Fringe was a weird show, from Walter’s whacky theories to everything that happened between seasons 3 and 5. Funny and almost believable, one of the best characters of the show was Gene, a cow, literally. But a little information for fans who are not familiar, Gene was recast after the pilot episode.
The Fox drama series followed FBI Agent Dunham. A “chemical terror” event beings Dunham into a case that leads her to a much larger conspiracy where reality is at risk. She enlists the help of Doctor Walter Bishop and his son Peter and together they form the Fringe division within the FBI to study The Pattern.
After a successful first season, Fringe on Fox started to slide in ratings. Still an award darling and critical favorite, the show was relegated to the Friday night death slot. But eight years later the show enjoys a cult status and every cast and characters are beloved among the fans, even a cow called Gene.
The Recasting of Gene in Fringe Season 1
While Fringe is based in Manhattan, the pilot episode of the show was shot in Toronto. With a budget of $10 million, the highest for a pilot then, the 80-minute pilot episode was shot in Canada and among the cast was a cow who is brought into Dr. Walter Bishop‘s lab after he requests it.
Walter’s whim got the cow in the building but Gene was a constant fixture in the show. But the problem is the cow you see in the pilot and the one in the later episodes are not the same. The original Gene was recast after the first episode.
No, the original Gene did not die or the creators decided to recast the cow for any egregious reason. At the end of the day, it was all about logistics. As mentioned above the pilot of Fringe was shot in Canada and the bovine included in the first episode was also Canadian, so when the filming moved to New York for the second episode, the production was not allowed to bring the cow along.
The Canadian cow was left behind for logistics reasons and instead, the show recast Gene for the second episode. The production team was so concerned about the recasting that they were ready to paint the cow as the original Gene just so no one would notice it.
Talking about the cow in 2008, J.J. Abrams said, “The cow is a regular, but it’s a new cow. Turns out we weren’t able to transport the (original) cow down from Canada. We had to recast. There was even some discussion of (disguising it with) makeup, so people wouldn’t notice that it wasn’t the same cow.”
Fringe – A Beloved Cult-Classic
For those saying the first season of Fringe was generic would be true. While there were some spooky stuff and mind-bending plot points, it was nowhere near game-changing. But with season 2, the show showed an improvement way beyond anyone’s imagination.
One of the beloved episodes of the show, White Tullip, is in season 2. And the inclusion of a parallel universe, two destroyed families (universe apart), and a heartbreaking revelation made the show a must-watch. Critics from Bustle even wrote, “Fringe is one of the most criminally underrated series of our time.”
By season 3, the cult classic tag for the show was undeniable. More than a decade after the premiere Fringe is a Top 250 TV show on IMDb. Beloved among fans, Fringe diehards do not scream at other people to watch the show, they just cherish the beauty of the 100 episodes, and the amazing story that was told by the end of it all.
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