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October 02 2008

Fringe gets a full-season order from Fox. Writer Zack Whedon should be pleased. "Fringe bowed to lukewarm ratings, but made a stunning bounce in week two."

I was about to post this but wasn't sure if it would be appropriate without Zack being a central focus. :P

Fantastic news! :D
It's relevant to my interests.
My mom would agree that you can absorb ideas though osmosis.
FOX gave Fri(BIG 3D LETTERS)nge a full season order while their blaming Terminator: SCC for bringing down Prison Break's ratings! :(
Yaaaaaay!! I'm very happy with this. I've loved every second of Fringe.

I hope I don't get stoned for this one, but I've tried to watch SCC. I've tried. Every week, I try and it's just. too. boring. Nothing grabs me, not even Summer and not even the wonderful Shirley Manson. I keep wanting to stop in the middle of the episode to watch something else. I'm done with it.
They should switch Terminator and Prison Break and see if Prison Break brings down Terminator's ratings.
Fringe is a pretty impressive show, and one that I look forward to each week. Good news!

As for Terminator, Fox should put it on Wednesday's after Bones.
Summer was especially awesome in this week's Terminator.
Yaaaay!
(Please Fox, don't screw this one up.)
Prison Breaks time slot brought down it's own ratings. Same thing goes for Terminator. If they want them to do well then they shouldn't counter schedule them. Monday is a cluster frak without them already. Their own fault.

*fears for Dollhouse*

But really, I think they'll keep that one, especially if Terminator and PB get canned.
I think Monday Night Football has some to do with that as well...perhaps watching football and recording the network shows through DVR is hurting their numbers? I DVR the shows. Generally I'm home in time for Heroes, but Mondays are terrible if you want to watch football and have to choose between that and SCC or Prison Break.

Tuesdays are a lot easier to manage. Fringe has been doing pretty well in its time slot, and NCIS and House are dominating the top spots.
This week's episode of Fringe, for me, was when they hit their groove.
I agree b!x. There's still some kinks to work out but Torv grew on me a bit (she still has a ways to go) and the writing was admittedly the best so far. The characters are beginning to meld as well and it looks like we're moving away from the more sarcastic, "doesn't want to believe" Peter which is a huge plus.
I concur onetruebix. Definitely the strongest episode so far. :)

Also, Summer was amazing in this weeks Terminator. I'll be really sad to see this show go if it's cancelled. :(
This week's episode was the first time (other than a few moments in the pilot) that they let the lead actress show some charisma instead of just sulking, so I really liked that. Clearly, she can make different facial expressions if you give her the chance. There was a neat moment near the beginning of the episode that demonstrated it.

It's one of three shows I've been watching every week this season, but, to be honest, I've found a lot of the writing to be stock and the acting to be less than stellar. The exception is John Noble. Both his acting and the lines written for him are fantastic. It's no exaggeration to say he steals every scene he's in. The others, though, there isn't much to distinguish them from any one of a hundred other characters on other procedural shows.

That's balanced out by some fantastic concepts, though. I'm not usually the type to enjoy plot over character, but in this case (and except for John Noble), the plot tends to be the star.
And in fact, dispatch, this week's episode was outstanding for John Noble especially. They set up a nice little rhythm with him over the first few episodes, a touch of something under the surface, and then in this one they pushed it. It was nicely done.
The apology scene to Astrid was extremely well done. He managed to make me feel sorry for him and he syringed her! lol

Noble/Walter are definitely the highlight of Fringe so far for me.

Also, Anna is growing on me and I find her improving a little bit each week. As Xan man said though, she still has ways to go.

[ edited by Rhodey on 2008-10-02 04:25 ]
Yay, good for Zack! Haven't watched the show yet but really do want to.
Does anyone know what episode Zack will be writing?
Not a fan of Fringe. It's really just... bad. Not as bad as SCC, but really very bad. Can't sit through an episode without going "Who cares?"
I love SCC but Fringe is still boring me at the moment. I feel like I'm in the small group with that thinking but it's just the way it is.
I love SCC but Fringe is still boring me at the moment.

I'm totally the other way around. So, if they keep both shows, both camps can be satisfied. Heh.
Almost forgot: it seems like 90% of the internet hates the 3D letters, but I just love them. I get giddy. I don't know why.
Good for Fringe. Now we know where the bar is for Dollhouse. TSCC dragging down Prison Break is a joke. That show is in free-fall all by itself.
I can't get past the awful science macguffins most of the time but I do like the dad.
I follow all of JJ Abrams works including the viral extra's/games but I just cant get sucked into Fringe. I understand why others might like it, but the show just lacks that intangible hook for me.
Fringe is great, I really like it so far.

TSCC really is in ratings trouble, I don't think I'll be shot for saying it will likely close production soon because, well, it will likely close production soon. It's a shame - ep 4 finally aired, but it was too little, too late I fear. They should have moved it forward in the running order. Seriously.
Putting episode 4 somewhere else in the order would have been irrelevant, once people noticed that no other episode this season was even close to living up to its standards.
Yeah, but get them to at least think it's high bar stuff early on so they keep coming back for a while. I'm fine with them moving Dollhouse episodes about, for example, as long as the producers don't tell people and the narrative is okay.
Agrred. Fringe and Sarah Connor Chronicles should be on the same night. I'm doing my part to save the Terminator by buying the Amazon download - it is only 2 bucks, and it is the only way I know of to show I'm watching it.
That's good news. Although I'm not sold on all of the crazy "science" they've been doing, I've found it entertaining enough so far to keep watching.

Perhaps I just didn't notice them until seeing Fringe, but lately I have been seeing quite a few tv commercials that are using similar floating words... I know I've seen them here and there before Fringe (old Weeds credits comes to mind) but they seem to me to be showing up much more commonly now.

Also, does it bother anyone else to see artificial intelligence and nanotechnology listed among the other "fringe" topics such as psychokenesis, teleportation, and precognition in the Fringe title sequence?
I'm sad that people are saying T:SCC is in trouble. I'm really enjoying it. The episode this week was, frankly, stunning and Summer was acting her little socks off.

Fringe on the other hand, I haven't even bothered to watch. It makes me sad that the fate of my favourite shows comes down to American viewing figures, which I have no control over and can't even contribute to.
As a working research scientist, I find this show so hard to swallow. Not because the concepts are necessarily implausible, but because how many pie's can Walter have had his finger in at any one time. We have now watched 4 eps, and each and every one has been something he has worked on in the (short) time he worked with the head of Massive Dynamic. Also, I find it very hard to believe that not only does his equipment of 17+ years ago still works, but that it is compatible with current technology, and that it can all be used within minutes of getting it out of storage. Not sure how many eps of this I can watch, even with a cameo from Peter Outerbridge, this is no Regenesis where the science is concerned.

And as for 90210 being renewed, I find that rather amusing, as after 4 eps, it's been axed here in Oz, or as some sources say "they are looking for a time slot for it" Which inevitably means it's going to be shafted around for a few weeks and then vanish completely. This from Aussies who live for Home and Away and Neighbours every night.
I can't watch TV shows where they use computers. 'cos Willow sits down and types HACK CIA and she's in. 'cos the computers are plot devices and have absolutely no relevance to way things actually work.

But I know nothing about science. At all. So, Fringe good.
It's a pity that TSCC can't find enough audience. A show with a promise, often let down by weak execution. Makes you wonder whether the global financial turmoil is a factor contributing towards poor ratings. At time like these, people are more likely to watch Dancing With The Stars than a show about an impending Armageddon.

We're a week behind the US with Fringe, and I've been quite enjoying it. The preposterous 'science' doesn't bother me too much. I think, compared to TSCC, Fringe is more commercial, more calculated for success. Again, that doesn't bother me, but that may explain why some people have been unable to get into it.
What do you thing that will happen to Dollhouse in that time slot? They could always trade Fringe for Dollhouse...
I haven't decided if I like this show yet. I've only seen the first two episodes so I am a bit behind, but so far it's a bit too ick for me and I'm disappointed in the lead actress. The character so far is dull so I'm hoping their will be some personality in the episodes I haven't seen. And I find her accent terribly distracting.

But I do love the crazy old scientist guy and even like Pacey, so I'll stick with it for at least half a season before deciding.
I agree that the crazy science nonsense in Fringe drives me up the wall. I also hate the way that almost every episode so far there's been a Star Trek style "magic fix", where when faced with a seemingly intractable problem someone says "Wait, if we just reconfigure the plasma coils it will magically solve exactly the impossible problem we're facing", or in this case "Wait, it just so happens that amongst the five million other things I did bleeding edge research in all that time ago, I also invented a machine which will see the last thing a dying person saw and project it on a TV screen, and then we can catch the murderer." Apart from how cringingly ridiculous that is scientifically, it's just bad writing and plot construction. It's so lazy. I'm afraid that I find most of JJ Abrams' shows to be like this.

Now, that said, what I do enjoy about the show is the characters, and the creepy incidents that they have to investigate. I feel like this could be a good show, but I suspect that I will end up not watching it anymore. I liked Alias and Lost when they first started, but gave up on both quite quickly.

ETA: I almost forgot the mention T:SCC. I agree that it's been weak, but the last episode that was all about Cameron was absolutely amazing. Summer was just incredible in it.

[ edited by dzr on 2008-10-02 10:45 ]
Yeah episode 4 of T:TSCC was brilliant TV, i've been intimidated by Terminators before but I think that was the first time I actually hated them and it was all down to Summer's performance as (both) Alisons. It'll be cancelled any day now, obviously ;).

I can't watch TV shows where they use computers. 'cos Willow sits down and types HACK CIA and she's in. 'cos the computers are plot devices and have absolutely no relevance to way things actually work.

I watch TV shows about computers all the time (mainly because almost all shows have computers in, they're everywhere, like a fungal infection ;) and put up with them without much trouble. Here's why: when Willow hacks it's (usually, breaking military encryption aside ;) a cinematic work-around for a possible scenario - instead of taking days or weeks it takes minutes or hours, instead of poring over logs of port scans or war-dialing thousands of numbers or whatever she has nice big filmable letters saying "access initiative network", she never social engineers because they don't have the time or budget to film anonymous people at the other end of a phone being conned into giving up their passwords. It doesn't make sense but it doesn't make sense for sensible reasons.

What 'Fringe' does isn't a work-around for plausible scenarios, as dzr says it's a work-around for lazy writing and not bothering to come up with believable fringe science (the optic nerve of dead people stores pictures of what they last saw ? Uh huh, 'K). It just doesn't make sense full-stop. Why on Earth would there be suspense over the outcome when Mad-Dad can just build (or has already built) a machine that solves the problem ? Where's the peril ?

Maybe it's the best long-con ever and they're all trapped in a VR or something (where any old bollocks makes sense) but unless ep 4 is really much better I think it might well lose me before the (potential) big reveal.

This week's episode of Fringe, for me, was when they hit their groove.

Man, I hope so because the needle's been doing a lot of skipping up to now IMO.

(and the article talks about averages and so on, does anyone know how it did in absolute terms after the second episode - up or down ?)
I don't want to go all Richard Dawkins or anything, but I used to be an academic, and lots of my friends are working scientists, and frankly almost nothing of how science and scientists are portrayed on TV (even in procedurals like CSI) bears any resemblance to what my friends do, to such an extent that I honestly fear for what the public understanding of science must be like. As snakebye said, it's a little worrying when nanotechnology and telekinesis are sort of run together like this. But Saje is absolutely right. It would be tolerable if it made for good drama, but it doesn't.
Saje,

Fringe is third in it's timeslot, and posted 10 million for the last episode. The full season order has been because of its ease in capturing the desired demographic.
What I find amazing is that Boston seems to be a mecca for these rogue fringe scientists. Now, I haven't watched episode four because, well, I've given up on the show. I followed Lost for the first few years but when I realized there was no rhyme or reason to it, just weird things thrown in that were never explained, I had to give up too. I'm not gonna waste that much time again on a JJ Abrams show again. I like shows with arcs and intelligence, not just flash.
I love SCC but Fringe is still boring me at the moment. I feel like I'm in the small group with that thinking but it's just the way it is.

- I sort of agree. I thoroughly enjoy SCC, and actually just watched fringe for the first time this week. I'll admit, I need to see a few more episodes before I can pass judgement, but as of right now, Fringe hasn't really grabbed me in a big way.
I had a moment of horror when I realised 90210 had been axed here in Oz... then I remembered I don't watch it anyway!

I very rarely sit down to watch a series on TV, as a result of being continually shafted by the Australian networks- ABC and SBS being the exceptions. (The other 3 seem to show most of 'my' shows later in the night and thus bypass the mandatory closed captioning time, making it impossible for me, as a hearing impaired individual, to follow the story.)

I prefer to TWOP the storyline from the US and then wait for the episodes to be released on DVD- since as an Aussie, my viewership counts for jack+squat in any renewal decisions, anyway.

Life's nicer this way!
Anyone know the answer to Rhodey's question? I'm kinda curious, too.

Does anyone know what episode Zack will be writing?

Wow, a lot of people really don't like Fringe.

I have to say that I enjoy it. The bad science doesn't bother me so much, because it's a TV show, and because it doesn't take me out of the show. As long as it doesn't break my suspension of disbeleif for the hour that it's on, I don't mind.

As far as the random MacGuffins to solve every problem. This is an element that is in almost every unrealistic show ever. The trick is to earn it, which I feel this show does.

Anyway, I really like Fringe. It's sort of like The x-Files meets Michael Crichton meets Altered States. I think it's cool, and the 3-D letters are starting to grow on me.

And, to be honest, I have yet to watch Terminator this season. All the episodes are on my DVR, I just haven't gotten around to them.
As a research scientist also, I have to say that Walter (do I have the name right?) is like all the greatest scientists throughout history rolled into one person. I think if they hadn't made his research from seventeen years in the past it would be a little easier to swallow. It is remarkably (unbelievably) cutting edge and cuts through a wide swath of fields even in the present day.

Nevertheless, Fringe still seems like it might have the potential to be a good series. Though until the fourth episode, there hasn't been much to grab viewers in my opionion. I almost hate to commit my time to the show since in the past, I sat through all five seasons of Alias. Though it was enjoyable, light viewing, the never-resolved and seemingly random concepts/artifacts were ultimately frustrating since they never paid off in any logical way (with a hefty dose of suspension of disbelief of course). My impression is that JJ Abrams likes to throw in all sorts of interesting, intriguing things into his shows, but really has no idea of how to string all these disparate parts into a cohesive whole. I've never watched Lost, but what I've heard from others seems to support this.

I loved The X-Files until it became plain that the mythology had become a convoluted mess (I still loved the characters to death though so I kept on watching). I'll give Fringe more of my time, but ultimately, if the show doesn't seem to have any sort of rudder, I'll be jumping off this ship.
JossIzBoss, I'm doing a radio show about Fringe next week. As part of the prep for that we've gotten interviews with JJ. We were interested in the angle of 'is this going to be a mythology mess?' and his opinion is a "No". I don't know if he can stick to it, but he's insisting he wants to avoid "the Lost problem".
gossi -

That's good to hear. Makes me feel a little more comfortable with investing my time in the series (for a little while longer at least :)
... he wants to avoid "the Lost problem".

Were those his words gossi ? Cos that's interesting if so, AFAIK the party line re: 'Lost' has been "We always knew where we were heading", Abrams saying otherwise would be news (to me).

To me, with conspiracy arcs you need to have a finite time-line in mind (like e.g. the 5 years of 'Babylon 5') and you need to know how the arc resolves (roughly) even if you don't know exactly how you're getting there. The finite number of seasons is generally a problem for networks because if the show hits they want to see more but without those two things I think any long-term arc is either going to get tangled up in its own web or end very unsatisfactorily.
Well, the Lost problem - for him - and this isn't his exact words, I'm paraphrasing, is that he's sick of people coming up to him and going "I really loved Lost! And then I had no idea what was happening, so stopped watching".

[ edited by gossi on 2008-10-02 19:02 ]
This last Fringe episode is sitting in my DVR and I wasn't sure if I'd keep it, so I'm glad to hear the praise for this episode and will give it one last shot.

I agree wholeheartedly with DZR and Saje and couldn't say it better. While it isn't terrible, for me (another science industry worker) the bad science and unrealistic solutions do actually pull me out of the show entirely.

Sarah Connor has some problems, but it also has some fantastic elements. I loved the opening scene of the season premiere with the music and the fire...and I'm always amazed at the special effects and how they pull it off on a TV budget. I haven't been able to connect/care/empathize much with the title character (which is perhaps because she plays the part well) but I love Brian Austin Greene in the show, and Summer keeps me coming back for more every week. She is absolutely captivating in this role and this weeks episode showed her acting prowess, mastery of subtlety and luminous beauty more than anything I've ever seen her in. Any fan of Summer should try to get their hands on this last epiosde. Sad it may end soon.
Does anyone remember the show "Nowhere Man"? When it first aired, I was fascinated by the idea that the writers probably wouldn't even have to know in what direction they were eventually going to take the show. However, in retrospect, since I've seen this happen with many shows since, it's not a great idea. It's certainly not a successful model to follow to retain viewership for any significant length of time. I didn't even make it through the first season of "Nowhere Man" despite loving it in the beginning. IIRC, I believe "Lost" fans were about to revolt until the show runners announced that the series was going to end after a specified amount of time.
... he's sick of people coming up to him and going "I really loved Lost! And then I had no idea what was happening, so stopped watching".

Ah right, so his issue could be more the appearance of the creators not knowing where it was going, fair enough, that's consistent with the party line. The Party is pleased to see its line unsullied and recalls its hench-beings ;).

The full season order has been because of its ease in capturing the desired demographic.

Ta Andy Dufresne. I guess that's fair enough, if the ad space is weighted in that demo's favour enough then it can bear lower numbers (in fairness, I wonder if the same thing applied to - and effectively spared - T:TSCC last season, when its numbers were better than they are now but still not exactly stellar ?).
Add me to the list of people whom Fringe has really failed to captivate. The first episode with the character-oriented plot twist was appealling. But since then, I haven't been compelled by much at all. I'm not usually one to be bothered by dopey science in my fiction, but it has to be in the service of good, character-driven or concept-driven stories (a la, well, Whedon). I haven't seen much of that yet on Fringe.

TSCC is a bit more compelling to me, but not much. I did very much like the final scene of last season and the first scene of this season, and the visuals (*ahem*) for the show in general are top notch. The characters still aren't super-compelling, but I'm starting to like and be interested in Summer's Terminator character, at least.

(Also, am I the only one that keeps confusing the world-dominating conspiracy corporations in the two shows? I keep forgetting that a terminator is not running Massive Dynamic.)

(Oh, and on a related note, Heroes has come back strong this season, by being more character-focused and less "epic" in scope compared to last season, when I really lost interest.)
Septimus, I'm right there with you on the confusion between shows! Several times during Fringe and once or twice during Heroes I've had to remind myself that the shape shifting boss-lady is NOT orchestrating things on this show, but rather on SCC.
I remember Nowhere Man! I too was pretty fascinated with the idea initially, then it lost my interest when I realized that there may be no point nor real sense of logic.

(BTW, it's really interesting to see how people are reacting negatively to T:SCC. I think I'm in the reverse T:SCC/Heroes camp. I actually really enjoy T:SCC, it's popcorn entertainment but I also find myself caring about the characters a lot, particularly Summer's, even though they can be frustrating. In contrast, after loving Heroes to bits in season 1, getting upset at season 2, my reaction to season 3 has been meh mixed with a side of annoyance for various reasons that I won't bore you with here.)

Edited for clarity.

[ edited by gus on 2008-10-02 21:28 ]
I haven't really seen much Fringe, but I got the first issue of the comic (yeah, apparently the only one too according to where I got it. lol.) and that's not too bad. I kidna like that.

But the show? Okay, started okay but then I tried watching some more and eh. I have stuff I want spend my time watching more, so eh.

But I guess yay for them for having the show picked up. I just hope it won't go all LOST. XD
http://tvbythenumbers.com/category/ratings/top-timeshifted

DVR numbers for both Fringe and TSCC are very interesting. These numbers will really help Terminator.
Although those numbers appear to be "For the week of September 8-14" and the article adds: "It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Fox and CW shows predominate in both lists. They began their season premieres this week in advance of the rest of the broadcast networks."

It's the successive weeks that are going to matter when it comes to DVR numbers, no?
Yeah, I thought the creppy red head was from Fringe too for a while. Although it has given me the long awaited mystery that I felt was missing from SCC
bix, they were still competing against MNF that week which is what is really taking away the viewers. There is a two week lag on getting the Live plus 7 numbers so it is a good metric to keep an eye on for Terminator.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-10-03 00:04 ]
Did this show get better after the pilot? cause thats the only episode I've watched, I've got all the others on DVR. Everyone I talk to in day to day life really thinks the show is boring but you know how that goes..
Saje,

I think you're right there reagrding Sarah Connor, but I doubt that will save it this season.

Regarding the "Lost Problem" Lindelof and Abrams have always known where they are going. But the network wanted to make the road there a lot longer, hence the convusions and dead end plots on occasion. Now that they have managed to secure a finite episode count, we should see a continued momentum to the story as per last season.

Although, it's important to not that while JJ devised and launched Lost, now he really only gives notes and counsel. That show is Lindelof and Cuse's baby now.

Abrams will be especially hopeful of avoiding plot bewilderment after Alias. He recently admitted to catching an episode on TV and having no idea where the story was because it was "impenetrable". This will inform Fringe's direction I think.
I find Fringe to be entertaining enough, so far. But I really love T:TSCC, more with each episode. It's easy to get hung up on Summer and how awesome she is, but the entire regular cast is excellent. I'm going to be seriously bummed, if they ax it.
I randomly saw an episode of the second season of The Sarah Connor Chronciles recently, my first time watching the show (the one where ). I thought it was pretty strong. The cast is. Far as action-drama plots go, I can't really say as it's a part of a continuing storyline and I imagine that episode had more impact for regular viewers who know those characters.

Summer was cool doing her River-like thing (I know Cameron isn't just a River clone, though I remember many pointing out the similarities at the beginning of Season 1. Still, in this one example I saw her in, she seemed to be talking about things how River would, all mathematical and cold facts and randomness).

Fully intend to rent, borrow, or maybe even buy the series eventually, but then it helps that I love The Terminator franchise (mostly just the first two films).

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