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Name: Fringe
Creator: J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci
Date(s): September 9, 2008 – January 18, 2013
Medium: television
Country of Origin: USA
External Links:
Fringe Promotional Poster fan made poster by KaliWeir (2010)
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Fringe is a television show created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci which debuted on television in the United States in 2008.

The show centers around FBI agent Olivia Dunham, civilian contractor Peter Bishop, and his father, the mad scientist Walter Bishop. With the assistance of Olivia's FBI colleagues, including Astrid Farnsworth, who often works as Walter's lab assistant, they are engaged in trying to solve a variety of mysteries in the area of "fringe science."

The mysteries are part of something called "The Pattern," and a multi-agency task force has been assigned to investigate the pattern and its implications; the task force features representatives from the FBI as well as from fictional megacorporation Massive Dynamic, which was founded by William Bell and run (during his long-term absence) by Nina Sharp.

As became clear in the later part of season one, the show's larger mytharc revolves around the characters' interactions and a potential war with a parallel universe. As the series progressed, various alternate dimensions were explored more thoroughly. These alternate universes are known among fans as the Blueverse and Redverse, arising from the tint used in the title sequences for episodes about each 'verse.

Fringe Fandom

People new to the series--especially those who have heard rave reviews from other fans--are sometimes put off by the first season:

"1) Everything they say about the first season is true. The show begins as an X-Files knockoff (quite unashamedly, really), and it is fun but not good until the middle. Do not let this hold you back if you started at the beginning and were turned off. I mean, yeah, the man-baby episode was weird and not great. (IT IS IMPORTANT LATER, THOUGH.) The show didn't have its dynamics down yet. Believe me, you will love Philip Broyles by the time you're through. [1]

It is often agreed that Fringe only finds its feet midway through the first season, and that the mytharc only kick into gear in the second season. There are guides, such as newredshoes' How to get hooked on Fringe in about 10 hours[2], that help new viewers pick out the necessary episodes to "get you caught up and hooked."

Fringe has spawned a variety of online fic communities, both gen and het. Peter and Olivia are the dominant ship, due to their early UST and canon relationship in later seasons. The pairing became canon in the musical episode "Brown Betty," and then in the season two finale, though that was later complicated by the fact that the Olivia who returned to our universe was the alternate Olivia. The show doesn't offer an obvious slash pairing, and there doesn't seem to be much Fringe slash. There is a small but devoted fanbase for the femslash pairing of Olivia/Astrid. [3] The development of the Redverse provided more characters for fans to ship. Alt!Olivia and Lincoln Lee were popular characters.

The Fringe section of has been relatively prolific. There are a variety of fic communities on Livejournal. Fringe also became a Yuletide fandom in its first season; seven Fringe stories were written for Yuletide 2008[4]. In 2009, another twelve Fringe stories were written for Yuletide [5] and one Fringe vid was made for Festivids.[6]

An ad hoc fan effort to renew the show for a fourth season, The Fringe Network (also known as the Fringe Movement), was active and organized fan entity that greatly assisted in rallying Fringe fans for the Fringe Friday move during the midseason of season three.

Fringe was frequently in danger of cancellation, and while fans rallied to it's defense, some people became increasingly unhappy with the direction the series was taking. A sampling of some of the later criticisms of the show:

"Fringe. Dear fucking Lord, FRINGE. Sometime in the third season the writers decided that they would take the engaging mytharc and do nothing with it. Instead, they would alienate existing viewers (which, btw, was an incredibly stupid thing to do considering that it was struggling ratings-wise) by rerouting all of their energy into the incredibly forced story of Peter & Olivia's multiverse-spanning love.

In the process, it shifted the focus onto Peter and Peter alone, shafting all the other (more interesting imo) characters, and at one point, had Olivia give up her ENTIRE IDENTITY so that she could be with Peter.

man just

sometimes i rewatch eps from s2 or early s3 and i WEEP for how good this show once was [7]

People who initially fell in love with the series because of Olivia Dunham, Superhero, were dismayed that the series shifted it's attention to Peter. coffeeandink says that "Ultimately Fringe feels like an object lesson in the primacy of the male gaze."

"The sexualization and objectification of women is a result of the narrative placing its audience in the male role; simultaneously, the male role is created out of the objectification of women. And although Fringe refrains from sexualizing Olivia, it definitely objectifies her -- she becomes the object of the camera's gaze, not the subject that determines its direction. That shift in the second half of Season 3 -- where even the episode that takes place inside Olivia's head is about Peter, Peter's feelings, and Peter's destiny -- goes all the way to the end. Olivia becomes a superhero again, briefly, when she escapes from Peter's orbit; but in every single scene she shares with Peter, the scene is shot from Peter's perspective. The reaction shots, the decisions about how to open and close the scenes, these are all about reinforcing Peter as the subject of the narrative. It is painfully different from the scenes between Peter and Walter, where the subjectivity is shared or just as likely to be Walter as Peter. Olivia is loved and admired. But she is not you, and you are not she. You are a straight white man. Who else is it possible for a human being to be? [8]

Fringe was an extremely popular attraction for fans at San Diego Comic-Con. Fans displayed cards bearing the drawing of the white tulip symbol at its Final Panel in 2012.

Influences/crossover potential

The show is reminiscent of the X-Files: it features a skeptic-turned-true-believer searching for answers, emphasis on the paranormal, and heavy involvement by the FBI. (The show's creators, however, argue that the X-Files was not one of their influences.[9])

The show's opening credits are a strange cross between the X-Files opening credits and the opening credits of Abrams' previous series Lost. There have been a handful of small shout-outs to Lost fans in the early episodes of Fringe (a shot of plane tickets on Oceanic Airlines, e.g.) which led some fans to wonder whether the two shows would prove connected in some way, though upon the end of Lost it became clear that Lost's Dharma Initiative and the Pattern are, in fact, not canonically related at all.

Fringe also has displayed some connections with classic Star Trek, most notably with the recurring character William Bell, played by Leonard Nimoy. Clint Howard, a former Star Trek guest star, also appeared briefly in a first-season Fringe episode as a Star Trek fan who believed he was Spock. Lastly, Fringe creator J.J. Abrams' takeover of the Star Trek franchise makes these connections probably not coincidental. (Joshua Jackson, who plays Peter on Fringe, auditioned for the role of Kirk in Abrams' Star Trek reboot movie.)

Fringe quotes liberally from the stock of established science fiction tropes (such as zeppelins being used in the show's alternate universe) and occasionally from classic science fiction authors (e.g. Isaac Asimov).

Notable Fanworks


  • Drown Out the Crowd by ziparumpazoo, rated Mature, “Would it make you feel better if I said you could read me whenever you wanted, as long as you’re using your powers for good and not evil?” Peter lets Olivia experiment. (Olivia/Peter)



External Links and Resources

Communities, Forums, Mailing Lists

  • Fringenuity - A Fan Community dedicated to promoting Fringe through the use of social media such as Twitter. Also organized the Blue Moon Awards and Ambergrams for Cast and Crew.
  • Bishopfans - A livejournal community for fans of Peter and Walter Bishop
  • Bishop's Madhouse - Bishop's Madhouse (o El manicomio de Bishop) es la primera comunidad en español sobre la última serie de JJ Abrams: Fringe. (The only Spanish-language community on livejournal for Fringe)
  • Fringe Epic - An episodic icontest on livejournal
  • Fringe Fans - A livejournal community for Fringe fans
  • Fringefiction - A livejournal community for Fringe fiction (gen, slash, and het)
  • Fringe-Forum - A Fringe fan forum including message boards and Fringe vids
  • Fringe Graphics - A livejournal community for any Fringe-related graphics/images
  • Fringe Icons - A livejournal community for Fringe-related icons
  • Fringe Kink Meme - A dreamwidth community for Fringe comment fic (see kink meme)
  • Fringe_Olivia - A livejournal community for Olivia-centric fanworks
  • Fringe On Fox - A livejournal community for Fringe fans
  • Fringe Over 30 - A mailing list for adult fans of Fringe
  • Fringe_TV - A livejournal community for Fringe fans
  • Fringe tv at DW - A dreamwidth community for Fringe fans
  • Fringeverse - An interactive challenge livejournal community for Fringe fans
  • Olivia and Peter - A livejournal community for Olivia/Peter shippers; icons and fic
  • ONTD Fringe - A livejournal community for ONTD-style discussion about Fringe ("Posts about the Fringe actors, the cast or crew, FOX network promos/stills, event appearances, and miscellaneous Fringe-related things" - no fanworks allowed)
  • Welcome to Fringe on Fox TV - A mailing list for Fringe fans
  • Forever Fringe Friday - A Discord server for the show

Fanfiction Archives

Canon and Fandom Resources


  1. ^ How to get hooked on Fringe in about 10 hours (Accessed April 8, 2011)
  2. ^ WebCite for How to get hooked on Fringe in about 10 hours dated April 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Fringe tag at Femslash Today (Accessed March 2, 2010)
  4. ^ Fringe index page, Yuletide archive, accessed January 4, 2009
  5. ^ Yuletide collection at the AO3, list of Fringe stories, accessed March 2, 2010
  6. ^ Festivids master list, accessed March 2, 2010
  7. ^ How was your canon fucked over/up? (Thread started 2013-02-07. Accessed April 6, 2013)
  8. ^ Fringe (Posted Jan. 24th, 2013. Accessed April 6, 2013)
  9. ^ Fringe Not X-Files Clone, accessed January 4, 2009.