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Five things that could help 'Fringe'

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

"Fringe": Dusty

"Fringe" producers talk about the new season

Complete "Fringe" coverage on Show Tracker  

PHOTO: Fox Television


Comments () | Archives (32)

haven't watched this season...they moved it and it's now opposite better shows - it was good, but 30 Rock and the Office are better. Too bad.


we love Fringe and can't wait for the next episodes to come out.

Yes, definitely, PLEASE, move Fringe back to Tuesdays (or even Mondays... I still miss Surface and Terminator: SCC, both originally Monday shows). The competition on Thursdays is too steep, and Fringe will just get lost in the shuffle... although I suppose a Friday timeslot would be even worse, and would likely kill the show outright (cf. Dollhouse).

Loose ends are tricky for any show, even Lost, which I love; I doubt even the geniuses (and I mean that sincerely) running that show are gonna be able to sew up and/or explain every last little story thread by the finale.

And I know that, with Fringe, there is... and necessarily has to be... a tension between making episodes that are "stand alone," so that any average viewer can "drop in" and still be able to follow what's going on, while at the same time trying to please the diehard fans who catch it every week and who are more interested in the ZFT-alt.reality stuff. A tough line to walk, but Fringe is doing a good job so far.

And while I do miss the mysterious David Robert Jones (who doesn't love a superior-than-thou Euro-villain?) and feel they did him in too quickly, he did have a nice little run and an especially memorable exit. As for Charlie, I liked regular Charlie, although obviously the cast was a little too crowded, so he had to go. But I'm happy that Evil Shapeshifter Charlie got the axe when he did; JJ did a similar thing one Alias when Sydney's past pal Francine was replaced by an evil replicant, and that story line went on WAY too long

I agree, back to Tuesday. Tuesday is vacant of worthwhile television. And yes, I loved Fringe last year, this year? Not so much. Too X-files-y.

I would've missed last week if I hadn't been 'looking' for the episode. Yes - my cable managed DVR showed the 'substitute' shows for the games.

I'd love it if they'd move to Monday or Tuesday. Not that I'll stop watching or recording on Thursday. I decided to dump CSI - wasn't hard to do. But there's STILL so much more to choose from!

And yes - more character development would be GREAT! What's up with Aster? Peter? Nina?? There's a real mystery... Nina?

Well... still love the show! Always waitin' for more.

I totally agree with everything. I still love Fringe, but am starting to feel that it was better its first season. I kind of feel like they are going on all these storyline tangents. Lets bring it back to its roots. And definitely back to Tuesday. Tuesday night TV sucks.

The incredibly low rating for Fringe on Nov. 5 is solely the fault of the fools running Fox.
It has been the practice in the past of all the networks that all replacements for games 5, 6 & 7 of the World Series won't be first run shows. Fox changed that on Nov. 5 & Fringe was the victim of that stupidity.

I also missed it & had to watch it online in a herky-jerky tiny video on my monitor. And I don't use Tivo, I use the Zap2It listings! I just didn't update it, but when I looked online, it still showed game 7 occurring.

And yes, move it back to Tuesday, much less on that night!

Lost Shmost, i'm so sick of hearing how EVERYTHING has to be like LOST, it's not even that good, overhyped poop.

"I don’t want anything bad happening to my 'Fringe.'"

That makes two of us (and counting, I'm sure). I had to fight tooth and nail to get this into the DVR rotation and I'm still bitter after losing 'Southland' and 'Life'. I've been fretting about 'Fringe' since its debut -- will it find an audience, will it jump the shark, will it completely lose me like... well... 'Lost'? A little love and patience could make this a great series.

Great show, bad night. It's going up against too many well established shows that already have a strong audience following. Hey Fox execs, how about moving Fringe to a better night where it can establish an audience of it's own and THEN put it up against the big boys? It's too good of a show to get lost in all the Thursday madness!

I so agree. The last two episodes have been more monster-of-the-week type of deals. And Fringe was my new favorite show last year, now with it on Thursdays, I have to pick between it or Grey's.
Also, I would really love to see them do more with Astrid, the interaction between her and Walter is always hilarious, but remember her crush on Peter?

Amen to everything you have said. I hope you have sent a copy to JJ and co who produce/write the show and also sent Fox a copy as well.

I'm sure their aware of the angst out there about this show in terms of timeslot and what the writers are not giving us. I think they are just burying their heads in the sand and saying "Can't hear you, can't hear you".

Personally i think it's a great show. It stomps the pants off of Lost, cause that show was/is just lost. 30 rock and the office just suck all together, (how can you even compare that to Fringe?
As far as having to wait a few episodes to see the conversation, i think that just adds to the anticipation of more things to come. I know it made me tune in more.
I think it need's a little more action, the last few episodes have been more talk and not enough action.
Someone want to tell me what the Shadow had to do with anything? Seems like that was just thrown in there. I do think it is getting a little off track, but maybe that is for a reason. I mean, what happened to Nina's important message? Where is the road to those episodes gone to? Wasn't she supposed to do something and save the world?
My point is they need to stay on course, and not make this show jumbled up like they did on Lost, ( A great show thrown to garbage, i ended up turning the channel after season 1 and a half.)

I'm beginning to get that deja vu feeling watching Fringe. Love the show, but it's starting to remind me a little of Twin Peaks. I keep waiting for it to go somewhere, but the steps are so incremental, it feels like the show is standing still.
I'll probably keep watching it, but I stopped watching Lost early when it stopped making any logical sense to me.

I adore Fringe and sincerely hope it's moved back to Tuesdays. But please, do not take a page out of Lost's book. I loathe Lost. The character development on Fringe is focussed and centered on the relationships. I think we're getting more forward momentum without losing the unique character beats.

thank you! yes it needs to go back to tuesday nights,
thursday too much---

looking foward to the observer episodes

I think it's funny how people like to dis Lost, CSI, etc. I personally think Lost is a lot better than Fringe, but to each their own. Why bash what other people like? I would love it if Fringe moved back to Tuesday though, for similar reasons as stated. Now there's nothing to watch on Tuesdays...

"Earthlings" got low ratings b/c baseball was on the official schedule for on-screen tv guides. That's the reason I missed it, which really ticked me off. I had to watch the episode online, which is bummer since I have a 60" HD TV.

Also, this is what happens to shows when networks start messing with schedules, move it back to Tuesday or a night OTHER than Thursday. I've read many of these stories today and that's been the #1 viewer request.

The story lines are fine, they don't need to be changed. They just moved it to Thursdays too soon (and during the world series!), they also showed repeats for a while - interrupting the "flow" of new episodes. That's the only thing hurting ratings right now.

Fringe fan!

I hope fringe picks up. I really like it. It keeps you guessing. The actors are good, and it is enteraining. Sometimes you just want to chill. It is better than watching a bunch of people stranded(?) on some island, or trying to find their way around the world. I cannot believe people think this is real television.

Excellent points! Agree with all of them! Please let Fringe survive - I just discovered it last month and have almost burned out the dvd player watching the entire first season twice through as well as replaying the current episodes several times. It's been a long time since I've been this fanatical about a show. Now it's a weekly countdown to when Fringe is next on!

And I do like the one about stop beating around the bush - Peter has got to find out this season about Walter bringing him over from the other side. You are right, he has to find out so we can see the fall-out and how it drives the show forward. Then bring on a long-term baddie (yes, what did happen to the Shape changer? )

The writers are good, I care about this show and the characters so very much.
It deserves to have its own night where everyone can watch it, and not have to play DVR-tag. I'm right with you with dvr-ing 30 Rock and the Office so I can see Fringe live!

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