Fringe, the science fiction television drama created by fan favorite J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost), along with screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (who penned Abrams' recent Star Trek film) follows an FBI team working out of Boston who investigate mysterious cases and unexplained events through the use of "fringe" science.
Recent comments by Fringe star Joshua Jackson about the show needing support lit a fire under the regular audience. When Fringe was moved to the unpopular Friday night slot of 9 p.m. EST on FOX, viewers began to mobilize. The Fringe Network, a website providing a place for fellow fans to connect, created 'Project Fringe Friday' in response to the move. The Project encourages the show's followers to actively watch Fringe during its broadcast rather than utilizing DVR.
MTV Geek chatted with Joy Roxas and Nadine Ramsden, two of the creative minds behind the Fringe Network and Project Fringe Friday!
MTV Geek: How did you become involved with Fringe, and what about the show has kept you interested in it?
Fringe Network: Initially, the previews and concept for Fringe were so intriguing that it was a show we couldn’t help but check out. The consistently outstanding quality of the show, the writing, the acting, the overall standards of the production, combined with the crazy science, the intriguing characters, and the fact that it’s one of the best character dramas disguising itself as a science fiction, make it stand out from the crowd. It never fails to amaze and blow our minds, and we love it. It also helps there’s an amazing fandom that makes Fringe so much fun to discuss and dissect. The involvement with social networks, especially Twitter and Tumblr, forums, discussion sites, and podcasts all contribute to our enjoyment of the show and constantly keeps us engaged. It’s a fantastic community, with some incredibly smart people.
Geek: Tell us about Project Fringe Friday. What can new viewers and existing Fringe fans do to help your cause?
FN: Project Fringe Friday started when we heard the news about the move: we wanted fellow fans to stay active each week and support the new night – and almost above all, to be positive about the move. While we want to be realistic about the fact that people need to watch the show live (simply because of how the ratings system works in the US right now) we also want people to stay optimistic and keep up the positive chatter about the show. Negativity does no good, and can even deter new viewers. One of the best ways to get new viewers interested is to just continue to talk with passion about the show we love.
Ultimately the project is to encourage viewers to tune in LIVE (if possible), as we provide promotional resources across social networks and run a series of campaigns that every fan can enjoy – worldwide. New viewers can get in touch with us and any questions they might have about the show we’re happy to try and answer. Especially as far as getting involved, just talking about the show and what they think of it in the process is the first step in keeping people engaged and really makes a difference. For core fans, they can jump onto the Fringe Network, get involved, and be part of the community across a wide range of social networks.
Geek: In your eyes, what makes Fringe different from other shows with a similar hardcore fanbase, like X-Files or LOST?
FN: Fringe showcases science that hasn’t been fully explored by other shows, the eponymous “fringe” science, and opens our minds to the impossible. It really is wonderfully fun. The characters are the main focus, and the science is just the hook: really at the core of it, Fringe is a character drama, with some phenomenal stories about family.
Geek: Can you describe the basic premise of Fringe in one to two sentences for a new viewer? And is Fringe the type of show that people can start from the latest season and still be able to enjoy it, or is there a lot of continuity to catch up on?
FN: Initially the premise of Fringe was that there was this unconventional trio headed by FBI Agent Olivia Dunham with the mad scientist Walter Bishop and his son Peter who were brought together by the need to investigate weird, science-based cases. But Fringe becomes so much more than that and has undergone quite the evolution from the pilot episode.
Season 3 is very myth-heavy, and while you can absolutely enjoy the show by just jumping in, to really do justice to the show and fully appreciate the developments, it’s definitely recommended that people catch up on the series from the beginning. The time investment is absolutely worth it. Fringe does continuity amazingly well. The way the story threads are woven together from the beginning is utterly brilliant, and knowledge of the beginning is crucial when it comes to understanding the mythology of Fringe.
Geek: Has it evolved into something different over the years, or at its core, is Fringe the same show that it was during the pilot episode?
FN: There are some aspects about Fringe, such as the science, that remain very much a part of the show, but it is very much a different show than the pilot. Initially, Fringe was much more procedural, and an apt comparison that we’ve heard is to describe it as a combination of CSI and X-Files -- at least, if X-Files were science-based. But Fringe evolved to so much more than yet another of the procedurals that have become so ubiquitous. And is undeniably a better show for it. Fringe is, at the core of it, a show about how this unconventional family has become woven together. And, as we’ve come to learn, the history and ties that bind these people together are so much more complicated than we could ever have imagined. There’s also the fact that there’s a whole other Alternate Universe that we’ve come to see in Fringe which is very similar and yet fascinatingly different from “Over Here”.
Geek: Fringe seems to have a very active and vocal female fanbase. Do you think there is any reason why this show appeals so strongly to women? Does it have anything to do with Olivia Dunham being such a strong and central character?
FN: It definitely has to do with the fact that Olivia is such a strong female lead. She’s a character who has to make her way in a male-dominated field, and struggles with simply trying to do the job to the best of her abilities and protect the people she loves. Obviously things have become even more complicated this past year, with the introduction of the Alternate Universe, and seeing her journey as very much a trial by fire. It isn’t often that we see a female character like Olivia Dunham as the hero of the show. Most importantly, her character is so real, and there are aspects of her character to which everyone seems to be able to relate in one way or another. Anna Torv certainly continues to blow us away this season with her portrayal of not just Olivia, but her Alternate-universe counterpart, known by various names, such as AltLivia, Bolivia, and Fauxlivia. The two characters have something intrinsic to them that make them undeniably recognizable as Olivia Dunham, yet they are also very different.
Geek: If, considering the worst-case scenario, Fringe does not get renewed for another season, does Project Fringe have any “next steps” in terms of petitions or appeals to Fox?
FN: Those of us at the Fringe Network have talked this over a fair bit. We want to continue to promote the franchise, no matter the circumstances. We believe that FOX loves the show as much as we do, so we can’t help but respect the choices they make. We will certainly try and walk side-by-side with them to make sure the legacy of Fringe lives on. Right now, the best thing that we can do is to make our voices heard by talking about the show and getting people to watch. Honestly, while we can’t help but discuss the worst-case scenarios, we’re still very much focused on the positive.
An all-new episode of Fringe airs tonight 2/25 at 9/8 c on FOX!