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The Daily Beast: "TiVo’s 20 Most Time Shifted TV Shows of 2011-12: Mad Men, Fringe & More"

Is anyone watching Mad Men live? At The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, "TiVo’s 20 Most Time Shifted TV Shows of 2011-12: Mad Men, Fringe , and More," in which I examine TiVo's Top 20 TV shows with the highest percentage of time-shifting, from Showtime's Nurse Jackie and AMC's Mad Men to Fox's Fringe and ABC Family's Switched at Birth . TiVo singlehandedly changed the way that many viewers watch television, allowing consumers to record their favorite shows and time-shift their viewing altogether. Increasingly, time-shifted viewing is having an enormous impact on television ratings, and the networks have begun to consider the uptick in DVR-viewing when calculating their overall ratings. According to the data provided by TiVo to The Daily Beast, the shows with the highest aggregated rating of time-shifted viewing during the 2011–12 season are the usual suspects: Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, Glee, and NCIS, to name a few. In oth

An Indelible Mark: A Review of Season Four of Fox's Fringe

Try as you might, there are some marks that can never be scrubbed out entirely. There are some people who leave an indelible impression on our souls which remains long after they've gone, an afterimage burned onto our retinas, an echo of a cry for help, a sigh, a plaintive wail, or a whispered declaration of love. Within the world of Fringe , Peter Bishop no longer exists. We saw him blink out of existence at the end of the third season finale, flickering before our eyes as two universes forgot all about him. Nature, of course, abhors a vacuum, so time and space rush to fill the void left behind when an item is plucked out of the timestream. What does all of this have to do with Season Four of Fringe ? I'm glad you asked. ( PLEASE DO NOT REPRODUCE THIS REVIEW IN FULL ON ANY WEBSITES, BLOGS, MESSAGE BOARDS, OR SIMILAR. ) The season opener ("Neither Here Nor There") contains a rather ordinary procedural plot, but it also reintroduces us to the two universes, and to

The Daily Beast: "The Fall TV Season Begins!"

Time to head back to the couch, America. The fall TV season is here and all of your favorite shows—from The Walking Dead and The Good Wife to Dexter and Boardwalk Empire —and a slew of new ones are soon heading to a TV set near you. Will you find Ringer to be the second coming of Sarah Michelle Gellar… or is it the second coming of Silk Stalkings ? Time will tell, but at least your TV favorites are back with brand new seasons, and lots of plot twists. To refresh your memory after the long summer, over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, entitled "The Fall TV Season Begins!," in which Maria Elena Fernandez and I round up a guide to the good and bad times of last season--or in this case, 23 cliffhangers--and offer a peek into what’s coming next this fall.

Bridge to Nowhere: Quick Thoughts on the Third Season Finale of Fringe

It's no secret that I love Fringe . I've written numerous features and posts celebrating the way in which it blends science fiction with nuanced emotional drama, positioning the fractured characters of the Bishops and Olivia Dunham as a makeshift family studying the mysteries of the universe... and the human heart. Which might be why I was so monumentally disappointed with the Season Three finale ("The Day We Died"), which aired on Friday evening. After a season that was so tremendously emotional, which delivered a series of staggering performances from John Noble, Anna Torv, and Joshua Jackson in two separate, parallel universes, my expectations were extremely high indeed. But what I found with the future-set finale was that I didn't care about "these" versions of Olivia, Walter, and Peter and that the drama here felt entirely manufactured and without emotional weight, destroying the intense momentum established within the last few episodes. It was cl

Days of Future Past: Thoughts as the Season Finale of Fringe Approaches

First off, I haven't seen the third season finale of Fringe ("The Day We Died"), airing this Friday, so anything I say here is based purely on conjecture rather than inside information, spoilers, or pre-knowledge of the episode. Personally, I'm feverish with anticipation for this episode. (And, no, it's not just the flu-like symptoms I've come down with at the moment.) After pulling the rug out from underneath the viewer in the last episode--the doomsday machine seemingly sends Peter 15 years into the future (more on that in a bit)--this season finale arrives with a huge amount of momentum from this season's strong forward movement. The fates of two universes hang in the balance as Peter entered the machine--with Olivia's cortexiphan-derived help--at the end of last week's sensational episode, and seemingly chose "our" world to survive rather than the one "Over There." The promo shown at the end of last week's episode (as

Fringe Promo: "Where Will You Be?"

Hot off the heels of the announcement that Fringe will be returning for a fourth season , FOX has unveiled a new promo for the science-fiction drama that seemingly offers a clue to the coming danger facing the Fringe Divisions of both universes. You can review this new promo--which I am referring to as "Where Will You Be?"--in full below, but I'm extremely curious to know just what everyone makes of the odd 6:02 am that appears at the end of the promo? Is that when the doomsday device is triggered? Is that when the universe(s) could come to an end? The time they bleed together? Just what does the time code mean and what conclusions are the producers pushing us towards? Head to the comments to share your thoughts, theories, and conjectures... Fringe returns with new episodes on Friday, April 15th (with an episode entitled, naturally, "Lysergic Acid Diethylamide") on FOX.

It's Official: Fringe Renewed for Fourth Season

The impossible is indeed possible where Fringe is concerned: the sci-fi drama has been picked up by FOX for a fourth season. Executive producer Joel Wyman broke news of the renewal via Twitter, writing, " Fringe was picked up!!!! Thanks Fringedom!" A FOX spokesperson confirmed the renewal to me via email, which means we can officially take Fringe off the endangered series list, as it's officially been renewed for the 2011-12 season. No word on how many episodes will be ordered for next season (though several sources seem to indicate that it will be a full 22-episode season) or on the timeslot, so stay tuned. UPDATE: Fox has now also confirmed to me that Season Four will consist of 22 episodes! How happy are you about Fringe renewal? Surprised? Elated? Discuss! UPDATE #2 (March 25th): Fox has now issued a press release with quotes from Kevin Reilly and the executive producers, which can be read below... FOX RENEWS “FRINGE” FOR FOURTH SEASON – IN BOTH UNIVERSE

Nothing Is Written In Stone: An Advance Review of Fringe's "Bloodline"

What's done is done, but what has yet to happen is far from certain. This is especially true within the world of Fringe , where anything is possible and where the actions of characters have ripple effects that have impact on not only their lives but on entire universes. A father's love can doom a world or two. A child can become a lifeline to another universe. An ancient device could destroy the future. But the future, for all of its infinite possibilities, is a blank slate yet to be written. We can choose, we can fall, we can fail. But tomorrow is forever in front of us. Nothing, we're told, is written in stone. This week's sensational and gripping episode of Fringe ("Bloodline"), written by Monica Owusu-Breen and Alison Schapker, is set Over There and it's with a certain amount of relish that we dive through the veil to see the after-effects of Fauxlivia's return to her own world: how she's coping with her pregnancy and the fact that the fathe

Falling or Floating: The Bell Tolls for Thee on Fringe

Hmmm, it appears that a father's love will drive men to do some horrific things in order to save their sons. On this week's episode of Fringe ("Os"), written by Josh Singer and Graham Roland and directed by Brad Anderson, I couldn't help but notice the parallels between Walter Bishop and Alan Ruck's Dr. Crick (itself a likely shout-out to DNA visionaries Watson and Crick), who was experimenting on wheelchair-bound subjects in order to find a way to help his son walk again. We've seen the consequences of Walter Bishop's actions and, as we're often told on Fringe , that long road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. Walter passed through the veil separating two universes in order to save Peter's life, but in that case, his love for his son, may have inadvertently destroyed two worlds as a result. And, like Walter, Crick crossed a number of moral (and legal) boundaries in order to save his son, to transform his life for the better.

The Daily Beast: "Fringe Under Fire" (And 8 Burning Questions Answered!)

It's Friday, which means a brand-new episode of FOX's Fringe is heading to your screens tonight. Over at The Daily Beast, you can read my latest feature, " Fringe Under Fire," in which I talk to executive producers Jeff Pinkner and Joel Wyman about Fringe , its renewal prospects, why science fiction dramas have proven tricky at the broadcast networks of late, lessons learned from Lost and Alias , and the show's innate philosophical leanings (something I've written a great deal about at this site). Also, Pinkner and Wyman answer eight burning questions about Fringe --from Olivia's powers and stepfather to the Observers, Sam Weiss, and Peter's doomsday device, and more--in the gallery-based sidebar . Fringe airs tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on FOX.

Balance and Imbalance: New Fringe Promo Features Lost's Hurley, Mysterious Text, Quote from Me

Fringe might not be airing an episode this week (it returns next week with "Os"), but that doesn't mean we can't take a sneak peek at what's to come as the universes continue to collide on FOX's addictive sci-fi series. FOX has today released a new promo, which I'll call "Balance and Imbalance," which contains not only clues for what lies ahead for Olivia, Peter, and Walter, but also a shot of Lost 's Jorge Garcia, and a quote from yours truly and some other critics about this extraordinary series, which wraps up its season on May 6th. (Mark your calendars now.) You can view the promo in full below and you'll like want to watch more than once because the stuff at the end? Cryptic and quick, it has flurry of images from throughout the series, along with shots of Sam Weiss, William Bell, a mention of a "demon" and a bunch of on-screen text, Jorge Garcia, a young Observer, and the doomsday device that could signal the end of one

Going Home: An Advance Review of Tonight's Episode of Fringe ("Subject 13")

Home is forever the place we're running to or running from. Or, sometimes, it's both. On tonight's heartbreaking episode of Fringe ("Subject 13"), the writers have once again peeled away the veil of time to offer the audience another look into the past, a sequel to last season's "Peter," set six months after the events of that episode. While that episode, set in the heart of the 1980s, depicted the good intentions of Walter Bishop (the always sensational John Noble) in saving the life of another world's Peter after the death of his own son, tonight's episode shows the poignant consequences of his actions, focusing not on the global aftermath of his actions (those damaging soft spots in the universe's structure) but on the emotional toll that his decision makes on both sides of the dimensional divide. Six months after kidnapping Peter and nursing him back to health, things are anything but stable in the Bishop household. Walter is rar

The Scarab: An Advance Review of Tonight's Fringe

In Ancient Egypt, the scarab beetle was a sacred insect. The daily behaviors of the Scarabaeus sacer were viewed as symbolic of greater issues of immortality; among them, rebirth, resurrection, and renewal. They were believed to be created out of death itself, given that the parasitic insects would lay their eggs in the bodies of hosts. Keep that in mind when watching tonight's stellar episode of Fringe ("Immortality"), written by David Wilcox and Ethan Gross and directed by Brad Anderson, which is set entirely "Over There," as we learn that fallout that has occurred in the life of their Olivia Dunham after her escape from "our" world. Revolving around a deranged scientist's quest for glory and the use of those beetles, here just as sacred to him as they were to the Egyptians, the episode raises questions of immortality. How, as humans, we're ever aware of the fragility of the mortal coil, and how we're so desperate to find a way to esca

Knowing: Two Hearts, Two Worlds on Fringe

We were never meant to know exactly what other people are thinking. It's a given fact that our own egos, not to mention our hearts, are saved a great deal of grief by not being able to peer into the mind of the person sitting across from us at the dinner table, or the girl at the coffee shop, or the estranged lover whose mixed signals you're desperately trying to parse. Sometimes, it's better not to know what secrets lurk inside that mind, what true thoughts they're concealing from you, and perhaps just what feelings they're struggling with. For Olivia, the opportunity to peek into Peter Bishop's mind would be a gift, to be able to separate the feelings that he claims to have for Olivia from the experiences he shared with Fauxlivia. To be able to know, in no uncertain terms, just which version of herself he cares for: the one that's quick to smile, easy with a laugh, or the real her, the one who dresses in blacks and greys, who doesn't often wear a dre

Fringe Fridays: 140-Character Testimonials

I asked, you answered. To celebrate the arrival of another Fringe Friday, I took to Twitter to ask you to sum up why you loved FOX's Fringe in 140 characters or less . No small feat, given the rampant love for this mind-bending sci-fi drama, which recently moved to Friday evenings during its fantastic third season. The responses I got were not surprisingly impassioned and intelligent, and demonstrated why Fringe has struck a chord with its devoted viewers. (Among whom, I count myself as a member.) Curious to see just what Fringe -philes had to say about why they love the show? You can check out the responses below, which I will continue to update throughout the day. And don't forget: there's an all-new Fringe tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on FOX! Fringe in 140 Characters or Less : mtoddcohen: "I love #FRINGE b/c it's dynamic, intelligent, and perfectly blended with unexpected humor. In short, it's science with charm." SterlingCooper1: "I love Fri

Don't Forget: New Fringe Tonight on Fox!

Attention, Fringe faithful! Beginning tonight, FOX's Fringe makes the move to its new home on Friday evenings at 9 pm ET/PT. Given this move and the, uh, traditions of this timeslot, it's safe to say that FOX will be paying particular attention to the ratings and how much of Fringe 's audience followed the shift in scheduling and stuck with the show. To this end, please tune in. And please remind everyone you know who loves the show to do the same. DVR numbers will definitely play a role here, just as they did on Thursday evenings, but it's essential that you watch this week's episode ("The Firefly") as soon as you possibly can. (Live ratings, after all, are still hugely important.) In the meantime, you can read my spoiler-light advance review of Fringe 's "The Firefly" here . It's truly a fantastic and emotional episode and sets up the back end of the season. Fringe airs tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on FOX.

The Firefly: An Advance Review of This Week's Episode of Fringe

Many viewers and critics--myself included--had a lot to say when FOX announced that it was moving its fantastic sci-fi drama Fringe to Fridays. After all, the series had hit new creative highs both last season and in the current third season, amid a storyline involving human nature, doppelgangers, alternate universes, and the consequences of a father's love. The series had successfully transformed itself from a science fiction-laden monster-of-the-week procedural into something more enduring and heartfelt, a drama that at its center was about a collection of very damaged individuals who had carved out something resembling a family even when facing down some fiendish plot to destroy the universe or science run amok on a weekly basis. At TCA's winter press tour last week, FOX entertainment president Kevin Reilly publicly declared his support for Fringe , amid increasing worry that the series was being put out to pasture on Friday evenings. Those concerned about the move shoul

TCA Diary: FOX Executive Session

"I'd be heartbroken if it went away." That's FOX President of Entertainment Kevin Reilly talking about sci-fi drama Fringe as the TCA Winter Press Tour rolls on, with FOX's Kevin Reilly and Peter Rice addressing the press. One topic widely expected to be discussed was the fate of FOX's Fringe , which will move from Thursdays to Fridays later this month. Among the other topics raised at the low-key (a change for FOX, given the previous years', uh, traditional hubbub) executive session: the future of Lie to Me, House , and Bones , Terra Nova , Lone Star , and more. So what did the two have to say? Let's take a look. Fringe : "I beg you not to write the eulogy prematurely," said Reilly. "It's been in a four-way scripted race. I want that audience to transfer to Fridays." And just like many of us, Reilly seems to really like Fringe : "I'd be heartbroken if it went away." Reilly said that, with the move to the

Year in TV: The 10 Best (and 5 Worst) TV Shows of 2010

It's that time of year when we bid farewell to the last twelve months and start looking toward the future, but it's also a chance to reflect, to catalogue, and to reminisce as well. My selections for the Ten Best (and, cough, five worst) TV shows of 2010 have now gone live over at The Daily Beast . The series selected represent the very best that television had to offer the past twelve months and include such shows as Mad Men, Community, Terriers, Parks and Recreation, The Good Wife, Fringe, Justified, Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights , and Modern Family. It wasn't easy to whittle down the competition to just ten shows as, despite the overall drain in creativity this calendar year, there were quite a lot of fantastic series. (In fact, one of the very best of the year didn't even air on American television at all: Season Three of BBC One's Ashes to Ashes --including its breathtaking and gut-wrenching series finale --would have made this list if it had been o