Over the past week, I had the pleasure of introducing my mother to Fringe.
Revisiting a show I love and bringing another fan into its world got me extremely excited to hear what Executive Producers Joel Wyman and Jeff Pinkner had in store for their fourth season. Much like the show itself, the conference call with these two yesterday didn't disappoint.
If you're a spoiler-phobe, consider yourself warned: while there are no details covered, thematic and dramatic issues are certainly discussed. The producers' excitement is catching, so beware: there is a definite possibility of your head exploding prior to seeing the premiere on Friday!
Jumping right to the most burning issue of season four, fans know Peter will be back, and Wyman and Pinkner discussed how and when will he return:
Wyman: People will trust us enough to know we are doing things and have a reason. He is part of the language of the show, part of the DNA. Just because he doesn’t exist doesn't mean the three years we invested in didn’t exist. It really did happen and it will unfold itself and you’ll understand the context of which I speak.
Pinkner: Its outstanding to have the trust of the viewers to allow us to do a story where a character is completely missing. It’s a completely unproven theory, but we've noticed some people are unwlling to invest in a show because they are afraid it will die, it will go away and their time will not be rewarded.
Because we have always had a plan, and because the audience has started to understand that our season finales pay off what was said at the beginning of the season, over time we’ve developed this trust which has provided enormous dividends and allows us to to be really adventurous.
Pinkner: The context of his return has been super fun, and completely rewarding. The consequences of his return will give us an engine for a good part of the season. You’ll understand the reasons why and how we did what we did. The future of our storytelling dictated how he was going to disappear and come back.
On what happened to everything we learned during the first three years and continuity:
Pinkner: We will definitely get continuity. The show has played a lot with secrets, and sometimes viewers don’t know the secret and then they do find out Walter’s secret, and then they knew we had this secret against Peter. The audience and Peter both know what is happening and want him to go back. Everything you did know is still relevant and still valuable. Peter is a stranger in a strange land will have some good value.
- Fringe has become a place for artists to conceptualize themselves in an alternate universe. For example, when they approached Berkeley Breathed to do a varying version of Bloom County for the alternate universe. He delivered a full comic to them the next day. The B-52s gave them a song that was never released, and never will be released, but it was played on the other side. It gives the producers the opportunity to be fans themselves.
- The new, Orange (AMBER!) opening sequence was created in order is to set apart stories told in the universe in which we don't have Peter.
- The thematic issue of the season is free will versus destiny and how our choices and interactions with others define who we are. The Observers are a Greek Chorus to that notion and we will learn more about them in the interest of the show's determination to give answers to questions.
- All you need to know or ever need to know about Fringe is on the web. If you’ve never seen the show before, the fourth season is a great place to dive in because everything is new. If you have been watching, it’s making you reimagine what you have seen before.
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.