days.
posted by Artw at 11:56 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does the current season get any better? We were avid viewers until the end of last season and the beginning of this one, when it seemed they wrapped up all the interesting stuff as quickly as they could to make way for what seemed to us like a rather dull and generic premise. Is that a complete misread?
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:00 AM on January 18, 2013


The fourth and final part of the Fringe Oral History is now available.
posted by hippybear at 4:13 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does the current season get any better?

No. But you are on the closing straight. Why not go all the way?
For WALTER.

To be serious, it has its moments, but they are condensed, and there is not "WOAH" moment, but it dies up some loose threads, and it's a weekend of fun. Just do it.
posted by Mezentian at 4:19 AM on January 18, 2013


There better be some Broyles in the series finale tonight.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:28 AM on January 18, 2013


I like how this is one of those rare cases where Fox got it right, sticking with a SF show until it could reach an appropriate end.

Getting to such a point, odds are, helps DVD sales.

The bookkeeping on Fringe might have been breaking even - so a boost in DVD sales only helps Rupert better be able to offer to fund people like petraus's run for office.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:49 AM on January 18, 2013


Fringe went from being a standard X-Files MoTW show to something that was insanely ambitious. (It's sort of like how Supernatural went the same path more or less for the first season and then realized if they actually had some world-building going down, it'd add to the show instead of just relying on Ackles and Padalecki's pretty faces.)

Fringe turned out to be a wonderful show that I didn't expect to love so hard. But they kept upping the ante, making things more complicated and tragic, to the point you had to work to keep up with what they were doing. Throw in some unexpectedly great performances by Noble (I agree: GIVE HIM A FUCKING EMMY), Jackson, Torv, and hell, pretty much the rest of the cast, and you got smart sci-fi that didn't talk down to you. It wanted you to level up when watching. I respected that. I LOVED that.

Artw is right. There is less and less good intelligent sci-fi series these days. And when Fringe leaves our screens tonight, it's one more nail in a coffin.


(also, can has some Lincoln Lee before going bye-bye?)
posted by Kitteh at 5:52 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


There better be some Broyles in the series finale tonight.

Wish granted.

(also, can has some Lincoln Lee before going bye-bye?)

Wish.... denied? But he is in the surprisingly not sucky Arrow.

Noble (I agree: GIVE HIM A FUCKING EMMY),

QFMFT x2.
posted by Mezentian at 5:57 AM on January 18, 2013


There is less and less good intelligent sci-fi series these days.

Storylines and plot ideas that go for many episodes != intelligent.

The "standard" TV show has everything all wrapped up in a bow and done in one 30 minute/1 hour show. Just because a show has plot lines that extend episode to episode or unanswered points for many episodes doesn't make it "intelligent". It just makes it different from the standard.

A very low bar it is to be different than the "standard".
posted by rough ashlar at 6:00 AM on January 18, 2013


I watch Fringe (finale? Either my piece of shit Cogeco DVR has missed some episodes yet again, or it is delayed in Canada) and so many times I've watched John Noble (particularly the Walter/Walternate days) and turned to my wife and said "God DAMN, that guy is amazing".

He has this fantastic way of portraying every part of the hateful or loveable/crazy parts of the characters even in the blandest of facial expressions such that you never really doubt which one you are looking at.

I don't know much about quality films or acting that much (my usual fare is kind of low brow - Hudson Hawk is a film I've watched more than twice. Nuff said) but Noble is great. Torv is also pretty good, and it has to be said that if the people alongside the ones that jump out to me as great don't jarr as crappy, then they also must be pretty good. Twisted logic, perhaps. But its there.
posted by Brockles at 6:06 AM on January 18, 2013


I watch Fringe (finale? Either my piece of shit Cogeco DVR has missed some episodes yet again,

Do you know who Donald is?
Do you know what the Child Observer is, and what Walters plan is?

Those are the two last episodes.
The finale is a two-episode double feature.
posted by Mezentian at 6:09 AM on January 18, 2013


I don't have a TV and don't know anybody who is into Fringe to watch this with, which bums me out because stupid Fox won't allow online streaming of their shows until a week after airdate. (Meaning I'm also one ep behind.)

But I'm glad the show is getting to wrap things up on its own. It's been an amazing ride.
posted by gauche at 6:16 AM on January 18, 2013


Getting to such a point, odds are, helps DVD sales.

From what I've heard about Fringe's funding, FOX won't get anything from DVD sales--that'll go to Warner Brothers. Also, the show has operated at a loss for awhile now, despite the extensive product placement.

Seriously, this is a case of FOX being the good guys. I know, I'm shocked, too--I've been mad about their mishandling of SF since the Alien Nation days.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:32 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Those are the two last episodes.

Oh. Ok. I am up to date, then. I guess it just didn't feel necessarily like it would end soon. Not that it really ever has. It always has this 'could be perpetual' feel to it so I wasn't really expecting a finale. I am dreading either no wrapping up of things that confused me (of which there are legion) and also clever little wrap ups of things that I don't notice or remember (of which there will doubtless also be a hefty number. Perhaps even a platoon).
posted by Brockles at 6:39 AM on January 18, 2013


I fell in love with Fringe at first because it filled the X-Files-shaped hole in my soul. And they kept raising the stakes with the storytelling and the acting - I would watch John Noble read the phone book, I swear. And when Anna Torv morphed from sort of generic okay-actress to are-you-kidding-me Fauxlivia, I got the shivers.

Fox or Syfy or whoever, please bring us more scifi like this. Please.
posted by rtha at 6:40 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This oral history is great, by the way. I don't think I've ever encountered interviews by showmakers and actors before that so strongly indicated that they understood storytelling in the same way the audience does. I can't help but think of how, near the end of LOST, there was an interview with Daniel Dae Kim that indicated that he hadn't even realized that his character's ending was problematic for that character's arc in some ways (trying not to spoil). It seems really rare for an actor to say, "This part of the story really didn't work for me for these reasons," but in part 3 of the oral history, most of the actors indicate that they had problems with the Peterless arc--that it was interesting at first, but that it broke the relationships, which were paramount to the series. It seems to me to be a testament in the writers' security in what they've done that the actors can say that, publicly, too. And a testament to the storytelling and acting that such important storytelling issues were clear to all involved.
J.H. Wyman: I just wanted to make sure that two very specific criteria were filled: No 1. is that the characters end in a logical conclusion and become self-actualized. If you go back to the first episode, you might say, "Well who are these people?" I mean, Peter, "I hate my father" to "I love my father." Olivia saying, "I don't trust people" to "I do, I find strength in vulnerability now." Walter saying, "I have hubris and I've made a mistake" to "Yes, I've actually understood that I'm not a god and I have to make amends." I mean, these characters have come a long way. And No. 2, that I can leave and feel that I'm hopeful that everything happened, maybe not the way that I expected, but definitely the way that makes sense. Hope is very important to me, and I don't like to say good-byes and I didn't want to say good-bye, I just wanted to say this is the close of that chapter. I feel like that happened. I wanted to make sure that I gave them their due and I wanted to take care of the audience.
It's funny--usually I'm nervous, when a show is ending. I feel like I'm in good hands. Wyman's got a fan in me, now.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:58 AM on January 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I didn't like FRINGE for the longest time. My sister and I would get into arguments. I got her into LOST and she got me into FRINGE. Season 1 is definitely weak but something happens right around the end of S1 and things start to come together. Much of it is Noble and his brilliant acting.

I think the show is going to end much better than LOST did. It'll be a little bit corny, a little bit weird, and I'm fine with that.

Also, FRINGE is currently available on Netflix (at least up here in Canada), so check it out and catch up, there is a lot to love.
posted by Fizz at 7:03 AM on January 18, 2013


Season 1 is definitely weak

I disagree.
There's something about the CSI meets OMG of S1 that works, for me.

I think the show is going to end much better than LOST did.

Oh, such faith.
I expect either RESET or TOTAL DARKNESS.
I would prefer the later.
Shows,traditionally, have ended badly.
posted by Mezentian at 7:07 AM on January 18, 2013


Here's the thing--a reset would actually be in keeping with the spirit and the premise of the show. I'm not saying it would be the bestest ending, but it makes sense, given the narrative framework.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:12 AM on January 18, 2013


I think the show is going to end much better than LOST did.

Oh, such faith.


I'm in a pocket universe.

Also, the Enemy of Fate Trailer gives a tease for what we can expect tonight. SPOILERS.
posted by Fizz at 7:15 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the show is going to end much better than LOST did.

That's a pretty low bar you set there. Practically laying it on the floor.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:58 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


So my mom is coming to visit tonight and we're going to watch the finale together (she says that John Noble is "the only hot old guy" and I'm inclined to agree). I've just decided to stock up on Fringe-themed treats. So red vines, strawberry pop-tarts, butterscotch pudding . . . anything else?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:01 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I've been watching J.J. Abrams since ALIAS. His series are always best around Seasons 2 or 3 and his endings usually leave something to be desired, but I'm still trying to be hopeful.
posted by Fizz at 8:04 AM on January 18, 2013


I've just decided to stock up on Fringe-themed treats. So red vines, strawberry pop-tarts, butterscotch pudding . . . anything else?

LSD.
posted by Fizz at 8:05 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


So red vines, strawberry pop-tarts, butterscotch pudding . . . anything else?

Root beer floats.
posted by theartandsound at 8:06 AM on January 18, 2013


LSD.

Ha, we're more brown betty kind of girls.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:06 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dammit, Fizz beat me to it!!
posted by Kitteh at 8:07 AM on January 18, 2013


If I recall correctly, Walter spends much of season 3 (maybe 2? I just remember it happens in the house he shares with Peter and we see much less of that set in 4/5) attempting to perfect a strawberry milkshake.
posted by sendai sleep master at 10:12 AM on January 18, 2013


The final shot of Season 1 still stands out as one of the biggest "Oh, wait, holy shit!" moments that I've seen on a TV show.

I like this current trend of Sci Fi shows getting coherent story arcs with a satisfying end. I think that Dollhouse still wins the award for the best (and most compact) complete story arc, but it's hard to fault Fringe for successfully managing to reinvent itself so many times, and reach what is hopefully going to be a good conclusion.
posted by schmod at 10:37 AM on January 18, 2013


Season 1 is definitely weak.
I thought so too except for a) the immediate jolt upon watching the season finale for the first time and b) just how many elements that seemed throwaway at the time have come to have small, or large, impact upon the ongoing story.

I also loved the Oral History, and loved how everyone from top to bottom seemed truly grateful for the fans. That gave me a happy feeling. In EVERY universe.
posted by PapaLobo at 1:12 PM on January 18, 2013


Guys im caught up through AnomalyXB and I AM EXCITE.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Four hours to go.
I'm going to have to remove this thread from recent activity, aren't I?
posted by Mezentian at 4:43 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


YES I WILL BE OBNOXIOUS
posted by The Whelk at 4:58 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you for remembering Olivia is still an X-Man!
posted by The Whelk at 5:12 PM on January 18, 2013


So I just discovered that last week's ep didn't record (I've been out of town). I've acquired it, but in doing so I realized that this cold and the jet lag I have are making me much too stupid and short-attention-span-y to watch last week's and this week's finale with the attention I would like. Sigh. Gonna take this thread out of recent activity, because although I don't usually care too much about spoilers, in this instance I do! Have fun, y'all.
posted by rtha at 5:28 PM on January 18, 2013


Can we maybe not turn this into a liveblogging thread for the episode? There are other times zones and torrenters to consider.
posted by hippybear at 5:29 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Im shutting up with the comment: somebody is making good use of thier budget.
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on January 18, 2013


How to Tell if a TV Show is Probably Not Going to End Well was posted on io9.
I'm pretty sure Fringe has committed many of these sins.

I have a bad feeling about this.
posted by Mezentian at 6:14 PM on January 18, 2013


well that was....


...satisfying.
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am a happy Phoebe! Good ending, even if everyone saw it coming a mile away. Still want to jump September's bones.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:07 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


So happy my local Fox affiliate decided to stop fighting with DISH Network in the past 24 hours. I get to watch it live in my time zone rather than torrenting. Yay!
posted by hippybear at 7:09 PM on January 18, 2013


September totally had David/Fassbender hair for a while there.
posted by The Whelk at 7:10 PM on January 18, 2013


This episode(s) was really a master class in me going "wait why don't they" and then them doing it 3 seconds later.

I mean that as a compliment.
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 PM on January 18, 2013


Yeah, agreed, and while they didn't leave much time for denouement they did a good job telegraphing it in other ways so that it felt really satisfying. Even though my mother was saying in my ear, "WAIT I DON'T GET IT! Explain it to me??!" through the last four minutes or so.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:18 PM on January 18, 2013


Was I the only one giggling and cheering for them pulling off a clip show without actually having a clip show while simultaneously ratcheting up the tensions EVEN MORE?

(omg that was so great)
posted by tzikeh at 7:23 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, it was a Good Thing, obvious, but the word we're using is *satisfying* and I'm okay with that. Fringe got put to bed nicely.
posted by The Whelk at 7:24 PM on January 18, 2013


Of course, there's always the question of *WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THAT FINAL SHOT BECAUSE MEANING OF FINAL SHOT* (cue fanfic)
posted by tzikeh at 7:30 PM on January 18, 2013


One of the guys in the Entertainment Geekly podcast suggested that perhaps a movie will come next. He says this without any knowledge of how it ends (which I still don't have, so shut up). I could see paying to see that.
posted by hippybear at 7:32 PM on January 18, 2013


But wait fanfic? Impossible! It's pretty much AND THEN CLOSE THE BOOK AND KISS ON THE FOREHEAD GOODNIGHT.

God if you want more fanfic go into the fact there are established, canon alternate universes.

Although this means that the future world seen in season ....three? is now the Canon universe?
posted by The Whelk at 7:37 PM on January 18, 2013


HIPPYBEAR CAN WE GET A KICKSTARTER GOING?
posted by tzikeh at 7:39 PM on January 18, 2013


The Whelk - you don't think [FINAL SHOT] implied [IMPORTANT NEW FRINGE ADVENTURE STILL TO COME]?
posted by tzikeh at 7:40 PM on January 18, 2013


No, it's not, because that one came to be because of the holes between universes and the weapon being used to kill the redverse, right? But because Peter wiped himself from existence and then was brought back by the power of love they get a warm happy future which we have not seen.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:41 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


tzikeh, I can't for the life of me figure out what you mean--can you rot13 it?
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:42 PM on January 18, 2013


okay, I'm not reading this thread anymore. Thanks.
posted by hippybear at 7:44 PM on January 18, 2013


Ah okay so they have a whole new fresh sheet of universe paper to write on.
posted by The Whelk at 7:44 PM on January 18, 2013


hippybear that was a description of the end of season 3, not the finale.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:49 PM on January 18, 2013


PhoBWanKenobi:

Crgre bcraf gur rairybcr naq erirnyf gur juvgr ghyvc pneq. Gur ynfg fubg vf bs uvf snpr. Uvf rkcerffvba vf ng svefg orzhfrq, naq gura qrnqyl vagrafr. V'z abg fher ubj ryfr gb ernq gung rkcerffvba bgure guna "Ubyl fuvg! Jr unir gb tb gb gur shgher naq trg zl sngure onpx."
posted by tzikeh at 7:49 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


tzikeh:

Bu, V ernq gung nf chmmyrzrag. Gur rcvfbqr vzcyvrf gung nsgre ur svaqf gur ghyvc, ur'yy tb gb gur yno naq jngpu Jnygre'f ivqrb naq pbzr gb npprcg uvf sngure'f fnpevsvpr/ybir. Ohg vs gurl rire jnag gb znxr n zbivr nobhg Crgre geniryvat vagb gur shgher gb fnir uvf qnq, V'q jngpu vg!

V yvxr vzntvavat jung gur shgher cbffvovyvgvrf gung jbhyq nibvq n cnenqbk va frnfba 1-4 zvtug or. Rvgure gur bofreiref rkvfg, ohg gurl'er whfg unccl juvgr onyq fpvragvfg qhqrf (jvgu srryf), be Jnygre unf gb rafher gung gur bofreiref ner fgvyy qrirybcrq naq biregnxr uhznavgl ohg fvzcyl znxr gur qrpvfvba abg gb vainqr orpnhfr Zvpunry fbzrubj pbaivaprf gurz.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:53 PM on January 18, 2013


Ohg vs gurl rire jnag gb znxr n zbivr nobhg Crgre geniryvat vagb gur shgher gb fnir uvf qnq, V'q jngpu vg!

Hence my comment to hippybear about getting a Kickstarter going. ;)
posted by tzikeh at 7:55 PM on January 18, 2013


we could have a non-spoilery discussion about hair, or the lack of hair changes which is seriously just.....whatever.
posted by The Whelk at 7:58 PM on January 18, 2013


Although this means that the future world seen in season ....three? is now the Canon universe?

Was going to say yes to this but then I realized the finale makes September's actions at the lake in the 1980s impossible so it seems there are some more paradoxes for nature to abhor out of existence
posted by cnelson at 8:30 PM on January 18, 2013


the finale makes September's actions at the lake in the 1980s impossible

Weren't they already in a timeline where both Peters died? That was the whole handwaving nonsense at the start of season four, when Peter "never existed."
posted by gerryblog at 8:56 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just came here to paste a comment from another forum that said that, gerryblog:
The timeline in which this all happened was the new timeline in which Peter never existed. In season 4 Peter came into this new timeline and thus he is an anomaly in this timeline. The stuff with Walter kidnapped Peter from the other universe, with September saving them, etc. never happened in this timeline. Both Olivia (last season) and Walter (this season thanks to September/Donald) regained their memories from the other timeline of Peter of old, but it was still the new timeline. Thus erasing the Observers to stop the invasion wouldn't affect Peter.

At least that's how I see it.
That's . . . retroactively really brilliant.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:59 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's kind of turtles all the way down though. The season 4 timeline came into being because of the Observers manipulations in the previous timeline. I'm not sure if the show has ever been explicit ( or consistent) enough about its theory of time travel/paradoxes/the logistics of the reset button to say if this last change reverts everybody back to the original timeline or not.

The scene at the end was shot to look like a reprise of the park scene at the start of season 5, so I think the intent was a continuation of the season 4 timeline. But there's plenty of room for alternate interpretations.
posted by cnelson at 9:21 PM on January 18, 2013


You know what would make me happy? If people would stop dropping Lost spoilers into Fringe reviews and comment threads. I know it's partially my fault for waiting so long, but, still.
posted by redsparkler at 10:51 PM on January 18, 2013


I am just here to make grumpy faces about the series finale. Peter and Walter should both be dead. Without the Observers they would have never survived the return trip to the lake.

The last episode should have been the first episode MINUS MAD SCIENCE, MINUS PETER, MINUS WALTER
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:00 PM on January 18, 2013


I realize now that, yes, after some consideration, the season finale does establish the situation in the Season 4 universe. Still, the ending bugs me as they still ended up with a free Peter Bishop. The dude is like an inter-dimensional consolation prize. With two temporal paradoxes, you apparently get the third for free.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:24 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm happy with it. Every bit as bittersweet as I was expecting.

Hell, give Josh Jackson an Emmy as well. Even though I never watched one episode of Dawson's Creek, I had a general disdain for it, and Jackson was part and parcel of that disdain. He'll never be "Pacey".

Perhaps he never was, in some red universe or alternate timeline.

Lastly, I was reading HuffPo's piece on the finale, and someone came up with the best alternate-universe nickname ever. I loved Redstrid, but she's really Kick-Astrid.
posted by PapaLobo at 1:09 AM on January 19, 2013


You know what would make me happy? If people would stop dropping Lost spoilers into Fringe reviews and comment threads. I know it's partially my fault for waiting so long, but, still.

Looking back at what's been said about LOST in this thread, all I see is people going out of their way not to say anything specific about how it ended but rather talking in glittering generalities and broad strokes, which seems pretty considerate to me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:51 AM on January 19, 2013


Though I think the reason it's coming up are understandable: both were JJ Abrams joints, well-acted, mythology heavy science fiction shows. One gathered popularity as it chugged toward its ending; the other constantly teetered on the brink of cancellation. The way the stories develop and resolve couldn't be more different. To bring it back to the original article, the actors and writers of Fringe acknowledge that they knew all along that their choices would lose them viewers but would be the right artistic choices for the show. I think that's very brave.

The way that LOST was structured and resolves means that I'll likely never rewatch it, much less recommend it to anyone else. Meanwhile, though at times it's goofy, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Fringe to anyone. Like The Whelk said, the finale was sort of master class in quality TV writing in the way that it was paced and structured. Hell, given how many mythology-heavy SF shows have worked out, I think the same could be said for most of it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:00 AM on January 19, 2013


I also like how the entire plot for the finale was the Fringe team remembering what things exist and are available to them, its like they went back and rewatched the previous episodes or something!

Aslo I liked when Olive went totally A Link to The Past and almost ran out of manna for the magic mirror.
posted by The Whelk at 6:42 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I liked how the Thing that Does the Thing in the episode named after the Thing and the Thing it Does did the Thing again.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:02 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Other things locked in amber for two decades, Lee's hair.
posted by The Whelk at 7:04 AM on January 19, 2013


Fauxlivia spends 20 years shaping Blue Lincoln into Red Lincoln. Awkward!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:05 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Broyles escapes cause having him die what ...three times now, would've been excessive.
posted by The Whelk at 7:11 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Why Fringe’s Finale Marks the Decline of Sci-Fi on Network TV
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well when exactly was SciFi TV blooming and glorious?
posted by The Whelk at 7:30 AM on January 19, 2013


When there were syndicated TV shows, shown on independent stations? Y'know, the ones that showed Babylon 5 at 1 AM one weekend, then 3 AM the next? You just never knew. It was glorious, I say. GLORIOUS!
posted by PapaLobo at 7:33 AM on January 19, 2013


I pefer this fan curated show of Fringe related art
posted by The Whelk at 7:35 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's a pretty great analysis of the show and the lack of similar shows, though. Defiance looks interesting, too.

One of the problems with shows like Fringe, Life on Mars, and even (yes, I'll say it) Lost is that they tend to be marketed in a way that suggests to viewers that they're something other than they initially appear. I wasn't onboard from day 1 with any of them because I thought Fringe was a paranormal CSI-type show, Life on Mars a period cop show, and Lost a survival story. It would be nice if marketing would put the weird right up front. You know, for me.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:37 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


NEWS FLASH
JJ Abhrams in satisfying conclusion shocker


I enjoyed it. And since we are being spoiler free, there were some nice human moments, and stuff.
And it made sense.
Which, like, woah.
posted by Mezentian at 7:37 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


For once a bald child savior character didn't totally annoy me!

Maybe cause he never spoke....

(Also, Walter Bishop, Mass Effecter.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It would be nice if marketing would put the weird right up front. You know, for me.

And yet, for all of them, I thought they were what they were, and became.
Marketing issues?

To be fair, I only flagged fringe when Nerd sites went waywire over the alt.DC covers, but I loved Lost and (proper) LoM from ep1.
posted by Mezentian at 7:43 AM on January 19, 2013


He was surprisingly good, wasn't he? Some dude over at TWOP is lamenting the fact that he never spoke up to say goodbye to his father. He did, though, and it was subtle and touching.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:43 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just, you know, without speaking. Which is even more subtle and touching.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:43 AM on January 19, 2013


If you're referring to the American version of Life On Mars, I suggest you drop all knowledge of that and rush out and find the BBC version of it, plus the sequel series Ashes To Ashes. Quite brilliant, both of them in their own ways.

Why US media has to fuck things up by making it over and won't simply show originals is beyond me. Like, do we really need a US version of Downton Abbey? No. But what is Julian Fellows working on right now???
posted by hippybear at 7:45 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I like the American version of Life on Mars. I know it's controversial and fairly unnecessary in minds of the fans of the original, but I thought the acting and writing was pretty good, if rushed. One of Jason O'Mara's better roles. (We shall not speak of Terra Nova)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:47 AM on January 19, 2013


I have never watched Downton Abby, but I have a Walter-ish plan to stop am American version.
Unless it is set on a southern cotton plantation and is pretty much the most offensive thing ever, in which case it is okay.
posted by Mezentian at 7:50 AM on January 19, 2013


(We shall not speak of Terra Nova)

Fringe, with dinosaurs, and less sense.
posted by Mezentian at 7:50 AM on January 19, 2013


And poor acting and bland characters.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:00 AM on January 19, 2013


Like, do we really need a US version of Downton Abbey? No. But what is Julian Fellows working on right now???

...this is a joke, right? Please tell me this is a joke.

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A US VERSION OF DOWNTON ABBEY. I... it... what... you can't, because HISTORY AND CULTURE AND SHIT.

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻ <-- (imagine Queen Anne sideboard in lieu of table)
posted by tzikeh at 8:03 AM on January 19, 2013


I'm sorry, it has been 20 minutes and the retrospective hate has not set in for Fringe.

That's like 200% more time than BSG or Lost got.
posted by Mezentian at 8:04 AM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


My only complaint about Fringe's season 5 was the complete absence of Rachel and Ella.

Especially given Olivia's own daughter was named Etta.

That's my only complaint. Given how much Olivia loved Ella, and the few critical moments Ella had in earlier episodes, I'd have thought there'd at least have been a mention of them by Etta or an Olivia tracking them down and staring at their lighted apartment under the cover of darkness. Or something. Some acknowledgement there.

But that's my only complaint.
posted by zizzle at 8:10 AM on January 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


US version of Downtown- we have that it's called Dallas.
posted by The Whelk at 8:15 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's funny about BSG. I really enjoyed it, had no problem with the ending, well acted, etc. etc.

But I'll never watch it again. It is the single most grim television show I have ever watched. Did no one have a gallows sense of humor amongst the rag-tag fleet? No. Whereas Fringe gleefully created parallel universes and alternate timelines and delicious strawberry flavored death without sacrificing ... well, much of anything.

Want me to love your characters? Make them funny at the absolute worst/inappropriate times.
posted by PapaLobo at 8:16 AM on January 19, 2013


Also at no point was Tyrol seen in a towel shot.

So unsatisfying.
posted by The Whelk at 8:18 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's funny about BSG. I really enjoyed it, had no problem with the ending, well acted, ec. etc. But I'll never watch it again. It is the single most grim television show I have ever watched.

BSG doesn't always make sense the second time, but some bits resonate the second time. A lot. There just needs to be an edit where 4.5 is the end, and Starbuck dies.
posted by Mezentian at 8:19 AM on January 19, 2013


...this is a joke, right? Please tell me this is a joke.

This is so much not a joke: it's called The Gilded Age, and it's in development right now.
posted by hippybear at 8:20 AM on January 19, 2013


I maintain that everything after New Caprica is Lee Adama's sad fan fiction where he saves the day and loses all his weight (how do you gain weight in a resource-strapped space ship...) and he's totally destined and Starbuck likes him and she's literally magical and....
posted by The Whelk at 8:21 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


oh god as someone who has screamed at the first season at Downton with EDWARDIANS DON'T WORK THAT WAY and who knows even more about 1880s New York, I am just clenching already.
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Spoilerish discussion request

.

.

So...Though I've watched Fringe from day-1, I admit to some confusion with the finale...The letter Peter receives is from Walter (or, at least, "W. Bishop") But, in the re-set timeline, does Walter no longer exist? If he does not exist, did he time-travel back to mail the letter?

But, if he does not exist in the re-set timeline, who is Peter's father? Or is he unaware of whomever his father may be, as an orphan might, since he is, in fact, not from this universe?

Oh, and, yay! for a sort-of cameo from Gene!
posted by Thorzdad at 8:27 AM on January 19, 2013


Thorzdad, rot13 for you:

Jnygre qvfnccrnef sebz 2015 bajneq. Frnfbaf 1-4 unccrarq nf jr frr gurz, va gur nzore (zretrq, crgreyrff-ohg-sbe-gur-cbjre-bs-ybir) gvzryvar.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:39 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thorzdad - Jnygre rkcynvarq jung jbhyq unccra gb uvz, va gur gvzryvar, va gur rcvfbqr, naq jul, naq ubj vg jbhyq jbex. :) Gvzr geniry naq cnenqbkrf naq fb ba ner qvssvphyg gb trg naljurer arne nccebnpuvat "znxrf frafr," ohg VZB gurl qvq whfg svar urer.
posted by tzikeh at 9:42 AM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This ending gave me just the right amount of detail I needed/wanted.

Thusly, it leaves room for me to imagine all kinds of great things within the Fring-verse.

Loved it.

Also, between the Broyles/Winmark "humans are infectious" interrogation scene AND the scene like 5 or 6 episodes ago where a surprised Observer turns around to get shot by Olivia after she snarkily says "yeah, it's that kind of gun!" thus saving her love interest. What I'm trying say is, am I the only one that got cheeky, awesome, on purpose, Matrix homages at times in this season?
posted by sendai sleep master at 11:42 AM on January 19, 2013


I really, really loved seasons 3-4. Season 5 was such a letdown. The 2 episodes last night were no different, unfortunately.
posted by e40 at 12:01 PM on January 19, 2013


I feel like the "what's your ranking of Fringe seasons from best to worst" conversation is going to be one that fans have for a long time, except when it comes to Season 3 which I think is the undeniable high point.

These last two seasons have been polarizing, certainly. For instance, e40, I found that Season 5's good moments greatly outweighed its flaws whereas it took all my patience to make it through Season 4.
posted by sendai sleep master at 12:13 PM on January 19, 2013


Even the writers think Season 4 was a mis-step.
posted by Mezentian at 4:19 PM on January 19, 2013


I thought the beginning of 4 was very thought-provoking (and Noble's acting was superb, as usual), but it never rose above a thought experiment and the way Olivia's memories were restored felt sloppy. Plus, thought I liked the idea of Walter as a shut-in, it seemed to mostly exist as an excuse for more product placement.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:29 PM on January 19, 2013


I'm in the Season Four was a strange experiment that didn't really work set except for the ending, not cause of the plotting, which was, .....questionable but because Olivia totally gets to be Jean Grey for like three episodes and you could literally just transpose her dialogue into a Claremont-era X-Man book and it would be GREAT and it totally fit and Olivia Dunham is like my favorite superhero ever now.
posted by The Whelk at 9:21 PM on January 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


But yes I always in the camp that likes Fringe the best when it was giving us awesome X-Man stories which it did a lot and often.
posted by The Whelk at 9:23 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So... I pretty much hated season 5, then really loved the ending. It was like it suddenly ce alive and they were allowed to move the story forwards. Loved the somewhat paradoxical last scene - fuck it, time travel is basically magic, I'm not gonng to quibble.
posted by Artw at 10:35 PM on January 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As someone upthread said... satisfying. Not perfect, but pretty damn satisfying.

For me, the absolute highlight of the show was the season between 2x16 "Peter" and 3x15 "Subject 13". After that, though, I admired the show's willingness to reinvent itself and play with viewer expectations.

While Season 4 is problematic in some ways (I feel like there was a reduction in Olivia's character once the show became a story about Peter + Liv forever!), for me it continued a central theme of the series - what is it that makes us who we are. Seeing these characters live in a Peter-less universe and noting how similar/different they were was a lovely contrast to the more typical sci fi premise of alternative universes, which worked so well through the whole series.

Season 5 feels like a coda to the story - a whole year of the characters solving one fringe event. The parallel universe story is concluded in season four - and season five deals with the one last major "fringe event", the invasion of the Observers. And since the Observers are there since episode one, it seems fitting to spend time dealing with who they are and what they became.

I know we're avoiding specific spoilers here, but I will say I found the ending to Walter's story fitting, even though the steps that got us there (over the whole season) didn't quite make it feel earned. I did like that Walter felt guilty through Season 5 for slowly becoming the man he used to be... and I think that should have played more in the final two episodes.

The final image of the series is beautiful, though. And suggests to me that Peter might put the pieces together eventually, but we need not see that happen. (Much like everyone slowly remembered Peter in season 4, I think Walter will be remembered in the future that we'll never see.)

And I think season 1 is still very good. It is monster of the week early on, but even before the initial 13 episode order is done, the show is laying the groundwork for what is to come. And very quickly the show is answering questions with much more regularity than LOST ever did in its first few seasons.

I understand the comparison to The X-Files - it's sort of how I pitch the show to people who haven't watched Fringe. "It's like the X-Files, but the ongoing arc story pays off and makes sense!" Because never was I so invested in the characters of the X-Files the way I have been with Olivia Dunham, Peter Bishop, Walter Bishop and their alternative selves.
posted by crossoverman at 3:05 AM on January 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is there any science fiction left on TV, now that Fringe is over?
posted by Artw at 9:53 PM on January 21, 2013


John Noble is ... Brainiac.

Also Listen to the Fringe cast’s real accents in this farewell video.
Revelations: Anna Torv is Australian, and Noble's Australian accent is... so Australian.
posted by Mezentian at 2:31 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


FUCK YEAH.

(And superman is wearing his pants)
posted by Artw at 2:34 PM on January 31, 2013


Revelations: Anna Torv is Australian, and Noble's Australian accent is... so Australian.

One of my favourite things about the show is that it starred a Canadian and two Australians.

The first time I heard Noble's real accent was on a Fringe commentary, which was just odd. But, even as an Australian myself, I only know Noble's acting work from Fringe and as Denethor in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.
posted by crossoverman at 3:23 AM on February 1, 2013


I've come back to this thread because I finally watched finale last night. It was, as y'all have said, very satisfying.

And now I'm starting a marathon rewatch!
posted by rtha at 3:18 PM on February 3, 2013


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