Fringe started out the season slowly as it introduced another time line in which Peter had died as a child. The story built up gradually, leading to Peter coming into this timeline. Finally, in what was supposed to be the fall finale but was delayed until January due to baseball, Peter went over to the other universe seeking Walternate’s help in returning home. This week’s episode followed up on this storyline, where Walternate appears to be a good guy but alternate Broyles and the Nina Sharp of our universe appear to be behind the shape shifters as well as the experiments on Olivia. Apparently running away from Walter’s experiments in this time line wasn’t enough. Olivia was perhaps always fated to be the subject of experiments (as well as being fated to die in that time line according to the Observer with a gunshot wound).
Fringe very gradually developed a complex story line about two alternative universes which are closely connected because of Walter going to the alternate universe and bringing Peter over here. Suddenly, after a lot of trouble keeping track of the details of this back story, everything has changed with the story moving to an alternate time line. Now we must also consider how each universe would be different in an alternative time line where Peter had died. It seems like overkill to not only have alternate universes but to throw in alternate time lines. An interview with Lance Reddick suggests they never planned to make things this complicated:
When you look back at ‘Fringe’ now versus where it was three and a half seasons ago, it’s become one of the most complicated shows out there in between the alternate universes and what’s happening with Peter right now. When you were starting out on the show, did you ever see any of this coming? Did [the producers] give you some sort of roadmap?
No. As a matter of fact, I think the show took a bit of a turn in the second season. I honestly don’t think they were necessarily going to build alternate universes from the beginning. If they were, they just didn’t tell me — which is also possible. My character changed quite a bit from the first season to the second season — honestly I feel like he became a lot less mysterious. So in the middle of the second season, you kind of knew that he was a good guy.
So in the second season we had the alternate [Colonel] Broyles, and then he died [in the] third season. And now he’s back.
Jeff Pinker and J.H. Wyman responded to fan criticism of the move to an alternative time line
TVLINE | There is one recurring knock against this season…. What would you like to say to the fans who feel they have “lost time” with the characters they know and love? That outside of Peter, in this timeline we’re kind of watching a bunch of posers?
WYMAN | Jeff and I are huge fans of television, and the biggest thing that stuns us is that our fans are actually thinking that we would pull the old, “Nothing you knew is true!” We would never do that. There is a very specific reason why we’re doing this story right now, and why we took this turn that we did. Traditionally, what goes on with our show is that fans may have an opinion about something, like, “Oh, why did you do that?!” — but then they realize, “Oh yeah, OK, I get it.” Hopefully they’ll feel the same way now, now that things are starting to come to fruition and things are starting to happen a bit more.
TVLINE | But isn’t Peter the only character going through any development that will stick?
WYMAN | If way back when, you got some scoop that Peter was going to have an affair and be involved in a love triangle, and you didn’t know about Olivia and Fauxlivia, you would never have imagined that there’d be two versions of Olivia. That’s why Fringe is great, because you can take a very traditional thing and do something extraordinary with it. It’s the same with this. Peter’s journey and finding out how he feels, what he’s doing, is really important to us. When we first went over to the other side, don’t forget, a lot of people said, “Oh, I don’t want to know about those characters. They’re not our characters.” And fortunately, people came around to like them and actually feel invested and compelled by them.
PINKNER | And at the same time, I think that the [complaint's] premise is slightly faulty, the idea that our characters are not going to change. Peter has been in their lives now for three episodes that have aired, and he’s going to be in their life certainly for some amount of time longer, and one of the things that we’re most interested in is how he is affecting them, how he is changing them. Walter’s been refusing to acknowledge him, both out of emotional reasons and also because of Walter’s own mental instability, but that’s not to say that’s not going to change. And Olivia is also dealing with this person who in another timeline is love with her, while she’s somebody who has sort of empty heart when we met her this season.
Hopefully we will get any planned payoff from this idea before the show is cancelled. Renewal sounds questionable, but talks are underway. At least they are talking about making a fourth season finale which would work as a series finale in case the show is not renewed as opposed to running a cliff hanger.
Sherlock has two major threats this year–Moriarty and CBS. The second season has concluded on the BBC but will not air in the United States until May. Like the first season, the first and third episodes were the most memorable. The third episode ended with a cliff hanger which was far better than the first season cliff hanger. Those who have not seen it might want to skip the next paragraph to avoid major spoilers:
The first episode of Sherlock this season had some aspects which felt very much like Doctor Who. (“When I say run, run.”) Sherlock ended the season much like Doctor Who, with the lead character having to fake his own death in The Reichenbach Fall. Unlike the first season cliff hanger, where we just assumed Sherlock would find a way out, fans will be speculating for the next year as to how Sherlock pulled this one off. There is little doubt that Molly Hooper assisted him. She would have the ability to cover up a fake body substituted for Sherlock’s. Alternatively, Sherlock might have had a clever way to survive the fall with Molly helping him sneak away and appear dead. There is little doubt that the bicycle hitting Watson was part of a plan to distract him. Even if Sherlock were to jump (or fake jumping) to his death to prevent the deaths of his friends, what reason would he have to tell Watson that he is a fake. Could the fact that Sherlock even talked to Watson on the phone, as opposed to texting, be meaningful? I am even more puzzled by Moriarty. While he wanted to see Sherlock disgraced, would it be worth committing suicide to ensure that Sherlock was not able to force him to call off his assassins? If Moriarty really was dead, perhaps it was really Moriarty’s body which was thrown off the building, but I also wonder if they would eliminate such an important character. Perhaps there is a connection to the previous episode, The Hounds of Baskerville, with Watson again being drugged to imagine something.
Regardless of how the cliff hanger plays out, it has been announced that a third season of Sherlock was ordered at the same time as the second. There might even be more of a modern day Sherlock Holmes on television. After first looking into making an American version of Sherlock, CBS has commissioned their own modern Sherlock Holmes adaptation. The Independent reports:
In a move which has caused concern at Hartswood Films, the BBC show’s producers, CBS has commissioned Elementary, described as a new Sherlock Holmes adaptation set in modern-day New York.
Sue Vertue, Sherlock Executive Producer at Hartswood Films, said: “We understand that CBS are doing their own version of an updated Sherlock Holmes. It’s interesting, as they approached us a while back about remaking our show. At the time, they made great assurances about their integrity, so we have to assume that their modernised Sherlock Holmes doesn’t resemble ours in any way, as that would be extremely worrying.” She added: “We are very proud of our show and like any proud parent, will protect the interest and wellbeing of our offspring.”
Conan Doyle’s creation has been subject to numerous screen incarnations, including Guy Ritchie’s all-action Hollywood version. Holmes’ sleuthing skills and character quirks also inspired House, Hugh Laurie’s medical detective.
But it is Elementary’s relocation of the character to a modern setting which may closely impinge on the BBC series, which has made laptops and text messaging an important element of its plots.
Margaret Tofalides, a copyright specialist at law firm Manches, said: “The concept of a new Sherlock Holmes is unprotectable. But if the unusual elements of the BBC series – the modern settings, characters, clothes, plots and distinctive visual style – were closely reproduced in the CBS version, that could form the basis of a potential copyright claim.”
While it is understandable that the producers of Sherlock would be concerned, my guess is that they have nothing to worry about. It is very doubtful that a weekly American network television series could compete with Sherlock in terms of quality. If the CBS show is a success, it very well might generate more buzz, encouraging people to watch the far superior BBC version which they stole the idea from.
The cast of Doctor Who continues to be interviewed frequently, including a spot on the cover of Radio Times for Karen Gillan. The Daily Record has had frequent interviews on their Scottish actress, including an interview today.
LEAVING Doctor Who, the show that made her a household name, holds no fear for Karen Gillan.
The feisty 24-year old from Inverness, who played Matt Smith’s companion Amy Pond is relishing what life has to offer.
“My greatest fear is saying, ‘what if?’ she admitted. Being in Doctor Who has been so amazing. I don’t think I will ever have a job quite so fun ever again. I feel sad because I am going to leave, but with any story, it has to come to an end.
“It was a mutual decision with me and Steven Moffat. We had this lovely dinner and decided when the best time for me to go was. So I’m excited and slightly scared.”
Karen will leave the show this year after “a few really good episodes”.
Only “a few” good episodes? Sad. The story then goes on to discuss her staring role in We’ll Take Manhattan which airs Thursday.
Matt Smith was interviewed by Australia’s ABC Television (video above).
TV Line has the story on how The Big Bang Theory got permission to use Zachary Quinto’s image in their 100th episode, quoting Bill Prady at the Producers Guild Awards:
In order to use that prop, which is a cardboard cutout of Spock [as seen] in the new movie series, you needed three approvals. You needed Paramount [Pictures], and you had to get Zach to approve it and you had to get J.J. Abrams to approve it…. The problem is we wanted to say, “Suck it. Zachary Quinto.” Normally when you send something out [for approval] you send the pages, and we’re going, “Are they going to like this?” So we called Zachary’s agent, we called Paramount, and we call J.J.’s office. I [told them], “We need to, at some point, let Sheldon begin accepting there is a new Spock in the world, and we’re going to have him start by not liking it at all. So if you’re game, and you let us use it, we will begin the process of him coming to grips with Zachary Quinto as Spock.” And we got a message back immediately from Zach and J.J. saying they loved the idea.
I think we can expect to see Zachary Quinto show up on the show some day.