Scans from the December 23rd issue of Entertainment Weekly are up and they have some behind scenes photos from Fringe. Thanks Mariana for the scans.
With its pattern of gory opening scenes, Fringe has become the go-to show for a good scare. The Fringe universe, with its alternate reality, specialized bioweapons, and unusual abilities, features new and creative ways to die (being trapped in resin, having all your orifices spontaneously seal up, disintegrating into ash). And as we fall deeper down the rabbit hole, wondering how Olivia (Anna Torv), Peter (Joshua Jackson), and Walter (John Noble) will end up, we can’t help wondering what new ways the show will find to gross us out.
Awesome job guys! Anna Torv and Fringe won at this year Entertainment Weekly Awards! The Awards are chosen for those who are considered snubbed by the actual Emmys, and are chosen by the site’s visitors!
Anna Torv as Best Actress in Drama won with 28.78% of the votes while Fringe had 36.62%
John Noble was also nominated for Best Actor in Drama, but Nathan Fillion won.
Maybe next year we’ll see Anna, John and the show get nomination. They deserve it.
The grand design of Fringe’s fantastic third season is becoming increasingly clear. The first half of the season was all about Olivia’s parallel world plight (and a showcase for Anna Torv to strut her considerable stuff); the second half of the season is about Peter’s possibly soul-corrupting doomsday machine destiny (and a showcase for Joshua Jackson to take center stage). The past couple episodes have suggested a potentially dark fate for Peter, whether or not he blows up the multiverse; his interface with the doomsday device seems to be making him go all Die! Die! Shapeshifters, DIE! and possibly downright Dark Phoenix-ish. Or Galactus-y. Or Crisis On Infinite Earths-issy. (Peter: More Monitor or more Anti-Monitor?) Actually, I’m thinking Peter’s path to the dark side will lead him here. Friday’s new episode of Fringe — “Concentrate and Ask Again” — deepens the intrigue, and we have an exclusive tease from Fox that has the cast setting the stage, articulating the stakes, and just generally geeking out on their show. Which I love. Who needs my silly comic booky theories and kooky Magic 8-ball predictions when you have Jackson, Torv, John Noble, Jasika Nicole and Blair Brown using their big brains to crunch Fringe for you! Check out the video — but read on afterward, as I have an urgent favor to ask of y’all.
All right, the favor: I need YOUR questions for a Q&A next week with… none other than Peter himself, Joshua Jackson. If you’re a Fringe fan and you have a question about his character or the show — a maybe a theory that you’d like to run past him, I invite you to post them below (or send them to me at email@example.com or Twitter: @ewdocjensen). I’ll have chance to interview Jackson in the next several days and my ambition is to put as many of your questions to him as possible. So to cop a phrase from tomorrow’s episode: Concentrate and ask. The answers, next week. P.S.: Don’t forget to check out Ken Tucker’s next-day recaps of Fringe each Saturday morning.
To find out more about how to send your questions, check EW.com website!
This week’s Fringe, an episode titled “Reciprocity,” was about breaking codes and breaking down defenses. It began on a rather light note, when it was revealed that our heroes had cracked the encryption code on the alternate-world-Olivia’s case files. (In deference to Walter, who this week started using the widely-employed fan term “Fauxlivia,” that’s what I’ll call her here.) What was the key to the code? All Walter would say, with a slight shudder, was, “Fauxlivia ruined U2 for all of us.” (Bono ruined U2 for me quite a while ago, Walter.)
I was glad to see much of the hour was set in Massive Dynamic, where the nearly-assembled doomsday machine and Nina Sharp co-habit. Upon the entrance of Peter, Olivia, Walter, and Broyles, the lab surrounding the machine began to shake from a spike in electro-magnetic activity. Peter, whose nose bled at the same time, recognized that he was the thing that had set off this reaction. We also met bio-medical engineer Dr. James Falcon, who I’m sure you pegged as someone to keep a close eye on right away simply because he was too male-model perfect not to be either a new very good guy or a very bad guy. Turned out he was the latter, a shape-shifter who’d be killed a bit later. Oh, and we were blithely informed that William Bell had invented a super-duper lie detector machine far superior to the kind ordinary law enforcement uses. Really, Nina keeps a lot of stuff to herself, doesn’t she?
Walter told Nina about his mission to make himself smarter, to equal the intelligence of Walternate and restore his missing brain matter. Nina was very suspicious throughout. She balked, as she so often has in the past, about letting anyone see William Bell’s research materials. When Walter requested Bell’s notes, she said they were 15 years old and so difficult to locate. Nina has pulled this 15-years-was-an-eon-ago eye-rolling bit before. A bit later, she suddenly revealed that she’d not only found Bell’s notes, but also had vials of a “retro-viral serum” that would re-grow Walter’s brain cells. Problem was, it had been tested on rats and chimps, and Walter, in his blithe haste, inhaled the chimp stuff, which led to some monkeyshines back at the lab, suddenly craving a banana split and baring his teeth at Astrid to “display dominance.”
The humor was short-lived. Dead shape-shifters started cropping up, and they were traced to a list of names (“government employees, cops…”) in Fauxlivia’s vast file. Wondering about all this, Broyles suggested that “someone on our side” had told Walternate, and Olivia got to say, in a clipped, hardboiled manner, “We got a mole.” This kind of feint was well-done, since it briefly distracted us from Peter’s suspicious behavior right from the start of the hour, when we saw him return home and then lie to Walter about it. It turned out he was not, as I and you may have thought, out on an Oliv-ooty call, but rather on a mission that was the key to the hour.
Which was that Peter himself was dispatching the shifters. We have been periodically reminded of Peter’s shady past, so seeing him blasting mercury-filled humanoids wasn’t far-fetched. Less believable by the hour, however, was the idea that Peter was ever a very good con man. This evening, speaking to Olivia in the context of embarrassing girl-diary-like entries Fauxlivia left behind, he said, “I’ve conned people,” and in seasons one and two, we saw that side of Peter in action occasionally. But Peter can’t ever seem to con his father or Olivia for very long. Walter tumbled upon Peter secret quite quickly, and I don’t think he needed the chimp serum to do it: Peter had left the notes he’d cribbed from Fauxlivia’s file right on his bedroom desk.
Walter’s discovery of Peter’s actions led to a short speech that gave the episode its title. Boiled down: “Every relationship is reciprocal,” said Walter. “When you touched the machine, it changed you… it weaponized you.”
The steady gaze that Peter gave his father — and seconds later, as we gazed at the machine — suggested that Peter has already accepted his “weaponized” state and is willingly acting upon it.
This Peter may at first seem not to square with the more Zen-like Peter we saw last week, the man who had been sending a book to the Olivia he was in love with, to help her understand why he has trouble getting close to people. But then we remember that his favorite book is If You Meet The Buddha On The Road, Kill Him! — ostensibly a self-help-ish, self-awareness tract, but one that talks about accepting responsibility for who one really is. If Peter has decided that at least part of him is a killer, then Buddha and the rest of the universes had better watch out.
Stepping back a week, I haven’t figured out how this week’s hour squared with the Observer info we gleaned last week, have you? As Olivia said — twice — “We’re always just a step behind.”
• Lotsa good Brandon stuff this week, including momentary suspicion that our favorite Massive Dynamic slab o’ science was a murderer. It was Brandon who also said that William Bell had been looking for copies of the First People book some years ago.
• Playing in the background of Walter’s lab, perhaps to rinse any lingering U2 melodies from his brain: Leo Sayer’s “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing.”
”I gave up on Fringe after the pilot, and now I’m kicking myself. Time to feed the sci-fi beast within, especially since Ken Tucker can’t stop raving about it. You win, Ken!”—Margaret Lyons
Ever since Fox announced it was moving its acclaimed but ratings-challenged sci-fi saga Fringe to Fridays from its current home on Thursday, fans have been blogging and tweeting much pessimism about the show’s chances for survival beyond this season. Friday is one of the least watched TV nights of the week, and in recent years, it hasn’t been too kind to sci-fi series — or at least Fox’s sci-fi series. See: Joss Whedon’s Firefly; Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Fox execs and Fringe’s exec producers have tried to get the word out that the network remains committed to the series, but fans remain nervous that Friday = Death for Fringe. So to further combat the perception that Fox has basically issued a “no confidence” vote in Fringe, the network did something unusual: It created a cheeky promo that tackles the fear-mongering head-on, spliced with darkly comic death-themed clips from the show and even spiked with quotes from a variety of Chicken Little bloggers. (“…a Friday air date is usually the beginning of the end for any series…” – Ethan Anderton / Collider.) Take a look:
According to Fox’s senior VP of marketing and special projects Dean Norris, the network began thinking about creating the provocative spot after making a Web splash with its movie-style trailer for “Entrada,” the Dec. 2 episode that marked a turning point in Fringe’s parallel world storyline. “We started getting feedback from the viewers that basically said, ‘How could Fox do something so cool for a show they’re going to kill?’ We started reading these things and said, ‘Wait! We have to address this!’” The mission was to produce a piece of communication that dealt with the situation in a self-deprecating fashion, yet also assuaged fan fears. The message, spelled out in the promo: “You May Think Friday Is Dead… But We’re Gonna Reanimate It.” (The reanimation idea is a coy reference to last week’s creepy episode “Marionette.”) The promo — cut by Ari Margolis in Fox’s “Special Ops” department (do they get to work in a secret underground bunker, too?) — took two days to produce. It was pitched last Thursday and finished on Monday and released first to the outlets quoted in the promo, thereby going right after those most likely to have been impacted by Geekdom’s town criers.
The promo is the beginning of a larger effort by Fox to shore up Fringe’s existing fanbase and hopefully grow the audience by targeting teen viewers who might be at home Friday night. (The show returns on Jan. 21) Fox will continue posting “pre-caps” (as opposed to “recaps”) at Fox.com featuring cast members and producers setting up each new episode. For viewers, they’re a more entertaining and personal approach to “Previously on…” rehashes. Additionally, Norris also says future on-air promos will emphasize Fringe’s horror elements, albeit not right away, as the first episodes on the new year are relatively light on Fringe-style gore. “We are trying to rebrand Friday, and what we’re trying to do with this show specifically is make it kind of like forbidden fruit,” says Norris. “We want that teen demographic that might not be our audience right now to say, ‘That this is a show my parents might not want me to watch — but I’m going to watch it, anyway.’”
by Jeff Jensen
“It’s all kicking into gear,” says Anna Torv about tonight’s pivotal episode of Fringe, entitled “Entrada,” in which the season’s epic tale of conflict between parallel worlds reaches a major turning point. Peter Bishop — shell-shocked by the revelation that he’s been sleeping with the “over there” enemy Olivia Dunham — is roused to mad-as-hell action, while the “over here” Olivia, currently trapped in the alt reality, makes her move to get back home. (To read EW critic/resident Fringe recapper Ken Tucker’s rave review of the episode, click here. And have you seen the movie-style trailer Fox produced to promote the ep? If not, see it here — and begin to dream about the potential for a Fringe feature film in the future.) Prepare for an episode that deviates from the season pattern of one episode largely set “over here” followed by one episode largely set “over there.” Says Torv: “It was the first time we were playing both worlds in the same episode. A lot back and forth, and a lot of let’s-get-cracking momentum.”
Torv has been given the challenge of not just playing two different Olivias this season, but playing one Olivia pretending to be the other Olivia and playing the other Olivia as someone who’s been brainwashed into thinking and acting as someone she’s not. (I would say she’s more than risen to the task — and I hope Emmy voters are taking note.) Torv says the work “has been fun” but that it hasn’t been easy, especially since she’s learning the story and her character(s) arc(s) as the scripts come in. “It’s not always easy to see where they’re pushing things,” she says. “I try not to get too frustrated that we don’t have the time of a feature film to sit down and plot out and plan out every beat of the character,” she says. ”I often rib myself: ‘Ah! I forgot about this! I could have that!’” One of the choices she made last season when the “two Olivias” idea was introduced was to create a different kind of physical demeanor for “over there” Olivia to help distinguish her from “over here” Olivia. Not just adopting a different hair color for Fauxlivia (brunette), but a different way of holding herself — “a different silhouette,” as she puts it. “She’s got a little firefighter, a little military in her.”
In “Entrada,” Peter will confront Fauxlivia about deceiving and seducing him. Assuming that Peter will be reunited with the real Olivia sooner than later, what will be the relationship between the two characters? I told Torv that I like the idea that these past few episodes were designed to basically satisfy the curiosity of what a Peter-Olivia romance would look like, but that their ultimate destiny is to not be together. “I think that would be kinda fun, too,” says Torv, adding that based on where the show is in its production cycle, she doesn’t yet know what lies ahead for the would-be lovers, “so I’m just speculating along with you and everyone else.” She says that from Olivia’s perspective, Peter’s romance with Fauxlivia should have troubling implications. “The thing for Olivia coming back, and learning what happened between Peter and the other Olivia, you’d think she’d have some questions. Who am I? How could you not see who she was or who I am? Does that mean I only exist to you in the external — what I look like? What about my spirit? To have someone fall for someone they only think is you — that’s hauntingly heartbreaking.”
Fringe recently introduced a new mythological idea that portends to open up a new chapter in its saga (Who are “The First People”?) and has now reached a crossroads in the parallel world storyline. Does that mean the show is about to leave the alternate reality concept behind? “I don’t think we’ll be throwing that away — we’ve invested too much in that, and one of our lead characters, Peter, actually comes from the Other side, and much about him remains unresolved,” says Torv. As for what lies ahead [SPOILER WARNING!], Torv hints that there’s more intrigue to come about the doomsday machine that Peter is linked to, and teases that everyone’s favorite band of bald-headed, hot sauce-swilling mimics will be returning to the saga. “I know The Observers pop back up, and we’re still trying to work out their function in the big picture of things. I don’t think we’ve seen much of The Observers ‘over there,’ have we? So I’m interested in seeing how all that interconnects.”
Next week’s episode will be the last Fringe outing of 2010. When the show returns early next year, it will air on Friday night. While the timeslot was the original home of The X-Files back in the day, it hasn’t been too kind to sci-fi series on Fox since the David Duchovny-Gillian Anderson show left the airwaves. (See: Firefly; Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.) Asked how she feels about the move to the so-called “death slot,” Torv pleads ignorance — but expresses confidence that Fringe will be fine. (A sentiment shared by the show’s producers.) ”I’m Australian, you know? I have no preconceived ideas about the network TV landscape in America,” says the 32-year-old Australian actress, for whom Fringe is her first U.S. work. “But I also think we have a solid, supportive fanbase that will continue supporting the show. I’m just excited we still get to make the show.”