The Sci-Fi series Fringe follows the investigations of a small team from the FBI’s ‘Fringe Division’ based in Boston, Special Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson), who attempt to solve the inexplicable events happening around the world.
Last season ended with the shocking revelation of an alternate universe visited by Walter, one in which the World Trade Center was not destroyed on September 11th 2001. When he returned, he visited his son’s grave which read ‘Peter Bishop 1978-1985’ indicating that Peter is from the parallel world.
I spoke with executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman about the show’s second season.
In the first season finale, Peter’s storyline was a bombshell. It’s been on the back burner through a little bit of this season. When can we expect to have that revisited?
Joel Wyman We’re definitely going to revisit it this season, and we’re going to get into some of the details, and we’re going to follow that through. I would say it’s slowly unraveling throughout the season.
Does Peter discover the truth about his own life before the end of Season 2?
Jeff Pinkner It’s funny, my wife likes to read the last page of a book first and it drives me crazy, and she claims to still enjoy it knowing the end. But she can’t stand the suspense, and she sits me down and won’t give me dinner until I tell her secrets about the show, and I refuse.
So in this instance, I think it’s best [we don’t tell]. We’re in the middle of the story, and it’s certainly one of the biggest hanging questions, and I think if we gave you a definitive answer one way or another, we’d rob it of a lot of attention.
Fair enough, I understand.
Jeff Pinkner I wish we could, if we’re lucky enough we’ll have six seasons that we’re really excited about. It’s such a great show to work on, because we’re only limited by our imaginations. Once you start to get into this wonderful framework of the characters and stuff, it’s so much fun. We’re constantly saying, “Oh, what about this?” And then before you know it, there’s so many thing on Season 3’s pile that you realize that it takes shape and you go, “Wow, this is really great,” but I wouldn’t want to elaborate.
When originally casting the show, what kind of actors were you looking for in the lead roles?
Joel Wyman I think that we were attracted to April Webster who is our casting agent as a genius; she had worked with [series creator] JJ Abrams for a long time. And she knows that we’re attracted to actors who aren’t necessarily TV stars, or a certain look or type, but that we’re actually looking more for actors who can convey a lot of back story and life and depth in a sense of real life, in a sense that there’s a lot going on before the show starts and after it ends.
Jeff Pinkner There’s a pilot script, but the voice of the characters develop over those first few weeks when the role becomes more the actor and actor becomes more the role. There were times where Joel and I will talk to John Noble over the phone and we’ll look at each other, because we’re not sure whether we’re talking to John or Walter, and at times it’s a little bit disturbing.
What’s coming up?
Joel Wyman In the next handful of episodes coming up, we deal with one of our favorite themes in the show that we constantly come back to which is perception. What they see with their eyes might not necessarily be the truth. Our eyes may blind us to certain things, and we tell an episode that’s really big, fun and crazy, about how and what we think we’re seeing isn’t necessarily the truth.
In a couple of episodes, we drop a bombshell for our characters and it will change the nature of their relationship.
We also delve a little bit more directly with the fact of the alternate universe and what’s going on over there and how it may affect our world. We also have a really cool episode that deals with Walter’s memory and William Bell [Leonard Nimoy] specifically.
Are there any creative elements that if you could go back and change you would do them differently?
Jeff PinknerThat’s a really good question. Yes, of course, there are moments that we wish we played differently, but I think we’re really happy with where we are right now.
Fringe and Lost have had ratings issues, is it the time slot, is it the complexity of the show, why do you think people are not tuning in, in larger numbers?
Jeff Pinkner It’s funny, JJ Abrams and I have had this conversation on more than one occasion, and I think that Fringe and Lost absolutely there’s a time slot issue, but at the end of the day, it’s more important to us that people fall in love with the shows.
And I think it’s always been more important to us that we create shows that people can get passionate about. And the truth is, there’s only so much time in the day to get passionate about something, and there’s a lot of really great shows on.
We never take it as an indication of the quality of our shows, how many people watch. It’s more important to us that the people that watch, really care about it deeply.