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

Fringe Blair Brown Criticism

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?

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