Fringe - Tune In Or Else
Tonight is the night. The night of course being when arguably televisions greatest genre serial currently on the air, resumes on it's new night and time. That show obviously, is Fringe (whaddya think I was gonna say, Supernatural? Come now.). I'm currently kicking myself that since the inception of The October Country, we haven't utilized more of our space on here to support this amazingly twisty show. It is after all, being marched to Fox's Friday night guillotine, that eerie black hole of a time slot where all of the network's best and brightest of science fiction and horror goes to vanish into oblivion (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly and Dollhouse just to name a few). It needs every fan's support (new and old alike) for tonight is certainly one of the show's last chances to prove it's viability to Fox. An ironic, and certainly hair pulling twist of fate, if tonight's ratings spell it's cancellation, as Fringe has been both a creative and critical juggernaut this (it's third) season. You see, the show has been on a steady ratings decline over the past two years (and it was never a strong performer at that). It's not that it doesn't pull numbers, its does. It's just that apparently, for one reason or another, it's pulls a hefty amount of it's numbers through DVR, which sadly is not something that justifies it's existence to a network's business model. They want live ratings, and that's about it. Eventually, the Nielsens are going to go the way of the dinosaur, this is obvious. They are either going to have to adapt to this new age of media (and how people view it) or become irrelevant. Unfortunately, Fringe is on the verge of becoming a victim to this model of antiquated ratings number crunching before that glorious new dawn reaches us. Though none of this should come as a surprise to anyone who has ever invested their time in fantastic, strange shows like Twin Peaks, Carnivàle or Lost. Certainly I'm not the only one who notices that as their byzantine, weird, surreal plots get more and more bizarre and challenging, the casual and more mainstream viewership begins to fall off, inevitably placing our shows in cancellation's way. It's enough to make you curse having a hankering for heady, high brow genre storytelling all together. However, we thinking folks really should be rewarding these shows who dare to be different, dare to be genuinely great and god forbid, dare to treat their viewership with intelligence, with our time (if we're going to give it to a show at all). Fringe moving to Friday nights is certainly a reason to be worried, it's true that many shows are sent there to perish. Alas all hope is not lost though. Some shows move to Friday nights and against all odds, thrive (X-Files, Ghost Whisperer, Smallville, Supernatural, etc.). Moving it away from Thursday's highly competitive night where it was getting routinely hammered, and onto Fridays, could be just the ticket. If viewers show up.
Now, what of you dear readers who have yet to watch a single episode of Fringe, what's in it for you you ask? Well, I shall tell you. There is the rather involved, rewarding mythology about parallel worlds (ours and theirs) going to war with one another, shape-shifters, unethical drug trials performed on children (turning them into super soldiers of sorts, for the aforementioned war), the mysterious, follicly challenged Observers, naturally, but truly it's not so involved that a new viewer won't be able to penetrate it. A few "previously ons" and number of episodes, and you'll most likely have the gist of the goings on down. Plus, in this day and age of marathoning entire seasons on DVD (with a 2 liter of soda and a box of cookies, you know you do it) or streaming previous episodes online (you know you do that too), there really is no excuse for not catching ones self up if you are even the slightest bit intrigued.
Have I mentioned the horror yet? Oh, the horror. Seriously though, Fringe just isn't all sci-fi (and even when it is, it's bent is usually to present it as terrifying). It's actually, for my money, the most unnerving, disgusting creepy, gross, disturbing, scary show on television (network or otherwise) in ages. Ages I tell you and consistently at that (and I keep up on these things). Though Fringe never strays into the territory of say, standard vampires, werewolves, aliens and ghosts (as the show's basis is rooted in earthly scientific horrors) it does present us with a rogues gallery of similarly monstrous abominations and always with that Fringe twist that will no doubt have you eliciting a "WTF" at your television screen. Fringe's mysteries never start where you think they will and they certainly never end up where you'd expect. Bravo, for keeping us on our toes.
Then there's the cast which I couldn't commend enough for their tirelessly amazing work. Notable among them, John Noble's (for the love of god WHERE is his Emmy?) portrayal as Dr. Walter Bishop, who is certainly going to go down in the annals of television history as one of the most memorable, flat-out-awesome characters ever committed to the small screen. Bishop's tripping (literally, on varying cocktails of psychedelic drugs and a personally developed hybrid of cannibis), unbalanced, ex-mental patient / mad genius is a an entertainment unto itself. Prone to ill timed erections, pudding pops, and baking his cookies alongside samples of human flesh, there is certainly never a dull moment when he is on screen. Joshua Jackson finally appears to have shaken of the shackles of his teen dream image that has haunted him for the better part of a decade, portraying Dr. Bishop's troubled yet dependable son, Peter. Coming into his own on Fringe, I can't help but think "Pacey who?". Anna Torv is our emotionally guarded, no nonsense FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham whom anchors all of this madness, as her horrifying journey becomes ours. She also slightly resembles Cate Blanchett, and honestly, I could gaze upon Cate Blanchett or anyone approximating her likeness for days, so that's enough for me dear readers. Lance Reddick, Jasika Nicole and Blair Brown (of Altered States fame, which also served as inspiration for Fringe's Cronenbergian terrors) round out the cast, respectively.
So seriously, what are all of you horror fans waiting for (not to mention fans of smartly written storytelling, regardless of genre)? Don't let Fringe become another show that finally finds it's audience years down the line after a unnecessary cancellation, only to have it's posthumous new fans cry "Why? Whyyyyyyy was this show put out to pasture?". The answer, because you weren't watching it. The time is now. Television's currently greatest hour of horror needs your attention, viewership, and help tonight. Tune in.
Fringe airs tonight on Fox at 9pm.
If you still need sold on it, I present here two trailers for you to feast your eyes and imagination upon. The first trailer is an official promo for Fringe's move to it's new time slot, which is tonight. The second trailer, is fan made, and incredibly SPOILERISH. However, it is excellently done, showcasing some of the plot twists from the show's current season, so be warned. However, if it's enough to get you to tune in this evening, I say watch it.
Promo for Fringe's move to Fridays:
Fan made trailer: