Fringe airs its midseason finale this week (December 9) with "Marionette," the first new episode since both Olivia Dunhams returned to their rightful universes. But when the show returns on January 21, 2011, it will come equipped with a provocative episode title that seems like a wink and nod to its new Friday night time slot.
The episode is called "Firefly," and it sees Christopher Lloyd guest starring as a musical hero of Walter Bishop's. Whether or not the title refers to something within the episode isn't clear, but outside of the episode, the reference is obvious: Joss Whedon's beloved but short-lived Firefly aired on Friday nights during its brief run in 2002 and 2003, canceled all too soon by the same network that houses Fringe. Is it an intentional reference? Maybe, maybe not. It's certainly not the most optimistic reference if it is intentional — Firefly did get canceled, after all — but I suppose calling the episode "The X-Files" would've been a little bit overt.
Here's Fox's full press release on Fringe's return, including mention of a special "Tweet-Along" event hosted by John Noble this week.
“FRINGE” TRAVELS TO NEW NIGHT AND TIME
BEGINNING FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, ON FOX
Christopher Lloyd (“Back To The Future”) Guest-Stars in Midseason Premiere
Special “Tweet-Along” Event During All-New Episode of FRINGE This Thursday
The midseason premiere of hit series FRINGE will air Friday, Jan. 21 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), following the season premiere of KITCHEN NIGHTMARES (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.
In the “Firefly” midseason premiere, which kicks off a string of six all-new episodes of FRINGE, an Observer makes contact with the Fringe Team to help rectify a mistake. Meanwhile, WALTER (John Noble) befriends one of his musical heroes (guest star Christopher Lloyd).
Be sure to tune in to the all-new “Marionette” episode of FRINGE, airing this Thursday, Dec. 9 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. When the Fringe Team investigates a case where a victim had his heart extracted, it’s just the beginning of a series of mysterious and reanimating events tied together. Meanwhile, PETER (Joshua Jackson) comes to terms with the reality of his relationship with OLIVIA (Anna Torv).
As part of a special “Tweet-Along” event, John Noble will be tweeting LIVE during this Thursday’s all-new episode. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/FringeTweet. Follow John on Twitter at www.twitter.com/labdad1, and use #FringeLiveTweet to submit your questions directly to him on Thursday.
FRINGE is a procedural thriller that follows the Fringe Team as they investigate unbelievable events and mysterious occurrences linked throughout the world in pursuit of a larger, more shocking truth. The series stars Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick, Blair Brown and Jasika Nicole.
Created by J.J. Abrams & Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci, FRINGE is produced by Bad Robot Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Abrams, Bryan Burk, Jeff Pinkner, J.H. Wyman and Joe Chappelle serve as executive producers, while Kurtzman and Orci are consulting producers. Additionally, Pinkner and Wyman serve as the series’ showrunners. Become a fan of the series on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fringe and follow the series on Twitter at www.twitter.com/fringeonfox.