After unspectacular ratings last week for its pilot episode, Fringe managed to increase its viewership by 45 percent for the second episode, bringing in a total of 13.2 million viewers. Having FOX’s popular medical drama House as a lead-in in the second week probably helped a lot, but the performances of two key actors on Fringe couldn’t have hurt.
John Noble plays Dr. Walter Bishop, a brilliant scientist who conducted research on the fringes of traditional science before being institutionalized for nearly two decades. He is brought out of the mental institution by his estranged son Peter, played by Dawson’s Creek hottie Joshua Jackson, in order to assist the FBI’s investigations into strange events occurring all across the globe.
Noble, a well-known Australian actor, plays crazy very well. I found this out first-hand when I met him at the Fringe premiere party held in New York City. At the red carpet, which was actually a tasteful midnight blue, the press were separated from the actors by a short metal fence.
“I’m crazy, huh?” Noble said to me, playfully making a face. “Maybe I’m behind this bar for a reason,” refering to the fence.
His interest in the playing the part of Walter Bishop was immediate.
“I played Denethor in Lord of the Rings, and I classify that as a role that I would die for,” he said. “And I’d say the same about [my role on Fringe]. It’s challenging and fun and hard. It makes life interesting.”
Or maybe it was his co-star who attracted him to the part. “Look at him. He’s gorgeous. I love him,” he said of Jackson, who plays his son.
Joshua Jackson, for his part, was also immediately drawn to Fringe as well. The quality of the script and the reputation of its creative team were enough to lure him back to television, after a five year break since Dawson’s Creek ended.
“The difficulty of a television show – the blessing of a television show, also – is that open-ended commitment,” Jackson told Television Without Pity’s Daniel Manu, who was also covering the red carpet event. “You need to know that the people you are working with have the ability to tell a good story over and over and over again. And science fiction is great for that because the universe is open-ended. It can always be growing and changing.”
As for fringe science in the real world, John Noble is definitely a believer.
“Fringe science exists. I believe [the things that happen on the show] are possible,” he said. “If you talk about parallel universes, for example, string theory and physics made that possible. They were all there; we just didn’t know how to do them yet.”
-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of Getty Images)