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Fifth and Final: Good Shows Suddenly Capped at Five Seasons


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Fringe (2008-2013)

Olivia (Anna Torv)

Liane Hentscher/FOX

The Ratings: From 10.02 million in season 1 to 4.22 in season 4.

The Cancellation: Fox elected to renew Fringe for a half-season farewell tour in April 2012, just as season 4 was winding up, giving showrunner J. H. Wyman enough time to go out with a bang.

The Bottom Line: Its ratings deterioration meant that cancellation was inevitable; the only question was whether it would be truncated after season 4, which would have been a colossal shame and riled its devoted fan base, or given a chance at a send-off. As a mythology, Fringe had evolved beyond anything anyone expected from broadcast television. It got a finale season as much as a tribute as out of respect for its powerhouse co-creator, J.J. Abrams.

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