Come mid-May (if not sometimes sooner), the networks will be making some tough calls as to which shows will return for the 2012-13 TV season, and which… won’t. As we did last spring, TVLine is singling out select “bubble” shows to survey their prospects, then turn it over to you to vote on the program’s fate.
Kicking things off is a beloved drama that may be due for a reality (or realities) check:
THE SHOW: Fringe (Fox)
THE TIME SLOT: Fridays at 9/8c.
THE CASE FOR KEEPING: Fringe is a show famous for “recontextualizing” its narrative with each and every season finale, so we have to imagine that come May 11, the Powers That Be will once again sends our jaws to the floor, brew a storm of speculation and get us clamoring for a Season 5. Plus, for too long now, storytelling hooks have “split up the band” in one way or another, robbing us of the chance to see the team we know — no alts, no timeline variations — crack cases together; it’d be nice to get a final run with the core four intact. So how about it, Fox? How about a thrilling, cost-efficient 13-episode farewell tour?
THE CASE FOR CUTTING: Not that we could ever get inside the übercreative heads of the Fringe writers, but what ways are left to “recontextualize” this show? Adding a third universe would seem derivative, so, save for a significant displacement forward or backward in time (and the always fun anachronisms that come with it), we can’t imagine where Peter, Olivia et al “need” to go next. To that end, this season’s timeline tinkering and resolution, pat as it has seemed, could suffice as an end story.