It’s a sad moment for fans of “Fringe” — the series created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci will draw to a close in a little more than a week from now, with the show’s two-hour finale set to air Jan. 18.
Ahead of the concluding episode, the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills hosted a tribute Wednesday celebrating the paranormal Fox procedural, treating fans to an early screening of Friday’s episode and a Q&A with show runner J.H. Wyman and actor Lance Reddick, the actor who plays Agent Phillip Broyles.
“Fringe” won a following for the way it was able to channel the best aspects of science-fiction, specifically the genre’s unique ability to explore universal questions by relocating characters to a fantastic setting. In its final season, the central ensemble of Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his son Peter (Joshua Jackson), Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) and Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) has been fighting to take their world back from the neutral-turned-oppressive Observers.
The show has ramped up the stakes in both the battle for humanity’s future and in the characters’ battles with their own inner demons.
“I got terribly obsessed with impact and the impact that we have on each other,” Wyman said. “Each character is on their own odyssey – like Olivia finding strength in vulnerability – but they all impact each other on their own emotional journeys.”
It’s probably not surprising, but emotion overwhelmed both men from time to time during Wednesday’s panel. Reddick grew teary when talking about saying goodbye to the crew member in charge of his wardrobe on his last day on set. (He also promised the character will have a significant role in the finale.)
Wyman said shooting the final scenes in Bishop’s lab “messed me up for a long time.”
Still, he hinted that he might have some additional ideas involving the characters at the core of the show’s story line, pointing out that “Fringe” is uniquely positioned to continue in some fashion thanks to its multi-universe, multi-timeline nature.
“The great thing about ‘Fringe’ is it’s sort of a spider-web show,” Wyman said before the panel. “Usually you don’t get that. Usually you get one narrative down the middle and then you’re kind of like, ‘Yeah, I could see how people could get sick of this.’ I don’t think I would ever get bored writing for these characters.”
The event, billed as “Fringe Benefits,” also featured a special exhibition of posters commemorating the series’ most memorable moments selected by fans worldwide and presented by Gallery1988, a pop culture art gallery with locations in Hollywood and Venice. Proceeds from the sale of the screenprints were earmarked for Abrams’ charity, The Mission Continues.
Four prints selling for $30 each are available at Fringebenefitsproject.com.
– Emily Rome
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