Abrams Considering Lost-Like End Date For Fringe

Seeing how it revitalized Lost when things started to get off track, J.J. Abrams says he's considering setting an end-point for his FOX series Fringe as well. Now in it's second season, the larger mythology of Fringe has definitely started to come forth, with the introduction of a parallel reality, and the mysteries behind William Bell.

As reported on Slice of Sci Fi, Abrams said, "If we’re lucky enough to continue going [beyond the second season], I do think that at a certain point it would be a really smart thing to start to say, ‘OK, let’s figure out … what the actual date is so we sort of know … how far we should push things.” Abrams thinks a six-year plan for Fringe might work out just fine. He thinks the show is moving in a good place right now.

Of course, FOX hasn't agreed to that. Fringe is nowhere near the ratings behemoth Lost was in its second season, but I think the idea of set end dates for dense mythology, serialized shows like Lost and Fringe is a great idea. The reason Lost has been so compelling for the past several years is because the writers knew toward what end they were writing, and so every chapter could be feeding that beast. When you have no idea how long you might be on the air, like when The X-Files was trying to manage their mythology, you spend a lot more time vamping, dancing and stretching things out, with no real idea of when the best time is to drop a major clue, or shift gears.

The problem is, as ABC is now discovering, is that an endpoint means you will absolutely lose that show, no matter how well it's doing. And they can't make like NBC and just change their mind five years later and tell Abrams he can't end Lost after all. I'd rather see a series go out on top, with a cohesive and coherent plan, but many networks are more concerned about the money they're making than the quality of their programming. Could broadcast television embrace the pre-determined end-date more openly?

I think there's enough open-ended shows on the air, like your CSIs and your Law & Orders, that they can afford a few serialized shows that are allowed to know when to end, and do so before they become stale or lose their way.