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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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Shut up! Fox orders a 13-episode fifth season of "Fringe"

Who would've thought? Fox has ordered a 13-episode fifth-and-final season of "Fringe."

This has to be classified as somewhat of a surprise because the show's ratings are, well, pretty terrible. And yet the show's small-but-loyal audience will see the narrative wrapped up.

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"Bringing it back for a final 13 allows us to provide the climactic conclusion that its passionate and loyal fans deserve," promised Fox Entertainment president Kevin Reilly.

Here's hoping that the next time the sci-fi crowd starts complaining about Fox they remember this.

The geeks - and I number myself among them - are notoriously hard to please. We want sci-fi genre shows, but a lot of us do nothing but complain about them once we get them.

And when the shows fail in the ratings, a lot of us complain bitterly when they are canceled. Despite the fact that low ratings get every kind of TV show axed.

The only reason Fox cancels more genre shows than other networks is because it puts more of them on the air in the first place.

And by most measurements, "Fringe" should have been canceled long ago.

There's a parallel here to "Arrested Development." You still hear people complaining that big, bad Fox canceled that gem of a show far too soon.

The fact is that, if it was based on ratings alone, "Arrested Development" would have been gone after maybe half a dozen episodes. The fact is that Fox did everything it could to find an audience for the show and aired 53 episodes.

"Fringe" is going to hit 100 episodes at the end of Season 5. That's nothing short of astonishing.

"We are thrilled and beyond grateful that Fox - and our fans - have made the impossible possible," said creator/executive producer J.J. Abrams. "'All of us at Bad Robot are forever indebted to our viewers and the amazingly supportive Fox network for allowing the adventures of Fringe Division to not only continue, but to resolve in a way that perfectly fits the show."

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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