ALERT! J.J. Abrams Can Drink Less: FOX Renews Fringe For A Fourth Season!

To our absolute and utter amazement, FOX announced on March 24th that they would not only be renewing the fan-favorite Sci Fi series, Fringe but that they had also ordered a complete 22 episode season.  All we can say is, “Holy crap!”

Via Press Release From FOX:

FOX RENEWS “FRINGE” FOR FOURTH SEASON – IN BOTH UNIVERSES

FOX has renewed critically acclaimed thrilling drama FRINGE for a fourth season, it was announced today by Kevin Reilly, President, Entertainment for Fox Broadcasting Company.

“FRINGE has truly hit a creative stride and has distinguished itself as one of television’s most original programs. The series’ ingenious producers, amazingly talented cast and crew, as well as some of the most passionate and loyal fans on the planet, made this fourth-season pickup possible,” said Reilly. “When we moved the show to Fridays, we asked the fans to follow and they did. We’re thrilled to bring it back for another full season and keep it part of the FOX family.”

FRINGE co-creator and executive producer J.J. Abrams said, “We could not be happier that the fans of FRINGE (and our most excellent partners at FOX) have allowed us to continue telling stories from the fringe for another season!”

“This early pickup comes at a perfect time as we start production on the Season Three finale,” added FRINGE showrunners and executive producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman. “We join the cast and crew in thanking our loyal fans and FOX for allowing us to have this much fun telling stories we love.”

Since moving to Fridays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) in January, FRINGE is averaging a 2.2/7 among Adults 18-49 and has established itself as Friday’s No. 1 series in the core adult demographic.

The compelling third season continues tonight, Friday, March 25 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), on FOX. In the “Bloodline” episode, the intensity of life “over there” accelerates as a pregnant OLIVIA (Anna Torv) is kidnapped and finds herself in mortal danger. As the Fringe Division races against time to find her, agent LINCOLN LEE (guest star Seth Gabel) receives some heartbreaking news as WALTER (John Noble) stops at nothing to preserve the new branch of the Bishop family tree.

Created by J.J. Abrams & Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, FRINGE is produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jeff Pinkner, J.H. Wyman and Joe Chappelle serve as executive producers, while Kurtzman and Orci are consulting producers. Additionally, Pinkner and Wyman serve as the series’ showrunners. Become a fan of the series on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/fringe and follow the series on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/fringeonfox (@fringeonfox).

J.J. Abrams... He can cut back on the drinking.

Now, before you go and start referring to the two commentaries we did on both the viral video campaign by FOX regarding the move to Friday night and the piece that we did in response to the criticism we received, and how these two pieces are evidence of our lack of insight or credibility, we would like to state for the record that we stand by everything that we claimed in both of those pieces.  Those two pieces are accurate analyses of FOX’s history over the last 20 years and what a move to Friday normally means with this network.  There’s not a whole lot of room for debate as the track record is not in dispute and J.J. Abrams agreed with us.

That being said, we would like to refer you back to that first piece and how we opened the door for FOX to prove us wrong (scroll to the last paragraph):

Do not trust FOX and their claims of unmitigated support for Fringe or any other show they move to Friday until they can be proven to be trustworthy.  The first step in doing that would be for them to order the remaining episodes for this season and order an entire fourth season and promise to air all of the episodes.  At this point, that would be the only way we would ever trust them and that’s not going to happen…

So, there it is. FOX accepted the challenge and achieved 2 out of the three conditions and the third condition, which was probably unrealistic to begin with, may have happened without FOX officially saying it. The thing is, no one expected FOX to renew Fringe for a fourth season, but the fact that they not only renewed it, but they renewed it in March AND ordered a complete season can only lead us to believe that FOX is indeed in it for the long haul and yes, we admit it, committed to Fringe‘s success.  Like we said, it’s going to be a long road to recovery for us with FOX but this surprise scheduling move along with their decision to renew American Dad for a seventh season (and also order a complete season of 22 episodes for that show in March as well) is very promising indeed.

Terra Nova: Allegedly to debut in Fall 2011

That being said, as much as we hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, the question that will inevitably be asked is: why? Is FOX that concerned about the state of its pilots for Fall 2011 that they would rather play it safe by keeping Fringe around? Do they have no faith in Steven Spielberg’s Terra Nova NOT being delayed yet again?  Or, is it perhaps, FOX execs have decided to take a new approach and change some of the old practices that have earned them the reputation of being a show-killer?  Or is it just the fact that maybe they just really like Fringe and see that it can be successful on Friday night?  Or, since they now have a Fall version of the American Idol juggernaut, Simon Cowell’s The X-Factor, are they going to do what we suggested in our first piece and that was to let the big money-makers support the quality scripted programming?    We don’t know and we don’t really care. We’re just glad to get another season out of one of our favorite shows.

VIRAL VIDEO ALERT! What’s in Spock’s Scanner?, Humor… It Is A Difficult Concept.

Have you ever wondered exactly what Spock was always looking at in that scanner thingy at his station on the bridge in Star Trek.  We always assumed it was porn (Vulcan porn: Porn Fahr?). Well, after some exhaustive research done by Black Moon CGI, we finally have an answer.

Thanks go out to our friend Beth Sumner, for bringing this brilliance to our attention.  Check out her website, otakulab!

Daybreakers (Film, 2010)

Two-time Academy Award nominee Ethan Hawke plays Edward Dalton, a researcher in the year 2019, in which an unknown plague has transformed the world’s population into vampires. As the human population nears extinction, vampires must capture and farm every remaining human, or find a blood substitute before time runs out. However, a covert group of vampires makes a remarkable discovery, one which has the power to save the human race. – Lionsgate

60 out of 100

The immediate gut-reaction for a film like Daybreakers is, “Oh, great… yet another vampire film because that genre hasn’t been exploited enough over the past five years,” and to be honest, that was our reaction when we first saw trailers for this in late 2009.  The problem for Daybreakers and most likely the reason for its miserable box-office numbers ($51 million gross, foreign and domestic) is that’s also exactly how the producers marketed the film in some misguided attempt to hop on the bandwagon of the sucesses of the other popular vampire franchises such as Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries.  That was a very bad marketing decision.

Daybreakers is a very original and unique twist on the vampire genre in that it’s not really a horror film at all.  It’s a classic Science Fiction story that not only deals with science as a backdrop, it also deals with the many “what if” and “how would you react” scenarios about the questions of exploitation of others for your own immortality.  How does a society preserve its humanity when mortality has been taken away?  As far as vampire films go, there is surprisingly little graphic violence until the very end of the film because, frankly, it’s really not necessary to progress the story.

Where the film ultimately suffers is that it is very short coming in at 1 hour 37 minutes.  For a science fiction story with such an original concept there is far too little exposition.  It not only leaves a lot of questions unanswered but it’s so quick that the audience doesn’t really have an opportunity to become emotionally attached to the characters or the plot.  The performances from DaFoe and Hawke and the rest of the cast are fine but you really don’t have any sense of a vested interest in any of these characters, and of course if the audience can’t relate to the characters they have no reason to really care about the story.  Interestingly enough, this promotional clip (that was not shown in the film) gives more of a back story for the plot than the entire film does.

Daybreakers, albeit not the best film, is an enjoyable film and worth your time if you like a unique Sci Fi story.   Netflix subscribers can watch it as part of their subscription through the Netflix streaming service.

Here’s the official Lionsgate trailer for Daybreakers.  This is not the thirty-second TV spot that leads you to believe that it’s just a another vampire/horror film.

Mr. Sunshine (ABC – Wednesday, 9:30 p.m.)

Matthew Perry stars as Ben Donovan, the general manager of the Sunshine Center, who every night navigates a never-ending series of bizarre requests, curious mishaps and employee screw ups to put on a show for 18,000 screaming people.

Working alongside him is his boss and arena owner Crystal, attractive, powerful and highly erratic; Alice, the cute, tomboyish marketing director and Ben’s friend with benefits; Alonzo, a former basketball player, handsome and unbelievably happy; Ben’s assistant, Heather, pretty, sweet, but terrifying because she once lit a boyfriend on fire; and Crystal’s son, Roman, sweet-faced, clueless and Ben’s newest employee.

“Mr. Sunshine” stars Matthew Perry (“Friends”) as Ben, Allison Janney (“The West Wing”) as Crystal, Andrea Anders as Alice, James Lesure as Alonzo and Nate Torrence as Roman. – ABC

2 out of 10

They say that familiarity breeds contempt and that particular axiom has special meaning for this “comedy” offering from ABC.  You see, everything is familiar about this show and for that we have contempt for it.  The story is familiar as it’s obviously just a cheap rip-off of NBC’s 30 Rock, the characters are familiar as they are obviously just cheap rip-offs of the characters on NBC’s 30 Rock, the stale jokes are familiar as they are obviously just cheap rip-offs of the jokes on 30 Rock, and the style of the show is familiar as it is – you guessed it – obviously just a cheap rip-off of 30 Rock.

Mr. Sunshine is unoriginal tripe.  As noted, the jokes aren’t original, they aren’t funny and there are really no likable characters.  The attempts at slapstick fail completely and the only message  we can really ascertain at the end of each episode is “don’t tune in again next week unless you want to more crap.”  We would also really like to know whose brilliant idea was it to make a sports arena as a backdrop for a show.  Have the writers been reduced to Mad Libs or are they just pulling slips of paper out of a hat for story ideas, now?  Also, actors delivering their dialogue like a machine gun doesn’t make it any funnier.

There’s one more thing that’s familiar about this show that needs to be addressed: Matthew Perry.  No offense to the guy, but we’re sick of him.  He does nothing for anything he is in.  He’s not horrible, he’s just vanilla… milquetoast… bland.  Like every other cast member on that horrible piece-of-crap show, Friends (we don’t care if you watched it… you know it sucks) they gave him a shot to do films in the 1990’s and 2000’s and like every other cast member with maybe the exception of Jennifer Aniston (we qualify Aniston with a “maybe” because although she’s had some successful films and her name is a draw because we guess she was hot at one point and married to Brad Pitt, other than Office Space, her films are crap) he has a history of box office failures and television failures.  The only films that were even worth watching that this guy has been in were  The Whole Nine Yards and Fools Rush In and the only reason why those two films were worth investing in was because one starred Bruce Willis and the other one starred Selma Hayek.  We’re sorry, but Perry simply does not bring much more to the table in 2011 than he has for the last 15 years.  If you don’t believe us, simply look at his résumé and tell us that we’re wrong.

We’re also finding the similarities to this show and 30 Rock a little creepy.  Has anyone else caught the fact that in 2006, NBC debuted two shows about what goes on backstage at a sketch comedy show, one of a highly acclaimed sit com in the form of 30 Rock and the other a highly acclaimed drama called Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and that only 30 Rock was kept and that 30 Rock is now in its fifth season?  Has anyone else caught the fact that Matthew Perry was a regular cast member on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and has hardly worked since?

Here’s our theory:

Perry is trying to make up for the success that he didn’t have on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip by duplicating almost everything in 30 Rock, the show that, let’s face it, won the battle at NBC amongst the shows about sketch comedy shows.  Now, why do we suggest that this is creepy or even happening?  Well, normally we don’t wait around for end credits when watching anything on VOD but we did for this because we wanted to see who the production company was.  To our surprise it was none other than Perry’s own production company, Anhedonia Productions.  You see, Perry co-wrote the pilot and is responsible for this mess coming to ABC and we feel it is his attempt to get back to the status that he once had in the 1990’s on television.

What makes it especially creepy is the name of the production company: “Anhedonia.” Ahedonia is a psychiatric condition defined as  an inability to experience pleasurable emotions from normally pleasurable life events such as eating, exercise, social interaction or sexual activities (i.e., joy).  It is a symptom associated with schizophrenia and drug addiction, in particular with amphetamines which Perry is well-known to have had addiction problems with.  The name of the production company, Perry’s history and the show’s tagline (as seen in the poster above) “Oh, Joy.” is not very encouraging to us.  Maybe we’re looking into this too much and this is only a strange bunch of coincidences but we’d be remiss if we didn’t do the analysis.

So, is the ironically named Mr. Sunshine really an attempt at sit com gold or is it just a desperate expression of melancholy from Perry.  We don’t know but we do know that it’s pretty awful and it has no business being the lead-out for Modern Family.

Watch full episodes of Mr. Sunshine, here.