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Sci-Fi Television Entertainment

J.J. Abrams Promises 'Fringe' Will Die Fighting 392

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the walternate-for-president dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Fringe creator J.J. Abrams has said of the show's much-maligned move to Friday nights, 'Fringe deserves to live beyond season 3. If we're going to fail, let's go down doing the most bad ***, weirdest, interesting, sophisticated version of a series that we could possibly do.' Previous announcements about the move were more defensive, claiming that Fringe's shift to Fridays was an attempt to draw younger viewers back to the 'dead zone' of Friday nights. But season three has been confused enough in tone and approach that it's no surprise to hear yet another contradictory statement about its future..." Good episodes of Fringe have been great TV. I've really enjoyed the first half of the season and am looking forward to seeing what they do with it. A lot of mediocre SciFi has been shut down recently (Caprica? SGU?) and a lot of bad SciFi continues (V?) but Fringe flirts with greatness with regularity. I hope it makes it... even though on Friday it's not likely.
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J.J. Abrams Promises 'Fringe' Will Die Fighting

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:13PM (#34953898)

    This is one of those series that I keep hearing fellow geeks talk about (like Eureka) that I just don't get. I tried watching a couple of episodes of this show early on, and all I saw was a pretty boring, predictable, and pedestrian "incident of the week" show with some pretty silly supernatural or pseudo-scientific themes. It reminded me of the X-files in that regard (with the notable exceptions of the frickin' *brilliant* X-files episodes that Darin Morgan [wikipedia.org] wrote).

    So what is supposed to be so great about this series, again?

    • by Skythe (921438) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:23PM (#34954042)
      Watch Season 2 onward. I too took the same precedent as you, but the story developers late season 1, is strengthened season 2; and by the end of season 2/start of season 3 it's enthralling. Without spoiling too much, the "bad" guys/race are the fringe team in a specific alternate dimension, and they have a rich interlinked past which is explored in the show. Might sound a little cheezy from how I put it, but it's executed brilliantly.
    • by lightknight (213164) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:25PM (#34954094) Homepage

      First Season -> lots of one-off stories, not much plot development.
      Second Season -> switch to development of an actual, ongoing, underlying plot. Not so many one-off stories.

      The first season annoyed me, as people were billing Fringe as a replacement for the X-Files (which has a major legacy to live up to), and IMHO, it has yet to prove itself in that arena. However, starting with the second season, there are some actual developments of a plot, which makes the show more watchable. The jury is out on whether this plot will each lead to something exciting/interesting/entertaining, or if the writers will write themselves into a hole, and pull a Lost.

    • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:25PM (#34954096) Journal
      It's a long way from hard science fiction, but it's entertaining, has a decent story arc (something missing from a lot of episodic TV), and entertaining - if somewhat stereotyped - characters.
      • by Sockatume (732728)

        There are a few episodes in the middle of season 2, centering around Walter, that are some of the best TV drama, and best TV science fiction, I have ever seen. The show deserves to live for that kind of bravery alone.

    • I guess you didn't like the finale of Lost either, did you? Some shows are worth just because of their entertainment value. Fringe is the best one in that regard. It's not Lost. It's not The X-Files (which, let me remind you, for a lot of seasons was "incident of the week" only). But it's not Eureka of Warehouse 13, either; those are plain silly shows. Fringe tries to be a little more serious, even if the science is ridiculous. So, instead of watching Big Brother or re-runs of Friends, you watch Fringe. No
      • So, instead of watching Big Brother or re-runs of Friends, you watch Fringe.

        "I find television very educational. Every time someone switches it on I go into another room and read a good book."

        There are a couple of series I like, but unfortunately they are so amazingly rare, especially in drama (for comedy there are a few nice ones from the UK).

    • by Damek (515688)

      Huh, looks like your guy Darin Morgan (yes, excellent X-Files episodes) is a consulting producer for Fringe. Go figure.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Maybe it's really aimed at pseudogeeks....

  • SGU bad? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by feepness (543479) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:17PM (#34953958) Homepage
    SGU, like any show, took some time to find its footing, but it had certainly started to pick up the pace.

    Compared to the original two series, it was much better than the "go through a Stargate and everyone speaks English" tripe. Not that SG and SGA weren't fun, but they weren't "great scifi".
    • Re:SGU bad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BlackErtai (788592) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:28PM (#34954146) Homepage
      I'm with you 100%. I don't understand why everybody hated SGU so much, as I found the show completely engrossing and interesting. It took longer to bond with the characters, but that's because McGuyver wasn't wisecracking on the firing line in this one. I, for one, already miss the show, and we're still supposed to get the 2nd half of season 2. All those people that enjoyed SG-1 Redux, aka Atlantis, just wanted another copy of the original. I was thrilled they did something totally different with the property.
    • Re:SGU bad? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by lightknight (213164) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:38PM (#34954322) Homepage

      Perhaps, but I would argue that SG1 and SGA were more entertaining. You kind of get the feeling, as how some people remark about the original Star Wars trilogy, that the actors were doing Scifi, yes, but they were also having fun on the set, and were not below using a campy style when it suited them.

      SGU is, for me, like the Star Wars prequels. It's like Stargate Continuum: it never happened.

      SGU is exactly what the writers were making fun of in SG1's 200: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/200_%28Stargate_SG-1%29

      It's the younger, edgier version of SG1, with several plot lines lifted directly from the spoof (200) (pregnancy anyone?). From what I can surmise, having watched SGU, despite the intense pain, is that SGU is SGA rebooted, with a different cast. "We are far away from home, can communicate with home, and are surrounded by Ancient technology." It's SG1 with the military angle, it's SGA with the far from home angle, it's a disaster without any good humor.

      • by Stele (9443)

        My biggest problem with SGU is none of the characters are even remotely likable. I know stress turns people into jerks but the whole ship is full of them. I wish they'd spend more time exploring more of the ship (kind of like in SGA how they kept finding interesting bits of the city) and have a little fun doing it.

        And the whole business with Chloe bores me to tears. Kill her off already.

        • My biggest problem with SGU is none of the characters are even remotely likable.
          I disagree, the younger airman who died in the shuttle crash was likable, the redhead from the alliance, and the large breasted lieutenant. The rest of the people seem like bad stereotypes. Agreed on the Chloe thing dragged out for far too long.
        • by gfreeman (456642)

          Actually, I found Greer to be a fascinating character.

      • Re:SGU bad? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Frangible (881728) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:09PM (#34954974)
        Indeed. SGU was very much the "200" allusion, and it didn't please many fans when SGA, which had higher ratings than SGU and cost less to make, was canceled in favor of it. Brad Wright & co are simply not Ron Moore, and do best writing SG1/SGA style scripts.

        Has anyone tried to rewatch BSG lately, anyway? While I enjoyed its first broadcasts, more recently I found it to be melodramatic, slow, and boring. The plots are too tied in to current events and political issues from several years ago, and it has not aged gracefully. So, even if Brad Wright & co had done better copying BSG, I'm not sure it was really something worth emulating at this point. Before someone flames me and says how awesome it was back in the day -- yes, I agree, it was -- but try watching it again today. It's not very enjoyable or interesting.

        SGU was not much of a Stargate, at all. Does anyone recall the episode with Stargate Command / Sam Carter and the F-302 raid on a Lucian Alliance base? It felt nothing like a Stargate, and was simply bizarre to watch.

        That said, I took no pleasure from SGU's cancellation. While not on par with SG1 or SGA, its writing was improving, and was somewhat watchable. Most of the characters were uninteresting, the BSG-wannabe camerawork was terrible, and Season 1 was mostly unwatchable. But, it was improving. Just not enough.

        Still, I would have preferred SGA remain on the air. A proper Stargate series should be tongue-in-cheek, use cameras with image stabilization functions, be recorded by people who understand how to properly expose a shot, and be filmed in the forests of British Columbia, which coincidentally look like every alien world the SG teams visit.

        Also, regarding the grandparent's claims that "everyone spoke English" through the Stargate... no, they didn't, not initially in SG1. But having dialog that Daniel had to translate, then have O'Neill say something, and have that get translated again, was just cumbersome. Further, some of the humans transplanted by the Gao'uld were in fact, white dudes from Earth who natively spoke English. So yes, they should probably be speaking English.

        Stargate gets dubbed for foreign language markets anyway. Do you think they speak French, German or Italian full-time at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex? Survey says: no.
      • The thing that made SG-1 good was Richard Dean Anderson being a producer as well as an actor. This meant that when the script had long pages of Carter technobabbling with some cringeworthy pseudoscience, he could interrupt her after one sentence and ask for an English translation. With the subsequent attempts, no one stops the writers from spending pages at a time demonstrating their lack of basic scientific knowledge to the audience.
    • SGU was a clear attempt to clone BSG. Dark set on a ship in the middle of nowhere, excess shaky cam.

      But in an amateur attempt to clone the dramatic elements of BSG, they created a ship of fools, the characters were written as unlikable, incompetent, shrieking morons. That regularly engaged in reality show histrionics.

      It was like the cast of big brother sent into space, where they ham up interpersonal conflict for TV, heck they even had confession cameras. They had a bunch of lame cookie cutter stereotypes,

    • Who's even saying it's bad, besides Syfy? I was amazed at how big an international following Stargate Universe already has, with the first season having aired across Europe. And it pulled in a lot of my friends who didn't like SGA. I think the main reason it died was just that it was a lot more expensive than the greenscreen and four actors it takes to make Sanctuary (I really tried to like that show, it has Nikola Tesla as an electric vampire, but I just couldn't get into it, which is a common theme in
    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Then explain the last few episodes. The time filler of the stupid music needs to go away. And the episode where a brand new shuttle appears with everyone on it was simply a way to give them a shuttle back.

  • by derrickh (157646) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:19PM (#34953984) Homepage

    This is easily my favorite show. It's smart, fun, and Olivia Dunham is one of the best leading characters ever.

    D

    • This is easily my favorite show. It's smart, fun, and Walter Bishop is one of the best leading characters ever.

      FTFY

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:20PM (#34954002)

    ...when Hulkamania runs wild on your program schedule?

    I don't see how Fringe could possibly compete with wrasslin' on Friday night. I mean, that's what hardcore sci-fi geeks are really after, right?

    • HAHAHA.....if I had mod points...I'd use them on someone else, you're already at +5 Funny.

      Seriously though, WTF is up with "wrasslin" on Sci-Fi (I refuse to use their new name).

      If for no other reason, I hope Fringe gets canceled and picked up by Sci-Fi to replace wrestling.

  • or even new TV series. Srsly.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:24PM (#34954066) Journal

    Season 2 finished in May last year. It wasn't available for me to rent on DVD until September. I watched Season 1 over the summer and, because season 2 wasn't available I couldn't add it to my rental queue. I forgot about it until just now.

    When I rent a DVD, the studio gets some money. There's no need to persuade advertisers that I might buy something they advertise, it's a direct transaction - I exchange money for something they've created. Very often, however, they don't even bother releasing the DVD until after they've already cancelled the show.

    There's no reason for DVDs to take this long. They can produce the menus concurrently with the show and just drop in the episodes once they're done. Some shows have come out with half-season DVD releases at the mid-season break, which is great. ITV managed to release DVDs of the last two dramatisations of Sharpe the day after they were first broadcast.

    In short, if you want to sell a TV show to a relatively small market, sell it to them, don't sell it to a network, who will sell it to advertisers, who will sell things to the viewers, and hope that after the two layers of indirection taking their cut that you have enough money to continue.

  • by SashaM (520334) <msasha&gmail,com> on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:24PM (#34954068) Homepage

    After the betrayal that was "Lost", I'm no longer watching anything by J. J. Abrams. Apparently the latest model of attracting viewers is to keep throwing mysteries and questions on them, without any plan to ever answer them. This is not something I am interested in.

    Compare "Lost" to "Babylon 5".

    • by Svartalf (2997)

      "Lost" described the audience as much as named the show.

      Even if you caught it at the beginning and watched it from the start, you almost needed a scorecard. I'm sure it's interesting- but it's entirely too complex and required absolute devotion to watching to show to really enjoy it. Much like Heroes was. At some threshold, I ended up having better things to do with my time.

      • I watched the last season of Lost with a laptop with Wikipedia open sitting on my lap. Characters that we hadn't seen for 3-4 years reappeared, and we were all supposed to remember who they were, what their connection to the story was, and why we should care. If I have to consult notes to work out what's going on, it's a massive failure.

        Contrast this with Babylon 5, as another poster just did. There, if you watch the entire arc over a few weeks, you notice stuff at the start foreshadowing stuff much lat

    • by grumbel (592662)

      Apparently the latest model of attracting viewers is to keep throwing mysteries and questions on them, without any plan to ever answer them.

      Pretty much, its not even a secret, he talks about it in great length in his TED talk [ted.com].

  • Fringe is one of my favorites, like a modern day X-files and the only show that my wife will watch on TV. I was really surprised to learn that it may be canceled, especially after it just got the 2011 People's Choice Award for best Sci-fi/Fantasy show. I guess it isn't dumb downed enough like all the other shows that people want to watch which good good ratings. I am ashamed.
  • I would certainly be disappointed to see Fringe go... I think it still has some life left in it. I feel empathy towards the chacters, and if you don't then the show is not worth watching. I have the DVD collection from the previous seasons and its definitely worth watching.

    Too many SciFi that needs thinking, and SciFi must absolutely require its audience to think, gets cancelled and we only end up with "Cowboy in Space" shows :-( I think, to some extent, the writers/producers are also the blame, they star

    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      You're talking about Mini Series, I agree completely. Take the strengths of a movie, a beginning middle and end; with the strengths of a TV show time to do/explain things and there you go.
  • by JohnnyDoesLinux (19195) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:28PM (#34954152)

    I rarely watch live TV anymore, as a matter of fact I cannot tell you what night anything is on since my affair with my DVR began...

    • I agree. So Fringe is moving to Friday? I don't know what day of the week it aired on anyway. I don't know the date and time of almost all of my series recordings, so time slot really isn't an issue to me.
  • Cheesy drama is pretty much what we've come to expect from you, JJ.
  • No VCRs in those days too. It was easy to know where I was on Friday!
  • by Ynsats (922697) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:36PM (#34954288)

    That's the biggest reason for the move. American Idol airs in Bones' time slot now and Bones is in Fringe's typical time slot on Thursdays. Bones gets better ratings because of the perpetual parade of buxom wenches in tight clothing being flashed across the screen. Apparently the womenfolk find that David Boreanaz fellow quite fetching as well.

    I don't imagine John Noble (Walter Bishop) has the same draw with the ladies.

    Besides, Fringe requires you to pay attention. You don't necessarily have to think about it because if you're patient enough, they explain it all in the course of the show. But that patience thing is a deal killer for most of the slack-jawed, mouth-breathers out there who dismiss anything even remotely based in higher subjects like math and science as boring. It's pathetic that people would rather watch garbage like "American Idol", "Real Housewives of..." or "Jersey Shore" than anything that requires you to flex some gray matter. It is, however, some high level subject matter and most superficial people I know have dismissed it without giving it any inkling of a chance as "nerd entertainment" and they can't follow it because it's all "sciency and stuff". Is that even a word?

    It's a shame too because it honestly is good TV. It stands up as a drama as well as a Sci-Fi show. My girlfriend didn't give it a chance until Season 2 when I was not wanting to do anything on Thursdays so I could watch Fringe and the re-broadcast of another spectacular show, "Breaking Bad". Now she's hooked on both and is usually occupying the seat next to me on the couch, riveted to the TV for the hour or two for each show.

    Thank God for the DVR though! It already records every new episode for me so even if I have to miss it, I'm still gonna get to see it! I've been eagerly awaiting the rest of the current season. If FOX cancels it like the morons they are, I think there should be another letter writing campaign on the level of the "Family Guy" debacle several years ago.

    • by discord5 (798235)

      based in higher subjects like math and science

      This is Fringe we're talking about right? Cause there's very little math and science involved in the episodes I saw. Just lots of handwaving and "Quick, hire Leonard Nimoy, we're a bit thin on plot!"

      I think there should be another letter writing campaign

      A postcard with the words "Thank you!" will do just fine.

    • If they were moving it to Tuesdays or Wednesdays, then it's possible they were moving it to make room for something else. The fact that they moved it to Friday means that they pretty much intend to kill it. Friday night is where TV shows go to die.

      • by Ynsats (922697)

        FOX has Glee on Tuesdays, American Idol on Wednesdays and House on Mondays. All are hit shows that bring big ratings. They aren't moving anything out of the way for Fringe on those days.

        If there wasn't anything special on those days, I'd be more inclined to agree with you but Friday is the only weekday that has nothing else on the docket that would detract from the Fringe viewership or lead viewers of those other garbage shows to turn away from FOX when something with that "sciency stuff" came on. They want

  • Being scheduled on Friday night is the kiss of death to a science-fiction show.

    For instance, I remember when I was in high school there was this SF show on Friday nights (thus in conflict with high school Date Night as well as football). Talk about doomed! If I recall it had some goofy name -- I think it was "Star Trek" or something like that.

  • I mean, fewer and fewer people watch TV live any more, except for actual live events.

    Obviously, it is hard to collect metrics on DVR viewership (and it is still something they're trying to figure out), but really what matters is:
    1) Are you in a conflict-heavy slot? Then you might lose if you exceed the typical number of tuners on people's DVRs (dual-tuner is getting pretty common...)
    2) Are you in a slot that often gets its schedule broken? I disagree that Friday night is a "death slot" for this reason. Think "sci-fi Fridays" back before Sci-Fi became SyFy and started sucking. Sunday, however, is a "death slot" because half the time someone's DVR catches the previous show because football shifted the damn schedule back. (CSI: Miami went from "Record and watch at my convenience" to "Don't even bother recording" because of this. CSI: Miami recordings became a simple waste of hard drive space because 3/4 of them were of Undercover Boss instead.)

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      "Obviously, it is hard to collect metrics on DVR viewership"

      Huh? they have acute metrics on DVR viewership TiVO sells a nice package of full details and even will let you know how much of a show is typically watched. The comcast DVR's collect the same information.

  • can comcast save scifi channel?

    If i where ruining it then the WWE will moved to a other channel.

    wcg ultimate gamer moved to g4

    ghost hunters may there is other network then can move to.

    Friday night needs to be back like the old scifi Friday.

    also take some shows from the space channel.

    • by raydobbs (99133)

      Who's idea do you think it was to DO ALL OF THAT? NBC Universal is trying to devalue the network enough for Comcast to want it, hence the TechTV chop-shop treatment. It's not long for this world, as well as other properties... like USA. Comcast takes over, does away with all the innovative programming to air more soft core porn, explosions, and crap that sorta *kinda* passes for science and fiction. Goodbye Burn Notice, In Plain Sight, White Collar, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Sanctuary. Blood and Chrome wi

  • Friday is where Fox sends top-notch SF like Firefly to die (sniff). Fringe is toast.
  • I like Fringe. I don't love it however.

    I think it has a good general premise. Parallel universes in a war, brought together by a genius scientist and his love for his son, fought by secret governmental organizations. Whats not to like.
    I think they have good acting, They are generally believable, have decent depth, and are engaging/intriguing.

    I don't think however the writing has been the best. There is a difference between believable, amazing, fantastical, and just stupid. They seem to like to flirt somewhe

  • claiming that Fringe's shift to Fridays was an attempt to draw younger viewers back to the 'dead zone' of Friday nights

    Simply asked, are time slots and schedule still a major concern in the realm of DVR's, on-demand, and Internet streaming?

    Shows like Fringe, where I haven't seen an episode, heard a lot about it and have interest in seeing it, are programs I wait for to be released mostly on DVD/streaming so I can sit and watch back-to-back episodes in order, from the start.

  • Yes, like most sci-fi & related genre shows, it's first season stunk as they tried to find their footing, but once the second season kicked in and they started actually developing the plot it's been a fairly fun and enjoyable show. I'll be sad to see it go, but Fox, like Uwe Boll, seems to thrive on the failure of its shows rather than their success.

  • I watched the first half season worth of season one (7 episodes), and not a single one was good, or even not bad. Just terrible, really terrible. Painful to watch even. Did it take a radical turn for the better later on?

  • The only good part of the show is the John Noble. Everyone else could be replaced by a featureless robot and I probably wouldn't notice. Anna Torv seems to think that emotion is confined to imagining a bad smell directly under one's nose. Joshua Jackson is a complete waste as the tough-guy genius who only purpose seems to be acting as a translator from crazy scientist English to, well, English.

    It would have made a half-decent mini-series but it's been going on too damn long. Let it die or kill it quick.

  • While such an accusation could be levelled at season 1 and much of season 2, season 3 has been quite rigorously, carefully structured IMO.

  • It will threaten the show like Red Dwarf [slashdot.org]

  • by GbrDead (702506)
    Yeah, just like "Lost"... which I watched :-(
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Friday January 21, 2011 @03:12PM (#34957230) Journal

    I guess I could see older folks still staring mindlessly at live TV while they cut up their Swanson salsbury steak on the tv tray. But these are the people who wouldn't go out on Fridays anyway.

    For anyone born after 1980, there's DVR and network tv.

    I only watch 3 or 4 shows a week (life is too short for mediocre tv) but if you put a gun to my head, I couldn't tell you what day they air or even what channel. Any effect this "time slot" thing still has is diminishing rapidly.

    But... let's assume for the sake of argument that everything they said is true, and moving Fringe to Fridays was an attempt to increase viewership in the young demographic on a day that's traditionally dead in that age group.

    Then what? Just for a moment, let's try to think less like geeks. Do the network flunkies really think that Joe Teenager will blow off his chance to get to second base with Jill Cheerleader because Fringe is on? Seriously?

    • by danlip (737336)

      I think the demographic that might watch Fringe has little chance of getting to any base with Jill Cheerleader

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