Fringe: Catch Up and Watch It With Me (Originally Published October 21, 2009)

Thursday nights are my geek-out nights, usually with my similar-minded buddy.  I watch FlashForward at 7:00, enjoying the wacky existential questions about whether or not destiny exists, etc.  But at 8:00, I switch the TV to FOX, when the best show nobody’s watching comes on: Fringe.

Thursday night required viewing.

It wasn’t always this way, you see.  Last year, when it was broadcast on Tuesdays, Fringe was the most watched new show of the season.  People seemed to like its C.S.I.-meets-The X-Files premise (created by the writers and director of the new Star Trek, to boot), focusing on three likable characters: Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent who investigates strange, usually unexplainable phenomena; Walter Bishop, an erstwhile mental patient and also a scientist more brilliant than Einstein, specializing in “Fringe” sciences and some of the funniest non sequiturs I’ve ever heard; and Peter Bishop, Walter’s snarky son who is just as brilliant but much more together.

It started a little slow but its quality lifted into the stratosphere midway through the first year.  If you’re a fan of old Twilight Zone episodes, Kurt Vonnegut, or comic books, the standalone Fringe episodes will be quite intriguing to you.  There’s monsters underground, killer computer programs, and a ton of other creepy things that go bump in the night.  There is also a big overarching plot line that I’m certainly not about to ruin for anyone who hasn’t seen it.  If you want a hint, though, I can say that there is more than one of everything.

This season has been just as good, but nobody is watching it.  Why?  Because FOX is run by people that have no clue how to put together a schedule.  “What’s that?  Grey’s Anatomy and C.S.I., two of the top-rated shows of the decade, are on Thursdays at 8:00?  Let’s move our ratings giant there, too!  Everyone can get along!”  No, FOX.  Just…  no.  Its ratings are down big time, and it’s only getting 5.8 million viewers a week, as opposed to last year’s numbers of around 10 million.  They’re not in danger of cancellation yet, but I don’t want to wait around for that day to come, so that’s why I’m doing this.

After last week’s episode, they did their usual “next time on Fringe” preview, but it was for November.  As FOX has the ALCS and World Series, all their shows get preempted until next month.  I decided to take this time to tell everyone that they should rent season one–as well as watch this season’s episodes on Hulu–to catch up and boost the ratings for a show I really enjoy watching.  I’d like to continue watching it, and if more people start watching because of me, I won’t have to worry about it going anywhere.


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