FRINGE Producers Talk Short Story About Love, Why Ratings System Is Flawed


More quotables from Fringe EPs Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman about the returning episodes of the FOX sci-fi serial, the season’s overarching threat, and why the current ratings model is flawed.

When Fringe returns in March, the first episode back is the Wyman-directed “A Short Story About Love” (watch the teaser here). Wyman talks about his Fringe directorial debut and why he’s excited about the finished product:

JW: “Well, first of all it was the most incredible experience. You know, directing, when you run a television show it’s kind of like it’s something that not many people actually get the time to do because you’re so consumed with everything that’s going on. You can’t just disappear. So fortunately, I have an amazing partner that allows us to do these different things who will be directing an episode himself soon I’m sure. But it’s amazing. I love directing and I think that it allowed me to get closer to the actors and actually work with them on a level that I haven’t before and really get down there with them. I would jump at the chance to do it anytime I could.

To us, Jeff and I, it’s kind of like a perfect version of what a Fringe show is because it has a great terrifying element to it which is very fringy. On the other hand it has this incredible love story aspect and things that people are going to be really, really excited for, we believe, as far as the relationships in the show. So it was an honor to do it and it was just incredible. It turned out really well. We love it. It was just an incredible experience.”

On why the current ratings system is flawed:

JW: “[If] you look at the DVR numbers, Friday night is a tricky spot. I truly believe that there needs to be some new way of measuring who’s watching what and some way. Because I feel like there’s satellites that can see a Levi’s tab on the back of your jeans but they can’t tell you who’s watching which television show. I’m a little suspicious.

But, look, the truth is that people–it’s changed. Times have changed. People, it’s busy. People have hard lives. They’re making it work. They’re coming home from work. They’re telling us when they want to watch the show because the DVRs, they go up like crazy. I mean, 80% is nuts. [..] when the big numbers come out on DVRs you understand there are a lot of people watching the program, just not on Friday nights.”

On David Robert Jones’ ultimate plan:

JW: Obviously, we can’t tell anything. But I think that David Robert Jones, just remember that on Fringe we try to make like nothing is as it seems. That there’s always a little more to the story behind the story. He’s definitely a large part going forward. I think a lot of things will come full circle. But you’ll be like, oh, wow. And again, I hate to use the word but recontextualize a lot of things that you’ve already seen.”

As for what the upcoming episodes have in store, it seems the overarching story will receive more attention on the amber bricked road to the finale:

JP: We’re sort of in a zone of episodes right now where each one is pretty amazing. Each one either turns the story or resolves something important or leaves a cliff hanger. So the several episodes, each is pretty awesome in itself and also is very important to the overall patchwork of the season.

Source: Geek News

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  1. Underseer says

    I think it’s a mark of Fringe’s brilliance that it provokes one into thinking on some profound questions about our own existence. And it’s perhaps why it’s struggling: people don’t like to made to think outside their cocoon of the everday.

    In the first three seasons, Fringe asked us, what would we be, had we travelled down the road not taken? Had we made different choices, how different would our lives be? Would we be happier or more sad? Would we have found our soul mate, or would we have lost them forever?

    And in asking these questions, does it expose things about ourselves and our lives we perhaps should be addressing?

    In season 4 however, an equally profound question is being raised I think. That is, are certain things inevitable? Even if things are changed, does the Universe ‘course correct’ (as Sam Weiss puts it) towards an event that will happen no matter what we do?

    So put another way, when a river flows down to the sea, it make take many different paths to get there — but it inevitably will get to the sea somehow, sooner or later.

    So is the Universe a blend of free will and determinism? Do we have a fate we’re bound to, but we get to choose how we fulfil it? Peter must climb into The Machine (great metaphor for fate, that), but is it really up to him what he does when he gets there?

    Fringe is the only series I know that asks these questions. That’s why I love it. It’s not for those who like to be spoon fed, or don’t like to think beyond the mundane. Sadly, there’s a lot more of those out there who like spoon feeding, hence the ratings.

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  2. matt says

    Im game so long as the ‘recontextualize’ is the natural side effect of them telling us what really happened and not some quickly cobbled together “ooh Jareds back lets use him a lot / end of the show/season scramble plot-massacre fest”!

    I agree withe his views on the ratings 100% i mean holy crap with the number of dvrs youd think live viewing would have become irrelevant by now in a way or at least beneath overall viewership dvr included. why does it matter when it airs as long as people want to record and watch it? shouldnt that be what matters? I mean I dvr just about everything I watch and then watch it when i feel like it, sometimes it’s right away when i get home sometimes it;s not for a month when i have like 4+ episodes to enjoy simultaneous lovin AND IT DOESNT REFLECT ON MY LOVE OF THE SHOWs it has everything to do with my schedule vs. tv scheduling. i mean sometimes i save my fav shows specifically and watch em together later like a movie, especially if they’re 1/2 hours, or record it just so I can rewind something or watch it again the next day even if i do get to watch it live. all that matters is if it;s getting atched. in fact dvr numbers might mean more because they show passion, “live viewership” could be a tv simply left on. why do people so lack common sense these days? it originally got that name for a reason… people used to be able to adapt so much more adeptly [and to quote Mr. Hawking ‘intelligence is the ability too adapt to change]

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    • Underseer says

      “all that matters is if it’s getting watched”

      I’ve had this discussion before with a couple of other people, but I didn’t get an answer on how your DVR systems work there. I’m not in the USA, so perhaps your DVR works differently there, but can you skip past the adverts?

      If you can, then I can tell you that what really matters is that advertisers, a major source of income for all tv stations and networks, can be assured that you’re watching their ads – or that, at the very least, that you can’t skip them.

      Advertisers don’t care about any show, they care about how many people their ads are being exposed to during the show. This is not unique to America, this is a reality on any TV station/network globally. Fox is a business, and are in business to make money, not to be selfless creative patrons, unfortunately.

      If you’re only watching the show on DVR, and if my understanding is correct and that means you can skip past ads, then you’re not helping Fringe. Watch it live, as JJ Abrams advised, if you want to prevent cancellation.

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