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June 2, 2008 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Who do you want her to be... next year? Fans of Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku vow to save the television series Dollhouse from cancellation by Fox Television - eight months before it is scheduled to broadcast. Is this just guerilla fan-marketing, or are they serious? Or both? (previously on MetaFilter)
posted by ZachsMind (138 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wise move, since you can bet some jackass exec at Fox had already planned to cancel it eight months before it was pitched.
posted by nightchrome at 10:04 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I commented on this thread eight months before you posted it.
posted by not_on_display at 10:06 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Have you been smoking?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:07 PM on June 2, 2008


Oh. I forgot to find a place to link to the trailer of a television series that, again, we won't be seeing for another eight months.

And no. I haven't been smoking. I quit cigarettes in 2003.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:14 PM on June 2, 2008


Aye, since Fox shoots 99.999% of the shows I have ever watched down. Thus, I don't watch Fox any more.

Oh, and...

So fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry...

(An ex of mine and I used to duet that and amuse (we hope) friends...)
posted by Samizdata at 10:20 PM on June 2, 2008


I will flag this post for cancellation eight months from today.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:24 PM on June 2, 2008


I'm convinced that Fox buys good shows with the intention of killing them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:29 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is all pleasingly skewed and sarcastic, but I often find that people entirely miss the fact that the airing of TV show is a business venture. Networks are happy to keep programs on the air as long as they can find happy sponsors for those programs. Happy sponsors are sponsors that get access to a lot of eyeballs. A show can only stair on the air if enough people are watching it, and that's the bottom line. It doesn't matter how much press a show gets, it doesn't matter how passionate the viewership is, it certainly doesn't matter how good the show is; Happy sponsors are the overwhelming factor.

If you really, really like a show and you think it might be headed for cancellation, you'll need to write some letters or make some phone calls. Contact the sponsors who ran commercials during the airing in your local area, and tell them that you noticed and bought their specific products. Write to the production company and the network and tell them that you are passionate about the show, and that you are eager to buy the DVDs and purchase digital downloads from whatever web service they direct you towards. Encourage everyone you can to do the same. If you want a product to remain on the market, you have to buy the product - proclaiming your love for it won't cut it.
posted by chudmonkey at 10:44 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


chudmonkey, I think the argument a lot of people make is that these shows are produced, but they are not given time to 'find an audience' in some cases, and in other cases that the networks somehow screw things up by running the episodes out of order at random times or whatever. The second argument I find pretty weak, I mean it sounds like the kind of thing you'd say if your show just happened to not be interesting enough to enough people -- that it was somehow someone else's fault. There could be a little truth to it though.

The first argument has a bit more weight. Seinfeld wasn't popular for the first few seasons, IIRC. But either way it is possible for networks to 'screw up' shows.
posted by delmoi at 10:50 PM on June 2, 2008


Futurama, which was deliberately fucked around by Fox- primarily by changing its airtime and not advertising the change- is a classic example of how a network can fuck a show.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:57 PM on June 2, 2008


I refuse to watch any series until it's been on at least two seasons. I'm serious. Been burned too many times.
posted by RavinDave at 10:58 PM on June 2, 2008


Peter: Everybody, I got bad news - we've been cancelled.
Lois: Oh, no. Peter, how can they do that?
Peter: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We just gotta accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80's Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pits, Firefly, Get Real, Freaky Links, Wanda At Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute With Stan Hooper, Normal, Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric The Entertainer, The Tick, Louie and Greg The Bunny.
Lois: Is there no hope?
Peter: Well, I suppose if ALL those shows go down the tubes we might have a shot.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:01 PM on June 2, 2008 [18 favorites]


Fans of Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku vow to save the television series Dollhouse from cancellation by Fox Television - eight months before it is scheduled to broadcast.

Er... yuck?

This is why I'm glad I discovered Firefly before I discovered it's fanbase.
posted by Artw at 11:13 PM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


But... what if the show ends up sucking?
posted by sarahsynonymous at 11:21 PM on June 2, 2008


Then we'll hear a lot of "wah, wah, wah, you don't understand it", presumably.
posted by Artw at 11:24 PM on June 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I can't say I'm surprised by this move, considering that one Whedon fan bought out an entire theatre's worth of Serenity tickets and gave them out to people on the street. I have never been able to articulate properly exactly what it is about this sort of cultish devotion (as opposed to, say, Trekkers or Gray's Anatomy fans) that bothers me, but it does—in spite my appreciation for all things Firefly.
posted by chrominance at 11:57 PM on June 2, 2008


Futurama, which was deliberately fucked around by Fox- primarily by changing its airtime and not advertising the change- is a classic example of how a network can fuck a show.

Fox did the same thing to Firefly, along with showing it out of order and not showing the first episode at all. It made it extremely difficult and confusing to get into the show (which, when seen in order, is fantastic), which without a doubt impacted its audience, many of whom found the show after the DVD release.

While I think this whole... campaign thing is a little extreme, I can't really blame them. Fox has an awful track record with this sort of thing.
posted by Caduceus at 12:08 AM on June 3, 2008


I'm still trying to save The PJs. I think things are finally looking up.
posted by stavrogin at 12:10 AM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fox also gave the Futurama-treatment to Arrested Development; when I am President, I will sign an executive order demanding the public waterboarding and execution of those involved in canceling that show.
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:29 AM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have a beef with the video in the first link - the idea of a remorseful vampire detective in Moonlight may have been stolen from Angel, but Angel stole it from Forever Knight. Get your cheesy cancelled cult television right already.
posted by jb at 2:05 AM on June 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Also - Why is Joss Whedon making a television show for Fox? Why would he ever make anything for them again, after what they did to Firefly? They seriously messed with that show, like they were trying to kill it.
posted by jb at 2:06 AM on June 3, 2008


Why would he ever make anything for them again, after what they did to Firefly?

I imagine that if he had other options, he would have taken them.
posted by grouse at 2:40 AM on June 3, 2008


Dollhouse, it's just gonna be Joe 90 without the puppets and cool theme tune.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:32 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you want a product to remain on the market, you have to buy the product - proclaiming your love for it won't cut it.

What, you mean downloading torrents so I don't have to watch the ads or pay for cable could have a negative effect on art I like especially when the art is expensive to produce!?

Why did no-one warn me about this?

(Although personally I think Whedon jumped the shark about the time of Buffy Season 6, and his fanbase some time before that...)
posted by rodgerd at 3:35 AM on June 3, 2008


I can accept that Fox is bound to advertiser realities and deals in ways that i do not understand. But the end result, which i do understand, is like a football team that gets sponsored on the condition of scoring only own-goals, and accepts it!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 4:18 AM on June 3, 2008


Those poor Browncoats and their PTSD. The Battle of Serenity Valley is over, and over and over and over... See, what they need is for someone (like the new regime at Fox for example) to completely and totally wipe their traumatic memories and give them a nice fresh start (surely that will turn out well?), possibly once a week. My research suggests the treatment would best be administered in 22 week blocks, and repeated annually as necessary. *starts singing* Take my love, take my land... Oh, somebody slap me damnit!
posted by Coaticass at 4:26 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also - Why is Joss Whedon making a television show for Fox? Why would he ever make anything for them again, after what they did to Firefly?

Because Eliza's on a contract with Fox and Joss wanted Eliza.
posted by liquorice at 4:47 AM on June 3, 2008


Fans of....Eliza Dushku...

But what can only one person do?
posted by DU at 4:49 AM on June 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


Although personally I think Whedon jumped the shark about the time of Buffy Season 6, and his fanbase some time before that...

I think people who think that never really "got" Buffy, to be honest. I've heard this complaint from those who particularly enjoyed the first three seasons and it just illustrates to me that many people can't handle the evolution of a t.v. show. They just want the same episodes over and over again without any character growth, without added layering to the story and without any darker twists and turns.

In regards to his fanbase, well, I can't really comment. They managed to resurrect a canceled t.v. show and turn it into a movie. They've raised over 160,000 dollars for Equality Now through charity screenings. They fight for good television to stay on the air. They may be nuts sometimes but they wouldn't have been able to achieve all that if they'd jumped the shark.
posted by liquorice at 4:55 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


But... what if the show ends up sucking?

A possibility (look at Studio 60) but with his current track record, doubtful. There are always going to be the rabid fans who love anything Whedon produces no matter what, but the majority are drawn to his work because it's actually good, and have no trouble in identifying flaws with any of his work.
posted by liquorice at 5:00 AM on June 3, 2008


I love Whedon when he isn't being ridiculously heavy-handed. I found his feminist stance first charming, then slightly predictable, and finally a little stifling. Less attractive, I think, is the way he is turning into Charlie Brown. Dude, you know that Lucy is going to yank that football away, again. Yes, we does serial television better than he does movies. What that means is that he should be pitching his show ideas to HBO, Showtime, and so forth. Or CBS. Or anything but Fox. Surely the Beeb will let him do a show, even if the special effects budget consists of fishing line, five pounds of latex per annum, and a guy whose cousin showed him how to use AfterEffects.

It's Fox. They drown kittens by the sackful down in the crick. You know this, Joss. I mean, I thought Buffy's Season Six martyr complex was intense, but you're really pushing the boundaries. You'll go back to Fox, and when you come to us with another black eye, maybe a broken jaw, crying, we'll stop feeling sorry for you and just want to smack you upside the head for going back there.

Joss doesn't need a campaign, he needs an intervention.
posted by adipocere at 5:06 AM on June 3, 2008 [8 favorites]


I think people who think that never really "got" Buffy, to be honest.

I guess I'm one of those who never got Buffy. When it was actually on TV, I never watched it, thinking it was "just a vampire show". Later I saw it on DVD and at first I was like "OIC, it's actually pretty cool because metaphorical etc and so forth plus real characters and also feminism". But when the "strong female lead" spends episode after episode moping around melodramatically, passive-aggressively forcing the world to revolve around her and pining over boys one begins to wonder exactly where the feminist part is.

When every show was about the weakness, rather than the strengths, of the characters I just stopped watching. It's easy enough to get depressed about real life, why go looking for more reasons from the fictional world?
posted by DU at 5:16 AM on June 3, 2008


I'm just impressed that there's an "Eliza Dushku Central."
posted by fungible at 5:25 AM on June 3, 2008


Sweet baby Jesus. Some people need to devote more time to new endeavors. Like, I don't know, learning Mexicoan or something.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:56 AM on June 3, 2008


I think we can all agree it's too late for Dollhouse.

Save Doctor Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog!
posted by designbot at 7:23 AM on June 3, 2008


Firefly is easily some of the best television ever, it's a serious shame that it didn't have a person like Lucille Ball to keep it on the air like Star Trek.
posted by Mitheral at 7:24 AM on June 3, 2008


If it's not on Whedonesque, I don't believe it.

And also, it's not like he's just a puppy getting kicked by Fox all the time. Stupid Fox. Anyway -- from this interview about Dollhouse:
During the writers' strike you shot Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, an online musical that stars Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day and Nathan Fillion. What can you tell us about that, and what's currently happening with it?

Whedon: Dr. Horrible we're just finishing. We're going to finishing posting it, and then we're going to have a whole conversation about how to put it out there. I'm going to put it on the Internet first. Whether or not I can monetize it that way ... I'd like to be able to. I'd like to be able to make the money back, pay the crew, because Dr. Horrible, apart from being hilarious and fun, is also a product of the strike. I want to show that there's a way to make things yourself, but then I also want to show that there's a way to make that viable for people.
I love you, Joss Whedon.

Say what you want about the man, but he's done an awful lot of cool stuff in several different mediums (and shush, kittens, I don't care what you think about his other comics, Buffy Season 8 is pretty kickass + selling well, too). His fans have a REASON to like him. And they do good things while doing so, whether it's raising money for Equality Now or just bringing pizzas to the striking writers on Mutant Enemy day.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:28 AM on June 3, 2008


I think people who think that never really "got" Buffy, to be honest.

I "got" it; I just thought it was stupid. People can try and argue all day long that season six is more "mature" than season three. Apparently, maturity means having a worse cast (season three has Seth Green, Cordelia, the Mayor, an entire season worth of Giles, Angel -- only Anya gives any weight to the season six side of the scale) and replacing the central conceit of the show (the supernatural as metaphor for adolescent life) with soap opera. The one supernatural metaphor really worked through season six, in which magic functions as drugs for Willow, is pretty lame.

"Darkness" does not equal maturity; ask a goth kid's mother. That whole "maturity" argument strikes me as after-the-fact reasoning for a show that just wasn't any fun anymore.
posted by Bookhouse at 7:32 AM on June 3, 2008 [10 favorites]


replacing the central conceit of the show (the supernatural as metaphor for adolescent life) with soap opera.

Yes. YES.

"Darkness" does not equal maturity; ask a goth kid's mother. That whole "maturity" argument strikes me as after-the-fact reasoning for a show that just wasn't any fun anymore.

I nominate you for King of the Internet for the Day. So exactly right.
posted by DU at 7:45 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Say what you want about the man, but he's done an awful lot of cool stuff in several different mediums (and shush, kittens, I don't care what you think about his other comics, Buffy Season 8 is pretty kickass + selling well, too).

I liked the first trade of Buffy comics, even though I think they're very fanfic-y with their reintroduction of characters only h@rdk0r3 Whedon nerds could possibly remember (or care about). His other comics..."meh" to "gahhh."
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:54 AM on June 3, 2008


I think "meh to gahhh" is going to be my new descriptor for everything I don't like. That and I hope your head falls off.

Reintroducing older characters with a *purpose* isn't fanfic-y. For example, a certain witch surviving what happened to Sunnydale and being super hella pissed off? Well, that's not exactly surprising. Her hooking up with the person she did while trapped underground? Ok, perhaps pushing it a bit, but still...
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:02 AM on June 3, 2008


Reintroducing older characters with a *purpose* isn't fanfic-y. For example, a certain witch surviving what happened to Sunnydale and being super hella pissed off? Well, that's not exactly surprising. Her hooking up with the person she did while trapped underground? Ok, perhaps pushing it a bit, but still...

Yeah, that's kinda more what I'm thinking about. Ratgirl is acceptable.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:18 AM on June 3, 2008


I refuse to watch any series until it's been on at least two seasons. I'm serious. Been burned too many times.

It's better to burn out than fade away.

I think people who think that never really "got" Buffy, to be honest. I've heard this complaint from those who particularly enjoyed the first three seasons and it just illustrates to me that many people can't handle the evolution of a t.v. show. They just want the same episodes over and over again without any character growth, without added layering to the story and without any darker twists and turns.

A lot of TV shows have this problem today. How do you keep the same look and feel of the show while at the same time keeping it fresh and interesting? Honestly, what most shows do to keep fresh, I could do without. I try to watch a show and they feel they need to constantly "raise the stakes". It gets annoying.
posted by ODiV at 8:36 AM on June 3, 2008


Firefly was awesome, Serenity not so much.

Buffy was awesome, but it started getting pretty boring around midway through season 5.

However Whedon fans are starting to get all trekkie-like, it's kinda eerie.
posted by Vindaloo at 8:47 AM on June 3, 2008


Buffy should have ended at the end of Season Five, except for Once More, With Feeling which could have aired as a special super finale epilogue type thing, minus the stupid Buffy/Spike love interest angle.

Fundamentally, Season five was the last time Joss Whedon was involved with the show. Seasons 6+ were Marti Noxon's show, and she is, to put it mildly, a no-talent ass clown, who never looked up the difference between drama and melodrama.

In Buffy Joss Whedon put together a great trio of things: a strong cast that worked perfectly together, snappy writing, and a premise that could sustain a lot (but not an infinite amount) of development. But all of those things were time-limited, and they basically all burned out at the same time, in Season five. The characters had escaped the confines of the premise (high school) and the show couldn't survive in the alien environment outside, lacking the structure that high school gave to the plot. Much of the cast drifted away, and their replacements didn't work (I mean, really -- Scrappy Doo Dawn?). And finally, Whedon turned over the writing to hacks.

Joss whedon gets too much credit for Buffy's success, and too much blame for its failure at the end. He was only one part of what made the show good. And quite clearly, everything he touches is not gold.

Unfortunately Buffy appears to have been Whedon's one Great Idea. Firefly was thin and overwrought. Angel had its moments, but not many of them -- and was also thin and overwrought. And for god's sake, Eliza Dushku sucks. She's sucked consistently in everything she's ever been in. She's a manic bundle of mannerisms that are all trying to pass as "acting." There is no there there. Dollhouse will also suck, given that Whedon can't get Phillip K. Dick to write it for him, and someone with a smidge of talent to star in it, which is the only way it would have failed to suck.
posted by rusty at 8:48 AM on June 3, 2008 [4 favorites]


Then we'll hear a lot of "wah, wah, wah, you don't understand it", presumably.
...
I think people who think that never really "got" Buffy, to be honest.

Wow. That was awesome.
posted by Greg Nog at 8:55 AM on June 3, 2008 [3 favorites]


Honestly, what most shows do to keep fresh, I could do without. I try to watch a show and they feel they need to constantly "raise the stakes". It gets annoying.

This is the way good shows destroy themselves... though to be fair, the networks are usually the ones who push for changes-for-ratings-sake. For every other show that "jumps the shark", there's a network exec playing roulette with the time slot and/or slashing the budget by 25% while simultaneously demanding "new" and "edgy" plots. It's easy to blame the show's creators, and in a lot of cases, some of that blame is more than deserved (*cough* Bellisario *cough*), but you've got to keep the biz in mind. Like chudmonkey said, this is the way TV works, for better or worse.
posted by vorfeed at 9:00 AM on June 3, 2008


Clearly the only way for fans to save Dollhouse is to send in tens of thousands of some random crap that they guess will be associated with the series in eight months. At the moment, I think they're wavering between ball bearings (3/16" if possible), strawberry Twizzlers, and photos of a funny cat.
posted by ormondsacker at 9:06 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to say that Sarah Fain, one of the producers, is a friend of mine. Namedropper, that's me.
posted by Stewriffic at 9:25 AM on June 3, 2008


(Although personally I think Whedon jumped the shark about the time of Buffy Season 6, and his fanbase some time before that...)

Try as I might, I cannot comprehend the mindset of someone who dislikes a TV show because some of the people who like it are annoying.

"This would be so much cooler if there weren't a bunch of lamers out there watching it at the same time!"
posted by straight at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


Season Six of Buffy is my favorite.
posted by brevator at 10:55 AM on June 3, 2008


I always thought Season 6 was the best. The writers were done battling external demons (high school, college, boyfriend-turned-evil, parental death) and had the characters fight their inner demons, which are always the toughest battles. It was a smart and necessary progression.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:39 AM on June 3, 2008


Season six of Buffy was my favorite too. It's The Empire Strikes Back of the series.

Bookhouse: "The one supernatural metaphor really worked through season six, in which magic functions as drugs for Willow, is pretty lame."

It amazes me how so many took this at face value and diss it. This is indicative of why some people don't "get it" and others do, when it comes to Whedon.

Joss Whedon was not saying that magic is wrong. He was saying Willow's character was using magic wrong. She was being selfish with it. This culminated at the end of season six when she demanded that a godlike being break the laws of the universe and bring her lover back to life - as if Willow's plight were more important than gods or universes or anything really. Joss wasn't insinuating that magic was a metaphor for drugs. He was saying that anything with that kind of potential power, in the wrong hands, can be dangerous.

Drugs, magic, guns, or whatever powerful tool you can think of that would fit the metaphor, can be used for positive productive purposes, or they can be used in wasteful, short-sighted, and damaging ways. At the end of season seven, Willow thought she learned this lesson with the use of the slayer scythe to unlock the power in all potential slayers. It just took the pain she went through to get to that realization. Now, with the 'season eight' comic book series, the good-intentioned unlocking of slayer power is proving to be very damaging.

So, with all due respect, just dissmissively saying "magic = drugs is lame d00d" ...is lame d00d.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:46 AM on June 3, 2008


I always thought Season 6 was the best. The writers were done battling external demons (high school, college, boyfriend-turned-evil, parental death) and had the characters fight their inner demons, which are always the toughest battles. It was a smart and necessary progression.

Unfortunately, it made for spectacularly depressing and often very boring TV. There are a few sixth season episodes I've never even seen in their entirety, because I just...fastforwarded through them when they started to suck too bad to even sit through. There is a way to do ennui and despair without making the audience feel ennui and despair, but the sixth season managed to find it only once ("Once More with Feeling," duh). I mean, I dunno, it's not called "Buffy the Clinical Depression Slayer." It's not called "Buffy the Annoying Nerd Stereotype Slayer," either. Season six could only have redeemed itself in my eyes if Willow had slowly eviscerated Andrew and Jonathan, as promised; I know I was rooting for her. My God, that show got so awful...I'm not a huge Whedon fanboy, but I'll be the first to admit it totally fell apart the minute he stepped away.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:57 AM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Also - Why is Joss Whedon making a television show for Fox? Why would he ever make anything for them again, after what they did to Firefly? They seriously messed with that show, like they were trying to kill it.

Apparently it's a Brand New Fox nowadays. To be fair, other networks aren't as interested in this kind of show. And the production deal that Dushku has is with 20th Century Fox, which means Fox the network gets first dibs on ordering episodes.

Fox recently bumped the original order up from 6 to 13, and they seem to have started some viral marketing as well (see here). I'm excited about the show, but I think the idea of saving a show that hasn't aired yet and no one's seen is pretty dumb.
posted by Tehanu at 12:04 PM on June 3, 2008


Also Marti Noxon could write anyone here under the table. Season 6 was awesome.

I just wanted to say that Sarah Fain, one of the producers, is a friend of mine. Namedropper, that's me.

I did not watch Angel, but I have heard good things. Isn't she actually co-running the show?
posted by Tehanu at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2008


I've ranted about Fox and it's policies before.

And like others, I won't watch any of their shows anymore until it gets at least one full season under it's belt. It wouldn't be so bad, except they do seem to attract shows that I would normally enjoy, but I've been burned too many times to trust them again.

Fortunately, with stuff like Supernatural, it would seem that the CW is starting to fill the niche that Fox left.
posted by quin at 12:20 PM on June 3, 2008


Stewriffic, ask her if she'll hand over the sweater I wanna knit for Joss.

Yes. I swear to god I just typed that. I AM THAT MUCH OF A DORK. So there.

(Although, the design's really good, it's got vampire bites and the scythe-thingy and cables and snakes and monkeys... ok, I'm just lying about the monkeys, but that would be awesome, too...)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 12:21 PM on June 3, 2008


Also Marti Noxon could write anyone here under the table.

Um...Yeeeeah, okay. Not really, though. I actually thought Marti Noxon was quite a good writer in the seasons before she became show runner, but after? Yeesh. Leading me to believe that her earlier scripts were probably touched up a bit back when someone else was calling the shots.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


All of the scripts were added on to by other people. That's how the writing worked.

I've ranted about Fox and it's policies before.

And like others, I won't watch any of their shows anymore until it gets at least one full season under it's belt. It wouldn't be so bad, except they do seem to attract shows that I would normally enjoy, but I've been burned too many times to trust them again.


It's a new group of people in charge over there now. I'll join the Fox Is The Devil bandwagon with you if they resort to their previous bullshit again, but the people making those calls now are not the people who canceled Firefly and other shows.
posted by Tehanu at 12:25 PM on June 3, 2008


Season six could only have redeemed itself in my eyes if Willow had slowly eviscerated Andrew and Jonathan, as promised; I know I was rooting for her.

It seems strange to write it, but it was probably easier to being a character back from one murder instead of three. Most of me was rooting for her, too, but in the back of my mind, I knew that was a line that her friends had to help her keep from crossing.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:29 PM on June 3, 2008


All of the scripts were added on to by other people. That's how the writing worked.

That's kind of generally how writing works in television, but I presume that on balance a script credited to a writer is usually more that writer's work than anyone else's. If not, then it's kind of hard to determine whether any particular writer on a show is worth a damn (although...hey! I'm...um...pretty sure Sarah Fain is really, really good! at any rate, her name is on some very good scripts, so that bodes well).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:31 PM on June 3, 2008


It seems strange to write it, but it was probably easier to being a character back from one murder instead of three. Most of me was rooting for her, too, but in the back of my mind, I knew that was a line that her friends had to help her keep from crossing.

I always had a pretty hard time with Willow's particular redemption arc, mostly because it...never made a whole lot of sense to me. Had she killed Andrew and Jonathan (who I wanted to see die because every time they were onscreen it was like I was eating tin foil, not because they deserved punishment for anything other than being annoying and completely fucking up a pretty good show), that would have been different; unless I'm forgetting something, they hadn't done anything worse than abet Warren, who was the real problem. But Warren had killed both Willow's and his own girlfriend at this point, had probably done all kinds of other awful things, and really kinda deserved it. That Willow had somehow violated some code of...whatever by killing a human! seemed very bullshitty and writerly to me, at least by that point in the series; since half the cast has been in romantic relationships with "demons" by the end of season six, the whole demon/human distinction should really be out the window by then, and these people are whacking demons all the time. So, whatever. I think "Grave" should have ended with everyone making Willow a big cake, personally.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 12:40 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was acquainted with the actor who played Andrew in high school, and that's really the only thing that got me interested in the show, which I ended up thoroughly enjoying. There's my non-name dropping. I'm glad Willow didn't kill him.
posted by team lowkey at 12:59 PM on June 3, 2008


So, whatever. I think "Grave" should have ended with everyone making Willow a big cake, personally.

They did make her a cake! It was a DVD extra. It had a tiny flayed Warren on top and everything. They cut the scene though. Alas.

I was acquainted with the actor who played Andrew in high school,

You know Tom Lenk?! This Tom Lenk?

I'm also glad Willow didn't kill Andrew. I think he's awesome. Tom Lenk more so.
posted by Tehanu at 1:07 PM on June 3, 2008


But Warren had killed both Willow's and his own girlfriend at this point, had probably done all kinds of other awful things, and really kinda deserved it.

He needed to pay the price for his actions, and he did. The other two, while annoying, were not murderers.

Willow had to kill Warren, because the viewers presumably felt the same desire for Willow to take revenge. It's still vigilante justice, and it still makes Willow a killer — and interestingly, it makes the audience complicit in it, on some level — but I think the writers had to have it be done to restore some kind of balance from Tara's murder.

Ultimately, few shed many tears at Warren coming to his deserved end, and more probably lamented Willow having lost a bit of her soul, which is perhaps more important for the overall narrative.

The other two are just cartoonish buffoons and not evil in the way that Warren was. If she had killed Andrew and Jonathan, I suspect that would have crossed a line in most viewers' minds. The writers had to keep those two alive at all costs.

That Willow had somehow violated some code of...whatever by killing a human!

Even if the writing may seem hackneyed or cliched, it was necessary to keep Willow from going further in order to allow her the option of redemption. Killing Andrew and Jonathan would have been the real violation of audience expectation, not so much with Warren.

And that's probably why I love the sixth season above the others. What was clever is toying with the audience's sense of morality, where vigilantism not only crosses lines but ignores them, and we are easy to forgive people their emotions, who've lost control over them — up to a point.

Of all the seasons, this finally moved away from the boring extrinsic dichotomy of good/evil and moved into the murkier grey areas intrinsic to the characters. I learned more about and empathized more with them in this season than any other, particularly with Willow and Spike.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:12 PM on June 3, 2008


They did make her a cake! It was a DVD extra. It had a tiny flayed Warren on top and everything. They cut the scene though. Alas.

Awwwww!

(I will admit that when I saw Tom Lenk as an endearingly awful performance poet on "Six Feet Under," it kinda warmed my heart. And actually, I'm pretty partial to Danny Strong, too. It was those characters...oh, man. Those characters! Argh!)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:14 PM on June 3, 2008


And you're not alone. Personally I liked them both a lot. It's taken Season 8 Andrew to start to feel slightly annoying to me. But he's so adorably over the top, it's still just barely reached that limit for me.
posted by Tehanu at 1:18 PM on June 3, 2008


Noxon was a disastrous show runner. I can't date it exactly but sometime after she took over I started to noticed a real slackness in the show where individual writers would play favorites with characters and their motivations, desires etc etc seemed to change from show to show. I hung in for a while but bowed out for the final series. Real shame because whilst it wasn't The Wire or anything I really liked Buffy.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:29 PM on June 3, 2008


Tehanu: "You know Tom Lenk?! This Tom Lenk?"

Heh. Yup. We weren't close or anything, but we had mutual friends and classes together, so we hung out occasionally. So, yeah, I found the Andrew character quite endearing, and not at all annoying. But I'm clearly biased.
posted by team lowkey at 1:44 PM on June 3, 2008


Joss Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection.

Joss Whedon is, therefore, an asshole.

Thanks.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:54 PM on June 3, 2008


Sweet.

Any show that gets cancelled by Fox is bound to be pretty awesome.
posted by slimepuppy at 2:57 PM on June 3, 2008


Joss Whedon wrote Alien: Resurrection.

Joss Whedon is, therefore, an asshole.


For what it's worth, he hated the final product so much that he cried when he saw it.

"Let me put it this way. The episode of Boy Meets World that I never made, I'm still prouder of than Alien: Resurrection." -- Joss Whedon
posted by Tehanu at 3:25 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Team LowKey: "So, yeah, I found the Andrew character quite endearing, and not at all annoying. But I'm clearly biased."

You must be really mondo biased, cuz the character WAS annoying, by design. Andrew was written to be annoying.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:41 PM on June 3, 2008


He also helped write Titan A.E.
posted by grouse at 3:57 PM on June 3, 2008


Blazecock Pileon: "What was clever is toying with the audience's sense of morality..."

Exactly! That's what Whedon, Noxon, and everyone involved in BtVS had been doing from the get go. Whedon's said repeatedly that the impetus for Buffy was the idea of taking that victim character in the countless slasher and horror flicks of the late 20th century and empowering her. Making her as powerful as the monster that lurked in those shadows. Whedon wanted the monster to fear her.

If you follow this to its logical conclusion, it means the cute innocent victim becomes the monster. Again, anyone following the story in the season eight comics can probably see by now where Whedon's going with all this.

Those of you dissing on Whedon's past exploits on tv? You're right. He's too good for tv. I honestly don't know if Dollhouse will pan out or not, but it won't be for a lack of effort on Whedon's part, and it's certainly not a lack of talent. It's just that the stories he wants to tell are Not Ready For Prime Time and I for one hope he keeps it that way. The teeming masses are really not ready for what Whedon's trying to say.
posted by ZachsMind at 3:59 PM on June 3, 2008


I've adored all of Joss' shows so far, but, eh-hem, am I the only one concerned that he's hyping the backbone of this show, a show about a character who can be anybody, as a showcase for the versatility of Eliza Dushku? Don't get me wrong, she is plenty good eye candy and she plays that one character that she always plays really well, but unless I've really missed something I've never seen her give what you'd call a nuanced performance.
It seems like Jessiaca Alba syndrome to me, give the geeks a Hottie McHottie and they'll stick around, which worked (kinda) for Dark Angel cause that character was a one dimensional fighting/fucking machine, but Dollhouse sounds like a whole different kettle (or bucket) of fish.
posted by mikoroshi at 4:09 PM on June 3, 2008


Whoah. I'm actually surprised at how cool this show might be, and it doesn't sound like a rehashed B-movie plotline. Weird. I suppose it could have potential beyond quippy one-liners while the female lead kicks someone in the face...but why change what works I guess.
I'm sure all of the fanboys/girls are awaiting the craptasticness that Whedon serves up steaming.
posted by P.o.B. at 4:24 PM on June 3, 2008


I just can't believe the girl from Neighbours is in it. I guess it's Whedon's attempt at having a multicultural cast!
posted by liquorice at 4:28 PM on June 3, 2008


Marti Noxon was part of the team from (the awesomeness that was) Season Two onwards, and that's good enough for me.
posted by Coaticass at 4:35 PM on June 3, 2008


It's just that the stories he wants to tell are Not Ready For Prime Time

The ridiculousness of this is starting to make my affection for Whedon embarrassing.
posted by flaterik at 4:58 PM on June 3, 2008


And that's probably why I love the sixth season above the others. What was clever is toying with the audience's sense of morality, where vigilantism not only crosses lines but ignores them, and we are easy to forgive people their emotions, who've lost control over them — up to a point.

We-eeee-elllll...I don't know. I think it was doing something closer to kind of goosing this idea and running away, if you follow me. We know that Willow won't really kill the two hapless geeks, because they're hapless, and that would be a bridge too far -- and while we know that Buffy and Company are supposed to be horrified at what she's done to Warren, we're not horrified; he's an asshole, and we'll forgive her, because we never held his death against her in the first place. So Willow, for whatever reason (and I maintain it's a convenient script reason, not much of anything based on the show's internal logic), has to redeem herself for doing what probably anyone else on the show would have done, but the audience never lost sympathy for her, so the writers don't really have to do anything to get our sympathy back. It's a cheat, basically. I'm not saying she really should have killed Jonathan and Andrew, but if she had, we would have had a redemption story that meant something, because that would certainly have been uncool. Killing Warren is only ostensibly uncool, and actually is pretty groovy.

Of course, when "Buffy" did actually have a character turn to the dark side in a serious way -- Faith -- that "redemption" more or less amounted to, "We forgive you, Eliza, because you are super hot and 'Angel' desperately needs you around for a few episodes to boost ratings if it's gonna get a fifth season." Her "I did my time" line on "Angel" is ridiculous...she's been in prison for, what, two or three years? She stabbed a guy in the heart! So I'd argue that perhaps the Buffyverse doesn't do this well.

Spike bothers me even more, because he tried to rape somebody and got an audience sympathy pass due to not having a soul...which has to be the biggest copout ever, especially since this is a plot device that seems to be less meaningful over time, with the implication that the soulless state isn't that far removed from who a person is. It's certainly in character for him to attempt the assault, but the price is negligible, and we're expected to feel sorry for him soon afterward. Ugh. Just ugh. The creepy implications aside, what bugs me about this on a story level is that it's essentially raising stakes and then quickly lowering them -- again, cheating. (I don't think much would have made me happier than an ensouled Spike deciding to be evil, but I suppose this may not have gone over so well with the James Marsters = dreamboat! crowd....)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:03 PM on June 3, 2008 [2 favorites]


FlatEric: "The ridiculousness of this is starting to make my affection for Whedon embarrassing."

Why? Haven't you seen what passes for "Ready For Prime Time"? 95% of it offense my intelligence, and I'm embarrassed for those who think "According To Jim" or "One Tree Hill" are better choices than "Lost," "Heroes," or anything Whedon excretes from his brainpan.

Of course, there are others who might say they're embarrassed for me that I actually think Lost and Heroes are good television, but one man's trash and all that. You don't want to know what I think of people who are fans of "Desperate Housewives." Ew. I think I give some Furries more respect.

MikoRoshi: "am I the only one concerned that he's hyping the backbone of this show, a show about a character who can be anybody, as a showcase for the versatility of Eliza Dushku?"

Nope. You're not the only one.

If the two of them are to be believed, the fated lunch they had together which started Dollhouse involved Joss telling Eliza that he sees in her levels of versatility as an actress that she has never been given the chance to explore. I don't know the exact dialogue of the conversation cuz it's only hearsay based on what they've described in interviews, but I imagine her natural response to his fawning over her was, "if you really think I'm all that - prove it."

Personally I'm in the "hope for the best but expect the worst" category, I think. I've never personally thought of myself as a diehard Dushku fan, but she usually makes me smile when she's on a show, whether she's cracking wise or kicking butt. I hope to be pleasantly surprised to find her range is wider than that.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:55 PM on June 3, 2008


Say this with me:

It's [deep breath] just [hold breath] television [say slowly while exhaling]

Repeat 13 times, or as neccesary.
posted by signal at 6:06 PM on June 3, 2008


Seriously though, who would win in a fight between Al Swearingen and Admiral Adama?
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:38 PM on June 3, 2008


Al Swearingen.
posted by tkchrist at 6:47 PM on June 3, 2008


Totally fuckin' Al.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:24 PM on June 3, 2008


Where's his fackin' spaceship?
posted by Artw at 7:25 PM on June 3, 2008


I think my question is "why in the hell is Joss Whedon still working for FOX?" Does Murdoch have some incriminating pictures or something?
posted by FormlessOne at 7:38 PM on June 3, 2008


It seems like Jessiaca Alba syndrome to me, give the geeks a Hottie McHottie and they'll stick around, which worked (kinda) for Dark Angel cause that character was a one dimensional fighting/fucking machine, but Dollhouse sounds like a whole different kettle (or bucket) of fish.

Surely the more obvious comparison would be Jennifer Garner/Alias?
posted by Artw at 7:40 PM on June 3, 2008


I'm completely undecided as far as Swejin vs. Husker is concerned. On the one hand, Al is quite obviously badass, drinks a bottle of whiskey for breakfast, and has a knife in his boot ("It come to me now..."). On the other, Adama beat a Cylon to death, moved a boulder after being shot in the chest, and can crack walnuts with his fist. Walnuts, dudes!

I think Jimmy McNulty could drink more than either of them, though.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:05 PM on June 3, 2008


he teeming masses are really not ready for what Whedon's trying to say.

Wow, comedy gold. Next I expect to hear that David Boreanaz is the most criminally under-rated actor of his generation.

Try as I might, I cannot comprehend the mindset of someone who dislikes a TV show because some of the people who like it are annoying.

Indeed. This is why I own and enjoy the first five seasons of Buffy - that is, the original story arc as designed by Whedon before mad dollars convinced himself to recycle a bunch of the previous season's plot points into the meh-tastic shambles of season 6 and 7.

If you were reading for comprehension instead of outrage, you'd understand.

I think people who think that never really "got" Buffy, to be honest. I've heard this complaint from those who particularly enjoyed the first three seasons and it just illustrates to me that many people can't handle the evolution of a t.v. show.

Yeah, that's right. Finding the season 7-hey-it's season 5-recycled and the shambles of season 6 - which, frankly, was like watching some of the crappier season 1 and two filler episodes dragged out over an entire year and melded with a bunch of bad fanfic - indicates one is too dumb to enjoy Buffy.

Heaven forbid one note, as rusty did that the five seasons were the original (and very good, nicely closed out) story arc, and that 6 and 7 were basically a cash-in.

But enough about Buffy, let's see how the newest installment in Joss Whedon's oevure of girls-and-young-womenas-"magic negro" fiction pans out.
posted by rodgerd at 8:13 PM on June 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Blargh. External demons. Inner demons. It's all good. It's just all the whining.

STNG:STDS9::Buffy:Angel. Has to be said. Also, Seth Green is an ass. A talented ass, but still.

Anyway, I thought Joss said no more tv. So he returns to knock on someone's door, and it's not HBO but FOX?? Ok, man. But I don't think you get to complain about it later.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:28 PM on June 3, 2008


Try as I might, I cannot comprehend the mindset of someone who dislikes a TV show because some of the people who like it are annoying.

Agreed, but it tends to be a major turn-off when you constantly hear people banter on about "Mr. Awesome who just made the awesomest show that is so awesome it is the awesomest awesome to ever awesome!!!" Then you try to point out the major/minor flaws that just didnt' seem to jive and all you get back is "No! You just don't get it! It's the best programming on TV!"
All I have left for the next time someone wants to talk about said show is to roll my eyes shrug my shoulders and say "Enjoyable...but it wasn't all that."
posted by P.o.B. at 9:25 PM on June 3, 2008


I think it was doing something closer to kind of goosing this idea and running away, if you follow me.

I follow you. I just think the writers did a better job than you give them credit for. :)

Of course, when "Buffy" did actually have a character turn to the dark side in a serious way -- Faith -- that "redemption" more or less amounted to, "We forgive you, Eliza, because you are super hot and 'Angel' desperately needs you around for a few episodes to boost ratings if it's gonna get a fifth season."

I agree with you here. There was so much potential in Faith's character. FWIW I liked watching her grow into the character much more than the whiny, privileged Buffy. Faith had to eventually want to make a good or evil decision, and watching her struggle with those choices, while being manipulated at the same time, was more rewarding than watching Buffy kick ass, just because she was too bored or boyfriend-less to do anything else. Ah, well. If only Angel had made Buffy into a vampire... But that would have been too Blade-esque.

Spike bothers me even more, because he tried to rape somebody and got an audience sympathy pass due to not having a soul...which has to be the biggest copout ever, especially since this is a plot device that seems to be less meaningful over time, with the implication that the soulless state isn't that far removed from who a person is.

Is it really a copout, or just a continuation of empathy for characters (for example, like Willow) who are spiraling out of control, who try to destroy themselves and everyone around them they care about?

I think I can still be disgusted with Spike while having empathy for him, as his love and lust for Buffy take over his mind. He's not given a pass despite being cute, but because, to some degree — probably, hopefully, not sexual assault — we've all been there, where we behave in exceptionally irrational ways. I think we do recognize just a little of him in ourselves, perhaps a bit more than we'd care to admit.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:31 PM on June 3, 2008


Also, Seth Green is an ass. A talented ass, but still.

Pah. I will not hear a word against Mr Green's character. When he was in NZ filming something regrettable and forgettable, he bumped into a student of one of the local Wellington drama schools, in the supermarket. He started asking about beers and which local ones he'd be most likely to enjoy, and, when he found out the guy was a drama student, offered to come do a speech/q&a/seminar session at his school. Which he did.

He's not given a pass despite being cute, but because

You must have run into a different fandom to the one I've encountered...

The whole cycles of depravity/wrongdoing and redemption - how cheap and easy it is - for many of the headline characters in Buffy rather put me in mind of David Brin's critique of the Star Wars universe's thinking on the same topic.
posted by rodgerd at 12:03 AM on June 4, 2008


I think the 'passes' given by the audience or the writers or whatever simply further fuel this dichotomy that Whedon and the other writers were exercising: that of subjective morality. Sure, Spike almost raped Buffy, but she put a stop to it. Sure, Willow did flay Warren alive, but he murdered her lover - and Willow did stop short of doing the same to Jonathan or Andrew - who had only indirectly been responsible for killing Warren's girlfriend. Okay maybe they were a little more than indirectly responsible, but Warren had already paid that price, and was it really Willow's place to be their judge jury and executioner?

Come to think of it, is it Buffy's place to be judge jury and executioner when it comes to vampires? She had been for the most part throughout the series, but does that make her any less of a monster? And by season seven it's finally crystalized - Buffy's power COMES from the ancient creatures that essentially infected humanity with vampirism in the first place. The First Slayer was doused with energies from a demon via the Shadow Men. So Buffy IS a monster. She's a vessel of evil power, and she tries to do good with it, but she's human and she makes mistakes.

You can see it as comedy gold all you wish, Rodgerd. I don't mind. The truth is that Whedon refuses to tell stories in which all the good guys wear white hats and the bad guys wear black hats. You go through seven years of rooting for Buffy and at the end you learn she's fueled by the same bad mojo as the guys she's been pit up against.

Firefly was even worse. With that show, Whedon was asking us to support the underdog. We were following the lives of losers. He made it clear to show they're not losers, while simultaneously reinforcing that that's exactly what they were.

The network's response? "The lead character's a little too dark. Make him nicer. Make audiences like him more." They clearly didn't grok what Whedon was hawking. The network wanted white hats on our leads, and Whedon was not telling the story of The Lone Ranger.

Does that make him a bad storyteller? No. It means he's beating his own path. He's not a hack. A hack takes the crap that's gone on before and reuses it. Whedon takes what's been used before and turns it upside down.

Sometimes he used trite cliches but he uses them in new and different ways. What if the vampire's a good guy? What if the intergalactic federation of planets are the shady characters? What if the girl who used to want high heels is now two hundred feet tall? Okay, maybe not that last one.

This isn't for everybody. He ain't writing for everybody. This is ultimately his downfall tho, cuz he's not trying to please every single person in the audience. In fact there's an unspecified percentage of his potential audience that he's constantly trying to piss off. That's no recipe for success, but it does mean he's saying stuff that makes people think, rather than just predictably putting slop in the trough he knows the pigs will eat.

While I don't turn away a Whopper with Cheese, it's nice to get a steak every now and then.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:19 AM on June 4, 2008


Whedon's not asking his audience for his character's forgiveness. He's asking you to take a look at yourself when you're giving it.
posted by ZachsMind at 12:20 AM on June 4, 2008


chudmonkey: This is all pleasingly skewed and sarcastic, but I often find that people entirely miss the fact that the airing of TV show is a business venture.

<scoff> Like there aren't plenty of business ventures that aren't sabotaged by clueless executives.
posted by JHarris at 12:38 AM on June 4, 2008


In fact there's an unspecified percentage of his potential audience that he's constantly trying to piss off.

"I am a leaf on the wind!"
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:44 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Next I expect to hear that David Boreanaz is the most criminally under-rated actor of his generation.

Well, he's more entertaining than most of the idiots on network TV. I mean Ray Romano? Seriously? There's a ton of actors who have been on more-or-less-forgotten shows who are tons tons tons better than the current crop (and let's not even discuss reality TV, ok?). F'rexample... this weekend I ended up watching about a million episodes of Grounded for Life. Donal Logue is really freaking FUNNY on that show, but you're never going to hear him getting a million and one claps for his FANTASTIC ACTING SKILLS.

Also, Bones has grown on me... I could barely stand to watch it at first (despite! OMG! it's! Angel!), but it's gotten better. A few weeks ago, watching Boreanaz read Green Lantern comics in his bathtub while wearing a beer hat and listening to Social Distortion just about made me fall over. It was absurd, and it was perfect.

TV is routinely formulaic. We love House, but at the 9:54 mark, my boyfriend inevitably announces "Ok! here comes the crazy yet unexpected cure -- and she STILL doesn't have lupus!"
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:01 AM on June 4, 2008


and p.s. Nathan Fillion is cute and all, but even locked in a closet with Kyle MacLachlan (another swoon hottie in my opinion) on Desperate Housewives (I found it channel surfing. Really), I couldn't take more than a few minutes of that dreck.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 5:02 AM on June 4, 2008


Buffy was a fun show to watch, and had some great stories (for me, "Storyteller" in season 7 redeemed every second of the annoying LOLNERDS! of season 6). But Buffy's premise was fundamentally flawed.

Joss can't decide whether demons & vampires are fundamentally Evil with a capital E or if they are individuals who can choose good or bad. If the first one is true, then half the story lines (Angel, Spike, Anya, Harmony) make no sense at all. If the second one is true, then Buffy's practice of staking vamps on sight, often the instant they rise, is the moral equivalent of aborting black babies because African Americans are statistically more likely to commit murder.

I can see why, dramatically, you'd want to have it both ways. And that contradiction might have made for some interesting stories. But since not one character ever notices it, it just comes across as a mistake and I spend huge chunks of time thinking "Why is everyone blaming Angel for what that demon posessing him did? Why haven't these idiots put a stake through Harmony yet?"
posted by straight at 9:25 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Spike bothers me even more, because he tried to rape somebody and got an audience sympathy pass due to not having a soul


That's pretty funny.

You can tell a TV show has good actors and writing when smart MeFites are conned into passing moral judgments on a TV charachter. A vampire TV charachter.

Sure. Spike sucks human blood (which not only sustains him but also gives him a vicarious sexual rush) and either murders his victims outright or worse condemns them to eternal torment as un-dead themselves. That we can forgive.

But attempted rape? Whoa. That guy IS bad.

Man. I wish I could write that well.
posted by tkchrist at 12:54 PM on June 4, 2008


With that show, Whedon was asking us to support the underdog. We were following the lives of losers. He made it clear to show they're not losers, while simultaneously reinforcing that that's exactly what they were.

The A-Team?

Sometimes he used trite cliches but he uses them in new and different ways. What if the vampire's a good guy? What if the intergalactic federation of planets are the shady characters?

No, I'm sorry, he doesn't. It's called Star Wars and Interview with a Vampire. I don't want to be the downer here, because I've enjoyed the shows (to an extent). This is exactly what I mean. They're great for what they are, beyond that he really isn't breaking any ground here people. Besides making likeable characters and producing a lot of fan service there is nothing new to what he does.
Anyway, I'll stop ranting, carry on with your fawning of all things Whedon.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:21 PM on June 4, 2008


So to summarize -- Season 6: potentially philosophically interesting, but a tedious mess to actually try to watch.

My problem was that the actual show was so damn weak, I couldn't bring myself to give a crap about the issues involved.
posted by rusty at 1:39 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think Whedon is somewhat original in how his plots turn and his dialog. And. He creates some rich details out of what would be cliché.

Firefly is a Western in space. Well. Star Trek was Wagon Train - in space. But all those interesting charachter and cultural details in Firefly make it.

You can't really be 100% original with every creative attempt. It's in the story and the details that live within the story that matter.
posted by tkchrist at 1:57 PM on June 4, 2008


My problem was that the actual show was so damn weak, I couldn't bring myself to give a crap about the issues involved.

One time they killed the demon of the week using a meat grinder in the fast food joint where Buffy worked. Weak? I THINK NOT.
posted by Tehanu at 2:00 PM on June 4, 2008


There were issues involved?
posted by tkchrist at 2:09 PM on June 4, 2008


Sure. The issue was whether or not the burgers were made of people. They were in fact made of (SPOILER!) cellulose.

There might have been some stuff about dealing with addiction, enabling, destructive relationships, financial responsibility and fast food work being soul-killing. I forget. I do know that Buffy had to wear a funny smelly hat, and Willow got to save the day with SCIENCE! And a meatgrinder!
posted by Tehanu at 2:17 PM on June 4, 2008


Sure. Spike sucks human blood (which not only sustains him but also gives him a vicarious sexual rush) and either murders his victims outright or worse condemns them to eternal torment as un-dead themselves. That we can forgive.

But attempted rape? Whoa. That guy IS bad.


Yeah, but the vampirism is fantasy violence that you're not encouraged to take tremendously seriously in the context of the show. (Harmony becomes a vampire and it's cute.) If they'd ever been bold enough to vamp out a major character, that might have made it a good deal more meaningful. Rape, though, is not fantasy violence, so I think you're likely to react to it in a much stronger way.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:18 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


that you're not encouraged to take tremendously seriously in the context of the show

I think with "in the context" of the show you're encouraged to take it very seriously. I mean. It's the whole point of the show - vampire Slaying and all. After all they are trying to convince you for 47 minutes that Vampires and demons exist, right? Besides the fact is "vampyrism" is a psycho sexual plot device and great deal of that is playing with seduction fantasies, and less overtly, rape fantasies.

I dunno. It's all a big Plate of Beans for me.
posted by tkchrist at 3:41 PM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think with "in the context" of the show you're encouraged to take it very seriously. I mean. It's the whole point of the show - vampire Slaying and all. After all they are trying to convince you for 47 minutes that Vampires and demons exist, right? Besides the fact is "vampyrism" is a psycho sexual plot device and great deal of that is playing with seduction fantasies, and less overtly, rape fantasies.

There isn't a whole lot of that going on on this show, though -- their vampires are pretty wholesome, compared to a lot. And throughout most of the series, it's basically a romp with some teen angst on top. So by "in context" what I mean is that, yeah, if there were really a guy who in real life were cutting people's throats and drinking their blood, you'd be all like, Holy crap, dude. And if in so doing he killed these people, and their families mourned and fell apart and it was awful, and three days later he came back as a soulless monster, you'd be all like, HOLY CRAP, DUDE. But the show doesn't really treat it that way. It's very much just a plot device.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:30 PM on June 4, 2008


The context is the crux of the matter. It's rather meta actually. The show looking at itself. Wagging its own dog.

In the first three or four seasons, monsters were compared to the trials and tribulations of growing up. First day of school. Crushing on someone. Dating. Wearing the wrong clothes. Hazing. Losing one's virginity. Will s/he respect me in the morning? Midterms and finals. What to do after you graduate. And guess what? By the end of season four, Buffy figured out that fighting monsters is child's play compared to life after high school.

There's fantasy and there's reality - and what really scares the characters? What really scares the viewer? What weighs more heavily on the viewer's mind when witnessing X happening to Y?

Perhaps when Whedon stumbled upon Spike's success he realized the crux of the series' dilemma. Audiences responded favorably to Spike. He wasn't an anti-hero. I'm not sure what the hell he was, but audiences loved it - and so for the rest of the series Whedon and the other writers kept dacing between goody goody two shoes and motherfucking asshole bastard when it comes to Spike. Until by the end even the writers didn't know what the hell he was anymore.

It's that dichotomy that makes Buffy fascinating. You can say all you want that Whedon's not covering new ground here. You're right that he used every trite plot device in the book. He did that cuz he knew what would get a rise out of the audience. He used the puzzle pieces of the past in new ways to illicit emotions and thoughts from the audience that had not been done before.

I mean sure, you can compare Buffy to Dark Shadows or Forever Knight. You can compare Firefly to Star Trek or Babylon 5. What Whedon's past shows say are not the same things those other shows said. He took the familiar and went unfamiliar places with it.

Eight months from now, a lot of people are hoping he can do that again. If you're one of them, welcome aboard. If you're not, welcome aboard.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:37 AM on June 5, 2008


I think this is why this show looks so interesting to me. It actually looks like he came up with a whole new idea and isn't trying to base his show on some kind of pulp novel/B-movie plot. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It's just that I always find it odd how people tend to go on and on about the unique ideas within his shows whereas he obviously uses/lifts ideas from other sources.
*coughFireflyAndromedacough*
Uh, sorry had something in my throat. Huh, what???
Nonetheless, he makes good shows that many people enjoy and I hope he keeps making them.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:49 AM on June 5, 2008


Ok, we just watched the pilot of Firefly again since it'd been awhile, and it struck me again what an elegant start to the series it was, how economical. And I wonder if the boneheads at FOX ever realize they make a mistake, or is it all self-fulfilling prophecy with them: "Well, the series wasn't popular; we did all we could do." Fucking hell.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:25 PM on June 6, 2008


You're right that he used every trite plot device in the book. He did that cuz he knew what would get a rise out of the audience.

Jesus. Whedon is enough the man that if you got the chance to meet him and suggested that nonsense, I think he would humbly suggest that you are wrong. Though probably on both counts. This is the fawning that people hate.

I mean sure, you can compare Buffy to Dark Shadows or Forever Knight. You can compare Firefly to Star Trek or Babylon 5. What Whedon's past shows say are not the same things those other shows said. He took the familiar and went unfamiliar places with it.

Yeah, not so much. However. He did expect more from his audience when he told those tales. Small stuff, but rewarding stuff. No sound in space! Little reveals without big explanations. A lot of design elements that were, at the time, pretty cutting edge. He plays by the same old rules, though. Oh, Jayne is scared -- these reavers must really be nasty! Oh, Kaylee likes the captain -- and she's a good judge of character! And even turnabouts become cliche when they're consistent enough. However, how it's all put together is extremely satisfying, I must say. I don't know if that's Whedon or Minear or who but absolutely fantastically well done. (the series, that is. the movie was so-so for various reasons) I will say this about ass-kicking female characters, though, that in retrospect it is easy to forget: it may be cliche now, but it wasn't so much before Whedon came along. Just look at what was done with his original ideas for Buffy the movie.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:42 PM on June 6, 2008


*coughFireflyAndromedacough*

Firefly has about as much in common with Andromeda as Perry Mason has with LA Law, or Hill Street Blues has with Adam-12. All respectable programs. Not saying one is better than the other. They were in roughly the same genre, but that's all.

Personally I never enjoyed Andromeda. I don't knock people who do (unlike Babylon 5 enthusiasts I mean COME ON! there's 1950s b-movies better than B5).
posted by ZachsMind at 12:00 AM on June 8, 2008


Just for the record, I don't think they are the same show at all but...

I mean the namesake of both shows is the ship. Sure lot's of sci-fi shows do that. But do all of them have a captain who was dispaced by a war and is searching for himself? I'll agree alot of them have a genius mechanic/engineer(but so do these two). Who else is going to fix that bad ass ship. And of course that ship is going to need an ace pilot, femal of course(which both have). Well, not all of them have a mysterious girl who is central to the movement of the storyline but both of these do. Or what about the preacher who obviously was not previously preacher. Yeah it's in both shows. And what ship would be complete without the badass(muscle)? Well both of these ships have 'em. What about the hot looking chick who is very sexually appealing but emotionally distant? An android and a prostitute aren't even closely the same thing but...*shrug* So aside from the doctor, their is a character on each show that is mirrored (in multiple ways) and generally accomplishes the same thing.

I know, I know...I'm wrong because: COWBOYS IN SPACE!!! ;)
posted by P.o.B. at 3:56 PM on June 8, 2008


So they both feature a cast of various characters ...in a spaceship!

Blakes 7 rip-offs, the both of them.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on June 8, 2008


Yeah, hhmmm...riiight...so nope, no similarities with Andromeda.

Nonetheless thanks for the tip though, I'll have to check out Blake 7.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:55 PM on June 8, 2008


P.o.B. writes "And of course that ship is going to need an ace pilot, femal of course(which both have)."

I'm pretty sure Wash is male. If not the flashback episode where Wash is sporting a 'stache is kind of creepy. Or were you talking about someone else?
posted by Mitheral at 8:05 PM on June 8, 2008


Whoa, it has been awhile since I've seen the show, I missed a character. Maybe because Zoe is so much better looking than Wash.
posted by P.o.B. at 8:47 PM on June 8, 2008


Maybe you were watching Lexx or something?
posted by Artw at 9:03 PM on June 8, 2008


Actually to be honest I didn't know all the similarities between Andromeda and Firefly. I didn't watch many episodes of Andromeda, and I don't recall figuring out that the captain had lost a war and was finding himself. I recall the captain not acting very much like a captain.

I don't recall the pilot being anything at all like Wash (in fact wasn't the pilot a hologram or robot or something?) but maybe I'm mistaken. I don't recall there being a priest who wasn't a priest in Andromeda. Maybe that was FarScape? I recall the blonde chick on Andromeda was hot, but don't recall what she did aside from piss off everyone else and be annoying. Was she the engineer? She didn't look or act anything like Kaylee.

I recall there being aliens on Andromeda. Annoying and completely unbelievable aliens. There are no aliens in Firefly. I recall the plot of the episode or two of Andromeda to be mind numbing and linear. I don't recall caring about what happened to the characters. I don't know where they were from. I don't know where they were going. I don't recall the crew looking like a crew. They seemed to be a bunch of people randomly stuck on the ship together who occasionally tolerated one another's company. On Firefly, the crew were like a family, and one could understand why they were on the ship together and what they were trying to accomplish: even Jayne.

Again, they're both space westerns, but any other similarities are inconsequential. It's what you do with the genre that matters, not how similar it is to other examples of said genre.

There's only one compare/contrast that I find significant to me.

Firefly was watchable.

Andromeda was not.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:34 PM on June 8, 2008


Maybe I was watching Lexx. I like that show far better than either Firefly or Andromeda. I would tell you to watch an episode of Andromeda and you could immediately see what I was talking about, but maybe you should just read the wiki...?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:41 AM on June 9, 2008


P.oB. - which was the one with the wookie?
posted by Artw at 11:51 AM on June 9, 2008


I don't recall there being a priest who wasn't a priest in Andromeda. Maybe that was FarScape?

Actually, both priests - or rather, a Pa'u and a Shepherd (more like a monk or friar than a priest, per se - he was in a religious abbey/monastary) - were real (in that they really had a religious calling, and training/recognition of the respective religions). It's just that both of them did other, perhaps less divinely inspired things before their calling.

as I said earlier - if we're going to talk about obscure sci-fi tv, we need to get our pedantic facts right.
posted by jb at 12:05 PM on June 9, 2008


Priests:
Firefly: Sheppard Book
Farscape: Pa'u Zotoh Zhaan
Andromeda: Rev Bem (Reverend "Red Plague" Behemial)

Pilots:
Firefly: Hoban "Wash" Washburne
Farscape: Pilot
Andromeda: There are two, both Romy (the Andromeda Ascendant's AI) and Rebecca "Beka" Valentine (the hot blond who pissed everyone off.)

And as long as we're at it, Engineers:
Firefly: Kaylee Frye
Andromeda: Seamus Zelazny Harper

At different points, I enjoyed all three shows, though the Firefly, Farscape, Andromeda order I've listed here pretty much sums up my opinion on them.
posted by quin at 12:38 PM on June 9, 2008


P.oB. - which was the one with the wookie?

Ewoks: The Battle for Endor ?
posted by P.o.B. at 1:25 PM on June 9, 2008


Andromeda: The Farscape it's okay to hate.
posted by Artw at 1:26 PM on June 9, 2008


Also, while we're on this tangent, WTF was up with that Andromeda Strain TV movie? Jesus that thing sucked ass. It was like they'd decided that since it was a completely unnesacry and dumb remake anyway they might as well make every new element they added to it suck as much as possible.
posted by Artw at 1:29 PM on June 9, 2008


Metafilter: Jesus that thing sucked ass.

huzzah!
posted by P.o.B. at 2:19 PM on June 9, 2008


There's a teaser out for Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. Starring Neil Patrick Harris, Felicia Day, and Nathan Fillion.
posted by Tehanu at 7:09 AM on June 25, 2008


I so want to see that - but only three 10-minute episodes? And when will it be online?
posted by jb at 9:13 AM on June 25, 2008


I don't think there's definite word on when it'll be online yet. The good news is there should be a lot of extra stuff on a DVD. As of June 2:

Whedon: Dr. Horrible we're just finishing. We're going to finishing posting it, and then we're going to have a whole conversation about how to put it out there. I'm going to put it on the Internet first. Whether or not I can monetize it that way ... I'd like to be able to. I'd like to be able to make the money back, pay the crew, because Dr. Horrible, apart from being hilarious and fun, is also a product of the strike. I want to show that there's a way to make things yourself, but then I also want to show that there's a way to make that viable for people. So even if I don't accomplish the second part, I want to do the first part. So we'll put it on the Internet, hopefully with a sponsor of some kind. We'll work that out. And then iTunes, DVD ... we're doing amazing DVD extras. It's going to be the finest 40-minute musical since the last one I made.

I expect there might be more definite news as of Comic Con.
posted by Tehanu at 9:34 AM on June 25, 2008


Bah, filthy TV people and their invasion of ComicCon.
posted by Artw at 10:11 AM on June 25, 2008


Oh wait. I think news of the video release is coming sooner. And yeah Dr. Horrible will part of the Buffy comics panel.
posted by Tehanu at 10:34 AM on June 25, 2008


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