Monday, April 25, 2011

Fringe | Justified - TV Guide: Ask Matt [Roush] Apr 25 '11

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Fringe Friday

TV GUIDE: Ask Matt: Fringe, The Killing, Justified, NCIS and More!

Apr 25, 2011
by Matt Roush

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... Question: I don't understand why more people are not watching Fringe. I admit Season 1 was a bit rocky, but Season 2 was great, and so far this season has been the best, in my opinion. It's the only show that seems to fill The X-Files void for me. Last Friday's "LSD" episode was brilliant. I still crack up every time I picture the "How wonderful!" thought bubble above cartoon Walter. And how hilarious was tripping Broyles? He's the only character I've never liked on the show, because he's so rigid, but it was nice to see him loosen up a bit. Too bad it took a bad trip of LSD to do it. Anyway, I know it was renewed for a fourth season despite the poor ratings, but do you think that will be the end? I mean, how can they afford to keep such a low-rated show around?

On another note, I just wanted to thank you for turning me on to The Killing, which I probably never would have watched without your recommendation. I usually don't go for the dark, brooding style this show seems to have, but for some reason, I'm completely drawn in. And while I'm giving thanks, thanks again for turning me on to Justified last year. This season has been awesome. Is it just me, or is Raylan's boss Art one of the funniest characters ever? His "You're like the hillbilly whisperer. I think I'll put you on Oprah" line to Raylan had me rolling on the floor. — Camille

Matt Roush: Thanks for letting me get this week's column started on a positive note. There's so much terrific TV happening right now — can't believe Justified will be over after next week, but what a great ride that's been, and thanks for giving me a chance to throw an appreciative shout-out to Nick Searcy (Art), who brings such a sharp and understated wit to the often stock role of the exasperated boss. These last few weeks, as Art expresses his disappointment and distrust of Raylan in the wake of the Winona money debacle, we feel for Raylan because who wouldn't want Art's respect? (When I chatted with Searcy at an FX party recently, he told me the recent bit about Art's hearing aids came from him. They're real, and Searcy suggested to executive producer Graham Yost that they be worked into his story.)

Regarding Fringe: This is the very definition of a cult TV show, and we're long past the stage where they're making it easy for the casual observer (so to speak) to dip in and out. You have to commit fully to enjoy this one, and it's not getting any easier to find and hold those kinds of viewers. Like Chuck, which has always lived on the bubble, Fringe can't honestly expect to grow its audience significantly at this point from season to season, so it will likely be living on a year-to-year basis. Clearly there's another full season's worth of story left in this premise, and who knows where next week's season finale will propel it. But Fox seems to appreciate the show for what it is, and probably knows it couldn't do any better on Fridays than what Fringe is doing (and we all wish it were doing better). But despite its ratings woes on a tough night, the show is generating great buzz, and my hope is that the producers and the network respect each other enough to make a mutual decision about when it's time to fold tent on this one, so a proper finale can be crafted. I'll be OK if the fourth year is the last if the creative types are all on board. I'd be even more thrilled if they can somehow make it work even longer.

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