Fringe Blair Brown Criticism

Fringe Vet: Series Became a 'Boy Show' After Launching With Female Hero

Perhaps Over There, Fox’s Fringe is in Season 8 and leaving Blair Brown with only the fondest memories.

But over here, Nina Sharp’s onetime portrayer has something to say about the defunct sci-fi series.

Appearing on Sunday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour, where she was promoting Season 4 of Orange Is the New Black, Brown said, “I loved my time on Fringe, but the truth is that was originally a story about a female protagonist [Olivia, played by Anna Torv]… and the show turned into a story about father and son [played by John Noble and Joshua Jackson]. Very often in this business, that’s what tends to happen.”

In fact, Brown is currently witnessing same via her role on CBS’ Limitless, where she plays mom to Jake McDorman’s unlikely, NZT-enabled hero. “Limitless is a lovely place to work, but all I do is kind of nod and get food,” the actress said.

On Fringe, Brown experienced wildly varying degrees of screen time as Nina Sharp, the executive director and COO at tech titan Massive Dynamic. Earlier in her career, she amassed five Emmy nominations as the title star of The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.

On Netflix’s acclaimed Orange Is the New Black, Brown plays Judy King — a Martha Stewart-type TV personality who got in trouble with the law, and showed up at Litchfield at the end of last season to self-surrender.

Summing up Fringe and Limitless‘ perceived shortcomings, she said, “A lot of the time, those boy shows, it’s not that there’s anything against women, they just don’t know how to write women, so they go right back to [the trope of Steven] Spielberg, father-son — and there are mothers and sons, and mothers and daughters.” (With reporting by Vlada Gelman)

Fringe fans in particular, do you agree with Brown’s assessment? Was Olivia not Peter’s equal, as a protagonist, to the very end?

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. Big Mike says:

    My god people love to complain.

    • 666 says:

      Are you a man?

    • Mark says:

      Yepp…everyone complains and is “offended”

    • Jada says:

      Of course you don’t care since you’re a guy, but what she said is completely true. Olivia was supoosed to be the main character and she was at first, but then the show became about the 2 guys.

      • Mark says:

        And if they show started as a boy show and turned into the “Olivia show” everyone would praise it for “Evolving” but since it went the other way…. misogynist…men can’t write for women…bad men….

        • Jooshua says:

          That’s simply not true. Look at ‘Castle’. Many people complain that it changed from a show about the main male character Richard Castle into ‘The Beckett Show’, focusing more on Kate Beckett.

          • S. says:

            No, it was always about the two of them. They went through over 140 actresses to find the right Beckett who had chemistry with Nathan. How they work with *each other* is the show. It’s not all about Kate. The people who think it is tend to be super protective of Nathan and his character to the point that anybody that makes Rick feel anything other than warm and fuzzy all the time is being mean or getting too much focus. Those same people complain when Jon or Seamus gets 1 single solitary episode to focus on their characters. They had to make Castle want to stick around long after he’d have gotten enough research so what you’re seeing isn’t focus on Beckett, it’s motivation for Castle to stay with the NYPD. If he doesn’t and doesn’t stay with her, the point of the show is gone. But for Rick, Kate’s not the person she is and the NYPD doesn’t solve cases with the same success rate so really they’ve extended the focus on Rick way past the point of believeability. I go with it cuz I thoroughly enjoy him, but c’mon. No way he’d even still be in the precinct. Since the show’s not about Rick the writer but Rick the writer helping to solve crimes, you’re gonna have to put up with shoring up Beckett’s storyline to have his presence make sense at all. Sorry.

      • Mark says:

        What’s wrong about that? Shows evolve…it seems like if show was about fsther/son and turned more towards Olivia and Lance Redick came out and complained everyone would chase him off stage

      • C says:

        The show was always about Walter and Peter. Just like the show was always about Olivia. It never stopped being about any of them. Olivia remained a strong female protagonist through the duration of the show. Walter and Peter’s relationship developed accordingly throughout the show. So did Walter and Olivia’s relationship. This is a stupid argument to be having about a show that was fantastically done…no matter what it was ultimately about.

        • justsomeguy says:

          The show was definitely not about Walter and Peter initially. It was never that way, even from episode 1. I actually just rewatched the series over the Christmas break. It was a completely different show the first few seasons, and then changed drastically making Peter and Walter the focus with Peter having been from the other side.

          • Lucifer says:

            You might want to re-re-watch it, then.

          • SilviaAzzaroli says:

            Are you serious? See again the pilot: without Peter and Walter, Olivia couldn’t do anything! And in the second episode Walter talk about Peter’s anamnesi.

    • Eh says:

      Geez, seems like you’re the one that’s complaining. Nothing she said was factually untrue. The show originally started off with Olivia as the protagonist and ended up focusing on the Bishops.

      Get over yourself.

      • Lucifer says:

        Except what she said was untrue because the show from the first episode was about Olivia, Peter and Walter. Olivia was always the one at the head of each case or episode, but the Bishops were also main characters so of course they would get equal development like Olivia. Seems like you need to get over yourself.

    • A fan of TV says:

      Sounds like you’re complaining about someone else’s opinion and experience far more than she’s actually complaining about the reality of Hollywood, but I digress. No one can ever win when they inadvertently cause someone on the Internet to get their back up unnecessarily…

    • andy says:

      And in an internet comment section, no less. About something an actress said. I hate the term “first-world problems”, but….

  2. Simon Jester says:

    The fact that THE DAYS AND NIGHTS OF MOLLY DODD has never been released on DVD is a crime. Brilliant, brilliant series.

    • BrightLight says:

      I feel the same way. Although I think the problem has to do with the music rights. Even though I loved the music on the show, at this point I’d honestly take a re-edited version of the show just to be able to see it in better quality than I have now.

    • AMB says:

      I hear it’s because of music rights. I never saw it but would love to.

  3. pam says:

    Boy, I really miss this show! Great perfomers all across the board. I do agree with Blair brown regarding the arc.I wanted more back story on Olivia story. What happened that lead up to her killing her stepfather and the cards she was receiving in the 1st season. And the partner that died. Very frustrating!

  4. ScrubsGuy says:

    I think the focus on Walter and Peter’s relationship in no way diminishes the strength and accomplishments of Nina and Olivia. So I would respectfully disagree that it was a “boy show” – if it was, I would have imagined it would have been more successful.

  5. Bob says:

    Sounds like what’s happening on castle this season

  6. Winslow Wong says:

    Only way change comes is from highlighting the things that are wrong. Yes its a complaint but a justifiable one

    • Mark says:

      It’s a tv show not a civil rights violation..relax

    • stm11185 says:

      Yes, so one day we can live in a world where writers on TV shows do not explore the familiar relationship between two of their main characters to appease sexist notions of the show being for girls or boys.

      What a wonderful progressive future that will be!

      • everart says:

        Blair Brown just noted that she signed up for a unusual series that had a female protagonist and a female CEO, and it changed dramatically after a few seasons and her character and Olivia became supporting characters, which is TRUE.

        There have been thousands of series with mostly male stars and those are still the majority so I don’t think you have to freak out. You poor guys are ridiculous, attacking anything that threatens you and simplifying a comment about one show into a generalization about everything.

        • Lucifer says:

          Nina was always a supporting character and while Olivia was the central lead, Walter and Peter were also leading characters. The only thing that changed drastically was Nina’s character was seen few and far between episodes, which I was not complaining. There is nothing wrong with highlighting a problem, but there isn’t one and you types are being ridiculous and petty with trying to find misogyny in everything.

  7. I’m looking forward to seeing her on OITNB. She definitely has a point about Fringe. I was really excited to watch it because of Olivia, and as the focus shifted towards the Bishop boys, I watched less. It was still a good show, but it wasn’t what I had signed up for.

    • Same I started to watch the show for the promise of a strong female lead and the sci-fi feel to it. while it was focused on olivia it was brilliant! then when the focus shifted it became like a regular cop show. which bored me. as it no longer had the feeling of it being a fresh idea to combine the cop show with sci-fi elements. That had you wanting to watch it just to see what Olivia will do next to figure the latest challenge. If I wanted to watch a show that focused on the male leads I would watch ‘Dawson’s Creek’

      • Journey54 says:

        So just because they gave the male characters it became less fresh? WTF

        And what on earth has Dawsons Creek to do with anything? Damm feminists these days, at least use some logic

    • Lucifer says:

      The focus never shifted entirely to the Bishop boys. The focus was almost always half on them from the first episode. Sounds like you and plenty of others, along with Blair Brown need to rewatch the series.

  8. John says:

    This would be something to complain about if Walter/Peter’s relationship wasn’t by far the best part of the show

  9. Kathleen Murphy says:

    I disagree completely. I’m a girl and one of the things that I loved most was that Fringe had a strong female protagonist. The story lines were always about Olivia primarily. When Joshua Jackson and Olivia became a couple, they began to be more equal, but it was a show about Olivia.

    • tvobsessed says:

      I agree. To me, Olivia, even in season 5, remained the rock of the group. It would have been great to learn more about Olivia’s backstory, but hey, Fringe remains one of my favorite shows ever!

    • Temperance says:

      I absolutely agree. Olivia was the lead, and Ann was remarkable in it. Yes, the story got BIG, and the weight was distributed a bit to the men (and to NINA!), but it was always Olivia’s story. John Noble’s multiple-Emmy worth work was wonderfully complimentary, not distracting.

    • militantgod says:

      Exactly. Do people forget season 3 which was the Olivia/Bolivia show? Peter wasn’t even in (or very little) a bunch episodes in the 1st half of the season. Someone mentioned how they just re-watched the show, and how it was never about Peter and Walter. Are they delusional? One of the big setups was how Peter avoided his crazy dad and they needed him to get Walter out the insane asylum. The seeds that Peter was from Over There were planted from the very beginning so we knew, eventually, this was going to be a major storyline for the entire series. I admit Olivia was clearly the main character in the first season but I think she easily was still the top character through season 3. The last two seasons was more of a 1A, 1B, 1C (between Oliva, Peter and Walter) but it’s not like she was dropped to some scrub.

      Blair Brown is probably bitter because her character was basically useless. She was a “full fledged regular” but in reality she would pop up now again, basically as a cameo. The show can’t write female characters? Then why was everyone oozing with pleasure with Anna Torv in season 3? Why does everyone love Astrid? Even Georgina Haig was awesome as Etta (maybe I’m bias, she was so beyond hot).

      • luli101 says:

        Remember when everyone was complaining about where is Peter? He was missing for a nearly a whole season!?! Just Blair Brown complaining. There was so much more than just father-son storylines.

  10. Spencer says:

    Well, I loved Fringe til the end but what she said is sadly the truth. No matter how well written I think the show was, at some point things did change and it transformed into a father/son relationship show. Not that it was a bad thing, again, I love Fringe, but what Blair said is true.

    • Justine says:

      I agree, and Olivia was saving Peter or getting into a relationship with him. We never got to see the storyline with her dad play out. In seasins 1&2 there was more time devoted to her family (her sister and Ella) and her career.
      This is not to say they didn’t give Liv depth! My heart was breaking with her once she came back from the other side only to discover Peter was with FauxOlivia.
      I wouldn’t want to have made it a clear copy of the x-files (season 1 had that vibe) but Olivia having a standalone episode and something that gives her a direction would probably have made for a stronger show.
      On that note : I still love the show, rewatch it and think it was some of the boldest storytelling on television. One of the best examples of teamwork as well, the cast had incredible chemistry in my opinion.

  11. Deb Saine says:

    i totally agree … as do many other faithful fringe fans – just read the community boards from throughout the show’s run – male and female fans alike were upset, especially during the final two seasons, that the shift was more about peter and walter and less about olivia …

    • C says:

      Why does everyone want to pigeonhole the show into ONE specific thing and only that thing? Why can’t it be BOTH a show about fathers and sons (which it obviously was) AND a show about a strong female protagonist? Peter and Walter’s relationship was absolutely central to the story from the pilot and their chemistry was a big part of why I watched. But so was Olivia’s growth as an agent and as a person. I cared about her and about who she became. Her development and the story of the three of them together remained a focus throughout the series. Fringe was one of the most under-rated, well crafted shows on network TV during the time that it aired – why can’t we all just celebrate that it made it through five seasons and managed to stay true to the story it was telling? That’s more than I can say for a lot of other shows I’ve watched.

  12. hannah says:

    I don’t think it became a “boy show”. Yes it was about the relationship between Peter and Walter. But it was also about the relationship between Peter and Olivia. Walter and Astrid. and more. It was about the amazing team of those 4. It was about these amazing characters. It wasn’t all about Peter. Or all about Walter.

  13. Carrie says:

    “Fringe” is one of my all-time favorite shows, and I don’t really agree with what she said. I think the show became what it was because the writers/producers realized that they had something special with not just the father/son relationship, but all of the relationships on the show. The Peter/Olivia relationship was a big deal to viewers and so was the relationship between Walter and Astrid, etc. They were all just really great actors with a lot of chemistry and their characters were all so well-written. I feel like the show started out with a lot of focus on Olivia and her butt-kicking because FOX was probably looking for that kind of show, but it evolved into something much more. It wasn’t about it turning into a ‘boy show.’ Olivia, Peter and Walter were always the three main characters and Olivia never stopped being awesome.

  14. Maryann says:

    I stopped watching after the first season because I didn’t like the emphasis on the John Noble character.

  15. Et al. says:

    One could also say if Blair Brown or Rupert Murdoch’s niece had been as compelling of actors as John Noble, perhaps more storylines would have organically grown around them as well. I thought everyone on the show was wonderful but Brown’s comments ring as unnecessarily bitter.

    • Simon Jester says:

      Blair Brown has nothing to be ‘bitter’ about — she’s had an acclaimed career on stage and screen, and is joining the cast of one of the most lauded series on TV. I doubt she’d trade it for Noble’s occasional (and so far, not very interesting) appearances on Elementary this season.

      • Shaun says:

        Noble had a great part in Sleepy Hollow and he’s been on Good Wife and other stuff.

      • militantgod says:

        Sorry but Blair Brown is in total denial, as many aging actors are. They still wanna be the go-to-girl, when there’s very limited major roles for this demographic. She even gave Limitless a backhanded “complement”.

        • Simon Jester says:

          She’s a regular in two currently filming series, which would be good even if she weren’t an “aging actor.” How many of her Fringe co-stars are as fortunate right now? And I’ll bet she knows the difference between complement and compliment, too.

        • Cate says:

          You say that as if that is a universal constant, the natural order of things. The whole reason why there aren’t more parts for women (and also older women) is that they aren’t being written. Writers and TPTB in generally are actively CHOOSING not to make shows about them or put them on the back burner.

          The characters and the stories will go where they tell them to go. They do not actually have a life of their own.

        • Maryann says:

          That’s a whole other discussion in terms of what is wrong with the sort of parts available. What is available is what TPTB want and what the writers write. Older male actors have a lot more opportunities for solid, meaty roles than do older female ones.

      • Evan says:

        She’s bitter enough about there not being any acting jobs for her as good as Days & Nights of Molly Dodd out there. Course, you don’t hear her talking about trying to create/produce a show like that.

        She’s just still pissed of no one’s made anything for her to act in like that again.

    • ComeOn says:

      Anna is Rupert Murdoch’s niece via his SECOND marriage. She doesn’t have close relationship with her father, therefore never close to his side of the family, ie her aunt, whom by the time Fringe was in production had divorced Murdoch for nearly 10 years. Anna has nothing to do with Murdoch, it was a WB show, even though it was shown on FOX. And do you honestly think Rupert Murdoch cares about a little TV show?

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        Right? I had to laugh at that dusty old dismissive taunt being dredged up after all this time.

        Oh, Internet, never stop being you!

  16. S says:

    Yes! I agree with her! I loved Fringe most when it was about Olivia. There was way too much focus on Peter as the show went on.

    • Rose says:

      They just used Peter to change the story of Fringe to the alternate universe story lines. To me the writers seemed more intent on doing a show where we want to show how many different versions of certain characters we can do. That’s where the story changed from the first two seasons to accommodate that. Olivia was at the forefront of both seasons where that happened seasons 3 and 4. In both of these seasons Peter wasn’t even in half of the episodes. Plus with the time line in season 4 being rebooted, Peter and Walter didn’t even have a relationship. Season 5 was different again with each of the three leads having an arc and then a final arc to finish the show. In the final arc it again went back to Olivia to save the boy and kill Windmark. Through the whole show, it was always focused on Olivia.

  17. James D says:

    I love Blair Brown but I’m going to have to disagree with her on this one. I thought Olivia was one of the best written female characters in recent history she was strong without being forceful, she had substance, and it was just as much about her relationship with Walter then it was with Walter and Peter. I also think Fringe was the best TV show of the past decade so I’m probably pretty biased.

  18. Brooke says:

    In some ways I agree with her, but in other ways I don’t. They gave Anna Torv such a wonderful story to work with – as Olivia and Alt-ivia and Alt-ivia-pretending-to-be-Olivia etc etc. They also had an amazing dynamic between Walter and Peter than certainly shined but didn’t take away from Olivia at all. They were all magnificent and the writers gave them all a chance to show it.

    I feel her on her role on Limitless, though. How boring, for women of a certain age to get relegated to roles like that because no one can fathom having a woman of a certain age having more depth.

  19. Shaun says:

    It was never about Olivia,it was an ensemble cast from the start.

  20. Bella says:

    Shows have always evolved. Happy Days was supposed to be a vehicle for Ron Howard, but became the Fonzie show. The Big Bang Theory evolved from an ensemble show into the Sheldon show. There are numerous examples. If you’re looking for sexism,you’ll find it, whether it’s justified or not.

  21. Drew says:

    Bull. The show started as an ensemble show and remained one until the end. It had great characters of both sexes, and I think that Olivia Dunham was allowed to be one of the best examples of a female hero that we’ve seen on TV. She was never sex-ed up… she wore minimal makeup and kept her hair in a ponytail. She was smart. She was layered. And that only became more true when they introduced the different versions of that same character.
    Walter and Peter had a great arc, that’s true. But it happened because it was an organic part of the series, built into the fabric of the show since episode 1. It was never supposed to be a girl show, or a boy show. It was a show with a varied cast, and each one of those cast members was allowed to be fleshed out and each actor was allowed to shine.
    She is absolutely whining about nothing here. If Fringe is going to be held up as an example of a show where female strength was diminished in any way, I give up.

    • Drew says:

      And about Limitless… the role is a minor supporting role. If she wanted more, she shouldn’t have taken that role. She is playing the main character’s mother, not his partner or his boss. She couldn’t have possibly expected to have any larger role than she has on the show.
      I doubt that her younger male and female co-stars are complaining about playing his siblings or the smaller FBI roles. Some people would just be happy to be working in that industry. If she feels that she deserves more, she should have given the role to someone who needed it.

  22. Jon says:

    She’s 100% right. After the fantastic third season, the focus was entirely shifted to focus on the Bishop boys. The final scene of the series was even devoted to them, which I always felt as a slap in the face to everyone who turned in and continued to watch for Olivia (like me).

  23. Annie says:

    She’s exactly right. I mean, Fringe is a wonderful show and the relationship between Peter and Walter was a beautiful focal point…but it was the focal point. Plus what Blair is talking about it pretty on point with most tv/movies

  24. Liz985 says:

    She has a legitimate point and it’s one worth discussing in a civil way, as she appears to have done. That said, it was such an amazingly creative show with a wonderful cast of actors who made the most of their characters. John Noble, of course, being the stand out. A creative endeavor can last years and it has to go where the story takes it. The entire team should be proud of Fringe’s place in television history.

    • Lucifer says:

      She has a legitimate point, but cited only two shows that do this, both of which she had/has a supporting role on. Fringe was never solely about Olivia and as time grew, it was about the 3 main character’s relationships with each other. She plays the mom on Limitless, a show that is centered around a man. So while she might be civilized about her approach, she has yet to give actual examples aside from being bias and ignorant.

  25. AMB says:

    I loved Fringe, but yeah, the show did seem most comfortable with the father/son story. Olivia was more important to the opening that the conclusion.

    I also think of Fringe as a show that radically restructured because it wasn’t as successful as the network wanted. Blair Brown’s character Nina probably suffered more over this as the show became less interested in Massive Dynamic and it’s possible misdeeds and more into what went wrong in the Bishop’s lives. I think it could have been another show* and wonder what it would be.

    (Of course it was another show in another universe)

  26. aph1976 says:

    A lot of shows started one way and then went another way as the characters and stories evolved.Of course Blair Brown has the the right to her opinion about Fringe but other actors from that show might have different opinions.

  27. Thomas says:

    both shows were and are great, however she’s right Fringe was centered around Olivia but looking back the last episode was about peter and his father, really had little to do with Olivia, Limitless though is centered around a male character to begin with so not quite sure where she’s coming from with that?

  28. Temperance says:

    oh, I don’t agree at all. Olivia was the lead. Period. And Nina, after we wound our way into understanding her motivations, was almost as influential as Walter on Olivia. There was a lot of girl power there, and I thought it was one of the most impressive thing about a truly impressive (and really underrated) show.

  29. Mare says:

    Maybe, just maybe, Fringe became more about father/son because the show cast an actress who was too weak to carry the show on her own? I never bought Anna Torv as a strong, intelligent FBI agent. And that made it difficult to enjoy the show. It’s a shame because there are a LOT of talented, strong actresses out there who could have run with this. They just cast the wrong one. All my opinion.

  30. Mark says:

    Imagine if men said “I started to watch this show cause of male lead…then they started focusing on some chick and I bailed” you’d get women saying “fragile male ego can’t handle good stories about women” and other BS. But women saying a certain shows focus too much on a male is totally fine…hilarious double standard…just like feminists who use hashtag KillAllMen and then say theyre the ones harassed by men on twitter …..I loved fringe all the way through..Olivia was my favorite but I never ever thought “ohhh it’s now bishop boys show”. And now she’s complaining about Limitless…I didn’t know Limitless was about the Mother…must of missed that

  31. Lisa says:

    This is why I love Person of Interest – started off as a boy show and then quickly realized that Carter, Root and Shaw were its best characters. A really nice change of pace.

  32. RyanC says:

    My personal opinion is that Fringe was always about Peter and Walter’s relationship, ever since the pilot. I mean, them being estranged was a crucial plot point of the first episode, and the rift was created because Walter wanted to save Peter, which was teased since the start of the show.

  33. Pixley says:

    Brown may be right, but I find this comment in such poor taste. She’s essentially trashing a former employer while at a new one. I also find the implied “…but my new show doesn’t do that” pretty rude. I hope any future employers are thinking long and hard what she might say about them in the future.

    We all remember Katherine Heigl, and for good reason. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean you have to say it.

  34. Tom says:

    The two best actors on the show have characters in a father and son relationship, and she thinks they shouldn’t have explored that because she believes the show should have been sexist and only dealt with female storylines?

    That is stupid, and that kind of stupidity should be looked down on harshly. You do not have two good actors, playing a father and son central to the story and not explore that relationship in a multi season show.

  35. DarkDefender says:

    Olivia was always better than Peter and Anna Torv’s shined showing Olivia’s badass side. She was, however never really fully developed (emotionally) as a character because the meaty acting storylines shifted to the father/son dynamic to accommodate the amazing John Noble’s portrayal of Walter, which unfortunately also elevated storylines for Josh Jackson.
    I LOVED Noble’s Walternate/Walter (he was my most favorite thing), but I always hoped as each episode came and went that we would have seen better development for Olivia. A strong female protagonist was what got me interested in Fringe, not the nutty offbeat genius dad.
    Perhaps they could right the wrong with a movie giving Olivia her due. I’d pay good money to watch that.

  36. Chris says:

    I can’t speak to Limitless because I don’t watch it but she’s absolutely right about Fringe. Olivia was the main protagonist for the first 2 and a half seasons but halfway through season 3, she started becoming less central of a character and by season 5, she was practically in a supporting role based on her importance to the narrative. The Fringe PTBs had control of the story and they wrote it the way they saw fit but I definitely missed having Olivia as the main POV character in those last two seasons.

  37. Journey54 says:

    Its definitely true but I think its a good thing. Olivia was a boring ass character and Pete & Walter were much more interesting.

    The show benefited from putting more focus on them

  38. Nero tTVfiddler says:

    Blair Brown has had a long career, and has seen many trends come and go in Hollywood over the years. She is certainly a survivor. I just read the comments here, and then looked at imdb to see the list of her acting credits. Extensive – all the way back to 1971, predating (most?) all of us here one way or the other. From Paper Chase (feature film), Rockford Files, Kojak, and Wheels, to Kennedys and Space miniseries leading up to the peak of her fame on Molly Dodd. She has seen it all.

    Her frustration w/Fringe may stem from having worked on other TV shows decades ago, when writers did write really good material for ‘women of a certain age.’ Times change, but Ms. Brown has done a remarkable job of consistently finding work on television for the past 40 years, and that is something she should feel very proud of, despite regrets she may have experienced along the way.

  39. Lucifer says:

    As I and others who weren’t watching the show from some ignorant lenz have said, the show was never solely about Olivia. There wasn’t some huge shift where Olivia turned into a supporting character and was rendered useless because she and the Bishops were equally the focus of the show. It makes no sense she decided to mention her role as a mom on a show strictly centered on a man. The only thing that can be concluded with this is that she is likely trying to make the headlines, since crying about invisible sexism against women in movies and TV is the latest rage. She also might be bitter at being cast as a supporting character in these two shows.

  40. Walkie says:

    Why is this even a story? It’s complete nonsense. The lead of the show was a powerful female. Brown’s character was a woman in power.

    This is gobbledygook.

  41. Jake says:

    I disagree with Blair Brown’s whole premiss, Fringe was an ensemble show from the beginning. Having said that, the best actor on that show, and who really stole the show was John Noble. Joshua Jackson was good, and Anna Torv was OK, but if you go back and look at the comments on boards like this, a lot of the discussion was about the Walter character. And then when they introduced Alter, well, that clinched it. The man is a great actor, and the other two, especially Torv, were in his shadow. Is that because the character was written better? Maybe.
    And I get that Torv’s character was supposed to be emotionally damaged and so a little cold and not as expressive, but I thought she played emotionless a little too well, to the point where I need to go find some other role she was in to gauge her acting ability. Olivia was too much of a cipher; even Altlivia wasn’t much better.

  42. Regina says:

    So, OUAT and Orphan Black basically.

  43. Chris Lee says:

    The whole show from the beginning was about Walter Bishop. Olivia Dunham was the POV character to the world.

  44. The show evolved into what the showrunners saw as the universal story viewers would resonate with. And that was a story about a father seeking redemption for what he did to the universe in order to save his child’s life. And those parallels included September and his son, and Peter and his daughter. I love this show and I believe that it was not until the fifth season that Olivia and Nina got the short end of the stick as far as their character growth because so many other characters were added (the resistance and the Observers) that the last season did not do the women justice. But I am happy we got five seasons and we got closure. We cannot say that for every show we have watched for five or more years.

  45. Marco says:

    Haven’t seen Fringe so i can’t say anything about that, and her being a regular on that show allows her to speak… but about Limitless, she should shut her mouth. She wasn’t a regular OR a recurring, only a guest. Let Jennifer or Mary Elizabeth talk about that, if they want. Then again, she only said that in order to play up her joining OITNB, so… maybe we should take everything with a grain of salt…

  46. MzTeaze says:

    But John Noble was a much stronger actor than Anna Torv and a fan favorite. So it made sense that he gradually got more of each episode.

  47. Mike says:

    After sitting on this for a day, I must say I mostly disagree and am a bit irritated by Blair Brown’s comment.
    I agree on one thing: The male characters got more space as the show progressed. But except for Season 5, I do not think that at one time, Olivia got in the background negatively.

    The show utilized its fantastic ensemble cast (which it had from the beginning, although yes, Olivia had more focus) to tell fantastic stories and relationships.

    Season 1 felt for me more like scrapping on Olivia’s surface while Season 2 & 3 (Season 3! Olivia center stage!) especially made amazing character work with both Olivias. At the same time, the bishops rose to a beautifully told story between a father and his child (and there is nothing wrong with that. I wouldn’t want it to have been any other way.), which was indicated from very early in Season 1.

    Her comment feels a little too sour for me and imo, does not do Fringe justice. I get the criticism and I partially agree that males got elevated to Olivia’s status too, and Season 5 had a little lack of Olivia story. (For me, that is no issue. Olivia still was _very_ integral!)

    The comment, though, feels to me as if they had conspired to make it seem a ‘girls show’ just to make it a ‘boys show’ when everyone was on board. And to me, that does not do justice for the show I love to this day. And I say that after having each episode watched multiple times, critically.

    So, I can’t really agree.

    (For the curious, I am a guy and my favorite character is Olivia, followed by Walter)

  48. Trista says:

    I completely disagree. Fringe was a well-rounded show that was able to tell amazing stories. It wasn’t a “boy” show or a “woman” show. it was simply a great show.

  49. Benjamin says:

    The two guys and their complicated relationship were in the pilot, and Olivia was always there, just as strong.

  50. Luis says:

    I don’t know if it’s a fair criticism. Nina definitely got cut out of the narrative after the first couple of seasons, but Olivia was always front and center in the narrative.