TCA 2012 Live Blog: A Farewell to FRINGE

4:40PM: With John Noble under the weather and Jasika Nicole busy shooting, FRINGE’s final Television Critics Association panel features Lance Reddick, Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson and Executive Producer J.H. Wyman. Kicking off the panel is a video thank-you from series co-creator J.J. Abrams, who wanted to take the opportunity to thank members of the media for their unbelievable support. “True to its name, FRINGE has always been a bit of an outside of the box series and the good thing about that is we can have these parties with every single viewer!”

4:41PM: According to EP J.H. Wyman, the idea behind last season’s 19th episode was always to serve as a test-balloon or back-door pilot of sorts for what would turn out to be FRINGE’s upcoming fifth and final season.

4:43PM: “In an odd way I’ve been given a rare gift because we knew going into the final season of DAWSON’s that we were ending and we know with FRINGE as well,” Josh Jackson says when asked to compare the endings of his popular shows. “I have plenty of actor friends that got caught short with surprise cancelations, so for us to collectively go into the final season is not bittersweet for me. All shows end and I’d rather have the ability for us to end well. I’m really looking forward to the process of putting it together, knowing we’re going to end and enjoy the ride off to the sunset.”

4:44PM: “It’s quite something seeing the joy these guys had in creating these fully realized alternate universe character and I’m certainly jealous of the process that they went through but on the flip side it’s nice to have a day off every once in a while,” jokes Jackson when asked about whether or not he missed out on playing another version of his character. Adds Anna Torv, “I loved it, it would have been nice to have the occasional day off, but the more engaged you are in what you’re doing, and the busier you are the more engaged you are. I certainly did not imagine I’d ever have the opportunity… [Interjects Jackson, “Play Leonard Nimoy!”].”

4:47PM: “My favorite character was alt-Broyles but my favorite world was the regular world,” Lance Reddick says. “Only because alt-Broyles got to do so many things that traditional Broyles didn’t get to do because he was always so conflicted. By the same token — and I don’t even know how to describe it — there’s something about the characters in the primary universe that felt more like family.”

4:48PM: “We’re only three days into the final season and I’m just getting my sea legs back in terms of the hours,” admits Jackson on whether or not he’s had time to reflect on what the end of the show means. “But that Comic Con experience we had last week, to go into that final experience and just bare witness to the passion and dedication that the fans of the show bring every single time we’re there was such a unique experience and unlike anything else I’ve ever done before.”

4:51PM: “Usually we don’t know anything but we sort of have a little more of a clue this season, which has made me stop thinking of possibilities and focus on what we’ve got.” Torv explains when asked to explain where they’d like to see their respective characters end up. “Not knowing were the story is going, the ‘where we’d like to see our characters end up,’ has been taken out of our hands,” admits Jackson. “Joel [J.H. Wyman] has been incredibly forthcoming and we have more scripts, more info, so instead of us sitting on set thinking about where the show is going to go, we now know and can focus on the doing our best work.” Adds Reddick, “I don’t know where I’m going to end up, but given how I know I’m starting the season I’m almost afraid to speculate on how I want to end up. It might be a spoiler and I’m afraid to say.”

4:53PM: In lieu of John Noble not being able to attend in person, the panelists wax poetically about what he has meant to them. Torv thanks both John and Josh for teaching her how television works, having only worked previously on projects that were finite with a beginning and a middle and an end. While Jackson fesses up to having a major man crush on him, crediting him with being both a wonderful person and a performer. “It’s rare what he’s done on this show and what he’s created in this character. With no offence to all the wonderful work being done in television, it’s the role of a lifetime. What he’s created is as a result of the passion, execution and fearlessness that has made Walter the thing we love.”

4:57PM: “We’ve always said the show is a great family drama masquerading as a science fiction show [Interjects Jackson ‘Father Knows Worst!’] so the goal for season 5 is to really pay off those relationship and focus on what’s really important.” said Wyman of how he plans on ending the series. “I’m definitely drawing a metaphor for how difficult it is to have a family these days, keep things together and I want people to identify loving something more than anything. I want all the characters to okay. I’m adamant about that.”

5:05PM: “We feel probably like a lot of you guys, I’m sitting in the editing room, thinking ‘WOW!’ This is incredible what he’s doing,” Wyman says on John Noble’s lack of Emmy love. “I can’t comprehend it, is it because this is a science fiction show, I really don’t know. I’m trying to just believe that the cream will always rise to the top and I have to believe that.” Adds Jackson, “To be fair, he is drowned in love everywhere. There is no place that FRINGE fans don’t shower him with praise and love and while it’s a bit annoying that he hasn’t been rewarded with an Emmy nod, that’s not the be all and end all.”

5:10PM: Lance Reddick tackles the question about the challenges that come with being a visible minority in Hollywood by first revealing that he originally auditioned for Kirk Avecado’s Charlie character before being asked to come back and read for Broyles. “I was concerned when the Broyles character went from being caustic and ambiguous to much more of the stoic or angry black commander in season 2, but to credit Fox, The WB and writers Joel and Jeff [Pinkner] was that they kept making him interesting, particularly going into the alternate universe.” admits Reddick, who started to get emotional when discussing his ups and downs with the show. “Even though I’ve always complained about having fewer opportunities than my white counterparts, I’ve had a charmed career. This cast has been family and it’s so rare and I’m really grateful.”

5:16PM: “How am I going to write thirteen episodes that will encapsulate everything that everyone sees? How am I going to make sure four years of fan’s lives have been invested wisely? Personally as a huge fan of television, I’d like to see every single character get what they deserve,” Wyman says on his thought process going into the final season. “I want to feel like what they got is earned, I don’t want unanswered questions. I want to feel a sense of closure but at the same time what I really want to see is a feeling of hopefulness. I want fans to feel really good and emotional but the next day I want them imagining where the characters are going to be, how their lives will go on and how the people that they fell in love with for four years are going to be okay. I want to let FRINGE go off into the ether that is satisfying and bittersweet.”


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Lance Reddick as Agent Phillip Broyles

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