While the crew readied a fake cadaver downstairs, Fringe stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and John Noble gathered in the master bedroom of a swanky Vancouver home where they were shooting part of their December 9 winter finale to discuss doppelgangers, romance and Olivia’s long-awaited homecoming.
TV Guide Magazine: So, how is our Fringe family?
Noble: Well, you see three very happy people. We’re very privileged. The show keeps getting better.
TV Guide Magazine: John and Anna, what went in to creating your alt-characters?
Noble: Mine has been pretty easy because I decided who he was years ago. I thought how Walternate would be and got to play him [in the “Peter” episode] so it was just the matter of adding a few things. It’s cool, because he has such a different way about him.
Torv: Playing Olivia and Bolivia as each other has been tougher. But I just went, “I never do anything from the outside in,” so I decided to try that, see if I could change her silhouette and her hair… And that changes how you move and how you think.
TV Guide Magazine: Was it like having a new leading lady, Josh?
Jackson: If you think about it, Peter never really met Bolivia. He fell in love with her, but he thought she was Olivia. Dumb smart man. Little head doing the thinking. [Laughs] Noble: I think that worked, because Peter was falling in love with her and a couple of times, we played that there was something different about Olivia. But he was so preoccupied with his own stuff, that wasn’t registering. Until it’s finally revealed to us and then it becomes “how could they not have known?”
Torv: I’m curious about that, too. How do you think Peter and Walter missed it?
Noble: There had been such a traumatic event — we’d all crossed universes — so when we came back, we were all in different places. Our relationship had shifted enormously, Peter had chosen to go over there, we met William Bell, all sorts of things had happened, so a personality shift was to be expected.
Torv: Also, when you start a relationship with someone, they actually do change.
Jackson: Very true. And there is a bit of arrogance that goes with falling in love. You think you’re bringing out a different side of them.
TV Guide Magazine: Josh, how has it been playing the Peter-Bolivia romance with Anna after two seasons of platonic on-screen action?
Torv: Well, it wasn’t really a love affair. [Laughs] Jackson: It got a little aborted. If there was more time, it would have broadened and deepened.
Torv: I think Josh is right, if we had more time, what would have been fun to play with the Peter-Bolivia relationship is them actually getting together for each other. But things happened so quickly, we were going back and forth every other episode, it was, what three episodes?
Jackson: Not even…
Noble: I bought it.
Torv: It became, on my part anyway, the question as to whether there was enough time for her to really [fall for Peter], or is this a selling of her soul? Honestly, I had been assuming in Bolivia’s mind — because she didn’t have information about that kind of stuff — that Peter and Olivia had been f—ing forever! [Laughs]
TV Guide Magazine: Do you think there is a romantic future for Olivia and Peter?
Torv: Not for a while, no. [Laughs] Of course, you root for them. I think they satiated that bit of what the fans wanted, then turned it on its head. Now we’ll see what they do with it.
Noble: When I see them on-screen, the romantic in me comes out. How could they not fall in love with each other?
TV Guide Magazine: And how is it to finally have the real team reunited?
Torv: It’s been so much fun. Especially having been on the other side. When you come back it’s like, this is home.
If Fringe gets cancelled this year, it’s all FOX’s fault. Granted, the network kept the show on for a year longer than I thought it would. But the fact of the matter is, FOX just hasn’t realized that all these two-week breaks they’re just throwing into the show’s schedule are killing the shows. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a look back, starting in season two, just to see how network television’s best show has been affected by these breaks.
Take, for instance, what happened between the episode “Dream Logic” and the episode “Earthling.” “Dream Logic” aired on October 15, 2009, just before Fringe took a two-week break. No big deal, right? Wrong. “Dream Logic” had been about average for the season thus far, landing about 7.57 million viewers. When the show returned with the episode “Earthling” on November 5, the show had lost 2.62 million viewers. The show didn’t recover from this loss until the episode “Unearthed,” which only improved because it followed House, a more solid lead-in for the show than Bones.
The show managed to build itself up over its January run, and four episodes later, it was back up at 7.41 million viewers with its winter finale, “Jacksonville.” Not wanting to have dodged that bullet, FOX decided that it was about time for another break, and took the show off the air for two months.
I think you can guess what happened next.
Fringe returned on April 1 with “Peter,” which was its best episode up until that point — but it had lost one and a half million viewers. The show tried to recover but in the end just couldn’t, and ended its second season with 5.68 million viewers.
I don’t blame FOX for Fringe’s decline in ratings. The fact is, Fringe is a challenging show that requires a lot of attention and has been positioned against some successful shows that don’t. Fringe runs against two of the most successful procedurals on the TV schedule, Grey’s Anatomy and CSI, as well as NBC’s block of 30-minute comedy The Office and Outsourced. Not even considering the cable offerings, Thursday at 9:00pm is your DVR’s equivalent of cardio-hour. Fringe simply couldn’t keep up with the competition there in terms of its must-watch-live status, but on the other hand Fringe is a phenom in DVR performance. Fringe tops the DVR charts consistently, destroying it’s live competitors Grey’s and CSI in terms of gains in the key demo of adult viewers aged 18-49. (See this piece at TVByTheNumbers.) The sad fact is: DVR numbers only tell the potential for a show if the mitigating DVR-choice factors – time slot, competition, etc. – were removed. On the up side, while Fringe still has some growing to do to crawl outside of the bubble, the fact is Friday could potentially convert a sizable share of those DVR numbers into live views.
Another thing worth considering about this scheduling thing is that while it is true that FOX often puts scripted shows on Fridays that are in danger of cancellation, in this case there may be an entirely different set of reasoning. FOX could be looking to Fringe as its best hope for bringing value back to Friday, after The Good Guys pretty much hosed the value of the time-slot. Networks use selected slices of time to set the value of their advertising space. They call this “The Sweeps.” During the sweeps, ratings data is tabulated to be representative of the various demos related to each time-slot. In the last sweeps period The Good Guys was essentially a joke. It pulled cable level live viewers, and even worse adult viewer demos. In the next round of sweeps, which kick off in February, FOX needs to bring some value back to that time slot – but at the same time cannot move a ‘successful’ show into a night where it will most assuredly lose viewers. Of the shows that would make the most sense – Lie To Me, Fringe, and Human Target – only Fringe will have enough new episodes available to make it through February sweeps. Again: Fringe was the only choice if FOX wanted to undo the devaluation of The Good Guys, there is simply nothing else on their schedule that could fill that spot.
Granted, it could be a lot of smoke blowing, but FOX head Kevin Reilly speaks of the Fringe scheduling in very positive terms on Deadline.com saying “Fringe has a very particular, loyal audience. If Fringe could stay near the current levels, we’ll get a big trade-up on Friday and will solve our problem there.”
The fact is, Fringe does have a very loyal audience and it is very likely Fringe will retain more core viewers in this Friday move than something like House, or Bones. The key word in Reilly’s statement is that he believes FOX has a ‘Friday Problem.’ The truth is, most networks do – aside from the potential for diminished demos in the adult range there are a lot of organic factors that make Friday a poor choice for major advertising campaigns. Fringe has a hard road ahead of itself to make Friday profitable enough to ensure a renewal, but the chances may be better than you think.
Fox executive defends ‘Fringe’ move
Fox’s entertainment president Kevin Reilly has defended the network’s decision to move Fringe to Friday nights.
Last week, Fox announced that in midseason American Idol will air on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
The move means that Fringe, which currently airs on Thursdays, will be pushed back to Friday nights.
Although programmes airing on a Friday tend to struggle in the ratings, Reilly told Deadline that he does not expect Fringe to suffer.
“Fringe has a very particular, loyal audience,” he said. “If [Fringe] could stay near the current levels, we’ll get a big trade-up on Friday and solve our problem there.”
Fringe continues on December 2 at 9/8c on Fox.
Who’s News: Tim Meadows, Anna Torv and more!
Anna Torv, a native of Australia, has found a new home in Vancouver, where she films the Fox sci-fi show Fringe (Thursdays, 9 p.m. ET/PT). “Vancouver seems to be the yoga capital of the world,” says Torv, 32.”There’s a street just near where I live that actually has a different yoga studio on each corner. It’s a really nice form of exercise.” Her most difficult pose? “My legs are kind of tight, so I’m not very flexible in putting my body down on my legs. I can’t do the splits very well. That’s a waste of time. But I’m learning.”
MTB: What is beauty to you?
AT: To me, beauty is an attitude, more often than not. Whether it’s your own or in other people.
MTB: What role have you had that was most interesting to you from a beauty perspective?
AT: When I was at drama school in Australia, we used to have to do our own hair and make-up for stage performances. I always loved that. I would spend hours pouring through reference pictures. All the details of make-up and hair from the ’30s or ’40s or whatever time the play was set. I had my grandma teach me to roll my hair for that ’40s look, the way she used to do it, with a wooden spoon!
MTB: Tell me about the hair and make-up routine for “Fringe.”
AT: Simple! We have always tried to keep the look very simple, pony tails and minimal make up. She is an FBI agent and we thought to have her all ‘glam’ would be ridiculous.
MTB: What’s the best beauty trick you learned on set?
AT: Shading! Even with simple make-up you still want to make sure that there is some definition in your face. I am amazed how much shading can alter your face shape and help to hide imperfections.
MTB: Have you always been a blond? Would you experiment with other shades?
AT: I haven’t always been blonde, no. I’ve experimented with many shades. But I am enjoying the blonde for the moment.
MTB: Would you ever chop it all off? Why or why not?
AT: Twice have I gone with a drastic cut. Once into a tom boy shag and another time into a buzz cut. I still have the hair from the first time I cut it. You feel very exposed for the first few weeks, especially after having a big head of hair to hide behind. I think that long hair is much easier to manage. When it is short you have to style it and constantly trim. So from a maintenance perspective, long is much easier to manage.
MTB: What’s it like to watch yourself on screen or flip through magazines and see yourself?
AT: Sometimes it is fine, sometimes I cringe, and sometimes when I see pictures from a great shoot, I wish I woke up like that.
MTB: Is that an experience you’re comfortable with?
AT: I am getting more comfortable with it the more I do it. Working with different photographers and hair and makeup teams is all part of the learning experience.
MTB: What’s your favorite feature? Why? Which part of yourself are you most critical of (if any…)?
AT: These two questions are interchangeable. It is so connected to my mood and my attitude!
Photographer: Don Flood. Hair: Mark Townsend. Make Up: Robin Black. Fashion Director: Estee Stanley. Art Director: “Frank the Tank.” Dress: Catherine Malandrino. Shoes: Jimmy Choo.
Tonight airs 3×07 “The Abducted” and io9.com has already watched it and 3×08 “Entrada”.
Remember: Watch Fringe Live Tonight on Fox 9/8c
***May contain spoilers***
We’ve seen the next 2 blow-out episodes of Fringe!
Fringe has been ramping up the tension on its intense story of a war between two parallel Earths — but in the next two episodes, the action gets even spookier and more insane. Here’s our spoiler-free preview.
We were on the edge of our seat with impatience after seeing the end of last week’s episode, in which the alternate-universe version of mad scientist Walter Bishop decided that Olivia Dunham had outlived her usefulness. Could Olivia escape from the other universe she was trapped in before it was too late? We couldn’t wait to see what happened next.
But we’ve got bad news for you — after you watch tomorrow night’s episode, “The Abducted,” you’ll be left with a cliffhanger that’s twice as intense, and you’ll be stuck with a horrifying two-week wait until the following episode, which airs Dec. 2.
Without giving anything away, the next two episodes manage to pay off a lot of the anticipation that has been building up over the course of the season so far, while heightening the tension of the main storyline. Both Olivias are faced with their biggest challenges, and they’re both pushed to their limits. There are betrayals, there are revelations — and in the end, it comes down to how good both Olivias are at convincing people to trust them in spite of all the reasons not to.
But gratifyingly, we also get some new insights into just what the hell is going on in Walternate’s head — and there are new hints about the nature of this “war” between the two Earths. The ongoing story of the ancient super-weapon gets a few new twists, and the mythology gets even deeper. And one much-loved character gets more of the spotlight than ever before.
It’s all fantastic stuff, even if the Dec. 2 episode does have some odd plot holes here and there. All in all, Fringe is continuing to rock our worlds, and we can’t wait to see where it goes from here.
WARNING: Contains Spoilers!
“Olivia just needs to find someone she can trust,” says Anna Torv, whose Agent Dunham has spent the bulk of Season 3 on the other side — being brainwashed and experimented on by Walternate — while her doppelgänger (aka Bolivia) was over here, working as a secret agent within Fringe Division by day and rocking an unsuspecting Peter’s world by night. Thankfully, her time in the alt-verse has allowed Olivia to line up a few allies to aid in her escape, including, of all people, alt-Broyles.
“I figure out that she knows who she really is,” reveals Lance Reddick, adding that his by-the-book Fringe Division leader ultimately opts to betray his country after uncovering Walternate’s wicked plan to get his hands on the Cortexiphan in Olivia’s system. “He decides to save Olivia because they’re about to dissect her. She is the only one they have ever found who can cross back and forth between universes safely without any of the effects, and they want to know why.”
Back in this world, things are looking just as grim for Bolivia. With her cover blown and unable to secure an extraction back to the alternate universe, the Mata Hari winds up in federal custody and facing trial. But then something sick and certifiably Fringe occurs to send our home team into a tizzy. “Shock, horror, all of that,” is all Reddick will reveal of the twist.
Once the dust settles and both women are back where they belong, it won’t be long before even more shock and horror set in. After all, Peter’s got some ‘splaining to do about what he’s been up to — and who he’s been getting down with — since the real Olivia’s been gone.
“The last interaction he had with Olivia was, ‘I’m not quite sure how I feel about you, but I’m gonna take a huge emotional gamble on what we could be,'” says Joshua Jackson. “Now the payoff for that gamble was that he actually did fall in love, just not with the woman he was signing on for. How do you broach that conversation?”