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Five things that could help 'Fringe'

November 12, 2009 |  9:00 am

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Last week, “Fringe” hit an all-time low in the Nielsens. Only about 5 million viewers tuned in to check out “Earthling.” Heck, “Hank” got a bigger share of the Thursday night audience. A show that's already been cancelled. What’s with that?

To be fair, “Fringe” wasn’t in a good position last week. After two weeks of being preempted by the World Series, viewers might not have known there was a new episode. There were reports all over the Web of TiVos and DVRs not recording the crazy science of the week, but that’s not going to stop me from taking this time to put out my list of the Five Things that could help “Fringe.”

#5 – Stop beating around the bush

We were promised this season that “Fringe” was going to “get to it.” Season 1 ended with Olivia in the alternate reality about to finally have a conversation with the mysterious William Bell. Then it took four episodes in Season 2 before we got to see that conversation.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking to jump-start the war alluded to in the ZFT manifesto. I agree with the sentiments of Kurtzman, Orci and Pinker that the buildup to war is just as interesting as war itself. But how about smaller things like the fact that Peter is actually alternate universe Peter? I know it’s fun to place hints in every episode, but it would be even more fun to watch the fallout from that revelation. What’s not fun is knowing too much more than the characters you’re watching. Just get to it already.

#4 – Crack out the “Lost” DVDs

“Fringe” could pick up some tips from its big brother “Lost.” They both have bizarre sci-fi elements and puzzle pieces hidden all over, but “Lost” also has one thing that “Fringe” could desperately use: deep character development. Not just in one or two leads, but in every character on the show.

“Fringe” made a good step toward this in “Earthling” by fleshing out Agent Broyles. We got to see new sides of the boss man, but it was just our first glimpse into the character. Plus, there are many side characters that could use similar treatment: Nina Sharp, William Bell and Astrid. Oh, and on a similar note…

#3 – Stop killing your bad guys so fast

David Robert Jones = Dead. Mitchell Loeb = Dead. Evil Shape-Shifting Charlie = Dead. Sanford Harris = Dead. Well, actually I don’t mind that last one. I never did care for Harris.

Give the Fringe Division someone to square off against for more than a couple of episodes. An enemy. I hope that the new frozen-head leader of the shape-shifting soldiers will prove to be a formidable opponent for Olivia and the Bishops -- if he doesn’t die right away.

#2 – Pick up your loose ends

Go back and watch the first season of “Fringe” on DVD. There are a bunch of little things (especially at the beginning) that seem to have been forgotten. What was with that secret group that Nina Sharp and Agent Broyles met with to discuss the Pattern? How about Olivia’s stepfather? Weren’t there people trying to track down Peter? And what was he even doing in Iraq? Where did Olivia’s sister and niece go? What caused the fire in Walter’s lab that eventually led to him getting institutionalized?

#1 – Move back to Tuesday

OK, this one is probably beyond the powers that be at “Fringe.” More likely it is for the suits at Fox, but please, please, PLEASE move “Fringe” back to Tuesday. Thursdays are already too jam-packed with things I want to watch. I had to switch from TiVo to DVR in order to record both “Fringe” and “The Office/30 Rock.”

“Fringe” used to make my Tuesday nights. Now there’s nothing on Tuesdays but reality television (I haven’t had the chance to check out “V” yet).  Or, if not Thursdays, what about moving “Fringe” over to Wednesdays? Team it up with “Glee"? Think about the powerhouse block of television you could build there. Huh? Huh?

I only bring these things up because I care. “Fringe” was my favorite new show last season and still continues to endlessly entertain me in its sophomore year. I remember how giddy I was last week when I caught the Observer. Me. Giddy. Ask any of my friends, and they’ll tell you I’m not usually full of gid.

Rumor has it the next couple of episodes weigh heavily on Massive Dynamic and the Observer. I hope that will get the kiddies back in front of their TV sets. Hope so. I don’t want anything bad happening to my “Fringe.”

-- Andrew Hanson

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PHOTO: Fox Television

 

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