Fringe on the Bubble: Keep Or Cut?

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.

2012 Renewal Scorecard: What’s Coming Back? What’s Getting Axed? What’s on the Bubble?

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.

Vote below, then hit Comments to make your own case for keeping or cutting Fringe.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. angelstorm says:

    There’s no question here at all ! KEEP IT !!!! (please ?)

  2. pstreeto says:

    Most unique show I’ve ever seen…who cares what night its on! (aka DVR)

  3. Willers says:

    keep keep keep kep
    i m French, i love Fringe.
    Please a season 5 in 13 episodes. (100 épisodes)

  4. AngelMoonGirl says:

    KEEP! I’m so in love with the characters and the story. There really aren’t a lot of GOOD shows out there anymore, but Fringe is one of those brilliant few.

  5. Jen says:

    Fringe is such an incredibly smart, sexy, intellectually stimulating show. Unfortunately, the vast majority of America, addicted to ‘reality’ tv drivel, is too intellectually challenged to appreciate such incredible writing, thought-out plots. The series could run and should run for several more seasons. If the writers have it plotted out to season __, great, I’d love to see it written, produced, and aired through that season. However, the reality is that Fox will probably cancel it. I hate to see it go; actually I’m probably going to cry because it’s that good (to me), but at least it will have gone out on top.

    I’d rather see a series get canceled and have time to write a proper series finale than continue for 3-6 more seasons with no real structure or plotline (just mindless episodes as filler), similar to what CC did for XFiles from seasons 7-9. That show should have ended when David left, instead of being dragged through the mud.

    All in all, I’d love to see it end how and when the creators want it to, but I’m enough of a realist to recognize Fox will probably cancel it. Fox has never known how to handle smart scifi-fantasy series ie. Firefly, Dollhouse, Fringe, etc. X-Files was an exception and it was more of a fluke that it really handled itself. Fox didn’t really have to promote it because the public did it for them.

  6. Kim says:

    Fringe has truly been a revelatory show for me. I adore it. I do feel like its “bubble” status since the Friday move however has constrained it from truly living and breathing as the writers and producers intend it. The momentum of the first two seasons, leading into the third with that incredible season finale offering us a vision of the future was just epic. I feel that this season its storytelling hasn’t been as compelling, and the recent timeline and observer resolutions have just seemed a little too tidy and convenient for me.

    But the past few seasons have been very focussed on interior character development rather than the ramifications of the Fringe world they dwell in on the universe/s at large – I’d love to see Fringe have three more seasons to explore more of the possibilities of fringe science – rather than play out the neat endgame the writer’s have obviously mapped out in which they are constrained by the rules they’ve set up to date. But I’ll take whatever Fox is willing to give us.

    A further thought, I live in Australia, and it breaks my heart to know that content producers or commissioners like Fox are still locked into making these keep or cut decisions by US key demographic audience numbers alone. The ad eyeballs model of funding content is so broken. Fox would stand to get a hell of a lot from Fringe in syndication and licensing deals overseas (which is probably why it’s survived as long as it has since the Friday move!).

    I am hoping that the advent of IPTV means content evolves from being produced for local markets to global audiences – a subscription/ad blended business model would enable content production for specialised or niche audiences like sci-fi to have a much larger total market, meaning winning in traditional ad demographic markets would no longer be the sole arbiter of which shows live or die. This would enable wonderful story-telling like Fringe to live on!!!

  7. QJ201 says:

    Fox should at least give them a 13 episode renewal…that will get the show to the magic 100 episodes number for syndication

  8. Zippy Omicron says:

    The show should be cut. The plot lines are uninteresting, and the exporation of multi-verse time continuums have now been explored (at least in the writer’s perceivance) as best as they are going to get…

    I had stopped watching this a while back now.

    The best show for writing, dramatic presentation, and excellent acting in the last 8 years on FOX was Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. And the boneheads at FOX TV’s executive office suites killed that off. They don’t recognize quality when they see it. But they will probably keep :”Fringe” around for unspecified reasons….its audience isn’t growing.

  9. AlterEgo says:

    Why would anyone vote to cut Fringe ? If you have no interest, change the channel.

    I doubt FOX will cut Fringe as they are already making changes to their line-up and there are many other inferior shows that will go next year.

  10. Fringe fan says:

    Fringe has been excelling creatively from day one and continues to get better. Not to mention each season has allowed an even better showcase of the actors ability. First John Nobel proved himself, then Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, this year Blair Brown, Seth Gabel and Jasika Nicole have all stepped up to the plate as well. This show deserves to stay the course for as long as the show runners see fit. The ratings do not reflect the GLOBAL market and appeal of this show, and while I understand ratings count so do DVD sales etc. Stay the course fringe fans, and get on twitter tonight #FaceYourself.

  11. Bob Jones says:

    The makers of Fringe need to have one objective – fixing the Red (Peter’s Home) Universe. Walter lost his son, went to another universe and stole another and began the war. September interfered with events by delaying Walternate from creating the Cure.

    Peter knows (from season 3 finale) after being in the future that destroying his home universe is not the answer because the Blue Universe begins to degrade. The bridging of the Universes in season 4 has not worked – what happens when Fauxlivia begins to remember Henry or when Walternate realizes that his own son destroyed their universe?

    This is the only issue that needs to be resolved. I like Anna Torv and Joshua Jackson, but if I wanted to watch a love story, I’d watch Grey’s Anatomy – Fix the Red Universe, Walter.

    • maddie says:

      Honestly, i was a die hard fan and i voted keep it. But lately, i question myself if i should even keep watching fringe. With that, i also ask if it deserves a renewal, because season 4 is losing appeal kicker than i can finish this sentence. I’d like to know who thought it was a good idea to make this the “Peter’s season”. Because case in point, he became extremely self-absorbed, who by the way, doesn’t really give a hoot about Walter, as long as he has Olivia. I refuse to say “his” because that would mean i’m merely reducing a once independent, strong, great role model as Agent Olivia Dunham into a mindless girlfriend. But that’s irrelevant, because that’s exactly what the writers have done to her. Actually things started to crumble on the second half of S3, precisely on the following eps after Olivia returns from the other side. That’s when this show became a downhill soap opera.

      It kills me to say this, because the 2nd half of the s3 had so much potencial, like focusing on the aftermath of her captivity, a.k.a the trauma that she went through while this guy couldn’t even tell them apart when the evidences couldn’t have been more obvious (come on, alt Liv wasn’t even trying hard to be her). I can’t fathom with the fact that it was left unsaid how the characters should have reacted knowing that they undoubtedly left a vacancy in her self esteem. She began to think another version of her was better, but the characters acted as if this was nothing. Sure, Peter confessed his screw up, but he soon enough determined that the only thing keeping them apart was HER. So let me recap: you runaway like a little boy with daddy issues, she goes to another universe to save your sorry self, you mistake the love of your life with her alternate, you don’t even bother nurturing her after the daily torture that she was put through, she gets rightfully angry at you for your mistakes, but somehow you twist this whole thing into being her fault? Way to put your own blame on someone you supposedly love.

      From then on, i wasn’t on board with the whole “they’re meant to be together, it’s fate and destiny” because it felt forced and insincere. Every other aspect and mythology of the show became contrived and loose ended because of their drama, and on season 4, tptb singlehandedly got rid of mostly everything good left in it. Among many problems, where did alt Charlie go? And other great supporting acts like Nick Lane, Henry Higgins? Why did the alts began to show in less and less eps? Why didn’t the universes worked together more than they did? What happened to all these new relationships that we were introduced to on the beginning of S4, such as Olivia/Walter, Astrid/Walter, Olivia/Astrid, Olivia/Lincoln, Olivia/her Alt? Why didn’t they explore ‘peterless’ universe more? Why didn’t they let the mystery of “where’s peter” play out for longer? Why? All of these things if properly investigated, would spark a much better momentum to his return. But no. Four eps in, he was back. WITHOUT ANY PLAUSIBLE EXPLAINING WHATSOEVER. The blue orb was a long shot, even for fringe standards. The whole hiatus hashtag campaign was for… that? How disappointing!

      And then, once again, great potencial strong characters became thinner, because it all revolves around Olivia/Peter’s dramarama. Surprise fact: not everyone is head over heels for these two together. Some of us enjoy the main characters on their own right and independence, along side with mythology and supporting actors. When this is not the issue, the abuse of stand alone eps with the creep-of-the-week, who have little or no appeal whatsoever is also a major draw back. If not for them, it’s for Peter’s giant ego. Some see him as an altruistic hero, but that’s not the case. The only reasons he had to go into that machine again, was to fix Olivia’s death in the future, which happened because he destroyed the other side, making Walternate seek revenge. He lied to her on his whereabouts, hence making it possible for Walternate to kill her. If that makes him a hero, they’re doing it wrong. The bridge between the universes is doing more harm than good to be honest. The shapeshifters are stronger than ever, David is no longer imprisoned, characters are losing their true identity, many have died already, including one good Captain known as Captain Lee.

      Amazing supporting characters like Lincoln Lee from the other side for instance, he became almost non-existant, and when he finally makes a quality time appearance, he gets unjustifiably killed off. To what extent, exactly? Make room for a rebound relationship between this side’s Lincoln and alt Liv? Not to mention how the remaining Lincoln is the show’s punch bag. In the beginning of this season, it seemed like he and Olivia were heading somewhere, rather through friendship, or romance, or partnership in the division. But all of that was deliberately scrapped. And Olivia choosing to forget her memories for Peter, isn’t romantic, it’s desperate, and quite disrespectful to Nina, who raised her. The fact that she doesn’t even know she has a nephew besides Ella, is the epitome of how screwed up this choice is. But oddly enough, no one seems to realize that.

      Also, the way she started to morph into old Olivia was badly explained, the cortexiphan if anything, should make her forget about her past, like it happened to her in the previous timeline (she forgot about her childhood) But more outrageous than that, was the fact that they threw in a “Peter’s been home all along”. Sounds a lot like ‘it was only just a dream’ a.k.a sloppy writing. Whereas, key plot points like – oh i don’t know – his surrogate father, still doesn’t remembering anything at all is not even mentioned. Because fringe is no longer about a father’s unconditional love for his son. It’s a love affair like any other show. Let’s face it, the real reason for the reset, was to get rid of some complications like baby Henry, and many other loose ends. Script problems. So in sum, if this show gets cancelled, it’s because of its own storyline choices, which keeps cutting off everything good that they’ve built over the years. Better slots won’t fix the ratings, better scripts will.

      /giant rant.

  12. Sheldon W says:

    Fringe is the smartest series on TV [which is probably a good reason to cut it in a lot of people’s eyes – like the fruitcake right] and deserves an opportunity to close out its run with a satisfying finale. Bring it back for thirteen and do it up right!

  13. JNForty says:

    Keep for sure! We need one more season to wrap up everything going on with David Robert Jones. To the guy up there that said the show was horribly written, you sir are ignorant. Many consider this show one of the best written and acted shows on television, except maybe for Olivia. Walter Bishop (John Nobles) is deserving of an Emmy for his work on this show. That is one of the best characters in television history. Therefore your statement about poor writing completely stands out for it’s ignorance as does your eye for truly amazing television, which is apparently bereft of 20/20 vision. Thanks for the laugh though.

  14. cnn says:

    Well, there are dozens of mysteries yet to be resolved. We still have no idea about Walter`s real past, why he built the machine? Who is his father really? Why do we see Walter in the old photo with Nazis? He apparently has removed these knowledge from his memory but somehow everything revolves around his past actions (including first & last people).
    & so much similarity between two universes is almost impossible if both co-existed since day 1. Therefore, one of them should have been splitted from the other at some point in time, probably around 1960s as a result of Walter`s actions or something. Anyways, maybe all nonsense but this show is full of millions of new directions and stories. So, please continue!

  15. Meggie_moo2UK says:

    My brother bought me the first season of Fringe a month ago here in the UK and I’m absolutely hooked. Since then I’ve watched series 1, 2 and am now near the end of series 3. I would like it to be kept, but that’s because I love it. I think what really needs to be addressed is why the ratings are low, and I agree I think it’s because of the way US shows are shown, fragmented and popping up all over the place, not allowing the viewers to know that every Friday at 9pm there favourite show is on, because some Football or Basketball game is on. FOX need to take a long look at how they show these type of programmes, especially the ones that need to be followed by watching every episode not like other “fluff” you can pick up where ever. They tried following the US seasons over here in the UK and networks like Sky got so many complaints they put a halt to it mid-season.
    This show is amazing, so smart and so well written, but people get bored if they can’t follow properly. In some ways I don’t even want the short series 5, i want them to round it off the way it’s meant to be, not some rushed decisions and quick adjustments. That’s how I felt Lost ended, it wasn’t believable anymore.
    This show just needs to be given it’s chance to shine.

  16. Colin Farrar says:

    Fringe is the smartest, best-written show on television. The show asks vital questions about technology, globalization, and the power of the state, corporations, and other non-state actors. For the many who feel adrift or lonely in a globalized and fast-changing world, Fringe suggests a self-critical look in the mirror to find one’s true identity, embracing friendship and love in order to find one’s true home. John Noble portrays a loveable Walter Bishop with quirky brilliance, endearing flaws, and deep humility. Anna Torv is a heroic role model for young women – courageous and strong but also sensitive and uncompromisingly feminine.

  17. Kacsa says:

    Of course they should keep it, it’s the best TV show of our generation,
    So, everyone is begging for a Season 5, but I don’t I want them to do this. I want them to run Fringe as long as they can, as long as they could! :D

    OK, I’m done with being a totally addicted fan for now. :) ^^
    But seriously, now: I know Fringe has poor views. I know they don’t have an infinite supply of money. So, please give us a Season 5… if there isn’t gonna be another season, then there won’t be, but, please, Fringe is in my heart such a long time ago, and please, give a proper ending to it.
    I DO NOT mean that crappy happy-ending now, where everyone got what he/she/it deserved and/or wanted.
    No. I mean a proper ending… FOR FRINGE.

  18. TonyinKC says:

    Keep it because so many people love the show.

  19. Katie says:

    Please keep! Fringe is my favorite show, and the only American TV show that I watch right now (surprising, since I live here). The actors are brilliant, the stories meticulously crafted and elegantly beautiful (White Tulip, anyone?), and the overall intelligence of the show is amazing. Fox already cancelled Firefly/Dollhouse/The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Please. Fringe already has a huge fanbase and strong momentum. If Fringe is only given a shortened season, I am fine with it, although I definitely want Fringe to go on forever. I just want some sort of genius conclusion, instead of just the end of Season 4 (which I am sure will be great).

    PLEASE KEEP! Thanks
    And keep the comments nice. Although, slandering this show in comment thread like this will naturally attract people to attack you. So don’t be stupid and don’t do it.

  20. mari says:

    Great creative show. well written smart characters.

  21. desertstar3 says:

    Keep it and give it a proper ending Fringe is a great show if they just give it the proper atention. Agree with Jay in the comments!

  22. george says:

    well…its a big universe.the possibilities for the writers are endless and i think they sould think about more seasons and why not a fringe…get us to the next level fox guys

  23. Simon says:

    Hey! I am from Germany And i am thinking about catching up on fringe. I just have one question: I’ve seen an episode or too on tv. In the first season it seemed to be kind of a procedural. Does it stay that way? Because then again I read something about another universe and stuff which seems to be more story oriented ?!? So what has it become?

  24. Chris says:

    CUT this meandering bore!

    • Jim C says:


      Sorry meanderer, its been upgraded to “a sure thing”. But not to worry, Im sure “Kourtney and Kim Take New York” will be renewed as well….just so you wont be bored.

  25. ALEANA says:


  26. Although I DO want Fringe to stick around, I am getting tired of the back and forths. How is this timeline’s Olivia, Peter’s Olivia, but Walter and Astrid aren’t? Can’t they just send Peter back to his time and so we can see the first four beloved characters again? I personally didn’t like the original introduction of the alts, except that we got to see Charile alive again. Bring it back Fox, but writer’s please bring us back to the original core cast.

  27. JDintheOC says:

    I enjoyed the show when they would wrap up the ending each week, but when they started carrying it over week after week it just turned into a soap opera for me. Miss a week or two (or three) and I just couldn’t follow it. Time to send it into another dimension.

    • JimC says:

      Let’s see….we have DVRs, OnDemand and internet re-broadcasts all as backups to the original broadcast. How in the hell could you possibly “Miss a week or two (or three)” ? Hey, if you dont like the show…fine…but that excuse is the lamest Ive heard.

  28. lisa says:

    cut it. TSC is way better

  29. Tom says:

    X-files went a whopping whole 9 seasons with roller coaster ratings and yet Fox still kept it around. The writers never should have created the alternate time line thing. They should have just kept it with the observers, stand alone fringe type cases, and every once in awhile maybe delve into the as X-philers used to call them “mythology” episodes or what were considered the deeper underlying conspiracy happening right in front of them. They should have stayed with the shape shifters being some sort of alien experiment gone wrong or something.

  30. sunfun says:

    Fringe should return for S5 – outstanding show; great writing. Problem is that it is an intellectual show, and most people these days are interested in dribble. I hope it can come back for the final season so that it can wrap up for the fans.

  31. jonw says:

    keep keep keep
    Episode 19 with the ‘flash forward’ is a taste of what a season 5 would be. And it would be awesome!

  32. Larissa says:

    I wish I counted in stupid TV ratings =/ I don’t have cable, but I have Netflix & Hulu Plus. What about all of the other people out there watching shows like this on instant streaming services like me? Why don’t we count when it comes to ratings?

  33. Enrique Soto says:

    Fringe is by far the best sci fi show on tv since it came out ,I have not missed one episode it is a show for people who like mind blowing and complex and unreal situations that make you an addict to the point of expecting the next friday night. Remember this people out there friday nights are always busy nights and it is hard to keep viewers in front of the TV specially that day so teh ratings to me are not what this TV shows should be judge by but maybe by serious polls or some sort of massive voting strategies

  34. Camila says:

    Please do not end FRINGE, here in Brasil, everybody loves FRINGE, at the University there a lot of theory about the show. It’s a great show. There is so much crap being produced why can FRINGE be keeped? Pleaaaaaaaaaaaaase.
    I am crying here, for dr. Bishop.
    For season 5 with Etta.
    Thank you and i am sorry if i wrote something wrong.

  35. Albishka says:

    I enjoy fringe so i have voted to keep it. I’m looking forward for season 5.

  36. LordZaphod says:

    Finale this season ends with “I’m pregnant”…???!?!?!?

    Apparently they are now out of ideas, as this is an intellectually bankrupt move.

    Fringe will move with “Bones” into the insane mommy-culture sphere, and off my television.


  37. paul says:

    For me Fringe is the best TV series ever .I mean,the depth of the storyline and how each character has been developed is just mindblowing.with every new mystery,you lick your fingers to see how walter and peter will explain it.the underlying love story of peter and Olivia is just plain sweet,they took 3 seasons to build on this unlike present chick flicks where a girl falls in love with a guy in one day .please give the series as many seasons (3 more at least)

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