I'm not going to start out this saying that you may know of my advocacy for "Fringe", as I've said it way too many times to make that assumption. You know I've been pushing for this show for some time, even if I've been rendered silent by the two month hiatus the show has been on since November. And I'm still sick of hearing people recount stories of how they gave up on the show midway through its first season. Everyone did. I did, as a matter of fact, and then I went back to it on the tail end of the first season. It got better towards the end of season 2, and throughout season 3, even if the ratings don't quite show it. If anybody's to blame for the show's dramatic downturn, it's the Fox execs who placed it on Thursdays, and then Fridays.
I'll continue to say that people should attempt catching up with the show, starting at Season 2 (skip episodes 3, 5-7, 11-13 and then skip none at all), but I've reached the point of understanding why people won't. They'll assume it's too confusing, and it's not. It's rather simple if you follow along. It's no great mystery, and the reason I'm urging it so fervently now is because the show is most definitely and undeniably on its final stretch. Not this season, because if you've been watching, you'd never say that this is what finale seasons are made out of. It's strong, but it's only now getting to the most motivating part of its season.
I'm not about to say that the show is brilliant, but it's been consistently entertaining, funny, but also heartbreaking. I'm not talking about soap opera heartbreak. I'm talking about Pixar-style tear-whoppers. It's not brilliant on a level with "Breaking Bad" or "Mad Men", and it is rather corny at times, but I struggle to find a reason viewers wouldn't love it. But the show has had a degenerating appeal in live viewership, especially where it stands on the Friday night timeslot recently taken up by shows like the mediocre in comparison "Grimm". NBC, get yo' ass out of "Fringe" territory! Regardless, the shows execs have always displayed outstanding support for the show, but that doesn't put out the undeniable onset of reality.
Fox President Kevin Reilly has recently stated that as great as his support is for the show's survival, it is a rather costly program and it is not making a profit. Fox is not in the business of losing money. Harsh words, but true ones. Don't be laying down a price on his head so quickly. Any other studio exec would have chopped this show's head off long ago for the ratings it's had. The fact that it's continued this far is a miracle, and I'm ever so gracious for what we already have, and what we'll receive before the season is out. That doesn't halt my own desire to see the show continue on for further seasons, but it's not going to be here two years from now.
It may very well not be here one year from now; in fact it's almost a damn impossibility. If the show is getting one more season, it is definitely going to be its last one. The odds are decidedly against the show bringing in another 22 episodes, and it's far more likely they'll get a 13 episode final season, much like "Chuck" did. That is merely a comparison of event, and not of quality. There's no way in hell I'll admit that "Chuck" was ever a great, or even good show. I'd like to see "Fringe" get a full final season, but let's be realistic. It's a show that isn't making money. It's time to make a compromise, and 13 episodes to finish its story in a finite way is an outstanding one in my opinion.
So that's what I'd most like to see happen for this show. I'm not going to be the stubborn bitch this time around saying that there's no way it will be canceled. There's a strong likelihood it will be canceled this season, and I won't be surprised at all if it is. Do not throw angry letters at Fox saying they should never cancel it. If you send in a letter, which I hope you still do, make it a reasonable one asking for a final season, be it a shorter one. As fans, no matter how passionate, we need to be willing to negotiate with whatever Fox's final choice may be. Don't give up, but protest politely. This show is coming to an end, and it always has been.