Can Fringe Break the Fox Friday Night Curse?
It’s been two and a half years since Fringe premiered. Slotted in the ever competitive Thursday night time slot of 9pm, it was an X-Files for a newer generation. The show’s focus is “fringe” science; a discipline where unidentified individuals use the world as their lab, performing often gruesome experiments without identifiable cause or reason. Leading the charge against these acts is Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent who’s a part of the Fringe Division. Throughout the series it becomes evident that a parallel world, like our own but not, is the catalyst for these unnatural occurrences.
Though not always smooth, the progress of creating the Fringe-verse has given birth to the stellar season three. After the trepidation created last year when it was hinted that the show was not guaranteed of being renewed, I was very satisfied with this season’s progress as we’ve been fully exposed to the parallel world and its intricacies. The show hit its stride and I was confident Fringe was ready to write its way out of the X-Files shadow.
Enter the disturbing news.
In an effort to…well, I have no idea what spurred the decision – FOX has moved the second half of season three to…wait for it: Friday night. Anyone that follows FOX and its less than impressive history with genre shows understands. For those who may not remember; here are a few hints: Fastlane, Brimstone, John Doe, Terminator: TSCC, Dark Angel, Dollhouse, Firefly. The common threads?
- All were original programming from FOX.
- All were genre shows.
- All were Friday night specials.
- Now do you get my concern?
While I understand that television, like any business, is about profit. TV ratings, due to ad time sold in specific time slots, are generally the end-all, be-all for determining a show’s fate. And there isn’t a network out there that hasn’t jumped the gun in cancelling a show. However, as history has shown, FOX’s track record is to the point that even their own shows make light of the network’s proclivity to wield death’s axe.
Now, that’s not to say that FOX doesn’t deserve more than a little credit for the chances they take. In fact, it deserves quite a bit of kudos. How many non-traditional shows (i.e., non-hospital, police, or family dramas and sit-coms) have aired on other networks? Not many. In that respect, FOX is a refreshing breath of air, a guy in slacks and a polo in a sea of three-piece suit executives too tight around the collar. I don’t turn to ABC, CBS, or NBC when I’m ready to get that new show fix…it’s FOX. All this despite how many times they have disappointed me in dropping a show that was coming into its own.
So maybe I have that cheating spouse syndrome; she said she’s sorry, she won’t do it again…or again…or again. This love/hate relationship I have with FOX could be labeled as being loyal or just plain ignorant. Movies notwithstanding (no, we will not discuss X-Men: Origins) FOX has provided me with joy and heartbreak (then again, maybe we should discuss X-Men: Origins) and, despite my reticence, I tune in to their shows, having faith in the originality and entertainment factor. A perfect example of this behavior is Human Target…I avoided it for the first few weeks, doubtful that it’d be back for a second season but then I bit the bullet and what have I been granted? A second season of a poor man’s Burn Notice that is a thoroughly enjoyable fare—no, we will not discuss its fate after this season. Not going there…nope, nope, nope.
For one that watches so much television (20+ shows on the DVR series recording), I am used to having shows cancelled. This year alone, The Gates, Life Unexpected (no laughing), Caprica and Stargate: Universe have all been sent to the great beyond of shows no longer on air. All were unique and interesting in their own right, though the world JJ Abrams & co have created with Fringe, despite its aforementioned similarity to the X-Files, surpasses them all. The question remains; will this be the last hurrah for one of the most unique shows currently on television or with Fringe beat the Friday curse and roar back for a fourth season of Olivia, Walter, Peter, and company?
Only time will tell…though if I’m honest, I think she’s already on her way out the door for another date…
– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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