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October 4, 2015

'Fringe' Isn't Afraid of Fridays, Plus More on the Show's Weird Science

by Maureen Ryan, posted Dec 17th 2010 11:15AM
There are a lot of uncertainties in the TV business, but one thing you can be sure of is that TV mavens will start shrieking when Fox moves a show to Fridays. If it's a cult show with sci-fi flavor? Expect to lose part of your hearing.

It's understandable; Friday has indeed been a death slot for many a fine Fox program. Perhaps I'm ovely optimistic, but when it comes to 'Fringe,' I think the show's passionate fan base will follow it where it goes and -- fingers crossed -- ensure its survival. I certainly hope so, given how good 'Fringe' has been all year (it made many year-end Top 10 lists, including mine).

But what do the 'Fringe' powers that be think of the worries about the move, which are amusingly skewered in the clip below? I asked executive producer Jeff Pinkner for his thoughts on the Friday slot -- and, for good measure, I also emailed him a reader question about the show. Pinkner's answers to both queries are below.

Regarding the move to Fridays, I said in my note to Pinkner that I wasn't in a panicked state about the switch -- I can recall 'The X-Files' thriving on that night, and currently 'Supernatural's' avid fanbase is keeping that show afloat on Fridays as well. Ryan McGee and I talked about the 'Fringe' move in our latest podcast, and as I said then, usually the shows that die on Fridays were already in trouble or not favored by the network. That's not the case with 'Fringe,' in my opinion, despite the cheeky doom and gloom of the clip above.

"The trailer is pretty fun, right?! And, no, I don't think it's a death slot at all," Pinkner replied. "Ironically our audience was begging Fox to move us off Thursday night (a death slot of its own), and now they are freaked that Fox is sending us to the guillotine. Truth is, we have a hardcore group of fans there at Fox, and we (and they) are really excited about the stories we have coming up (and not just for this season). If our audience follows us to Friday, we may make a home there for a long time. I think I've said this to you before: We never intended to make this show for a massive audience of intermittent fans. It's not that type of show. Not everyone likes licorice -- but people who like licorice, really like licorice. That's who we're making the show for. The licorice lovers. And what better way to start the weekend than with licorice?"

I also sent Pinkner a good reader question that came in during the past week (many other recent reader questions are answered in this week's Ask Mo column).

From Al: "One of my current favorite shows is 'Fringe,' and I think it's kind of fun when they try to include some real science to ground the science fiction. However, as a chemist, it drives me slightly crazy when they get the details wrong. I also have similar reactions when watching shows like 'Bones' or 'Castle' (and it probably occurs on those 'CSI'-like shows). I realize it's silly and nitpicky to care that much, but I was wondering if you could offer any insight for how it works for 'Fringe' and other sci-fi shows on the science front. Do they have a consultant, or are they randomly latching onto ideas they see and making up what they don't know?"

Pinkner's reply: "Hey Al! Yes, we have a science consultant," Pinkner wrote. "But, after reading your letter, I'm thinking that... maybe he's not that smart!!

"In seriousness, yes we have a consultant -- and, yes, we try to get the details right. As often as possible. Obviously, we take some creative license, especially with some of the more... fringe concepts. But I know where you're coming from: I'm a former lawyer, and I would always be nitpicky with law shows... but I realized why they were bending the facts in favor of dramatic license and decided to just go with it. We certainly try to ground everything in reality... but then sometimes...

"So, here's a question for you -- the shapeshifters? Part biological, part mechanical. Would you have suggested that they have contained an element more appropriate than Mercury?!"

For a recent 'Fringe' feature/interview with Pinker and executive producer J.H. Wyman, look here.

Follow @MoRyan on Twitter.

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We will be back to SPN/Fringe headbutts, but fortunately that is what a dvr is for. Season has been great so far. Yep, XFiles followed by Homicide made for weekly entertainment in my house.

December 21 2010 at 9:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Blue Sunflower

They can't possibly have a science consultant, since they're insisting humans evolved before dinosaurs - and consequently flowers, birds, and more than one continent. Not to mention said race went extinct, yet somehow managed to evolve all over again from scratch.

December 18 2010 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Mmm...strawberry-flavored death. Love.

Mo, thank you so much for sending my question Jeff Pinkner's way. If you're still up for/okay with playing proxy:

I'm sure your consultant is great, especially since he needs knowledge in all the fields, when all I really know anything about is chemistry. It's probably because he gets a great deal right that I notice the small lapses. And it's more in really nitpicky, non-plot-related details like HCN smells like almonds (in the one where the Jewish wedding party was aphyxiated), not cinnamon for example. Or when everyday lab equipment is almost comically misused (or maybe that tells you I spend way too much time in my research lab).

To answer your query, mercury as blood, it definitely looks pretty cool, and since it conducts electricity, it's a pretty decent (fictional) medium between man and machine. Granted it's probably too heavy for skin to hold in, but I hey-ho, dramatic license.

Thanks to both you for your time, Al

December 17 2010 at 10:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Fringe will survive on Fridays. At least I hope so, as I've just discovered it. The network seems to have a good outlook on it's future. Love the vid! I just hate that it's up against Supernatural. SPN will get the live viewing, but Fringe will be waiting on my DVR.

December 17 2010 at 8:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I do think of X-Files for Friday night genre success....but this move puts Fringe up against Supernatural. That's just wrong.....pitting my 2 favorite shows against each other!

The clip is great. I adore Walter! Thanks for sharing it, Mo!

December 17 2010 at 4:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They may not be afraid of Fridays, but I sure am for the show. FOX and Fridays equals humongous failures.

December 17 2010 at 3:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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