Fox's Fringe may follow the lead of Lost, which was also co-created by J.J. Abrams, with a fixed end date to wrap up the mythology and story. But that decision hasn't been made yet.
That's what Abrams told reporters on Monday night in Pasadena, Calif., as part of the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
"Just as with Lost, we didn't get to a place until the third season where we were saying, 'OK, we need to know where halfway is,'" Abrams said. "And I feel like that's something that, ... if we're lucky enough to continue going, 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.'"
Fringe is in the middle of its second season and has already developed an arcane sci-fi mythology that rivals that of its sister show on ABC. But Abrams said it's too early to tell whether Fringe will also have a six-year story. "Not yet," he said.
We kind of like the idea of a fixed finale, especially given how Fox's last great sci-fi series, The X-Files, went on way beyond its natural expiration date for years, devolving into mediocrity and awfulness. The fixed end date for Lost has energized and revitalized its storytelling, in our opinion, as it hurtles toward its inevitable end.
With regard to Fringe's current season, Abrams dropped a minor spoiler: Fans can expect to see guest star Leonard Nimoy again as William Bell. "Without saying either way, I think there's a chance he'll be back," Abrams teased.
The second season has seen an acceleration of certain storylines, Abrams added. "Especially the Walter/Peter story, but certainly with ... Olivia as well, I think there are certain things that we were actually going to play out longer and we kind of jumped to and did sooner," he said.
"And then there are other things that ... we've talked about doing— ... her stepfather story—that ... we're putting off. So I feel there's a lot of ... opportunity for where we're going beyond this season, and I'm going to be bullish and optimistic about that. And I feel like we have a long way to go still, but I think ... that the show ... has sort of found a kind of rhythm that is nice to see, ... and I'm really proud of what we're doing with it."
Fringe airs a new episode this Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT.