Cinema Blend pointed us to an interesting article in Slice of Sci Fi in which J.J. Abrams discusses setting an end date for his sci-fi/mystery show Fringe. These end dates are becoming more and more popular amongst serialized mystery or drama shows, as it gives the showrunners a clearly defined frame in which to tell their story.
The tactic worked in getting Lost back on track when the show began to lose focus in season 3. With many viewers now feeling somewhat "ho-hum" about the sophomore season of Fringe, no doubt Abrams and Co. are trying reign in the show before it fades into obscurity.
Here's some of what Abrams had to say to Slice of Sci Fi:
“Just as with ‘Lost’, we didn’t get to a place until the third season where we were saying, ‘OK, we need to know where halfway is,’” Abrams said. “And I feel like that’s something that, … if we’re lucky enough to continue going, I do think that at a certain point it would be a really smart thing to start to say, ‘OK, let’s figure out … what the actual date is so we sort of know … how far we should push things.’”
For more details on what stories Abrams feels there are left to tell, go HERE.
The strange thing about this so-called news is that I've heard it before! Last year, while covering the 2009 New York Comic Con Fringe panel, show producer Jeff Pinkner addressed this very question of the 'Lost conundrum' up front, saying that the writers of Fringe started with the ending to the show and then worked their way back to the beginning, meaning that the mythos and overall narrative arc were already in place. The idea was that by conceiving the show end-first, the showrunners would be able to steer each season purposefully and clearly.
Hearing that claim from Pinkner, I naturally assumed that the minds behind Fringe had some sort of end date already in mind - but I guess not. I know the show isn't necessarily doing as well as Fox once hoped it would; Abrams indicated to Slice of Sci Fi that a six season run (a la Lost) would be a good stretch, but I don't really season Fringe lasting that long. Right now, I'd give it three to four seasons TOPS. But that's just me.
Abrams with Fringe writers/co-creators Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci
Still, there is plenty of opportunity for the show to abandon its standalone episode procedural format and get into some serious serialized inter-dimensional warring. In fact, if the show does come back next season, I have a sneaking suspicion that's exactly the sort of ramped-up storytelling we'll start to see.
Fringe airs Thursdays @ 9pm on Fox.