When Fringe Closes A Door To An Alternate Universe, It Opens A Window To A Horrible Future

Courtesy of FOX
As much as we might hate the FOX network for cancelling shows we enjoy without giving them much of a chance, you do have to give them credit where it's due. They are the only one of the major American networks to take a chance on science fiction. That's not to say other networks don't do sci-fi. ABC had LOST, NBC had Quantum Leap, CBS has CSI (neither the show itself, nor it's popularity cannot be explained by real science). But FOX more than others, is willing to give the green light to a show that will, charitably, have a niche audience.

Why? Maybe because they are the youngest of the networks, they don't feel the need to surrender to network staples (CBS - legal dramas, NBC - sitcoms, ABC - ummm... America's Funniest Home Videos). Maybe it's because they have more money to give to individual programs, thus giving shows that need larger budgets that they need (unlike NBC, which gives it's shows five bucks and a coupon for Arby's). Maybe because they are desperate to find the next X-Files, that will bless them with time slot dominance and ad revenues, allowing them to relive the glory days of the early nineties.

Certainly, once they are produced, FOX won't put any actual time or money towards promoting them, already swatting at the next shiny thing to cross their path, dumping the show into a barren wasteland of a time slot, and killing it half way through it's first season before it has a chance to find it's grove (think of all the long running shows that were absolute shit in their first seasons). But, without FOX we won't have what we do have of Firefly, Wonderfalls, Futurama, etc., because no other network would have aired those shows. At least, not at first.

So, it's rare to see a story that involves a low rated show, FOX, science fiction, and doesn't end with the word 'cancelled'. In fact, the word we'll be ending with is 'renewed'. Against all odds, FOX has decided to renew Fringe, the once X-Files compared sci-fi epic from J.J. Abrams and the writers of Star Trek, for a final 13 episode fifth season.

Fringe is an enigma. It never should have lasted. The first season was accessible and procedural, but beyond that, it became more isolating and complex then LOST ever dreamt. The show should have been cancelled at the end of every season, and yet, it lasted four years of the strangest, wildly uneven seasons. Then FOX moved it to Fridays: the death slot. Where all good shows go to be ignored and disappear without a blip. The rating have been terrible. The plot: the most uneven season yet, ranging from brilliant to instantly forgettable.

And yet, here we are, with FOX giving them time to wrap things up. A courtesy rarely extended to shows that haven't preformed M*A*S*H finale ratings on a weekly basis. Someone high up must really love the show, which deserves everything it is getting and more, because it is a brilliant, mad show, filled with brave creative choices and fantastic acting. But there is no reasonable, rational explanation how it has survived.

A mystery worthy of Walter Bishop.

Via Entertainment Weekly.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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