Die-hard fans were undoubtedly excited about the “Fringe” season premiere on Friday night, but, based on the Fast National Nielsen overnight ratings, the rest of America wasn’t.
Entering its fifth and final season, “Fringe” attracted 3.2 million viewers, earning a 2.0 rating and a fourth-place finish in its time slot.
CBS’ “Made in Jersey” (5.2 rating, 7.7 million viewers), NBC’s “Grimm” (3.3, 5.3 million) and ABC’s rerunning of the “Last Resort” premiere (2.7, 4 million) all finished ahead of “Fringe.”
Only a “Nikita” rerun (0.4, 633,000 viewers) finished with a lower rating and fewer viewers than “Fringe.”
Interestingly, Friday’s “Last Resort” premiere rerun fared better than its initial airing on Thursday night, for which 3.3 million viewers tuned in giving the show a 2.2 rating.
“Grimm” drew the highest Friday-night rating (1.6) for the coveted 18-to-49 demographic in the “Fringe” time slot.
Even for those who’ve been onboard since the show first debuted in 2008, the world in which “Fringe” is presently taking place is a confusing place.
It’s also indistinguishable which versions of the main characters viewers are watching.
Is the current Walter a mixture of the first Walter and the alternate universe’s Walternate, or is he the Walter from Season 4’s convoluted universe?
What about Olivia? Which version of the gritty Fringe Division agent is she? She resembles the first Olivia more than the other incarnations.
Where’s Lincoln? He was a good character that deserves more than simply vanishing into thin air.
In true J.J. Abrams fashion, last night’s episode also created more questions than answers.
Why do Peter and Olivia keep speaking as if their daughter died? Is she a version from an alternate universe, like Peter initially was?
Questions, questions and more questions.
Viewers have been promised that all loose ends will be tied up by the end of Season 5, but based on the season premiere, that doesn’t seem likely.
In spite of the confusing time line, story and character versions, “Fringe” had its classic and touching moments.
Like Walter’s forgetting Astrid’s name; this is always good for a laugh. Calling her “Afro” was one that hadn’t been used before.
On the one hand, the scene involving Peter reuniting his daughter Henrietta—now in her twenties—during the Season 4 finale was touching and a well-acted father-daughter moment.
On the other hand, Olivia’s reunion during last night’s episode lacked the emotional punch that was present when father and daughter came together.
It’s unclear as to whether Anna Torv is such a good actress that she played the moment without matching the emotional output of Georgina Haig—who plays Henrietta—because her character is emotionless or because crying scenes aren’t her forte.
Whatever the reason, the mother-daughter reunion was tender, but disappointing and not as powerful as it could have been.
The Observers ruthlessly rule whatever universe the “Fringe” family finds itself in, which is another disillusionment given their lovably bald harmlessness during earlier seasons.
For the most part, the “Fringe” premiere was well acted and intriguing enough to lure die-hard fans back in for the rest of the season, but new viewers will probably stay away.
Because many have invested four seasons into the story and characters, it’s likely the ratings the show received on Friday will stay about the same until the curtain falls on the final episode.
Note to “Fringe” producers and writers: If you don’t start making more sense of what’s going on and start answering questions soon, even the die-hards will stop tuning in.
“Fringe” airs on Fridays at 8 p.m. on Fox 13 in Provo.