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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)

One little problem with this story. Hank was on Wednesday and not Thursday, so unless I'm wrong, it couldn't have gotten a bigger share than Fringe for that night.

Mitchell Loeb isn't dead.

Definately agree with switching back to Tuesday. I bought the first season on DVD and have been a fan since. I actually quit watching television 5 years ago because there was nothing but reality shows and boring drivel but after seeing Fringe, I turned the TV on again just to watch it.... Fox needs to listen to the fans and move this show to a different night. If they do they may just find that they have another X-Files type hit on their hands.

One of the reasons Fringe dropped in the ratings that Thursday was that Time-Warner still had the World Series scheduled on the cable box instead of a new episode of Fringe. People who had the box set to record the show "first run" in that time slot may not have gotten it.

Seriously how many people have to say move Fringe to a different night to save it will it take before the egg heads at Fox actually listen.

I love Fringe, Love it!!
There's too much going on on Thursdays.
Egg Heads, Move The Show!!

Yes, please, Tuesday!!!!!!! Sick of seeing good shows cancelled because some suit is so concerned with competing with other networks "star nights", and then all we get is another reality show when it inevitably falls short in the ratings.

I whole-heartedly agree! I love Fringe! The newest episode, Of Human Action, blew me away. It was the best of the second season. I am giddy too, when Fringe comes on.

Happy investigating,


I sure hope FOX understands just how special this show is. How can a network spend millions on producing and airing a show, and then bounce it around like a ping-pong ball in a snowstorm - and then wonder why ratings drop? This show needs to be treated with respect. It is well-written, actors and characters are getting better every episode, the public cares about this show - and you give it a slot where it is difficult to see. Tuesday would be a great night. I DVR it, so I watch when I get a chance. My whole family watches. I have "sold" this show to many of my friends - and then they can't find it or it is on when other popular shows are on. FOX execs have got to be smarter than that, right?

New shows can't compete with The Office/30 Rock or Grey's Anatomy. Move Fringe back to Tuesday before you turn it into another Firefly... The popularity of Fringe will take awhile to grow. There's no competition with anyone's Tuesday line-up. On Thursday nights, people aren't going to abandon their favorite programs to sample something new. Wise up before you lose more viewers. I love Fringe and would really hate to see it gone.

I agree everything you say.
I didn't watch last episode because the promo showed it was not about ZFT. This kind of episodes could work on first season but after knowing about ZFT, alternate universe, peter doesn´t belong ti hist universe, incoming war,..... you don´t really care about this pointless episodes not related to the main story of the serie.
Fisrt season's episodes showed many episodes like the last week's ones but most of them had something to do the incoming war or bigger story worth to tell.

PS: Apologize for my mistakes, i am not an english speaker.

Thank you Andrew Hanson! You put into words, into a format, what we were all thinking! We are faithful watchers but come on, too many loose ends that could serve as clues but instead leave you high and dry. We also need character development as you say, some backstory revelations and some light mixed with dark. Very dark and gloomy here. Where is my hood? The actors are supurb so give them some length and breadth and height! I totally agree with switching this show to Tuesdays. Way overloaded. I am recording multiple shows every hour on Thursdays as it is.

Another comment. The show may be losing its luster by bringing in too much gorey horror. We need mystery, intrigue and fast paced travel in a labyrinth that gives no slack. We need some uncovering of Massive Dynamic as well. These last shows gave a peek and its hinting at covertness there. Stay away from the trite storylines about mind control. Get down and dirty.

Keep it humming . . . .

I agree with everything in the article. If I miss one, I watch it online through Hulu.com the very next day otherwise, it's the first thing when it becomes available. But this article totally gets it . . .

Fox, are you listening???

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