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Fringe: Discussion Thread

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FRINGE - Episode Information and Ratings (Numbers are from Nielsen Media Research)

Live+7 Total Viewers = Live Viewers + DVR playback up to 7 days later (Live + 7)

Live+SD Total Viewers = Live Viewers + Same Day DVR playback (Live + Same Day)

Live Total Viewers = Live Viewers

18-49 = Live + SD Numbers

Season 3

Timeslot: Thursday at 9pm

Episode 3.1: "Olivia"

Air Date: September 23, 2010

Written By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Live+7 Total Viewers: 7.84 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 5.73 million

18-49: 2.1/6

18-49 Live+7: 3.1

Episode 3.2: "The Box"

Air Date: September 30, 2010

Written By: Josh Singer & Graham Roland

Directed By: Jeffrey Hunt

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.99 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 5.24 million

18-49: 1.9/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.7

Episode 3.3: "The Plateau"

Air Date: October 7, 2010

Written By: Alison Schapker & Monica Owusu-Breen

Directed By: Brad Anderson

Live+7 Total Viewers: 7.07 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 5.19 million

18-49: 2.0/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.8

Episode 3.4: "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?"

Air Date: October 14, 2010

Written By: David Wilcox & Matthew Pitts

Directed By: Ken Fink

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.96 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 5.22 million

18-49: 2.0/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.9

Episode 3.5: "Amber 31422"

Air Date: November 4, 2010

Written By: Josh Singer & Ethan Gross

Directed By: David Straiton

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.48 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.80 million

18-49: 1.8/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.6

Episode 3.6: "6955 kHz"

Air Date: November 11, 2010

Written By: Robert Chiappetta & Glen Whitman

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.67 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.82 million

18-49: 1.7/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.6

Episode 3.7: "The Abducted..."

Air Date: November 18, 2010

Written By: David Wilcox & Graham Roland

Directed By: Chuck Russell

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.40 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.85 million

18-49: 1.9/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.6

Episode 3.8: "Entrada"

Air Date: December 2, 2010

Written By: Jeff Pinkner & J.H. Wyman

Directed By: Brad Anderson

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.87 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 5.13 million

18-49: 1.8/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.6

Episode 3.9: "Marionette"

Air Date: December 9, 2010

Written By: Alison Schapker & Monica Owusu-Breen

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.60 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.74 million

18-49: 1.7/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.6

Timeslot: Friday at 9pm

Episode 3.10: "The Firefly"

Air Date: January 21, 2011

Written By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner

Directed By: Charles Beeson

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.70 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.87 million

18-49: 1.9/6

18-49 Live+7: 2.8

Episode 3.11: "Reciprocity"

Air Date: January 28, 2011

Written By: Josh Singer

Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.17 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.53 million

18-49: 1.9/6

18-49 Live+7: 2.6

Episode 3.12: "Concentrate and Ask Again"

Air Date: February 4,, 2011

Written By: Graham Roland & Matthew Pitts

Directed By: Dennis Smith

Live+7 Total Viewers: 6.02 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.26 million

18-49: 1.6/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.5

Episode 3.13: "Immortality"

Air Date: February 11, 2011

Written By: David Wilcox & Ethan Gross

Directed By: Brad Anderson

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.59 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.74 million

18-49: 1.4/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.3

Episode 3.14: "6B"

Air Date: February 18, 2011

Written By: Robert Chiappetta & Glen Whitman

Directed By: Thomas Yatsko

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.77 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.02 million

18-49: 1.5/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.4

Episode 3.15: "Subject 13"

Air Date: February 25, 2011

Written By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner & Akiva Goldsman

Directed By: Frederick E.O. Toye

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.72 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 4.02 million

18-49: 1.5/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.3

Episode 3.16: "Os"

Air Date: March 11, 2011

Written By: Josh Singer & Graham Roland

Directed By: Brad Anderson

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.59 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.64 million

18-49: 1.5/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.3

Episode 3.17: "Stowaway"

Air Date: March 18, 2011

Teleplay By: Danielle Dispaltro

Story By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner & Akiva Goldsman

Directed By: Charles Beeson

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.67 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.80 million

18-49: 1.3/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.2

Episode 3.18: "Bloodline"

Air Date: March 25, 2011

Written By: Alison Schapker & Monica Owusu-Breen

Directed By: Dennis Smith

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.53 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.84 million

18-49: 1.4/5

18-49 Live+7: 2.2

Episode 3.19: "Lysergic Acid Diethylam"

Air Date: April 15, 2011

Teleplay By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner

Story By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner & Akiva Goldsman

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.47 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.65 million

18-49: 1.4/4

18-49 Live+7: 2.2

Episode 3.20: "6:02 AM"

Air Date: April 22, 2011

Written By: David Wilcox & Josh Singer & Graham Roland

Directed By: Jeannot Szwarc

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.20 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.33 million

18-49: 1.2/4

18-49 Live+7: 2.0

Episode 3.21: "The Last Sam Weiss"

Air Date: April 29, 2011

Written By: Alison Schapker & Monica Owusu-Breen

Directed By: Thomas Yatsko

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.34 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.52 million

18-49: 1.3/4

18-49 Live+7: 2.2

Episode 3.22: "The Day We Died"

Air Date: May 6, 2011

Teleplay By: J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner

Story By: Akiva Goldsman & J.H. Wyman & Jeff Pinkner

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Live+7 Total Viewers: 5.39 million

Live+SD Total Viewers: 3.29 million

18-49: 1.2/4

18-49 Live+7: 2.2

Season 1, 2 - Episode information and ratings

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Saw the pilot tonight and I thought it was good. If you're an X-Files fan (like me), I think you'll like it. Like X-Files and other JJ Abrams shows (Alias, Lost), there's a "bigger picture" plot where there's more questions than answers. LOL I loved how they showed you the name of the cities they're in - big "floating" letters in the middle of the screen. I thought that was very cool.

Looking forward to seeing more. I'm sold on this.....like there was ever any doubt (huge JJ Abrams fan!).

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Posted · Report post

Pacey Witter is in it - i will watch it.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I watched it .. it was good but i'm not completely sold on it. I've watched JJ's other shows so hopefully I'll like this one too

but two JJ's are better than one

Edited by d_wsb

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JJ Abram is hit or miss--remember ABC used his name to sell 6 Degrees (which I kinda liked near the end) and the abysmal What About Brian as well--although in those cases he didn't help create, just was an Exec Producer. The only shows he's been headwriter/showrunner for are Felicity and Alias (he only kinda helped get Lost into shape and from what I can tell doesn't play a big role at all anymore with Cuse and Lindelof being the heads).

Cuz he's so busy now with his film projects this show is no diff, the headwriter/showrunner will be Jeff Pinkner--who wrote some good Lost episodes and some of the best Alias episodes, NOT JJ nor either of the other co-creators, the screenwriters of his Star Trek film Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

(But that doesn't necesarily mean it won't feel like a JJ project--he created it and after all Joss Whedon was NEVER showrunner for any year of Angel--I think his showrunners, there were three, really wer eunderated and didn't get enough attention--, yet it definetly had a Joss Whedon feel).

Edited by EricMontreal22

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I finally watched the Fringe pilot... I'll just talk generally without major spoilers but overall I really liked it. I found it maybe a bit slow--2 hours (well 80 some mins without commercials) and I didn't really get into the tone of the piece till closer to the end. But then again Alias' pilot movie worked similarly I vaguely remember. And like that pilot, this one ends with a fairly brutal and (I'm almost ashamed to admit) for me, surprising twist in the very last few mins.

I really grew to like most of the characters--it was almost refreshing on this kinda show to have most of the leads be smart and realize things, at least in the pilot, around the same time that I as a viewer realized them, if not just before. The only actor I knew was Josh Jackson as the son, but I liked the chemistry between everyone--even the nearly non-existant role of Olivia's assistant.

It actually, so far, feels to me like a clever blending of X-Files with the early years of Alias. Not quite sure why, but that's just what kept springing to mind. My one complaint with the show maybe comes from that--and will sound kinda odd. I wasn't sure, at least not till the very end, just how much suspension of disbelief the show expected of its viewers. Some major plot points just felt odd to me--two basic ones that maybe can be explained away were--WHY did Harvard save Dr Bishop's lab for all those years while he was incarcerated --SUrely a busy university would need every room they could use. And, one of the main plot points of the show, how come Dr Bishop can't be let out of the mental hospital unless he's under the guardianship of a member of his immediate family. Indeed he can't even be VISITED unless it's accessed by a family member. I mean the lead character works for the FBI--surely they could get clearance to visit a faily non violent psych patient at the very least??

Again about the tone of the piece it seems already that it'll have elements of Alias's mysticism/comic book baddies. But I admit I already *love* the sinister woman with the bionic hand and can't wait to see more of her (Played by Blair Brown from Molly Dodd, no less! lol)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to see more of the show and really enjoyed the pilot (it also has to be said that it *looks* absolutely spectacular and has a great score like all of Abrams' tv shows have). It didn't completely blow me away, and I'm still more excited for True Blood, out of the leaked pilots I've seen, but I'll be tuning into Fox.

Interestingly in an online article I found Abrams said this show would be an experiment for his producing team--paraphrasing he said he recently watched a random episode of Alias and couldn't even remember enough of the overall story to make sense of the episode, it was that inpenetrable (something I've experienced when watching reruns even though I loved the show so much I thought I'd remember everything)--and how many complain that Lost is too hard to get into. So with Fringe they're going for a show with an overall story and an "end game" but where you don't necesarily have to watch every episode--you can miss ep 2 and 3 and still make sense of ep 4--and not the X Files techynique of scattering "mythology" eps with standalone ones. Hrmm

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f_posterfringm_067f395.jpg


August 24, 2008

Television


Complexity Without Commitment

By DAVE ITZKOFF

IF you’ve ever been utterly baffled by a television show that J. J. Abrams had a hand in creating — too confused to follow the serpentine plot twists of “Lost” or “Alias” or, heck, even “Felicity” — know that Mr. Abrams, the prolific writer, producer and director, has been annoyed too. With you.

“I just got tired of hearing people say to me, over and over, ‘Yeah, I was watching it, but I missed one, I got really confused, and I stopped watching it,’ ” he said in a recent phone interview.

If viewers find this kind of show frustrating, it’s his own fault: he practically invented it. Over the past decade Mr. Abrams, 42, has helped pioneer a storytelling style that demands total commitment from audience members, requiring that they keep up not only with complicated single-episode plotlines (can a time-traveling castaway alter past events to help himself in the present?) but also with fiendishly intricate narratives (how did the Oceanic Six get off their mysterious island, and how might they get back?) that can take an entire season — or seasons, plural — to play out.

It is a strategy that has built cult followings for Mr. Abrams’s series and won him praise for his braininess. Yet even he recognizes that when it comes to recruiting new viewers, it’s about as effective as proposing to go steady on a first date.

“If you start going out with someone and immediately they’re like, ‘Look, we have to see each other every week,’ you run from that person,” Mr. Abrams said. “It’s like, ‘Can’t we just see how it goes?’ ”

Mr. Abrams is especially mindful of the television-series-as-relationship metaphor as he prepares “Fringe,” which will have its premiere on Fox on Sept. 9. Created with Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, the screenwriters of “Transformers” and Mr. Abrams’s forthcoming “Star Trek” film, “Fringe” is an hourlong drama about an investigative team whose explorations lead to a shadowy world of science fiction and the seemingly supernatural.

It is also Mr. Abrams’s attempt to rectify the narrative (and viewer attention span) problems he faced on previous shows and to synthesize the many lessons he has learned from them into a series that is both complex and accessible, and that is capable of arriving at a determined conclusion over an undecided number of episodes.

“The evolution from your ideas and expectations and intent to what actually occurs in the series is a massive gulf,” Mr. Abrams said. “It’s a best-effort scenario. But I think that’s what a series is anyway.”

His newest show was born from pragmatism. In 2007 he was preparing to direct “Star Trek” for Paramount, but he also owed a television series to Warner Brothers, the studio that produces “Fringe,” and he turned to Mr. Kurtzman and Mr. Orci for help. They traded ideas about beloved fantasy films and television series — “The X-Files,” “Altered States,” the early movies of David Cronenberg — but also looked carefully at procedural crime dramas dominating the networks. “When 6 of the Top 10 shows are ‘Law & Order’ and ‘C.S.I.,’ ” Mr. Orci said, “you have to be a fool not to go study what it is that they’re doing.”

Cross-pollinating these genres, they came up with three characters — a neophyte F.B.I. agent (played by Anna Torv), a brilliant but mad scientist (John Noble) and his wayward son (Joshua Jackson) — who solve a single mystery each week. (For starters: Who unleashed a flesh-melting virus on an airplane, killing all its passengers?) The initial goal, Mr. Abrams said, was to create a show that suggested complexity but was comprehensible in any given episode — a goal he felt eluded him on “Alias.” On that series, a spy thriller that appeared on ABC from 2001 to 2006, the internecine warfare between the C.I.A. and a rival agency called SD-6 became so bewildering that, Mr. Abrams said, no casual viewer could keep up.

“You’re trying to track this show,” he said, “in which these bad guys are acting like good guys, the good guys are acting like bad guys, and the good guys are letting the bad guys exist. I can completely understand tuning in to Episode 3 and being like, ‘Huh?’ ”

In the second season of “Alias” ABC asked Mr. Abrams to conclude the C.I.A./SD-6 story line, an abrupt move that he said hurt the show. “There was this inherent joy that the series took in its Byzantine DNA,” he said. “Once we destroyed that convolution, the show was a little aimless in some ways.” But not all of Mr. Abrams’s colleagues agree. “I was often taking the side of the studio and the network,” said Mr. Orci, who produced “Alias” with Mr. Kurtzman. The lesson of “Alias,” Mr. Orci said, is that “you can slow down, and you can tell stand-alone episodes with the same scale of story and mystery.”

As the “Fringe” creators further developed the show, they decided it should have an overarching narrative — that its many paranormal phenomena and mysteries would turn out be part of a larger pattern, referred to simply as the Pattern — to tie its individual episodes together.

Such storytelling devices, Mr. Kurtzman argued, were practically mandatory for a science-fiction-theme show in an era when Internet spoilers are a perpetual hazard. “When we were kids, you had to wait three years between ‘Luke, I am your father’ and Luke showing up at Jabba’s palace,” Mr. Kurtzman said, referring to the original “Star Wars” movies. “You want new information, you’re going to have to wait for the sequel. Obviously that’s not an option anymore.”

Yet the strategy of the multiepisode (or multiseason) story arc — of soap-opera-like story elements that are revealed, drip by drip, over the life of an entire series — is one that Mr. Abrams has introduced to his other series, often spontaneously.

When “Lost” began (with an idea from Lloyd Braun, who was then the ABC Entertainment chairman, for a series about survivors of a plane crash), Mr. Abrams and his collaborator, Damon Lindelof, quickly composed an outline that introduced major characters but lacked the arcane story components that became synonymous with the show: no Dharma Initiative, no Hanso Foundation, no enigmatic Others. Once this outline was approved, Mr. Abrams gathered the founding creative team of “Lost” to figure out what the show would actually be. In this meeting he began to concoct some of its more fantastical elements, including the use of flashbacks to reveal who characters were before they arrived on the island.

“Immediately we were like, yes!” recalled Bryan Burk, Mr. Abrams’s longtime producing partner. “And then J. J. was like, ‘And there’s a hatch!’ ” — a mysterious underground bunker, introduced halfway through the first season of “Lost,” whose full significance has not yet been revealed.

The hatch, Mr. Burk said, posed a problem: “Do you discover the hatch in Episode 2? Or do you discover it in Episode 10? And upon discovering it, do you go in it in Episode 11? Or Episode 12?”

The solution to such narrative puzzles, Mr. Abrams and his colleagues said, is to have a game plan with clearly defined goalposts that can be moved around as a season and a series unfold. Know the ending to your series when you begin it; hope your show continues in perpetuity but always be prepared to wrap it up. (In this spirit the producers of “Lost” announced last year that the series would conclude at the end of its sixth season, in 2010.)

In the case of “Fringe” its creators say they have figured out a finale — naturally, they declined to describe it — that could be deployed at any point in the series. “If we’re canceled at Episode 13,” Mr. Orci said, “we’ll tell you at Episode 13, and if we go on, you could literally find this out in seven years.”

Recollections differ as to how much of the increasingly complicated “Fringe” story line was pitched to executives at Warner Brothers and at Fox when the series was ordered. “You always have to be on the up and up with your studio and your network,” Mr. Burk said. “There’s too much at stake, and they’re taking the biggest gamble.”

But Mr. Abrams cautioned against too much candor. “There are certain details that are hugely important,” he said with some mirth, “that I believe, if shared, will destroy any chance of actually getting on the air. These are the kinds of things that scare people away.”

Mr. Abrams has learned the hard way that a network gets what it wants, and that it’s not always detrimental to his shows. In 2002, when he was producing the final season of “Felicity,” his college soap opera on WB, the network told him that it was ordering five additional episodes of the show — just as he was preparing to shoot the graduation episode intended as the series finale. He and his staff quickly devised a five-episode epilogue styled after “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which the title character revisits crucial moments from her past. “It was the craziest idea,” Mr. Abrams said, “but as soon as Felicity went back, she was the most interesting character she’d been in years.”

If “Fringe” is a hit, such decisions about what plot devices to employ and when to employ them will fall less and less to the show’s creators — who are busily preparing films like “Star Trek” and a “Transformers” sequel — and more to a writing staff led by Jeff Pinkner, a former “Lost” producer.

At this early stage in the show’s progress, Mr. Abrams acknowledged, it can be hard to let go of the reins. “We’ve been thinking about this story for a year, and our staff has been thinking about it just for a couple of months,” he said. “Right now it’s all hands on deck, to micromanage every decision.”

But on that day, some months or years away, when he is no longer fully immersed in the making of “Fringe,” when his writing staff produces plot points that take him by surprise, Mr. Abrams said, he will know the show is a success. “It takes discipline to be able to be gracious and go: ‘I had nothing to do with it. They really ran with it. This is their ball now.’ ”


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/24/arts/television/24itzk.html?sq=Damon%20Lindelof&st=nyt&scp=1&pagewanted=print

Edited by Sylph

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Interestingly in an online article I found Abrams said this show would be an experiment for his producing team--paraphrasing he said he recently watched a random episode of Alias and couldn't even remember enough of the overall story to make sense of the episode, it was that inpenetrable (something I've experienced when watching reruns even though I loved the show so much I thought I'd remember everything)--and how many complain that Lost is too hard to get into. So with Fringe they're going for a show with an overall story and an "end game" but where you don't necesarily have to watch every episode--you can miss ep 2 and 3 and still make sense of ep 4--and not the X Files techynique of scattering "mythology" eps with standalone ones. Hrmm

Can I get a link? :unsure:

Edited by Sylph

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Posted · Report post

Well he basically said the same thing in the article you just posted :P I can check but I dont' save links from a month ago usually ;)

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Posted · Report post

I so hope Abrams wont go all sidetracks on this one too, like he did with Lost and my beloved Alias. I'll give it a try. :)

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Well Abrams isn't show running this (then again he didn't show run Lost either...) so maybe the tangents will be kept minimal. Then again the pilot ending hints at a mythology that feels like it could be even more complex, and silly, than the Alias, Rimaldi stuff.

The one plot point I still find hard to swallow, which is INSTRUMENTAL to the pilot and the entire series, is that Josh Jackson's character HAS to be found and then involved because his brilliant but crazy father can not be released from the mental hospital, OR EVEN INTERVIEWED at the hospital without being accompanied by Josh, his sole surivving family member. *really*? this is meant to be the real world yet the all powerful super duper FBI who thinks he's the only one who could save thousands of people are not allowed to contact him without his son there?? huh? And yet it seems to enjoy the show--and I largely did enjoy the pilot--you just have to completely let this plot point pass

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I liked the pilot when it first got out. But I've heard they did some changes, so I will have to watch it again. It could be a very good show...

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I think I enjoyed it, lol. I don't love it but don't hate it. I liked it enough to watch again next week...but I'll have to do it online...between all the other things I'm watching and/or taping in that time slot (NCIS, DWTS, Biggest Loser), it's really on my fringe.

Agree with some of the things y'all mentioned that seemed strange or off-putting. Add to it the fact that I couldn't get past Torv's resemblance to Poppy Montgomery, who plays FBI agent Samantha Spade on Without A Trace...I kept expecting Anthony LaPaglia to pop up. :P Also...John tells her he loves her, she doesn't answer back..then she says "I wanted to tell you I love you", then she's making googly eyes with Bishop, Jr. I guess we were supposed to believe she loved John so much she would go through all that for him but she just seemed kind of dispassionate and even fickle half the time. I couldn't really buy into this big love story because, well, it's the pilot, and I didn't see of any of this relationship other than those few minutes so I just wasn't feeling that part of it.

Also wanted to ask, and maybe I missed something, but, towards the end, when John said to her, "why do you think he sent YOU to the warehouse?", I didn't get that. Why her? Because the boss knew she would pursue whatever she found, because he suspected John, what? It just slipped past me.

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