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Fringe is an American science fiction television series co-created by J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci. The series follows a Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker "Fringe Division" team based in Boston, Massachusettsmarker under the supervision of Homeland Security. The team uses unorthodox "fringe" science and FBI investigative techniques to investigate "the Pattern", a series of unexplained, often ghastly occurrences which are occurring all over the world. The show has been described as a cross between The X-Files, Altered States, The Twilight Zone, and Dark Angel.

The series premiered in the United States on September 9, 2008, on the Fox network. Fringe was part of a Fox initiative known as "Remote-Free TV". Episodes of Fringe were longer than standard dramas on current network television. The show ran with half the commercials during the first season, adding about six minutes to the show's runtime. When the show goes to a commercial, a short bumper will air informing the viewer of roughly how much time commercials will consume before the program resumes. On October 1, 2008, Fringe first season was extended to 22 episodes. This was then cut back to 20 episodes with the season finale airing May 12. The series was renewed for a second season. Season 2 premiered September 17, 2009.

Plot

Fringe follows the exploits of special agent Olivia Dunham, mad scientist Walter Bishop, and his son, jack of all trades, Peter Bishop as they investigate aspects of fringe science (rare diseases, chimeras, transhumans with psychic abilities, teleportation, and so forth). Unlike his other series, Lost, J.J. Abrams promises the series' story arc will be easier to follow and more accessible for those who skip an occasional episode. In an interview first published in September 2008, Abrams said: "Lost has garnered a certain reputation for being a very complicated show and one that you have to watch every episode. Fringe is in many ways an experiment for us, which is, we believe it is possible to do a show that does have an overall story and end game, which Fringe absolutely does… We can do a show that has that, so that there's a direction the show is going and there's an ultimate story that's being told, but also a show that you don't have to watch episodes one, two and three to tune into episode four." Roberto Orci, a cocreator, commented that Fringe "took its inspiration from The X-Files", but with wholly “differentiate through the characters," and be a whole new take on the genre.

Season 1

All over the world, a series of apparent experiments collectively referred to as "the Pattern" (e.g., a newborn baby who rapidly ages and dies within a few minutes, a bus full of passengers trapped in a strange resin, like mosquitoes trapped in amber) are occurring for reasons unknown. Olivia, Peter, and Walter are in charge of investigating these strange events to determine their source. Connected to the Pattern is Massive Dynamic, a megacorporation which is a leading global technology company, holding the patents for a diverse number of new and significant technologies. Their enemy is ZFT, a bioterrorist organization which is orchestrating all of the strange occurrences in order to prepare for a destructive technological singularity. Tying both sides together is a nootropic drug, called Cortexiphan, that was developed by Walter and his partner, William Bell (now chairman of Massive Dynamic), which Olivia and a number of others were treated with as children. The first season closes with Olivia meeting William in a parallel universe where, among other differences, the World Trade Centermarker was not destroyed by the September 11 attacks.

Season 2

In the opening episode of season two, Olivia returns back from her trip to the parallel universe, but can't remember any of it. She is hunted down by a shape-shifting assassin assigned to find out what William Bell said to her, then to kill her. Charlie Francis is eventually killed and replaced by the shape-shifter unknown to anybody. Eventually Olivia remembers her conversation with Bell who told her that a "great storm" is coming and that it is up to Olivia to prevent it. William Bell tells Olivia to make sure that she prevents the shape-shifters from getting to a man who would help them destroy one universe. Olivia then discovers that Charlie Francis is dead, and that the man she thinks is him is really the shape-shifter. Olivia kills the shape-shifter, but not before unintentionally telling him the location of the man that the shape-shifters are looking for.

Characters

Season Supervisory Special Agent Partner Fringe Division Chief Scientists Special Agent CEO of Massive Dynamic Former FBI Agent
1 Olivia Dunham

Anna Torv
Peter Bishop

Joshua Jackson
Phillip Broyles

Lance Reddick
Dr. Walter Bishop

John Noble
Charlie Francis

Kirk Acevedo
Astrid Farnsworth

Jasika Nicole
Nina Sharp

Blair Brown
John Scott

Mark Valley
2 Vacant Vacant


  • Anna Torv as Olivia Dunham, a Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker (FBI) special agent assigned to investigate the spread of unexplained phenomena. Regular (Season 1 - Present)
  • Joshua Jackson as Peter Bishop, a jack of all trades who is brought in by Olivia to work with his father Walter. Regular (Season 1 - Present)
  • John Noble as Dr. Walter Bishop, a mad scientist - former government researcher in the field of fringe science who was institutionalized after a lab accident. Regular (Season 1 - Present)
  • Lance Reddick as Phillip Broyles, a Homeland Security agent who runs the Fringe Division. Regular (Season 1 - Present)
  • Jasika Nicole as Astrid Farnsworth, a young federal agent and assistant to Olivia and Walter. Regular (Season 1 - Present)
  • Kirk Acevedo as Charlie Francis, Olivia's colleague and close friend at the FBI. He is second-in-command of the Fringe Division. Regular (Season 1 - Season 2 episode 4)
  • Blair Brown as Nina Sharp, the CEO of Massive Dynamic, a leading firm in science and technology research. Regular (Season 1 - present)
  • Mark Valley as John Scott, Olivia's former FBI partner and lover. Regular (Season 1; 13 Episodes)
  • Leonard Nimoy as William Bell, Walter's former lab partner, now founder and chairman of Massive Dynamic. Recurring (Season 1 - Present)


Production

Co-created by J. J. Abrams, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, Fringe is produced by Bad Robot in association with Warner Bros. Television. Abrams's inspiration for Fringe came from a range of sources, including the writings of Michael Crichton, the Ken Russell film Altered States, and the television series The X-Files and The Twilight Zone. Additionally, Orci stated that it is a combination of a procedural and an "extremely serialized and very culty" series, quoting as examples of each, Law & Order and Lost. Jeff Pinkner was selected to act as the head show runner and executive producer. Abrams noted that he trusts Pinkner after working together with him on Alias and Lost. Michael Giacchino, Abrams' frequent collaborator, composed the music for the pilot of Fringe, before handing over duties to his assistants Chad Seiter and Chris Tilton; Giacchino retains an on-screen credit. Abrams himself wrote the series theme music.

The two-hour pilot episode, filmed in Toronto Canada, cost a total of $10 million to create. A cow used in the pilot episode had to be replaced when production of Season 1 was moved to New York, due to livestock restrictions preventing it from being brought from Canada to the United States. If viewers note the difference in the cow's appearance, the production team members have said they will paint new cows to match the original.

On February 21, 2009, it was reported that in the event that Fringe is renewed for a second season, the show will move production to Vancouvermarker from New York Citymarker as a cost-cutting measure.

On May 4, 2009, Fringe was officially renewed for a second season. The series now airs on Thursday nights at 9 following Bones.

Casting

The first actors cast were Kirk Acevedo and Mark Valley, who play FBI agents Charlie Francis and John Scott, respectively. John Noble and Lance Reddick, who play Dr. Walter Bishop and Homeland Security agent Phillip Broyles joined the cast later on.[564474] Casting of Anna Torv, Blair Brown, and Jasika Nicole, who play Olivia Dunham, Massive Dynamic employee Nina Sharp, and Astrid Farnsworth, a federal agent and assistant to Olivia Dunham, respectively, followed; while Joshua Jackson, who plays Peter Bishop, was the last main character to be cast. Jackson auditioned for James T. Kirk in Abrams' Star Trek and believed this is what impressed the producer to cast him in his television project.

On April 8, 2009, it was announced that Leonard Nimoy would appear as Walter Bishop's former lab partner, Dr. William Bell in the season's finale, which explores the existence of an ominous parallel universe. Nimoy will return as Dr. Bell this fall for an extended arc, and according to Orci, Bell will be "the beginning of the answers to even bigger questions." This choice led one reviewer to question if Fringe's plot might be an homage to the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror", which featured an alternate reality "mirror universe" concept and an evil version of Spock distinguished by a goatee.

U.S. Ratings

The following is a table of seasonal USA rankings (based on total viewers per episode including reruns) of Fringe on Fox.

Season Timeslot (EST) Season Premiere Season Finale TV Season Rank Viewers

(in millions)
1st Tuesday 9:00 P.M. September 9, 2008 May 12, 2009 2008–2009 #43 9.96
2nd Thursday 9:00 P.M. September 17, 2009 May 2010 2009–2010 TBA 6.78 (to date)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc

Boxset DVD/Blu-ray release date
United Statesmarker Europe Australia Hong Kongmarker New Zealandmarker
The Complete First Season Sep 08, 2009 Sep 25, 2009 Sep 30, 2009 Sep 10, 2009 Nov 11, 2009
The first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc September 8, 2009 in the United States, on September 30, 2009 in Australia and November 11, 2009 with an alternate cover. In Germany on September 25, 2009, United Kingdom on September 28, 2009, and France and Norway on October 14, 2009. Hong Kong on September 10, 2009.

Setting

Fringe is set at Harvard Universitymarker, but was actually filmed at Yale Universitymarker. Typically depicted are scenes of Phelps Hall and Branford College. Initially, it was also filmed at The University of Torontomarker's University Collegemarker and Bahen Centre for Information Technologymarker. Upon productions moving to Vancouver, Canada for season 2, the University of British Columbiamarker now stands in for Harvard.

Reception

The pilot episode was watched by 9.13 million viewers, garnering 3.2/9 Nielsen Ratings among adults 18–49, with ratings improving over the course of the episode. Ratings improved greatly for the second episode, "The Same Old Story" which 13.27 million people watched, making it the fifth most watched show of the week. As of October 2008, the show had achieved the first place in the 18–49 demographic among new shows. As a whole, the series was well received by the critics. Barry Garron at Hollywood Reporter found it promising because "it is reminiscent of battle-of-the-sexes charm." Robert Bianco, USA Today, said, "What Abrams brings to Fringe is a director's eye for plot and pace, a fan's love of sci-fi excitement, and a story-teller's gift for investing absurd events with real emotions and relatable characters." Travis Fickett of IGN gave it 7.6 out of 10, calling it "a lackluster pilot that promises to be a pretty good series." While Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle remarked that it was "boundlessly ambitious", Chicago Sun-Times's Misha Davenport called it an "update of The X-Files with the addition of terrorism and the office of Homeland Security."

The pilot episode was negatively received by the Parents Television Council, who named the show the worst of the week and denounced the "excessive violence and gore". In its 2008 Year in Review, Television Without Pity declared Fringe one of the year's biggest disappointments, commenting that the show is "entertaining" and "the cast is largely strong" but the character development is insufficient. The show's main character, Olivia Dunham is "wooden and distant, and after half a season, we still haven't gotten to know her." The untrustworthy Nina Sharp is well-acted but "one-note and lazily written" and Lance Reddick's character is also "under-developed".

The Daily Herald comments that Fringe is promising and "it may yet develop into a worthwhile program" but has "largely been spinning its wheels".

Meanwhile, in other articles recounting the best and worst of 2008, The New York Times stated that Fringe "is the best of a rash of new series that toy with the paranormal." The author goes on to praise the cast saying that "Much credit belongs to Anna Torv who stars as an F.B.I. agent investigating bizarre murders that all appear to be linked to a powerful and mysterious multinational corporation" and "Ms. Torv is backed up ably by John Noble as a crazy but brilliant fringe scientist and his level-headed but skeptical son, played by Joshua Jackson."

Additional praise came from Entertainment Weekly, which stated "The best new show of the year took a few weeks to grow on me, but now it's a full-blown addiction", from iF Magazine, stating that "the new X-Files is fun, weird and has just enough questions that we aren’t re-creating LOST all over again just with new people in a new setting" and from the LA Times, calling Walter Bishop one of the best characters of 2008, saying that "the role of the modern-day mad scientist could so easily have been a disaster, but the 'Fringe' writers and the masterful John Noble have conspired to create a character that seems, as trite as it sounds, more Shakespearean than sci-fi." Chicago Tribune states that some episodes are "distressingly predictable and formulaic" but adds that there have also been some excellent episodes.

A version of the show (edited for time) premiered on the Nine Network in Australia on September 17, 2008. The following month, Fringe also premiered on Ireland's TV3 (October 1), Sweden's Kanal 5 (October 2), and the United Kingdom's Sky1 (October 5). Nine Network later dropped the show from its primetime schedule temporarily; the show returned during the December to January non-ratings period. Fringe now airs on Nine's second digital channel GO!. In 2009, Fringe made additional debuts on Norway's TVNorge (January 1), Finland's MTV3 (January 5), South Africa's M-Net (January 8), Italy's Mediaset Premium (January 31), Canada's CTV (February 3), and Germany's Pro Sieben (March 16). It will be also broadcast on TVN in Poland.

Fringe has been nominated for a 2008 Writers Guild of America Award in the category of New Series. Also, the pilot episode has been nominated in the category of "Long Form - Original", for which television programs longer than one hour are eligible.

Media information

The pilot episode was leaked via BitTorrent, three months before the series premiere similar to leaked fellow FOX series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. An alternate reality game, centered around the fictional Massive Dynamic corporation, was introduced during the pilot and featured "strange symbols paired with glowing dots" appearing throughout the episode and an "advertisement" for the company shown at the end with a web address for the game.

On August 27, 2008, a prequel comic book for the series written by Zack Whedon was released by DC Comics under its WildStorm imprint. This was to be the first issue of a monthly 6-issue limited series but the others were delayed until January 2009, when monthly publication resumed, with the sixth and final issue scheduled for release on June 17. The Vice President of WildStorm, Hank Kanalz, explained the publication hiatus:

Mystery

Abrams revealed in an interview that the glyphs in the show had a hidden meaning. "It's something that we're doing for people who care to figure it out and follow it, but it's not something that a viewer has to consider when they watch the show." Abrams also revealed that the seemingly unrelated frogs which have the Greek letter Phi (Φ) imprinted on their back appeared in promos for the show have significance within the context of the series, saying "it's part of the code of the show." The glyph code was cracked by an editor at the technology site Ars Technica, who discovered it to be a simple substitution cypher used to spell out a single thematic word for each episode. Whether there is a further second-order code to be solved remains to be seen.

International broadcasters

Country Broadcaster Series Premiere
Argentinamarker Warner Channel March 17, 2009
Australia Previously: Nine
Presently: GO!
First Season - First-run premiere: September 17, 2008 (9 Episodes)
First Season - Second-run premiere: August 12, 2009 (Full run)
Belgiummarker La Deux May 28, 2009
Brazilmarker Warner Channel
SBT
March 17, 2009
August 29, 2009
Bulgariamarker PRO.BG TBD
Canadamarker CTV/A (English)

V (French)
September 9, 2008 (English)

September 3, 2009 (French)
Chilemarker Warner Channel March 17, 2009
Denmarkmarker 6'eren September 20, 2009
Finlandmarker MTV3 January 9, 2009
Ecuadormarker Warner Channel April 7, 2009
Francemarker TF1marker June 10, 2009
Germanymarker ProSieben March 16, 2009
Greecemarker Star Channel October 5, 2009
Hungarymarker RTL Klub March 13, 2009
Hong Kongmarker TVB Pearl

TVB HD Jade
March 1, 2009

November 15, 2009 (First Season Rerun in High Definition)
Indiamarker WB September 25, 2009
Irelandmarker TV3

3e
October 1, 2008

Season 2 Sunday at 9pm from October 18, 2009
Italymarker Steel January 31, 2009
South Koreamarker OCN

CatchOn
September 15, 2009

August, 2009
Malaysiamarker ntv7 TBD
Mexicomarker Warner Channel March 17, 2009
Middle East MBC Action April 21, 2009
Netherlandsmarker Net 5 September 6, 2009
New Zealandmarker TV 2 July 1, 2009
Norwaymarker TVNorge TBD
Perumarker Warner Channel March 17, 2009
Philippinesmarker CS9 February 2009
Polandmarker TVN September 10, 2009
Portugalmarker RTP2 February 5, 2009
Puerto Rico WAPA-TVmarker June 1, 2009
Russiamarker TV3 Russia September, 2009
Singaporemarker Channel 5 August 10, 2009
Slovakiamarker Markíza October 4, 2009
Sloveniamarker POP TV TBD
South Africa M-Net January 8, 2009
Spainmarker Canal+ December 28, 2008
Swedenmarker Kanal 5 October 2, 2008
Switzerlandmarker SF zwei

TSR1
March 16, 2009

May 30, 2009
Thailandmarker True Series February 7, 2009
Turkeymarker DiziMax January, 2009
UKmarker Sky1 October 5, 2008
Venezuelamarker Warner Channel March 17, 2009
Ukrainemarker Novyi Kanal September 14, 2009


References

External links



Official tie-in sites



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