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Dollhouse Demolished
November 11, 2009 3:19 PM   Subscribe

"Dollhouse" is dead. Joss Whedon falls victim to FOX once more.
posted by WCityMike (146 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Companion FPP to this one.
posted by WCityMike at 3:20 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does it mean the fanboys will get louder and louder until someone funds a movie spinoff from the series?
posted by qvantamon at 3:21 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


.
posted by Phssthpok at 3:21 PM on November 11, 2009


I watched this last season, and started this season, never got more than 15 minutes into the first show...

It was an interesting concept, flashy interface, but the acting was a bit weak....

I guess I'm not surprised at this.
posted by HuronBob at 3:22 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obligatory.
posted by Decimask at 3:22 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Good riddance. It was awful, and it will free up my Friday nights for things I actually enjoy, instead of building giant golden statues to Whedon out of guilt for not watching Firefly.
posted by TypographicalError at 3:23 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Joss Whedon falls victim to FOX ratings once more.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:23 PM on November 11, 2009 [12 favorites]


Wait, sounds more like Joss falls victim to low ratings.
posted by Muddler at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


And of course, I meant to link to this.
posted by TypographicalError at 3:24 PM on November 11, 2009


"Dollhouse" is dead. Joss Whedon falls victim to FOX once more.

More like falls victim to his inability to make a show that people actually want to watch: "The second season premiere of Fox's "Dollhouse" was down sharply in the ratings compared to its series opener and resumed about where the show left off -- as Friday's lowest-rated program on a major broadcast network. "

Don't blame FOX. Nobody wanted to watch the damn thing.
posted by dersins at 3:25 PM on November 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


I was just watching the unaired "pilot" for this from the the DVDs and I sort of wished that the show hadn't gotten a second season. I liked the way that episode sort of wrapped everything up.

In a completely unexpected and kind of fucked-up way.

Minor spoiler: while it's called a "pilot", it deals with events after the conclusion of the events of the first season and was clearly a if-we-don't-get-picked-up-this-will-give-closure effort.
posted by quin at 3:25 PM on November 11, 2009


SHIT. Dawn Weiner is brilliant, the Special Persons Club rocks my socks.... oh wait, wrong Dollhouse? The Dushku thing? Oh. Carry on.
posted by porn in the woods at 3:27 PM on November 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


Not a huge shock. FOX + Joss is pretty much a toxic mix. Plus Dollhouse was pretty much crap, apart from the delectable Eliza Dushku.

Next up; Joss says he'll never work with FOX again... and this time he means it. Fer realsies this time, folks.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:28 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


To be fair, FOX does have a track record of actively trying to kill some shows. Putting them in bad time slots, not actively advertising them, moving them around with little to no notice, playing them out of order and/or skipping episodes, etc.

I've heard it suggested that internal politics is often to blame for these sorts of situations - people with a vested interest in seeing certain shows failing. Either way, it's fairly easy to make sure a show never gets a chance to find and keep an audience, and then it's killed for "poor ratings".
posted by evilangela at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Show has been awful this season and a lot of last season.

I'm sorry. It's true. I've loved all of joss's other work, but this one never really had "it" even if it seemed like it was getting it for a few moments.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yes, yes. This is like on prom night, when I "fell victim" to my dad telling me my fly was undone. It is a mercy.
posted by boo_radley at 3:29 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Gah! This sucks, and you guys are mean.
posted by Hollow at 3:31 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]



Not a huge shock. FOX + Joss is pretty much a toxic mix. Plus Dollhouse was pretty much crap, apart from the delectable Eliza Dushku.

Next up; Joss says he'll never work with FOX again... and this time he means it. Fer realsies this time, folks.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:28 PM on November 11 [+] [!]


Yeah the quick jump to blame FOX has kind of passed the point of practicality. They kept Arrested Development on for 3 seasons and that show lost 1/2 a million per episode (really. they did). And it was given an entire season in the post-Simpsons slot and it still couldn't be profitable. Look FOX is awful for many, many reasons and in many other arenas, but a blanket judgment like this is just woefully inaccurate. They gave the show a second season and the quality did not improve.
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


Perhaps now that it's over, Dushku will have time to consume an occasional sandwich.
posted by NoraReed at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2009 [11 favorites]


I was really enjoying Season 2....but yes, this comes as no surprise.
posted by liquorice at 3:32 PM on November 11, 2009


Uh, if you don't like the show, don't watch it. What's with the "good riddance" comments? It was an interesting show that had a lot of potential; I think given time, it would have blossomed into something really worth watching. But alas...
posted by spiderskull at 3:33 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


quin: while it's called a "pilot", it deals with events after the conclusion of the events of the first season and was clearly a if-we-don't-get-picked-up-this-will-give-closure effort.

"Epitaph One" wasn't either of the two pilots. It was a thirteenth episode produced because ... well, Wikipedia: "20th Century Fox needed thirteen episodes for the first season's DVD release and to sell to foreign markets, and having paid for but then scrapped the unaired original pilot episode, Fox only contracted the subsequent twelve episodes, but not the thirteenth."
posted by WCityMike at 3:33 PM on November 11, 2009


I'd like to see him write an office drama about Wolfram and Hart. Follow the lives of a bunch of late 20 something/early 30 something yuppies as they learn to live, love and summon demons as the stars come right again and all of mankind is held in thrall by the inexorable coming of the Great Old Ones.
posted by stavrogin at 3:33 PM on November 11, 2009 [17 favorites]


To be fair, FOX does have a track record of actively trying to kill some shows. Putting them in bad time slots, not actively advertising them, moving them around with little to no notice, playing them out of order and/or skipping episodes, etc.

Yes, but that's only relevant to the cancellation of Dollhouse if that happened to Dollhouse. Did it?
posted by Mike1024 at 3:34 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know who should REALLY be pissed? The fans of "Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles" that lost to "Dollhouse" in FOX's zero-sum timeslot competition this season.
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:34 PM on November 11, 2009 [26 favorites]


On those few occasions when the show was on, it had showcased some fairly bold ideas for television sci-fi.

Epitaph established the vibe and premise that this show should have pushed in every episode. Dushku's character simply got in the way.

As it happened, episode quality was pretty hit-or-miss, and mostly on the miss side, towards hackneyed. Dollhouse was a grab-bag of very interesting ideas with inconsistent execution.

R.I.P.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:35 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


an office drama about Wolfram and Hart

stavrogin, wasn't that what "Angel" did briefly turn into in one of its re-re-directions?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:37 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


C'mon, we all knew this was going to happen and we'd end up seeing all of season 2 on DVD.

But hey, it'll have an actual enidng and TWO seasons.

That's more then Firefly got.
posted by The Whelk at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


yeah, pretty much. And that gave us Smile Time. So, I want more.
posted by stavrogin at 3:38 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Joss is a smart guy, but he really needs to develop his pattern recognition.

Also, I feel like this has to be said: Whedon fans tend to be the teabaggers of fan boys, only it's more pathetic in a way as they're ultimately fighting to bring back a TV show. At least the teabaggers think they are fighting tyrany or something like that, but Whedonites know that they're fighting for a show.

The reality is that if a TV show doesn't make money, the network shouldn't have to keep it on. I liked Firefly, but I understand why Fox cancelled it. Sci-fi just isn't a great thing for ratings on broadcast TV. It needs a high budget to look good, and to justify that budget, it needs big ratings. But to get those ratings, it needs to look good, which means that it needs money.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:40 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


It was a pretty terrible show- I don't 'get' Whedon's stuff as a rule, it seems.
posted by potch at 3:40 PM on November 11, 2009


I know several people that will be forever bitter that Fox canceled Terminator before cancelling this. Dollhouse is Whedon's Studio 60. Little glimmers and bits of things that were good, but mostly just inexplicably bad given the talent involved.

But just because one show didn't work out doesn't mean he can't still do good work! Bring on the next thing, I say.
posted by sparkletone at 3:41 PM on November 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


Perhaps now that it's over, Dushku will have time to consume an occasional sandwich.

Seriously? Still with this? Classy.
posted by liquorice at 3:42 PM on November 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


Actually just watching the latest episode as the news was released. Was marveling how a show with so few likable characters was still on the air. And then it wasn't. Dollhouse, more than any show I've seen, and yes this includes the 'premium' channels, is about rubbing your face in the shit that is humanity. Sorry, at least The Wire offered a bare sliver of hope. Dollhouse doesn't. Not surprised it's leaving, but I'll miss it.
posted by Football Bat at 3:43 PM on November 11, 2009


"Epitaph One" wasn't either of the two pilots.

Huh. See, that's what I get for trusting poorly named files. Still, it was a cool episode and how I'll probably choose to remember that universe ending (assuming he doesn't have something awesome set to close out season 2.)
posted by quin at 3:43 PM on November 11, 2009


To be fair, it was an interesting concept in search of good writing and acting. I found most episodes in the first season pretty uninvolving and honestly forgot it was back on this season. I mean, your show has to suck pretty bad if I'm watching whatever dreck Siffy is pushing over yours.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:45 PM on November 11, 2009


"Yeah the quick jump to blame FOX has kind of passed the point of practicality. They kept Arrested Development on for 3 seasons and that show lost 1/2 a million per episode (really. they did). And it was given an entire season in the post-Simpsons slot and it still couldn't be profitable. Look FOX is awful for many, many reasons and in many other arenas, but a blanket judgment like this is just woefully inaccurate. They gave the show a second season and the quality did not improve."
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 9:32 AM on November 12

Obligatory Family Guy quote:

PETER: Everybody, I've got bad news. We've been cancelled

LOIS: Oh no! Peter, how could they do that?

PETER: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We've just got to 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 Pitts; Firefly; Get Real; FreakyLinks; 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 3:46 PM on November 11, 2009 [12 favorites]


I'll confess, the only Whedon show I ever truly enjoyed from start to finish was Firefly. Dollhouse had some genuine promise, some good casting, interesting premise that made me feel somewhat icky yet contemplative about the nature of identity in today's world. And the hints of where the show might have been headed in the dvd-only season 1 finale "Epitaph One" were truly intriguing.

But, really, when you get down to it the reason I started watching and then coninued watching the show week in and week out was the hope of seeing as much of Tamoh Penikett's bare flesh as possible.
posted by WolfDaddy at 3:48 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Bring on the next thing, I say.

The silver lining may be that this will give Joss time to develop Dr. Horrible.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:48 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


Never saw one second of it... but it doesn't surprise me. Conversely, I am surprised every time it's announced he's got a new show.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:49 PM on November 11, 2009


Though I really love Joss Whedon's work, and am a little sad to see Dollhouse end, I'm actually more upset that nobody proofread the article because the first two sentences of the last paragraph is repeated. Where the hell is the copy editor?
posted by thebestsophist at 3:50 PM on November 11, 2009


Sci-fi just isn't a great thing for ratings on broadcast TV.

While this might be true, shows like Star Trek have proven that it can build a franchise that can generate considerable sums of money, and looking at non-broadcast, you have things like Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica, and Doctor Who, all of which, in just the past few years, have proven to be solid money makers

I suspect that if Fox had been willing, Firefly could have been developed into a franchise that might have made them a lot of cash. Fox wasn't and it's a testament to the quality of the show that to this day, people still lament the bad decision they made.
posted by quin at 3:51 PM on November 11, 2009 [9 favorites]


Clearly Dichen Lachman need to do a Mirror's Edge movie. (Though I'll always remember her as 'the evil Asian girl off Neighbours')
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:53 PM on November 11, 2009


I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan, and I have watched Dollhouse out of loyalty to him, hoping it would improve. It just wasn't up to the standards I expect from him. Firefly was amazing, and I do blame Fox for its demise. Generally, not airing the pilot first will do that. I'm not sure if Fox did anything in particular to mess with Dollhouse, but I can't imagine any way in which this premise coupled with this cast would have ultimately appealed to me.
posted by saladpants at 3:54 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh and I gave in on Dollhouse itself after a couple of eps, planning to catch up after it was canceled (I was surprised it got a second series). Probably won't bother now.

And anyway I much preferred the original.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:57 PM on November 11, 2009


Damn. I had finally gotten to the point where I could enjoy the show in spite of Dushu's terrible acting.
Sigh.
posted by Dr. Zira at 4:03 PM on November 11, 2009


It is a good show, with characters that grow (forward and backward in time), more than adequate exploration of ideas, intelligent dialogue, numerous twists, and a sophisticated use of subtle reveals. Not something often seen on TV, which may be why it doesn't belong on TV. Hopefully we can get closure plus a bit of lingering intrigue by the final 13th episode.

Someone suggested to me that Joss' writing — or show-running — may be too long for a TV show, or at least for a mult-season premise. I think that I agree. Maybe he could try making a 8–10-hour miniseries. Maybe even for the syphi channel.
posted by asfuller at 4:06 PM on November 11, 2009


stavrogin: "And that gave us Smile Time. So, I want more."
In "Smile Time", Angel goes to the studio of a popular show after learning they are stealing the life forces of children, where he triggers a spell that transforms him into a puppet. While Angel and company try to reverse the spell and save the lives of hundreds of children, werewolf Nina declares her romantic intentions towards Angel and Gunn discovers his given knowledge of the law leaving his mind.

Writing

Producer David Fury says the writers talked about doing an evil Sesame Street show before Season Five aired, but "it wasn't until Joss came around going, 'I figured out how to do it - Angel gets turned into a Muppet,' that we kind of went, 'Hallelujah, that's brilliant.'"
So he's like the white T-Pain, is what I'm starting to see.
posted by boo_radley at 4:06 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Okay, Dushku didn't have nearly enough acting range to pull off the role given her. (Too bad; she was great at playing Faith, but that's the only character she seems to play, ever.)

Still, the bigger problem was conceptual: The show was an attempt at a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too combo of high-minded inquiry into identity, hedonism-culminating-in-slavery, and feminism, on the one hand, and Eliza-in-leather wink-wink exploitation on the other.

Either would have been fine-- but whichever one was chosen, the show should have been more extreme: more scheme-filled and thriller-y, in the first case, or more flagrantly sexual in the second.

Put a show about mind-control and sex slavery on network TV and hey, whaddyaknow-- it's kinda tame.

Many artistic collaborations are victims of ego; this one was a victim of superego.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:07 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


I loved, Buffy, Angel (particularly the Wolfram & Hart office drama of the last season, with the exception of Illuria or whatever the body-infesting demon's name was; I'm saying I'm with stavrogin, here), and Firefly. All, overall, great shows. But I hated Dollhouse. I suffered through way too many episodes before I figured out what the problem was and decided to quit.

The problem was that the casting of Dollhouse was terrible. Dushku has one role: bad girl. Having her try to do anything else is like nails on a chalkboard. Which is fine. Most actors have only one role, and cause problems when you try to make them do stuff outside of their area of expertise. Unfortunately, most of Dollhouse was outside Dushku's area of expertise.

But worse was her supporting cast. I've never seen such an awkward, unlikeable bunch of blah blaheads. As far as personality or engagement went, the entire supporting cast may as well have been Dolls themselves. FBI guy could not have been more generic angry FBI guy, the bodyguard was so cliche I wanted to cry, and don't get me started on the boss lady. The only character who even had a personality was the creepy, creepy technician guy, and I just can't get into a show when my choices for characters to empathize with are one character is personality-less on purpose, three more who have no personality on accident, and one creepy guy.

I'm sure people have varying opinions on the skills of the actors in Whedon's other shows, but I will argue that they all nailed their roles and were interesting and engaging. The actors on Dollhouse were not. They were boring, which was compounded by the complex, difficult premise of the show. I feel bad for Joss, but I'm not particularly sorry to see the show go. I really hope this prompts him to do a full The Guild style web series set in the Dr. Horrible universe. That I'd watch.
posted by Caduceus at 4:08 PM on November 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


Long live "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia"!
posted by snoehp at 4:09 PM on November 11, 2009


About the only thing Fox could have done differently was move Dollhouse out of the Friday night ghetto, and...well...let's be honest here, it's not as though there's a huge long history of Friday nights being really bad for sf/fantasy (BSG seemed to do pretty well there, and poaching what seemed like half its cast should have been a good thing for Dollhouse, right?). I know this won't be a very popular idea, but I think this show was given every chance to succeed, and it's really not Fox's fault that it did not.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:11 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Effigy2000: Plus Dollhouse was pretty much crap excellent, apart from the delectable sexy-but-miscast Eliza Dushku.

FTFY, and that's what I think this came down to. I like Eliza Dushku, but she's a character actor. She's passable, sometimes excellent as a smartass tomboy but she simply doesn't show the range needed for more vulnerable moments. However, the rest of the Dollhouse ensemble was phenomenal, and when the show gave them more than a supporting role it became one of my favorite things on TV.

Too often, it instead imprinted Dushku's character with some submissive personality (or, for that matter, her "doll" personality), and dragged terribly for it.

RIP Dollhouse, a lot of promise squandered by (I assume) the pressures to make episodic, star-vehicle television instead of a serial, ensemble masterpiece.
posted by Riki tiki at 4:15 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I only saw the pilot episode, so I'm no authority, but to me the glaring Achilles Heel was the godawful acting of Eliza Dushku. She's very easy on the eyes, and would be fine as a supporting character, but any show centered on her acting ability is doomed from the start. Or did she get pushed to the side in later episodes?
posted by zardoz at 4:16 PM on November 11, 2009


Thanks a lot, Effigy2000. Now I'm sad about Dollhouse AND missing Wonderfalls and Andy Richter again.

(That said, I was under the impression that Fox pretty much said when they picked up season two that they weren't interested in any more than that...)
posted by Limiter at 4:19 PM on November 11, 2009


I'll confess, the only Whedon show I ever truly enjoyed from start to finish was Firefly.

I loved Buffy from start to finish. Killing her at the end of the fifth and final season? Brilliant. The kind of integrity you rarely see on TV.

I saw a fan vid after that, a musical, which was pretty good, but fans just don't understand that you shouldn't resurrect the dead when you have nothing to say.

I think Dollhouse might've made a great movie. Maybe a mini-series. But a series in which the main character loses every time? At least the Prisoner was only returned to the village. His mind was intact, he learned things, and he was ready to fight on. Whedon could promise us for a few episodes that Echo would break free, but eventually it became clear that the show was called Dollhouse because it was about maintaining the delusion.

It had flashes of brilliance. But I gave up after the first ep of the second season.
posted by shetterly at 4:20 PM on November 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


FTFY, and that's what I think this came down to. I like Eliza Dushku, but she's a character actor. She's passable, sometimes excellent as a smartass tomboy but she simply doesn't show the range needed for more vulnerable moments. However, the rest of the Dollhouse ensemble was phenomenal, and when the show gave them more than a supporting role it became one of my favorite things on TV.

The ironic thing is, from what I heard just before the show came out, the entire point of this show was supposed to be to showcase Dushku's acting range. Supposedly, Wheden came up with the idea while having lunch with her and discussing future directions for her career. I think what killed the show more than anything was that she just couldn't deliver on that promise.
posted by heathkit at 4:24 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


> The only character who even had a personality was the creepy, creepy technician guy

Actually, I wouldn't even grant that: He's the standard Whedon stand-in (Xander, Wash), but with the dial set on Self-Loathing.
posted by darth_tedious at 4:25 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I do blame Fox for not having better programming sense and killing this show. Dollhouse? On Friday night, with a sitcom as lead-in? Why not put it in the same night as Bones and Fringe, and have a whole night of weird shows? Totally never made sense to me.

I say this, although I should say I didn't actually like the show. The only character that I even gave a shit about was Boyd the handler -- he seemed to be the only one that felt like a real person to me. I did watch all of Season 1 at the insistence of a Whedon-obsessed friend of mine, and discovered it was a lot more interesting to talk about with him than it was to actually watch. That's never a sign of a good show. (I have the same complaint about the Austin Powers films, too. More fun to repeat the jokes than actually watch the movies.)

Sadly, this show should never have been on Fox in the first place. If it had been on a non-Network network, it would have had more than enough viewership to make it worth the while. Cable is happier with far-smaller numbers than any of the Big 4.
posted by hippybear at 4:26 PM on November 11, 2009


LOW RATED SHOW CANCELLED AFTER SECOND SEASON RATINGS CONTINUE TO PLUMMET: FILM AT ELEVEN!!!!!!!!!1!111!!11
posted by Justinian at 4:26 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


However, the rest of the Dollhouse ensemble was phenomenal, and when the show gave them more than a supporting role it became one of my favorite things on TV.

Man, were we watching the same show? Maybe I just didn't give it enough of a chance, but it was like pulling fucking teeth, and I couldn't take anymore.
posted by Caduceus at 4:28 PM on November 11, 2009


I loved Buffy from start to finish. Killing her at the end of the fifth and final season? Brilliant. The kind of integrity you rarely see on TV.

Umm...final? You've got some catching up to do! 2 more seasons (if you don't count comics) worth.
posted by redbeard at 4:32 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles" that lost to "Dollhouse" in FOX's zero-sum timeslot competition this season.

Wow. I'd assumed Terminator would be back eventually. Terminator started a bit slow in Season 1, but Season 2 was fantastic.
posted by Chuckles at 4:33 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


FTFY, and that's what I think this came down to. I like Eliza Dushku, but she's a character actor. She's passable, sometimes excellent as a smartass tomboy but she simply doesn't show the range needed for more vulnerable moments. However, the rest of the Dollhouse ensemble was phenomenal

I didn't get past the first two episodes myself, but I'd agree with all of this. I think Dollhouse's big problems were (a) a central concept so gross that it made you feel gross watching it, and (b) a lead who couldn't begin to grapple with a role nearly any actor would find challenging. (Tricia Helfer, one of the few BSG alumni who didn't show up on Dollhouse, would have been great as Echo.) I'm usually a fan of shows that are crazy ambitious and not afraid to be unlikeable, but I think the best thing that could have happened to Dollhouse was as if one week it just became a totally different show -- a cop show, perhaps -- with the same cast and writing staff. Take a modest concept and do something inventive with it, rather than take a totally out-there concept and try to make it mainstream TV, and I think you've got a better chance of having something.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:35 PM on November 11, 2009


Dollhouse was so terrible I watched it just to see how bad it could get.

The only entertaining thing was trying to figure out how the writers would marginalize Dushku's on-screen time without making it obvious.
posted by winna at 4:38 PM on November 11, 2009


I loved Buffy from start to finish. Killing her at the end of the fifth and final season? Brilliant. The kind of integrity you rarely see on TV.

Man, I almost feel bad crushing your dreams here. Especially since season 7 was kind of pants.
posted by elizardbits at 4:46 PM on November 11, 2009


Umm...final? You've got some catching up to do! 2 more seasons (if you don't count comics) worth.

Man, I almost feel bad crushing your dreams here. Especially since season 7 was kind of pants.

HAMBURGER! HAMBURGER!

and it's too bad they never made a sequel to Deus Ex; that game was awesome
posted by The Pusher Robot at 4:49 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think shetterly's kidding, guys.
posted by oinopaponton at 4:50 PM on November 11, 2009


Perhaps now that it's over, Dushku will have time to consume an occasional sandwich.

I flagged this as sexist, but I doubt that will make any difference.

Nor will this, but I'll try:

DON'T POLICE OTHER WOMEN'S BODIES. Seriously, don't.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:50 PM on November 11, 2009 [15 favorites]


I loved Buffy from start to finish. Killing her at the end of the fifth and final season? Brilliant. The kind of integrity you rarely see on TV.

shetterly is currently visiting us from a river in Egypt, I think.

Whatever it takes to get you through the pain of those last two nonexistent seasons, man. There is no judgment here!
posted by winna at 4:51 PM on November 11, 2009


I liked Epitaph One, it was the only one that felt Joss-y. The monsters were similar to his other stuff (the "monsters"/baddies were like Vampires). It also had little-to-no Eliza Dushku.

They had better make a Dollhouse Musical set in the future, that way I can tell people to just watch Epitaph One and the musical.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:52 PM on November 11, 2009


Every Joss Whedon series seems to take some time to find its bearing... Buffy took a solid season-plus, Angel cut it down to a few episodes, Firefly managed to hit its stride almost immediately after the double-length pilot, but then Dollhouse went back to Buffy form--with single layer stories and a procedural core story with flat attempts at suspense and intrigue. Add to that a menagerie of characters either at odds with one another or blank slates, and you've just got trouble. So, a few episodes into the second season and it was better, but still a dud.

Up until the most recent episode "Belonging", I was completely apathetic to the show: watched every week, but it did not matter to me if or when it got canceled.

But Belonging is where it seems to have finally clicked into place. Maybe it's because they finally addressed the giant thematic elephant sitting in the Dollhouse, maybe it's that they're finally able to interweave specific scenarios form past episodes for extra conflict, maybe something I'm too stupid to understand... but it feels like it's finally there.

And while one episode does not a television series make...

I think it's a sign that when this season is over, I'll actually wish it wasn't.
posted by pokermonk at 4:52 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


(although, I do have to say... it's still network tv. there are definitely better things outside the city walls.)
posted by pokermonk at 4:54 PM on November 11, 2009


Also, while I am making hypothetical requests, Dr. Horrible sequel with Frankenstein Penny plz, k thnx.
posted by amuseDetachment at 4:55 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I thought Dushku was acting like a bad actress on purpose, to show the limits of the Dollhouse technology. Maybe I'm just easily fooled.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:57 PM on November 11, 2009


Umm...final? You've got some catching up to do! 2 more seasons (if you don't count comics) worth.

I think he was being facetious (see e.g. the "fan made" musical). I agree, that would have been a brave way to end the series.

I never got into Dollhouse as much as the other things Joss has done. But at least it was interesting and different, which was nice, so I'll miss it. But yes, bring on the sequel to Dr. Horrible!
posted by gemmy at 5:00 PM on November 11, 2009


I didn't watch it; the entire premise was a turn-off, to be honest (and I'm a die-hard Buffy fan, even up to the 7th season, though I've still never forgiven Joss for killing off Tara [/derail]). I'm not sad that it's gone; give me another series of Dr. Horrible and I'll be happy.
posted by jokeefe at 5:03 PM on November 11, 2009


Whatever it takes to get you through the pain of those last two nonexistent seasons, man.

Truth is I've seen every Buffy episode except the conclusion of season six. And may try the comics someday, but since I wasn't that interested in where Buffy was at the end of S7, that's low on my priorities.

I will still be there like Joss Whedon's slavering lapdog to see what he does next.
posted by shetterly at 5:06 PM on November 11, 2009


I love Whedon but Dollhouse felt like a mistake from the start. The first three episodes were unwatchable mainstream dumbness with a primary eye on the fratboy demographic. Say whatever you want about the first three episodes of Buffy/Angel/Firefly and Whedon's need for time to develop a show, but none of those others started out as unwatchable mainstream dumbness with a primary eye on the fratboy demographic.
posted by mediareport at 5:14 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Say whatever you want about the first three episodes of Buffy/Angel/Firefly and Whedon's need for time to develop a show, but none of those others started out as unwatchable mainstream dumbness with a primary eye on the fratboy demographic.

No, Firefly started out as a different kind of unwatchable dumbness. Did you see the first (aired) episode?

If you lose me of all people with your science fiction pilot you are doomed.
posted by Justinian at 5:19 PM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am sad. I was finally getting into Dollhouse. Bastards.
posted by medea42 at 5:21 PM on November 11, 2009


Geez, a lot of haters coming out of the wood work. It was a decent show that improved in its second season. I would have liked to have seen it on a night other than Friday and not Saturday. More advertising also would have been nice. Fox was lenient to allow a second season, but it certainly didn't do much to on its end to insure the show's success.
posted by Atreides at 5:26 PM on November 11, 2009


Dollhouse is not an entertaining show. It contains interesting concepts, considered plot elements, surprise revelations, and good acting (for the most part).

It does not, however, contain these elements in a mix which leads one to have much interest in the show at all. The concepts aren't as original a mix as Buffy or Firefly (or even How I Met Your Mother).

I watched to support Whedon, but it was painful to watch. He can do better and so can the people involved. Good cast, good crew, good producers, but it just wasn't working.
posted by Captaintripps at 5:27 PM on November 11, 2009


yeah, pretty much. And that gave us Smile Time. So, I want more.

My son was 2, maybe 3 when I was watching Angel on DVD, and he would watch with me sometimes; he loved it. Demons with their faces on inside-out? No problem. Green blood spurting from severed arteries? Pass the popcorn.

The only thing on the show that ever sent him screaming from the room: the Angel puppet in the Smile Time episode.
posted by not that girl at 5:30 PM on November 11, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm a big old Whedon fangirl - one of those crazy people who adores the much-maligned final two seasons of Buffy - but Dollhouse never quite hit it for me. I've actually got the entire current season sitting on the DVR, but I haven't quite gotten myself in the mood for watching it. Maybe I'll wait until the remaining episodes air and make a marathon of it.

On the one hand, it's a shame - I had some issues with the show (especially Joss's have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too portrayal of female subservience), but it had some flashes of something that could have been quite good. I think the casting just never worked for me. I love Dushku as Faith, but she just didn't work for me here, and it made her seem more limited an actress, not less.

Incidentally, I'm bemused at the scathing references to the Whedon "fanboys" when just about every fan of his work I've met has been a woman.
posted by Salieri at 5:31 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have to agree with pokermonk about there being a definite warm up period for Whedon shows.

"Belonging" was a great episode and I imagine the show would have gotten to this point sooner if it hadn't been for the first half of season one. Those episodes had an interchangeable, "doll of the week" feel to them that made them rather dull. I know I kept waiting for a proper season arc to really show up.

If I weren't under Whedon's spell I probably would have stopped watching in the first season, but overall I'm pretty glad that I didn't. If nothing else, Epitaph One was awesome.
posted by mindless progress at 5:38 PM on November 11, 2009


I watched Buffy from the first episode and was one of those guys in the first six months telling everyone I knew that they had to watch that show, that it was something completely new and unexpected for fantasy/horror television only to be met with eyerolls. I watched Angel from the beginning and actually enjoyed the early seasons of that show even more. Firefly I watched later on DVD only because I never seemed to know when the goddamned show was on and by the time I did catch an episode I realized that I was behind enough that I wanted to start from the beginning. Firefly/Serenity was more genius from Whedon, and Fox killed it dead.

Fox didn't kill Dollhouse. That show killed itself. I've watched every episode and didn't enjoy any of them until the most recent, the Sierra flashback story-- the one that finally fucking dealt with the fact that the Dollhouse is made up of a bunch of prostitute slaves and their evil pimps.

Instead of digging into the Rossum Corporation and their motives or the twisted morality of people like Adelle DeWitt, for the first season and a quarter we were treated to Quantum Leap meets Alias featuring Eliza Dushku (don't even get me started on her wooden acting skills) playing some "new" character every week that needed to be dressed in some kind of sexy outfit. Hey! Sexy thief! Hey! Sexy bodyguard/groupie! Hey, sexy motorcycle chick! It was a show where the mythology seemed like it could be really engaging. Instead it just became immediately tired.

Dollhouse was 100% missed opportunity. (The Sarah Connor Chronicles was also a whole a big bucket of unexpected fail.)
posted by eyeballkid at 5:39 PM on November 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Come on, you can't blame Fox. They promo'ed it well, they carried it to a second season despite bad ratings. Sometimes shows get canceled.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:45 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree with pokermonk-- with "Belonging," it really looked like "Dollhouse" was starting to come together. However, I also agree with the other folks who found the majority of the characters grating and unlikeable: They absolutely were that. Additionally, "Belonging" aside, I felt like [SPOILER] bringing Helo onto the Dollhouse staff in the second season diluted the tension in a really unfortunate way. So while I'm sad that another promising prime-time genre show has bitten the dust, I'm not inconsolable.

I'm saving my tears for "Defying Gravity." I don't care if it was meant as a perjorative: " 'Gray's Anatomy' in space" is a perfect description of what I want to watch. I'm also pretty massively bummed about "The Unusuals"-- but I guess a cop show show wrought from Kurt Vonnegut references, phobias, Aylett-esque crime Dada, and moustache taxonomy was too fragile a creature to survive in this rough world.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:47 PM on November 11, 2009


There is a rumor (currently being circulated on the AV Club boards) that all the guest stars on Dollhouse were basically stealth-casting for a -- wait for it -- Firefly 3.0. Now, this is obvious wish-fulfillment wankery, but would I be happy to see a mashup of the Dollhouse cast and the BSG supporting players do that series instead? Man, I didn't even like Firefly all that much, and the answer's plainly yes. So look for this story to be the new hotness in all the nerdy internet locales for the next several months, only to never even come close to happening, or even to have been proposed by anyone involved in actual programming, ever. You heard it here first!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:52 PM on November 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Come on, you can't blame Fox. They promo'ed it well, they carried it to a second season despite bad ratings. Sometimes shows get canceled.

Yeah, I'm with Bookhouse on this one. They even had that cool commercial countdown thing where they'd tell you exactly how long the commercial break was so that you could perfectly time bathroom or food breaks.
posted by spiderskull at 6:03 PM on November 11, 2009


I think it's appropriate to quote another show FOX axed:
LEELA: Why not? It's clever, it's unexpected.
FRY: But that's not why people watch TV. Clever things make people feel stupid, and unexpected things make them feel scared.
Yeah - It wasn't consistantly great, and I think that rotating Dushku out for almost anybody else in the cast would have been an improvement, but I enjoyed it in spots, which is more than I can say for most of what's on now. 'Belonging' was the first time I'd seen everybody pull off an entire episode of what I saw moments of beforehand, and was really impressive.

But to be honest, This is one less reason for me to watch FOX and just generally stop giving mindshare and viewing stats to the network that props up the FoxNews propaganda machine.

I've been basically of the opinion that current television programming won't do well unless it attracts not only eyeballs, but eyeballs attached to people who are easily parted from their money. As a result, I think anything SF related is pretty much doomed on an advertising-driven payment model. TIVO is, if anything, accelerating this phenomenon.
posted by Orb2069 at 6:03 PM on November 11, 2009


Are people forgetting how awful the majority of the actors on Buffy were? Eliza Dushku only really has three faces and a cute ass but OH GOD Sarah Michelle Gellar was uniformly terrible. Her post-Buffy career is pretty much proof positive.

I was all about Buffy when it was on but even I can admit it was flawed, flawed, flawed show. Dollhouse came out stumbling and it definitely had some terrible episodes (third episode of season one. whoa) but I was far more intrigued by it's premise than I was with any of Buffy's campy as hell teen/young adult angst subplots/ludicrous romances.

That being said, I'll miss it but I'm not overly upset about its cancelllation. With Epitaph One, Belonging, Briar Rose, and what are sure to be some pretty good Summer Glau episodes to wrap everything up, I think I'll be more than satisfied with two seasons.
posted by Tha Race Card at 6:07 PM on November 11, 2009


> Instead of digging into the Rossum Corporation and their motives or the twisted morality of people like Adelle DeWitt, for the first season and a quarter we were treated to Quantum Leap meets Alias

Yeah. The show's natural starting point should have been something like "Belonging", or something from the snuffed-out Ballard Hunts the Dollhouse plot thread; that is, not Hey-there's-a-Dollhouse-and-it's-got-neat-costumes, but What forces are set in motion, once the Dollhouse world exists?

On a vaguer note, I find it interesting that there were so many potentially strong elements and facets to the show... that just somehow did not gel. It's almost as if much of the series would have worked better as unshown backstory... backstory to something like "Belonging." ("And in the second season... we'll introduce an actual conflict!")
posted by darth_tedious at 6:12 PM on November 11, 2009


Nor will this, but I'll try:

DON'T POLICE OTHER WOMEN'S BODIES. Seriously, don't.


I find it ironic that this comment is coming up in a thread about Dollhouse, since the show was about that - using/abusing other people's bodies for profit and gain. And I think Whedon wanted the show to say "it's bad, mmkay" but really made it far too ambiguous and all the characters unlikable so the message never came across. Or it did, but in the most obvious and dumb ways possible. Like episode two which went all "the most dangerous game" on Dushku's character and I was thinking "wow, they are hunting the helpless heroine in episode two, where does this show go from here?"

I'm glad it's gone, because I think it was more than just a bad show - it was a bad show with compromised messages, "Don't exploit people... unless you want to watch Eliza Dushku is skimpy clothing!"
posted by crossoverman at 6:34 PM on November 11, 2009


none of those others started out as unwatchable mainstream dumbness with a primary eye on the fratboy demographic.

FWIW... I have heard, although I am too lazy to find specific quality references right now, that the first handful of episodes of Dollhouse were heavily controlled by FOX.
posted by pokermonk at 6:36 PM on November 11, 2009


Your favourite tv showrunner sucks?
posted by modernnomad at 6:36 PM on November 11, 2009


My biggest beef with Dollhouse was the entire premise made absolutely no fracking sense. It's so secret the FBI doesn't know about it, but every rich bastard in america is using it regularly for date night? College professors too? It does pro-bono work for damaged children and bereaved parents? A heavily scarred doll is allowed to just drive out of the building? Secrecy is obviously their watchword!

You can have a "high-minded inquiry into identity, hedonism-culminating-in-slavery, and feminism" (nice phrase). Whedon can (and, of course, did) have genre shows where he skipped the specifics with reckless abandon because it's really all about a blonde vampire slayer kicking ass, or a family-like group in a magical spaceship, and I'm right behind him. But you can't try to say real things about the world if your setting makes no fracking sense because you shouldn't be relying on that particular kind of suspension of disbelief, you've already spent all that capital on the tech. Whedon can do mythos, but he's not much of a detail worldbuilder, and the Dollhouse needed firm foundations.

The real strength of the thing was the technological premise - there was so much they could do, and, to be fair, they touched on it. Persistence of consciousness after death for the rich. Body swapping etc. But rather than taking those ideas and running with them into new territory, too often the show devolved into episodic business-as-usual. Echo as a character was virtually the same up until the very end of the first season, so there was no real personal arc to follow - just a succession of apparently poignant moments against a new painted backdrop each week - and the implications of this society-shattering tech were only occasionally mentioned and usually waved aside by the end of the hour. There was precious little payoff for the audience's involvement.

It has, admittedly, improved since it kicked off. Parts were intriguing, gripping and occasionally intense. And I will watch the rest to see where they do take it in the end, but I really think it started off heading too much in the wrong direction to ever fully recover.

And I think Dusku's acting has been getting much better as it goes along.
posted by Sparx at 6:49 PM on November 11, 2009


No, Firefly started out as a different kind of unwatchable dumbness. Did you see the first (aired) episode?

Sure. But even acknowledging that airing the train robbery episode first was a Fox fuckup, that episode still had oodles more character and oomph than any of the early Dollhouse episodes. And when you actually watch Firefly in the order Whedon filmed them, well, then, there's no wait time at all before the series hits the stratosphere. That first two-hour pilot is amazing sci-fi television, which puts the kibosh on the "All Whedon Needs Time To Develop" rationalization. Dollhouse just wasn't very good.
posted by mediareport at 7:11 PM on November 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


the first handful of episodes of Dollhouse were heavily controlled by FOX.

Whedon has admitted that the reason there were no large Dollhouse dolls early on is because he caved in to Fox on the weight issue.
posted by mediareport at 7:14 PM on November 11, 2009


winna: "shetterly is currently visiting us from a river in Egypt, I think."

shetterly is the baby Moses? It all makes so much sense now.
posted by kathrineg at 7:59 PM on November 11, 2009


kathrineg, I ain't de only one from de Nile.
posted by shetterly at 9:17 PM on November 11, 2009


For the Terminator fans weeping bitter tears (all three of us, apparently), take heart: if Dollhouse had died and Terminator had lived, we'd probably end up with both shows cancelled anyways, and the Whedonites would burn effigies of Lena Headey in the streets while wearing yoga outfits in memoriam. Or something.
posted by chrominance at 9:36 PM on November 11, 2009


I was shocked that Dollhouse survived over Terminator:SCC. That show was really getting interesting and I was fascinated with where they were taking it.
posted by Thistledown at 9:37 PM on November 11, 2009


Not surprising. I liked Firefly, didn't love it but liked it well enough, good sci-fi television is something of a rarity. That said, Whedon is pretty much a hack whose shows seems to be designed to appeal to a very small niche, Dollhouse and Buffy seem to fit that bill.
posted by IvoShandor at 10:19 PM on November 11, 2009


It was about time and honestly, it shouldn't have been renewed for another season in the first place. I'm really a fan of Whedon's shows and I adore Eliza Dushku, but Dollhouse never, ever made it past the "It's Whedon, you have to watch it" state for me. Yes, the premise was interesting, yes the original pilot was done very well, yes, there were some strong episodes, yes, there were some interesting characters - but in the end it all didn't add up to a good show.

I also wonder where the Glau curse will strike next, I hope she signs on Heroes to end this horrible mess of a show once and for all.
posted by starzero at 11:05 PM on November 11, 2009


I am now theorising that Whedon's episode of Glee will turn out better than expected, and he'll return for more than one episode. Just sayin'
posted by saturnine at 11:16 PM on November 11, 2009


What actually set this show apart from other Whedon vehicles was the "campyness" factor. That's what had me mostly scoffing and eye-rolling at all of his other shows, and it's where the big break in support from his fans come in. It's interesting to see people talk about the "awesome characters" and the "interactions" between them, and yet I always thought that was the most ridiculous part his shows. Then comes along Dr. Horrible where he intentionally plays up that aspect to 11 and the show is a hit across the board. But forbid he make a show with actual realistic (for the most part) people and dialogue, all of a sudden his fans are decrying his show as terrible. Shitty acting aside, I think that's a bit telling of his fans and the expectations of him.
The whole slavery/prostution/blahblahblah is also a bit overwrought. Sure that angle was played up a bit, but if that's the only thing you saw in that show then you missed out. Plus the whole part where the dolls were willing participants kind of gets glossed over in that argument, and yeah I'm aware Sierra, and possibly Echo, weren't willing. But I'd suggest chillax with the dead horse flogging on the topic and you might have been able to see past that.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:35 PM on November 11, 2009


I also wonder where the Glau curse will strike next, I hope she signs on Heroes to end this horrible mess of a show once and for all.

I've been resigned to thinking that Heroes is a magic show. Everything makes sense now.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:40 PM on November 11, 2009


Shetterly: I loved Buffy from start to finish. Killing her at the end of the fifth and final season? Brilliant. The kind of integrity you rarely see on TV.

Redbeard: Umm...final? You've got some catching up to do! 2 more seasons (if you don't count comics) worth.

elizardbits: Man, I almost feel bad crushing your dreams here. Especially since season 7 was kind of pants.

The Pusher Robot: HAMBURGER! HAMBURGER!

Oh, how I was mocked.... {\}
posted by tzikeh at 11:45 PM on November 11, 2009


The real strength of the thing was the technological premise - there was so much they could do, and, to be fair, they touched on it. Persistence of consciousness after death for the rich. Body swapping etc. But rather than taking those ideas and running with them into new territory

You know, it'a funny you should say that, because I've just been re-reading a bunch of old books, and I've been working my way through Gibson. House of Blue Lights. The Flatline Dixie. Josef Virak.

Just sayin'.

(Also a reminder how much The Matrix owes Neuromancer.)
posted by rodgerd at 12:03 AM on November 12, 2009


The massive size of the conspiracy was the undoing of the show IMO. It could have been pared back a lot without harming the premise. For starters make the featured dollhouse the only dollhouse, run the dolls as excellent escorts/private party actors instead of openly as dolls, make the tech the result of mad/lone genius instead of belong to a corp.

However the show was way to cerebral to make it on broadcast TV. Much of the criticism of the show I think is directly the result of trying to broaden the audience.
posted by Mitheral at 12:28 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I started out very much disliking the show, started to like it quite a lot, but then less so again lately.

So it's a wash, for me at least.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:26 AM on November 12, 2009


All you need to know about what went wrong with Dollhouse is in the commentary for the second version of the first episode. Whedon is clearly very unhappy with what he's watching, fixating in particular on the boat and opening bike scene, but can't really say it. Pretty much all the criticism the show gets seems to be as a result of the studio notes and the changes he had to make up front in order to get the show on the air, the wobbles expressions of Whedon having to deal with the fallout. He wanted to make a show about identity. They wanted a show about kick ass girls who clearly aren't prostitutes even though they undoubtedly are, a cross between the Charlies Angels film and Mission Impossible. In general, though truthfully on none of his series was he allowed to work unhampered ...

Buffy is what happens when you leave Joss alone.
Angel is what happens when you leave Joss alone.
Firefly is what happens when you leave Joss alone.
Dollhouse is what happens when you don't.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:57 AM on November 12, 2009


And now... I am pressed to watch what Fox is flushing down the network toilet.
posted by tybeet at 3:33 AM on November 12, 2009


Perhaps now that it's over, Dushku will have time to consume an occasional sandwich.

You know what? I'd watch that show. Probably in slow motion.
posted by rokusan at 4:47 AM on November 12, 2009


I'm sure I remember Kevin Smith saying (probably in one of the 'Evening with' DVDs) that he didn't overly care if a film failed at the cinema because the majority of the money was to be made on the DVDs.

Now, if a DVD box set costs x3 that of a movie (£50 vs £15), and the episodes are half the length of a film (45min vs 1h30), you're looking at at least 6 episodes of cinematic quality stuff being self financing on DVD.

You can probably do more that those 6 episodes because you've got lower production costs/standards; no massive advertising budget of a movie; and probably less big name stars...

So why have we never seen a straight to DVD continuation of a TV series...?
posted by twine42 at 5:43 AM on November 12, 2009 [4 favorites]


By the way, how does TV work? Does Fox killing a show mean it's dead, or does it mean Mutant Enemy takes their ball off with them and goes to find another sponsor to put their name on the shirts...?

Not to self, leave the fecking metaphors alone. And stop doing the "What's a Meta for?" line, even in your own head.
posted by twine42 at 5:46 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


if LOST would have been on Fox they probably would have put it in a bad time slot and then canned it too.

i don't get into too many shows, but the ones I do like ALWAYS get cancelled.

Carnivale (which was HBO, i know), FireFly, Life on Mars, now Dollhouse.

At least I still have the last season of LOST to look forward to.

*sigh*

damn it, i really liked where Dollhouse was going. Belonging was a great episode. I was really starting to feel sorry for Topher.

i'm with twine42 - where are the DVD continuations of TV shows? i would totally buy the rest of Carnivale & Firefly & Life on Mars. i would rather they just let the season go on as planned rather than trying to wrap it up quickly and continue it on DVD.

maybe he could move it in a direction he wanted since he didn't have to get on broadcast channels anymore and get past the censors.
posted by sio42 at 6:09 AM on November 12, 2009


Joss fell victim to Eliza. She was horrible in her last show too. She's the Ted McGinley of Fox.
posted by stormpooper at 6:31 AM on November 12, 2009


I really want to like her because in her interviews, it seems she really cares about acting rather than fame, but Dushku is better suited for supporting roles or as co-lead.
posted by spec80 at 7:01 AM on November 12, 2009


Sometimes I wonder if Fox just cancels shows to up their DVD revenues.

NOTE: If I'm wrong about how DVD revenues work, let me know.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:44 AM on November 12, 2009


Vampire Weekend

You may enjoy the opening.
posted by dragonsi55 at 7:58 AM on November 12, 2009


twine42 : So why have we never seen a straight to DVD continuation of a TV series...?

Both Stargate SG1 and Futurama have used this method. It's probably going to be more common going forward and the model proves itself.
posted by quin at 8:05 AM on November 12, 2009 [3 favorites]


i'm with twine42 - where are the DVD continuations of TV shows? i would totally buy the rest of Carnivale & Firefly & Life on Mars. i would rather they just let the season go on as planned rather than trying to wrap it up quickly and continue it on DVD.

Imagine a series which did that, and which created the kind of "television by appointment" phenomenon which Joss managed to create with Dr. Horrible when it was first released. Put each episode up online for free viewing for 24-hours only... Then when a full DVD's worth of episodes is available, put it on iTunes and sell physical media through Amazon's On-Demand-Disc-Burning service. Then when the whole thing is wrapped up, sell the entire set in a nice deluxe box set complete with collector's booklet and commentaries and other bonus features with nice artwork and all that. I think it's a business model that would work. Heck, I'm not a Whedonite by any definition of the word, but I found Dr. Horrible to be so charming that I make the iTunes video purchase, bought the soundtrack and STILL ordered the DVD when it was available.

Oh, and Life On Mars -- get the BBC version, and its (less good but still quite interesting sequel) Ashes To Ashes. It's shocking to see how much the American show copied (in some cases shot-for-shot) the BBC version.
posted by hippybear at 8:09 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'd be surprised that no one seems to have posted this link yet, except that most commenters seem to think that it's all Eliza Dushku's fault, as if the show's creator and executive producer had nothing to do with the casting.

I'm not here to slam on Whedon; look, Firefly is one of the literally handful of shows that I own the complete run of. (Not a long run, of course, but still.) But I didn't watch it until well after Serenity had left the theaters, because of all the Browncoats telling me that I couldn't be a trufan if I didn't see it on the first run and evangelize for it as tirelessly as they did. It makes me wonder how many people are wearing this shirt unironically.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:54 AM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I consider myself a good fan of Whedon, but I've never really liked that t-shirt. I mean, you're not a Master until the Jedi Council SAYS you're a master.

And Quin named off probably the two best examples. SG-1 has had two movies spun off. Futurama is / was more iffy, in that originally, the animation for the movies was supposed to go toward episodic content for tv. Basically, the movies are something around four episodes meshed together (sort of painfully so for a couple of them). So sell the dvds, then air the episodes separately (with a little more content to each), and then you can even then sell the season with the episodes separately on DVD. Stargate Atlantis did have plans to do a movie following the conclusion of that show, but the economy and the less than stellar results of the Caprica pilot/movie has appeared to put a freeze on the plan. (Regardless, Caprica the show will be coming out this January on the Syphilis channel).

For all that Firefly and Dollhouse have been canceled, Whedon has been overall pretty darn successful as a producer. He's had two shows that ran from five to seven seasons. Two other shows that at least had 13 to 26 episodes produced. A movie spin off from one of those shows. A highly successful internet episodic show. Then there's all the less noted work he's done on various scripts. He also has at least one movie in production. The guy ain't a failure by any means, and is well known enough to be invited to guest direct episodes of the Office, and in the near future, Glee (on Fox!).
posted by Atreides at 9:44 AM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


You all are missing the IMPORTANT thing here, which is now that Dollhouse is cancelled, there's room in Fox's schedule for...another reality show! Woot! Who needs some silly sci-fi show when we can have cute twenty-somethings eating bugs on a tropical beach and backstabbing each other?

So goodbye Dollhouse, you've been voted off the island- make way for Survivor: Myanmar!
posted by happyroach at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2009


Add me to the "didn't care about Dollhouse but was very sorry to see T:SCC cancelled" crowd. Although when T:SCC got moved to the Friday night death slot, I could read the writing on the wall.

it's not as though there's a huge long history of Friday nights being really bad for sf/fantasy

Well, not so much specifically bad for SF/fantasy, as just bad in general for just about anything except maybe sitcoms. And the fact that a few cable networks (SciFi, USA) have put together decent Friday night blocks does not nullify the general case. It's not without reason that Wikipedia and TV Tropes both have articles on the topic.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:51 AM on November 12, 2009


Dollhouse was just another datapoint showing that Firefly was an aberration in the "Whedon takes interesting premises and then makes them into shows I don't like" theory.

I didn't much care for T:SCC either.
posted by ODiV at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2009


For the record, the guy on PVP created that shirt because he thought Serenity was so much better than the last Star Wars prequel and he felt betrayed by Lucas.
posted by Ber at 11:06 AM on November 12, 2009


but the economy and the less than stellar results of the Caprica pilot/movie has appeared to put a freeze on the plan.

Are you sure? Looks like it came out. I'm going to have to check it, but keep my expectations low.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:13 AM on November 12, 2009


I'm going to have to check it, but keep my expectations low.


DANGER POINT. AVOID.
posted by The Whelk at 11:26 AM on November 12, 2009


Are you sure? Looks like it came out. I'm going to have to check it, but keep my expectations low.

...


For emphasis:


... ...
posted by Atreides at 11:31 AM on November 12, 2009


Good riddance.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:01 PM on November 12, 2009


So it's a wash, for me at least

I think it's dead for everyone, Stavros. Sheesh, no need to bring up painful memories.

After reading this thread... am I the ONLY one who liked both Dollhouse and Terminator last season, and is sad both of them will be gone?
posted by flaterik at 12:25 PM on November 12, 2009


You may enjoy the opening.

That was shameless. And made me giggle. I love nathon fillion in nearly everything he's done... why have I not watched castle?
posted by flaterik at 12:28 PM on November 12, 2009


She's the Ted McGinley of Fox.

I'm sorry but Sorkin undid the McGinley curse.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:18 PM on November 12, 2009


I'd like to see him write an office drama about Wolfram and Hart. Follow the lives of a bunch of late 20 something/early 30 something yuppies as they learn to live, love and summon demons as the stars come right again and all of mankind is held in thrall by the inexorable coming of the Great Old Ones.

You know, the more I think about this, the more I really want a show like this. I don't know about anyone else, but for me personally, this concept really has legs. You could name pretty much any show or concept, and then add the phrase "but they're evil and summon demons" to it, and I would watch it.

-A law drama, only they're evil and summon demons.
-A crime procedural, only they're evil and summon demons.
-A sitcom, only they're evil and summon demons.
-The West Wing, only they're evil and summon demons.

Get on it, Hollywood.
posted by Caduceus at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I liked both T:SCC and Dollhouse and watched every episode of both. But I'm firmly in the camp that liked the show despite and not because of Dushku. (I never liked Faith either and was so glad when she fucked right off.) When you explicitly set out to construct a show around one actor, that actor has to be able to deliver or it just falls apart and I think that's what happened here. And I just want to agree that if your only exposure to Dollhouse was the first five or so episodes then you really are missing out, because those early ones were truly the weakest by far.

Why not put it in the same night as Bones and Fringe, and have a whole night of weird shows? Totally never made sense to me.

I understand the sentiment, but Fox only programs 8pm-10pm so there isn't room for three hour-long shows.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:39 PM on November 12, 2009


I think everyone who hasn't watched the most recent episodes of Dollhouse is selling him- or herself very short. As they've moved away from ALL DUSHKU, ALL THE TIME to developing the other characters, it's turned into a vastly improved show...and I say this as the dorkiest Whedon fangirl of all time. (My cats are named Spike and Giles, for heaven's sake...)

Dichen Lachman has been especially fun to watch, there's an ep focused solely on her that is great, and shows Fran Kranz's Topher character in a whole new light. I adore Olivia Williams. And hello, Agent Helo!

So, in short, I'm irritated. Eponysterical, I know.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:54 PM on November 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Agent Helo

I have gathered from my BSG-watching chums that this dude is the cat's pajamas, but I thought he made Dushku look like Olivier in comparison. He squints or looks constipated to express every shade of human emotion.

I was very impressed with Dichen Lachman, and Enver Gjokaj could read the phone book to me without complaint. Both of them sold the concept as well as anyone did in the show.

I love nathon fillion in nearly everything he's done... why have I not watched castle?

Castle is fun. Nathan Fillion swanks his way through every episode being dashing. There is some kind of murder or something each episode and some sort of subplot with Stana Katic's mom having been murdered, but the reason to watch is Fillion being a sassy scenery-chewer. At one point he is walking down the street, looks in a window at his reflection and says 'I really am ruggedly handsome, aren't I?'
posted by winna at 11:50 AM on November 13, 2009


I have gathered from my BSG-watching chums that this dude is the cat's pajamas, but I thought he made Dushku look like Olivier in comparison. He squints or looks constipated to express every shade of human emotion.


I was surprised by how effective he was on BSG and how ludricus he seemed on Dollhouse. I chalk that up to directors, apparently the BSG set was very hands-on and "actory". They complained a lot on the commentaries about the journeymen TV directors who just wanted to finish filming as quickly as possible.
posted by The Whelk at 11:53 AM on November 13, 2009


Yes, Castle is the primary reason that I'd be sad if Joss ever decided that he wanted to resurrect Firefly. Don't get me wrong, it's one of my very favorite sci-fi shows ever, but if he did manage to get it back on the air, it would mean that Fillion wasn't doing Castle anymore.

And that would be a crime as well.

Clearly, there is only one solution: we need to start cloning Nathan Fillion. I honestly can't see any other recourse.
posted by quin at 12:16 PM on November 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Indeed, Castle is good fun. For the Halloween episode they even had him dressing up as his Firefly character, only to have his daughter goad him for already wearing that "like five years ago." (youtube)

At one point he is walking down the street, looks in a window at his reflection and says 'I really am ruggedly handsome, aren't I?'

The producers must have liked that line as well because it's been made part of the little brief explanatory introduction montage that's at the beginning of every episode now.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:40 PM on November 13, 2009


So I've started watching Castle thanks to this thread and it's pretty good. However I'd trade it for Firefly in a heartbeat.
posted by Mitheral at 7:03 AM on November 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


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