Last Friday, Fringe fans were treated to an instant-classic installment of the Fox sci-fi series, one that significantly advanced the season’s defining storyline: Peter Bishop (Joshua Jackson) — marooned in a new rendering of history in which he has not existed since he was a child – trying to return home to his own timeline. Yet for one particular, peculiar subset of loyal Fringe viewers, “Welcome to Westfield” was nothing short of an early Valentine’s Day gift. They’re the fans for whom the dream sequence spectacle of Peter and Olivia Dunham (Anna Torv) making love was a dream come true. They’re the fans that got goosebumps when Olivia planted a kiss on Peter, as if this “reboot” version of his ladylove had suddenly reverted back to the original iteration of her. They’re fans known as ‘shippers, and if you’re a Web-chatty TV watcher or pop culture aficionado who tends to fixate on romantic relationships in your favorite fiction or fantasize about the mere possibility of amorous activity between your favorite make-believe people, then you’re probably one of them.
In the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, we explore how the shipper phenomenon — which began with The X-Files and until recently has been more associated with sci-fi and fantasy fandom — has gone mainstream and how shippers themselves can impact the creative process. An added bonus for Fringe fans: Exec producers Jeff Pinkner and J.H. Wyman tell EW that an episode scheduled to air next month, entitled “A Short Story About Love,” will be a shipper milestone. READ FULL STORY