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J.H. Wyman: 'Fringe' is 'highlight of my career'

by jmaloni
Fri, Sep 28th 2012 02:25 pm

Final season of "Fringe" begins Friday on FOX

Behind the Screens preview with Joshua Maloni

The futuristic final season of "Fringe" begins tonight.

In the year 2036, "The Observers," once just obscure onlookers, have taken control of the universe. Our heroes, the FBI's fringe science team of Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv), Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) and Dr. Walter Bishop (John Noble), will do battle with the bald baddies over the course of the show's final episodes.

For showrunner J.H. Wyman, working on "Fringe," a critical darling with a passionate fanbase, has been an experience he'll never forget.

"It's been the highlight of my career, because, when I first got on the program, I think in the first season, the show was sort of starting to kind of find what it was," he told BTS. "I was always a science fiction - I was a fan, but I didn't really know a lot about it, and ('Fringe' creator) J.J. (Abrams) had said, 'Well, the concept of the program is that it's about a family. That's what it's about.' I'm sort of leaning always more towards being an existentialist, and so I was saying how am I going to start to tell stories that are meaningful, not just sort of kind of crazy things from out-of-this-world circumstances, but just like something that really people can relate to and something that I care about writing about - the human condition."

Abrams was game (this is, after all, the man who explored the human nature on a mysterious island in "Lost," and within myriad layers of the CIA on "Alias.")  

"(J.J.) used to write these stories that are very relevant no matter (what)," Wyman said. "If you watch some of this stuff today, you're like, 'Wow. That's amazing.'

"So, once I sort of figured that out and went, 'Oh, yeah, I can see that the further science fiction gets, the more about humanity it actually is about.' Once I sort of picked (that) out, it sort of changed me - my impression of science fiction and how I would attack my work on the program. So, I think I definitely became a better writer, a deeper thinking in regards to demanding more from my 43 minutes of television, and it's just working with these incredible actors and the support."

As "Fringe" switched from Thursday to Friday (aka television's graveyard), its true fans followed, but some casual (dare I say?) observers went away. The show was ratings-challenged in seasons three and four.

Despite the loss of Nielsen numbers, "Fringe" remained a favorite at FOX.

It still rules the Internet with fan boards, theories and subsites all dedicated to the show and its stories.

"I mean, never in my career have I got the support for what I'm doing any more than I have on 'Fringe,' " Wyman said. "So, I mean, I got to tell you, as an artist, it makes you feel, 'Wow, people are feeling things that I'm feeling in the world, and we're all sort of concerned about the same things,' because you guys are telling me that. That's very satisfying.

"So, on so many levels, it's really been the highlight. I've definitely emerged from it a much better thinker and a much better writer and a much better storyteller in general."

"Fringe" airs Friday at 9 p.m. on FOX. Find the show online at http://www.fox.com/fringe.

About 'Fringe':

Picking up from the events depicted in last season's flash-forward episode "Letters of Transit," the seemingly peaceful "Observers" seized control of the universe in 2015. Now in 2036, they have become ruthless rulers who will reign supreme. What awaits in the future is the fringe team's final stand, which will bring together all that they have witnessed in preparation to battle and protect the world.

Set in Boston, the FBI's Fringe Division started when Special Agent Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) enlisted institutionalized "fringe" scientist Walter Bishop (John Noble) and his globe-trotting, jack-of-all-trades son, Peter (Joshua Jackson), to help in an investigation of an airline disaster that defied human logic. After the defining case was solved and furthermore revealed to be one of a series of unusual incidents linked together, the unlikely trio - supervised by Special Agent Phillip Broyles (Lance Reddick) and assisted by Astrid Farnsworth (Jasika Nicole) - was formed.

As unimaginable events continued to unfold, the Fringe Division's investigations often led them to science and technological corporation Massive Dynamic and its enigmatic chief executive, Nina Sharp (Blair Brown). It was revealed that Walter and Massive Dynamic's elusive founder and chairman William Bell (guest star Leonard Nimoy) once were scientific partners, and had used Olivia as a test subject when she was a child.

Through the fringe team's investigations, Olivia learned that the root cause of these strange occurrences was due to the existence of a parallel universe. Even more shocking was the discovery that Walter had kidnapped Peter as a child from "over there" after his Peter had died, thus creating an imbalance between the two universes that threatened to tear both worlds apart.

Complications in these two separate, yet interconnected, worlds quickly began to ripple throughout each universe. Ultimately, Peter realized his kidnapping was the cause for the alternate world's impending doom. So he chose to sacrifice himself by activating a device that saved the universe, bridged the two worlds together, but erased him from existence.

Season four found the fringe divisions working together to rebuild the alternate universe. Despite Peter's seemingly permanent sacrifice, he returned very much alive and helped stop William Bell's mad plans to collapse the two worlds together. Then, after Olivia learned she was pregnant with Peter's child and all seemed right with the world(s), Walter received an ominous warning that "they" were coming.

Created by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci, "Fringe" is produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Abrams, Bryan Burk and J.H. Wyman serve as executive producers, while Kurtzman, Orci and Akiva Goldsman are consulting producers.

-   Bio courtesy of FOX

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