Fringe is over.
Those are words I thought I’d be saying a year or two ago. Fringe, the little show that could, miraculously ended its five-year run Friday night with a proper finish to its reality bending story.
I’ve had my ups and downs with Fringe over the past few years. I was one of the few who really enjoyed the show in its first season; I considered the pilot to be one of my favorites. I later almost gave up watching during the season two episode “Snakehead,” an episode right before the larger story of the show took distinct shape. When the show moved to Friday nights – and later didn’t have next-day streaming except for Dish subscribers – I sometimes found myself falling behind on Fringe. But I always caught up. And when I did, I never understood why I fell behind on it in the first place.
As cheesy as it sounds, there are times in which, while watching Fringe, I have applauded. Like a lot of good sci-fi, Fringe not only pushed the limits of storytelling on a scientific and creative level but also explored what it means to be human. Throughout its five seasons, Fringe proved that telling a good story relies more on characters than on sci-fi shenanigans.
In the first season, I would have argued that Fringe was a good sci-fi procedural with a very human overarching story. The opening titles emphasized the sci-fi with words like “teleportation,” “artificial intelligence,” and “dark matter.”
Flash forward to season five, and Fringe is a much different show, a solid human drama with a sci-fi backdrop. Olivia, Peter, Walter, and the others literally fight to save humanity, and the opening titles contain words like “joy,” “individuality,” and “free will.”
When I think of Fringe, I think of the characters and the people who played them. I think of Olivia coming to terms with her tortured past. I think of the strained father-son relationship between Walter and Peter.
I think of Nina Sharp and Blair Brown, Phillip Broyles and Lance Reddick, Lincoln Lee and Seth Gabel, and September and Michael Cerveris. I think of Astrid and Jasika Nicole, ever a grounding presence. I think of Peter and Joshua Jackson, the rock of the show and the glue that held the universe sprawling story together. I think of Olivia and Anna Torv, playing at least five different versions of the character over the course of the story. And I think of Walter and John Noble, who delivered bravura performance after bravura performance week after week.
With that, I’d like to thank the aforementioned cast for pouring themselves and their abilities into their characters, the amazing producers, writers, directors, and other crew members that made the show what it is, J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci for creating this series, and Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman for shepherding it over the years. It’s been a marvelous five years.