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Sci-Fi Television Entertainment

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

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 StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:13PM (#34953894) Homepage

    I don't really care as long as it dies. Not to put to fine a point on it, but sci-fi where the fictional part is the science is not my cup of tea.

  • 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.


  • 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.
  • The big sales pitch was that this show would expose fringe science to the average person. I watched probably six or seven episodes of the first season and had precisely zero basis in reality. Fictional shows have a right to be fictional, except this was mismarketed.

    The X-Files took a fairly simple plot idea (that the government would conspire with aliens for their benefit while possibly selling out the rest of humanity) and used that to tie together a good character drama. What really made the show work was chemistry between the characters.

    In Fringe, I never connected with the characters. I couldn't care one bit about them, or their interactions. And since Lost, shows try too hard to have this mega-supernatural mystery plot. Abrams already showed with Alias that he doesn't understand the basics of good storytelling. He twists for the sake of twisting without ever keeping sight of a consistent and meaningful story arch.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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...

  • by liquiddark ( 719647 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:31PM (#34954220)
    Fringe isn't science based. Fringe is pseudoscientific bullshit based, with a light sprinkling of scientific words to try to fool...someone.
  • Cringe (Score:1, Insightful)

    by danlip ( 737336 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:34PM (#34954258)

    I nicknamed this show Cringe because of how I reacted every time I watched an episode. 'Nuff said.

  • 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 Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <atd7.cornell@edu> on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:37PM (#34954308) Homepage

    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.)

  • 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:

    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 GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:42PM (#34954412)

    Thank god we have people like you. If we didn't have so many people who were eager to cancel anything that doesn't meet their personal expectations, people might actually be exposed to a wider range of choices. Top 40 radio might die!

    My hat is off to you, sir, for keeping the world safe for mediocrity and sheep-like behavior.

  • Re:It's Fox (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ynsats ( 922697 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:45PM (#34954454)

    Yep, the failure of "Arrested Development" was directly attributed to the fan base never knowing when it would be on.

    "Family Guy" was, however, just flat out canceled because FOX had no idea that's massive fan base was not represented by Nielsen ratings. Hence the letter writing campaign that got it put back on the air and prompted the syndication of the show on 4 separate networks.

    I wonder when FOX will figure out that you can't put everything in a nice little box and have it accurately explain the population overall.

  • by GrumblyStuff ( 870046 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @12:50PM (#34954548)

    At least it's acknowledged as fiction and (hopefully) won't be viewed as informative in the least.

    Fuck you Discovery Channel and Auction Kings, Sons of Guns, Flying Wild, American Choppers, Duel Survival, American Loggers, Gold Rush, Swamp Loggers, Deadliest Catch, Man, Woman, Wild, Brew Masters, Storm Chasers, Pitchmen, Surviving the Cut, Swords, Howe & Howe Tech, The Colony, and FUCK YOU ESPECIALLY GHOST LAB.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:07PM (#34954924) Homepage Journal

    sci-fi where the fictional part is the science is not my cup of tea.

    You just disregarded 99% of all science fiction, including stuff from the old greats like Asimov, Heinlein, etc. Any story that has interstellar travel, levitation, teleportation, sentient robots, "the force", are stories where the science part is the fiction.

    Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon's science was fiction; they shot the people to the moon in a cannon. About the only science fiction movie I ever saw that was true to science was 2001, and it even had a sentient computer (although HAL's sentience could have easily been pseudosentience).

  • Re:Cringe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mister Whirly ( 964219 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:20PM (#34955174) Homepage
    Which still makes it thousands of magnitudes better than American Idol, America's Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, etc.
  • by RazzleFrog ( 537054 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:24PM (#34955262)

    There is a big difference between speculative science that is based on the information at the time and pseudo-science that goes against the information of its time.

  • by PhilipTheHermit ( 1901680 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:29PM (#34955336)

    What are you talking about? Fringe is a situation comedy about fringe science. I love it, it's hilarious.

    Especially that wacky professor and his psycho alter ego.

    The only better geek comedy is Eureka.

    Wait; are you saying they're trying to be SERIOUS?

  • Re:SGU bad? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Friday January 21, 2011 @01:31PM (#34955406) Homepage

    Too much interpersonal relationship drama - the same thing that killed BSG.

    I don't mind character subplots but they should be 'sub', not the main course for week after week after week. If I want to watch a soap opera I'll go watch a soap opera, thanks.

  • 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?

"An organization dries up if you don't challenge it with growth." -- Mark Shepherd, former President and CEO of Texas Instruments