U.S. television show Fringe is returning to Cloverdale, but not everyone’s happy the production will tie up downtown during some of the most important shopping days of the year.
Starting Friday and continuing Monday and Tuesday, crews will spend three days filming scenes on location for an upcoming episode of the cult sci-fi show.
Some local merchants were in an uproar because of plans to restrict public parking on two and a half blocks of 176 Street during the all-important Christmas shopping season for an outdoor scene where the action takes place in a deserted urban streetscape.
“The stress is when you come in during one of the busiest time periods of the year,” said Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association. “It has to be handled very sensitively.”
Controversy surrounds the production company’s plans to film a deserted ghost town shot that will shut down two full blocks of 176 Street between 56A Ave. and 58 Avenue between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 6.
“Any time you take away parking and access to a business, this is very disruptive,” he said.
This Friday, the show was poised to film inside Cloverdale Pharmasave – standing in for a police station – at the corner of 176A and 57 Ave.
Monday, the show moves to the cafe inside the Clover Inn at 5708 176 St. Tuesday, crews planning to return to Dann’s Electronics at 5657 176 St., site of a previous Fringe shoot in September where Allan Dann, the 87-year-old proprietor, had a small walk-on part.
Affected businesses are compensated by the production for loss of earnings and for disruption during filming, Orazietti said.
Cloverdale’s festive Christmas decorations are another wrinkle for the production.
All traces of the season will have to be removed from the blocks impacted by the shoot during the “ghost town” scene.
That means the decorative evergreen garlands, ribbons, strings of lights and baubles that have been gradually appearing over the past couple of weeks as Cloverdale gears up for Sunday’s Surrey Parade of Lights will have to be taken down, including the wreaths that were just hung from all the Victorian-style lamp posts – and possibly the colourful Christmas tree that was hoisted onto the roof of the Dale Building in the 5700-block of 176 St. just this past weekend.
Fringe is set in Boston, where the FBI’s Fringe Division explores unexplained phenomena and an alternate universe. The show stars Anna Torv, Lance Reddick and Vancouver’s Joshua Jackson. It’s been described as Lost-meets-the X-Files, and airs Fridays on CityTV.
Word is the main cast members will be on location for the shoot, which will be part of season four, episode 12, “Welcome to Westfield.”
Fringe has been criticized for its complicated storylines which make it difficult for the casual viewer to understand what’s going on.
Fans and TV critics praise it for precisely the same reason, touting its clever writing as a must-see for any sci-fi fan.