When I first got the press screener kit for “Fringe” back in 2008, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this show.
The pilot seemed interesting, but to me, it was almost like Fox was trying to resurrect “The X-Files,” but just with a different dynamic. And even the early episodes of “Fringe” felt like Mulder or Scully would be walking through the front door at any minute.
But whether it was planned, or simply how the show evolved, “Fringe” turned into a genre masterpiece of its own. And it’s completely sad that more people didn’t stick with this show until the very end. I know I did, and I’m very glad for it.
“Fringe,” of course, was a victim of its own complexity. Monster of the week is easy to keep an audience — and even attract a new one — but once “Fringe” delved deep into the story arcs, it was near impossible for anyone to come in cold turkey. Was that a detriment? Yes. And there are times when I would look at numbers and I wished it weren’t like that.
However, for “Fringe” fans, we got really lucky. The people at Fox and Warner Bros. Television weren’t going to let this show go out quietly. Despite spending the last two seasons as the lowest-rated show on major network television — and even getting beat by a few The CW entries — both the network and the studio stayed firmly behind this show. It might have been ignored by most viewers (even in the genre) and most certainly ignored by the Emmys, but this show trudged on, and was destined to come to a tear-jerking, strong conclusion.
Boo to the Emmys for never recognizing the extraordinary work of John Noble. Walter Bishop was a lovable character that we would get angry with, but still come back and love him. And Noble (along with other members of the cast) really stretched their legs when the alternate universe was created. Walternate was extraordinary, as were the nicknames given to the other side (you know, like Fauxlivia).
So many times we want to lash out at the networks for cancelling a show, or not picking up a pilot that so many of us are behind. And trust me, there have been a lot of problems genre fans have had with Fox over the years, especially with how they treated shows like “Firefly” and “Tru Calling,” but you have to walk up and shake executive hands for how they treated “Fringe.”
Does that make up for past transgressions? No, that would be impossible to do. But it does give you faith that maybe Fox is willing to give the genre a shot, and maybe do something because it is art, and not simply a path toward a wider profit margin.
I am sure that people will disagree with me, but like “Lost” and even “Battlestar Galactica,” I felt that “Fringe” had a completely fulfilling ending, bringing the entire series together, and giving us hope for the future. And I am even more grateful to not just the people behind the scenes and in front of the camera for, but Fox and Warner Bros. Television as well, for letting us even have the ending that “Fringe” deserved.