Saturday, November 19, 2011

Don't let saving Community distract you from saving Fringe!

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I know that everyone is focused on some extremely upsetting news we all got earlier in the week about Community. And I know that, right now, we're all really focused on banding together, saving the show, and reading the ultimate goal of six seasons and a movie. But we can't forget about the other fantastic, innovative, ratings-challenged shows on the air. Like, say, Fringe.

"Wallflower," last night's fall finale, was a great episode of television with plenty of moving moments, character development, and a great final twist courtesy of Ms. Nina Sharp. Last night's episode contained some fantastic performances as well, particularly on the part of Seth Gabel. The newly-promoted series regular did great work as Lincoln Lee, a man trying to balance the twin stresses of his new job, his disintegrating worldview, and his fragile connection to Olivia. The final scene where he waits for her in an all-night diner and she doesn't show is heartbreaking, an emotion which is quickly replaced by shock when the reason for Olivia's no-show is revealed.

This week's case was also beautifully handled. Some reviews criticized the Fringe team's pursuit of an escaped genetic experiment - the wallflower of the title - as being too simple, but I felt that the simplicity allowed for young Eugene's sad story to take center-stage. The poor guy just wanted to be seen - another moment that, like last week's superb central mystery, was written so that it was applicable to so many characters - and his final moments of life, in which he carries on a simple conversation with a woman in the elevator before dying, was beautifully handled. The plight of the invisible man could be applied to Lincoln, waiting for Olivia to notice him; Peter, kept from interacting with the outside world to which he doesn't belong; Walter, holed up in his lab; and, finally, Olivia, who doesn't know the real nature of her relationship with Nina, her importance as a test subject, or even why she keeps getting migraines.

Unfortunately for everyone, the wallflower storyline can also be applied to Fringe itself, which continued its ratings death spiral last night. The fact that both Fringe and Community turned in some of their best episodes this week, as they rest on the brink of cancellation, is very disheartening to those of us who deeply love these shows, and who just want to see where their brilliant writers and actors can take them in the future. So, let's keep saving Community, but let's not forget about saving Fringe. Sign this petition. Join the Facebook Group. And, above all, keep watching, writing, and talking.

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