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the network pretty much wanted to back away from the concept five minutes after they bought it
December 3, 2009 3:23 PM   Subscribe

Why Dollhouse failed. Lengthy interview with Joss Whedon at the Chicago Tribune's TV blog. May contain light spoilers for the last few episodes of the show.

"The problems that the show encountered weren’t standalone versus mythology [episodes]," Whedon said. "Basically, the show didn’t really get off the ground because the network pretty much wanted to back away from the concept five minutes after they bought it. And then ultimately, the show itself is also kind of odd and difficult to market. I actually think they did a good job, but it’s just not a slam-dunk concept."
posted by gerryblog (151 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
How about the fact that it wasn't very good?
posted by Danf at 3:27 PM on December 3, 2009 [26 favorites]


I would just like to point out that this the seventh post to MetaFilter about a show that debuted less than a year ago. (Yes. Believe it, Mad Men post-haters!) I think it's safe to say, then, that the reason Dollhouse failed was NOT MetaFilter.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:30 PM on December 3, 2009 [13 favorites]


Wow, Joss Whedon sure makes a lot of things that it's everyone else's fault for not being successful.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:30 PM on December 3, 2009 [40 favorites]


Danf, opinions differ on that. Episodes 6-11 and 13 of last season were (I thought) extremely good. But Mutant Enemy never seemed to have a very good handle on the premise as a whole, and I'm not sure that ever really knew what they wanted to show to be about. Is it a critically acclaimed loss leader or is it supposed to have high ratings? Is it an Eliza Dushku vehicle or an ensemble show? Is it serial or episodic? Are its characters tragic or villainous? Is it a feminist critique of late capitalism or a machine for generating sexy girls in miniskirts? They never decided and it shows.

Dushku was the wrong lead, too. All of the other Doll characters are played by very good actors and actresses; she couldn't really keep up.
posted by gerryblog at 3:32 PM on December 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


MetaFilter: a lot of things that it's everyone else's fault for not being successful.
posted by gerryblog at 3:33 PM on December 3, 2009


I'm no help at all to Whedon. I only love his shows after they've been canceled.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:37 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I agree with Danf, the show sucked. I also agree with gerryblog, Dichen Lachman was awesome.

But I mostly agree with Danf; the show sucked, a lot. A whole lot. It was a really bad show. Writing, directing, casting, entire premise, it all sucked.
posted by Science! at 3:41 PM on December 3, 2009


MetaFilter: opinions differ on that.
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:43 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Frankly I dropped out early; the dolls, lacking as they do agency or volition, make for bad drama. It's hard to care when the narrative is constructed deliberately around disposable simulacra.

I respect the issues he's trying to explore, I guess—I just think that's the wrong way to do it, and i think the storytelling possibilities with the Dollhouse setup are pretty limited.

I wish we could've gotten another season of Sarah Conor Chronicles instead.
posted by pts at 3:46 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]




How about the fact that it wasn't very good?

I'm pretty much going to go with that.

"Dichen Lachman - Superspy" would be awesome though.
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on December 3, 2009


I'll pipe in that I think Whedon takes a while to hit his stride. Personally I think the unaired "Epitaph One" of Dollhouse was fantastic. That being said, the series was really a kind of one-shot concept that perhaps wasnt thought out all that well. Could have been done better, perhaps could have flourished. Perhaps Whedon, Bryan Fuller and Sean Cassidy can share a beer sometime and commiserate.
posted by elendil71 at 3:51 PM on December 3, 2009


I want Reaper back. That show was great.
posted by Artw at 3:53 PM on December 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Dollhouse failed because, primarily, Eliza Dushku does not have the range required to excel in that role. It was a vehicle to show off her acting ability, and she doesn't actually have very much. She does tough-girl really well, is fairly convincing as a newlywed, and does poorly at nearly everything else.

Some of the supporting actors were first-rate, though. In particular, watching Enver Gjokaj, aka "Victor", turn into a psychopath was deeply creepy. It really did look like there was someone else behind his eyes. He is good. Dichen Lachman, as "Sierra", also did some outstanding work.

I don't think it's a coincidence that the best episodes were with the ones with the least Dushku.
posted by Malor at 3:57 PM on December 3, 2009 [18 favorites]


I hope to see more of Enver Gjokaj.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:58 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm presently attempting to slog through the first few episodes of Dollhouse. I have season one and I don't think I'm going to make it through.

You people are being too kind wrt Dushku. Every previous thread on this topic has been too kind to Dushku.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:59 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yep, this is all on ED. Whenever the supporting actors get to star, this is a whole different show.

Despite Whedon's infatuation with her, she is not a very skilled actress.

(if you are just starting this show, feel free to skip season one until "Man on the Street".)
posted by mek at 4:02 PM on December 3, 2009


Dollhouse had some good episodes, and some great moments, which is more than can be said for a lot of the generic dramas that are out there. It also had some awful episodes, especially at the start. I hope the supporting cast gets some good work out of it: both Victor and Sierra were much better than Dushku's Echo.
posted by smackfu at 4:02 PM on December 3, 2009


I dunno. Dollhouse was not very good, and even Dr. Horrible was more of a love letter to the hardcore Whedon devotees than anything else. The comics he's been writing, on the other hand, are the best thing he's done since Serenity. His X-Men run, particularly, was great.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:03 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Despite Whedon's infatuation with her, she is not a very skilled actress.

In fairness to Whedon, who as previously established only fails due to bad luck, she was not only a producer but the sole reason the show came about: Fox's development deal was with *her*, not with Joss. She made the show happen, but the cost was that it was her showcase.
posted by gerryblog at 4:05 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'd add that the unaired pilot really reveals how badly Fox fucked up the show. If that pilot had been the first ep, this "slow to hit his stride" stuff would be nonsense.

So, basically it's Firefly all over again.
posted by mek at 4:05 PM on December 3, 2009


His X-Men run, particularly, was great.

Hmm... kind of dragged in singles, was alright in trades, but the end was crap. Still, better than the boring ass-Ellis run.

Morrisons X-Men kicks the arse off of both of them, of course.
posted by Artw at 4:05 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist - if you really can't make it through the first few (and #3, man, woof, who could blame you) try skipping to #6, it starts to pick up at that point. If you really can't get into it at all, try watching #13 Epitaph One, which seems to be well liked, at least.

Personally, I think it had potential, but it was too scattered in it's aim, and Dushku just tanked the show for me, she can't act her way out of a wet paper bag. I wish they focused the show on the universe of Epitaph One, and found a way to tie it into a Firefly prequel (i.e. Earth that was. In some ways the out of events of Epitaph One could have presaged the Reavers). Now that could have gone places.
posted by 1024x768 at 4:06 PM on December 3, 2009


Durn, the first, um, I think it's four episodes of the first season are terrible. It's either Episode 5 or 6 where it starts to improve some. Then it's kind of hit or miss for the rest of the season, except for Epitaph One, which was really excellent. (and barely had any Dushku at all.)

I've only seen like 1 or 2 episodes of Season 2, so I can't speak to that, but there were definitely parts of Season 1 that were worth watching.
posted by Malor at 4:07 PM on December 3, 2009


1024x768, I think you're right about Epitaph One. If the second season had retooled to focus on the 2019 plotline season two would have been better. Signing Amy Acker (another better-than-Dushku actress playing a meatier rule) as a regular would have sealed it.
posted by gerryblog at 4:08 PM on December 3, 2009


"It was a really bad show. Writing, directing, casting, entire premise, it all sucked."

Entire premise? It may have been disturbing but I don't think the premise was bad. It's a framework that could have been built on for years with good results.
posted by Mitheral at 4:11 PM on December 3, 2009


Needed more Naked Helo.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:12 PM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


So, basically it's Firefly all over again.

Is it fuck.
posted by Artw at 4:14 PM on December 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think what's really infuriating about this show it that would have been really easy to do well. First of all, dolls can't be main characters. Make it focus on the Dollhouse staff. Then, make the central idea of the series how people's moralities change with the exterior circumstances, often reflecting naked self-interest. Give it an overarching plotline that really drives the whole thing— Ballard's pursuit of the Dollhouse could have been good with a bit more screen time, but Echo's awakening (season 2) is just weak, weak, weak— and then soak it in atmospheric scariness. Being able to wipe people minds is portrayed as being kind of eh, but the show would have a lot more impact if it was really played up how absolutely terrifying that technology is: make more stuff go wrong, make Topher more of a psychopath; "Epitaph One" touched on this but it really needs to be a driving idea behind the series. Add a dash of HR Giger. Bake the writers until done.
posted by Electrius at 4:15 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Ugh. The idea of having to get through several episodes to hit anything worthwhile doesn't appeal, but if -- as some of you are suggesting -- I can just skip a bunch, I'll probably give that a try. 6 and 13 it is.

she was not only a producer but the sole reason the show came about: Fox's development deal was with *her*, not with Joss.

Wow. I don't remember stumbling across that fact before. So will Tori Spelling get to be the next Whedon heroine on FOX? Can't wait to find out.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:21 PM on December 3, 2009


There was a moment or arc in nearly every episode that made me go "Hell yeah! More like that!" and made me keep watching. And the episodes with very little Dushku were the best ones, I think. I like Dushku very much as Faith in BTVS, but she can't carry a show. Even without all the network fucking around that got done to it, I don't know that it would have lasted longer than it has. Did. Whatever.

Anyway, yeah. More episodes like Epitaph would have made it a better show, though I'm not sure it would have made it a successful show, IYKWIM.
posted by rtha at 4:23 PM on December 3, 2009


It's disappointing that Epitaph One was an afterthought - Whedon has admitted as much. Obviously it's the driving force behind season 2, which is great, but it should have been there from episode 1 instead of the shitty Alias clone we got. If the show was building towards that sort of collapse from the get go, and we inch our way there in little slips of morality day by day until POOF what have we done, well, that would be good.

Boyd, Adelle, Topher, Dominic are all very compelling characters. The dolls should be reserved as supporting, for obvious reasons. I was never sold on Helo but he never had an opportunity to act since he has been stuck with the hardboiled private eye role all show long (what a waste).
posted by mek at 4:24 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I kept wondering why Dollhouse was a serialized TV show. The concept would've been better as a movie, or a miniseries, or a comic book. Surely Whedon would have enough clout to move to a smaller network that would support it more and bring his fans with him. A Dollhouse movie could even have been a nice low-budget/high-concept sci-fi thing. Serialized TV just seemed like the worst possible format for the idea.
posted by The Whelk at 4:25 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mr. Whedon may I suggest you talk to the good people over at HBO.
posted by tkchrist at 4:27 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Being able to wipe people minds is portrayed as being kind of eh, but the show would have a lot more impact if it was really played up how absolutely terrifying that technology is: make more stuff go wrong, make Topher more of a psychopath; "Epitaph One" touched on this but it really needs to be a driving idea behind the series. Add a dash of HR Giger. Bake the writers until done.

Yes. The Dollhouse is supposed to be FUCKING HORRIFYING. Now you could dress that up in the zen-yoga-center niceness, but it wasn't there for the longest time and it should have been the driving undertone.
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on December 3, 2009


I hope to see more Enver Gjokaj and Dichen Lachman in other productions. Mr. Gjokaj in particular is tremendously talented.
posted by infinitewindow at 4:29 PM on December 3, 2009


There was a moment or arc in nearly every episode that made me go "Hell yeah! More like that!" and made me keep watching.

I had that. And then season 1 was over and I anticipated more of that in Season 2. And then Season 2 started and I just couldn't be bothered watching it. Nothing I've heard has really made me regret that. And, TBH, If the show can't persuade me to watch it then I'm not really going to begrudge other people not watching it.
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2009


I forgot who wrote it but there was some talk of Fans vs. Viewers, and the key difference is that fans follow the creators around - if Alan Ball did Tru Blood on Showtime rather than HBO, I would have switched. I don't have a loyalty to a network, but to content producers (that being said, what Cartoon Network did with Adult Swim - build up a "mini-network" of stuff that had a very strong, very clear editorial voice. You knew what kind of show was going to be on, regardless, and that's a pretty cool thing to do. )
posted by The Whelk at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2009


Mr. Whedon may I suggest you talk to the good people over at HBO.

People over at HBO: Sorry we only do good shows. Syfy is four doors down on the left.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'd also like to add that Echo's backstory was AWFUL!! If we didn't give a crap about her character before, making her "ditzy hippie animal activist" really clinched it.
posted by mek at 4:30 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'll chime in and repeat what everyone else is saying. Please let this be a show to launch the careers of Dichen Lachman, Enver Gjokaj, and Fran Kranz.
posted by tylerfulltilt at 4:31 PM on December 3, 2009


I do have to say I love how it's always everyone else's fault with Whedon. What exactly did he think would happen with Fox? They'd suddenly stop being the cheap sexploitation network just for him?
posted by winna at 4:35 PM on December 3, 2009


Agreed, winna. He's done four series with two broadcast TV networks now (not counting the latter-seasons switch to UPN for Buffy), and he's shocked, shocked that Fox didn't agree with his approach for Dollhouse? Because, you know, they've never killed a great TV show before in their entire history. I'm not a Whedon hater and wish him well in his future projects, but he either needs to stop believing his personality cult or have someone sit down and explain a few things to him. The ever-popular parable about the frog and the scorpion would be a good start.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:41 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


What blows me away about this interview is that apparently Joss Whedon wanted the show to be more like the standalone engagement episodes in the beginning of season one and feels the "espionage stuff" from season six on was what killed it -- and that it was Fox's fault for making the show go in that direction. Is this guy just completely in his own universe? The first five episodes of Dollhouse were completely terrible.
posted by cj_ at 4:43 PM on December 3, 2009


cj_, based on other interviews I've seen, I think that's a misreading. Episode 1.6 is when the network stopped interfering; episodes 1.1-1.5 are the show they made him make.
posted by gerryblog at 4:48 PM on December 3, 2009


I'm sure it had nothing to do with the overrated Whedon or the overexposed Dushku.
posted by DU at 4:54 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I liked it and Dushku...
posted by whoaali at 4:56 PM on December 3, 2009


It just seems like a copout to say, "The episodes were bad because the network wanted them more episodic." Like he couldn't even make something watchable? It's not like those episodes had great dialogue or anything that even gave a hint of a good idea gone bad.
posted by smackfu at 4:57 PM on December 3, 2009


[Dushku] does tough-girl really well...

I guess you must have watched her do tough-girl in something other than Buffy, because she played that like Jo on Facts of Life.
posted by DU at 4:57 PM on December 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Whedon's other shows have been good because the scripts made them act like real people in the same situation. Jokes were cracked at moments of high drama, or the characters who were most likely to be jesting would get moody and bitter. Few shows successfully combine both humour, action, and drama as well as Joss' big three.

Dollhouse doesn't, and it's less likeable as a result. But again, these aren't real people.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2009


except for Epitaph One, which was really excellent. (and barely had any Dushku at all.)

I'm thinking "No way, there was tons of Dushku! She was the little girl- oh, wait..."

The little girl was awesome. She did like three different characters perfectly.
posted by heathkit at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Durn, the first, um, I think it's four episodes of the first season are terrible. It's either Episode 5 or 6 where it starts to improve some. Then it's kind of hit or miss for the rest of the season, except for Epitaph One, which was really excellent. (and barely had any Dushku at all.)

Not coincidentally, the point where it goes from meh to good is where the network started letting Whedon direct.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:03 PM on December 3, 2009


if Alan Ball did Tru Blood on Showtime rather than HBO, I would have switched. I don't have a loyalty to a network, but to content producers

See now I'd happily follow Alan Ball around. Yet my feelings for True Blood are very much like how a few people are reacting here (There was a moment or arc in nearly every episode that made me go "Hell yeah! More like that!"). Then I got season 2 and just... why bother continuing? At that point, it's clear they have no intention of making use of its potential.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:03 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Eliza Dushku is awful. Just awful. She was Buffy's Scrappy Doo.

Apart from that, I actually buy Whedon's line. I suspect it is always everyone else's fault. I suspect, in particular, that the cast chemistry of Buffy was what actually made that show so great. Because everything else Whedon's done has been crap, and it's gotten worse the farther from the Buffy cast he's gone.

I've gone from a potential Whedon fanboy to actively avoiding anything he's involved with. Except Dr. Horrible -- that was pretty good, but again, I think, good cast.
posted by rusty at 5:15 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


See now I'd happily follow Alan Ball around. Yet my feelings for True Blood are very much like how a few people are reacting here (There was a moment or arc in nearly every episode that made me go "Hell yeah! More like that!"). Then I got season 2 and just... why bother continuing? At that point, it's clear they have no intention of making use of its potential.

It's enjoyable and all, but no Six Feet Under. I can't really see myself getting actively enranged when I get to Season 2 and it goes weird or whatever, because it was kind of dumb-but-fun to begin with.
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on December 3, 2009


Eliza Dushku is awful. Just awful. She was Buffy's Scrappy Doo.

Exactly! With the full knowledge that in this analogy, Buffy herself is only Scooby.
posted by DU at 5:21 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Also, Epitaph One has one of the most terrifying premises I've seen in movies or TV and I love it for that.

And Felicia Day.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:22 PM on December 3, 2009


I think Dollhouse had big ideas and tried to serve them well, and I'll be tuning in for the rest of the run, but I could never speak to one of my friends and be able to call it a good show. Whedon's shows live or die based on their characters, and it's hard to care about the murky dangers of the Dollhouse world when half the characters are completely blank slates.

The best criticism I've read on why Dollhouse didn't work is here. Part 2. Part 3. Worth a read if you've spent any time with the show.
posted by yellowbinder at 5:25 PM on December 3, 2009


It's enjoyable and all, but no Six Feet Under. I can't really see myself getting actively enranged when I get to Season 2 and it goes weird or whatever, because it was kind of dumb-but-fun to begin with.

Enraged? No, that's not what I mean. There were glitters of promise scattered here and there in season 1 amidst the dreck. Season 2 ep 1 just confirmed for me that they had no intention of rising above the mire. Didn't help that I thought their lead was completely unsympathetic -- dumb as a post and fatally self-absorbed. And I didn't care for most of the others, either.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:26 PM on December 3, 2009


They appear to have killed off the most fun character at the end of S1, but I have not watched further to make sure.
posted by Artw at 5:27 PM on December 3, 2009


> cj_, based on other interviews I've seen, I think that's a misreading. Episode 1.6 is when the network stopped interfering; episodes 1.1-1.5 are the show they made him make.

Well I'm not sure about the network interference, but he states pretty clearly that he wanted more focus on the clients/sexuality and less espionage/thriller. Pretty much what I hated about ep1-5 and liked about 6+ is the reverse of that. I guess I'm not really seeing his point outside of trying to lay the blame on this show tanking on some external factor, which is what he does every time one of his projects flops.

And I will not forgive him for Belle Chose, the episode where they swap bodies using some "remote wipe" woo bullshit that apparently transfers your entire consciousness over a 14.4k modem line beamed directly from space, or something. That episode strained my credulity to the breaking point. The whole thing was obviously concocted just for the scene in the club where the girl somehow didn't notice she suddenly had a mans body. That episode was so stupid I was actually angry.
posted by cj_ at 5:28 PM on December 3, 2009


I had to be talked into watching it because the premise squicked the fuck out of me.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:33 PM on December 3, 2009


What gave Whedon the idea that Fox wouldn't mess with his show? They've got a track record of doing that - either through re-ordering shows, lack of promtion, and moving around time slots, or more aggressively through interfering with the show itself. I distinctly remember the producers of Sliders complaining how the execs came in and dictated episode plots to them to the point of driving at least one away. And they already did it to Whedon himself with Firefly (which I truly think could have been better than Buffy had it not been canceled).

So I have trouble feeling sympathy for him, as it was practically being set up to fail.
posted by evilangela at 5:36 PM on December 3, 2009


Whatever the problem it is with that show, the problem is obvious without even WATCHING it. I am a science fiction fan, I liked Firefly a lot, I watched every episode of T:SCC as it aired. I was the perfect demographic for Dollhouse and I never even sat through more than 5 minutes of it. I'm sorry it's dead, I am, and I'll probably watch it on DVD some rainy weekend, but if you can't even get me to watch this show you have huge framing problems. Huge.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:15 PM on December 3, 2009


Tru Blood is Pam in a fuzzy sweater and Jessica being CRAZY AWESOME and occasionally a shirtless Jason Stackhouse that is all
posted by The Whelk at 6:21 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Apart from that, I actually buy Whedon's line. I suspect it is always everyone else's fault. I suspect, in particular, that the cast chemistry of Buffy was what actually made that show so great. Because everything else Whedon's done has been crap, and it's gotten worse the farther from the Buffy cast he's gone.

I've gone from a potential Whedon fanboy to actively avoiding anything he's involved with. Except Dr. Horrible -- that was pretty good, but again, I think, good cast.


Firefly? You didn't like Firefly? That's like weeing on a puppy.
posted by Sebmojo at 6:49 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


What I want to know is how are people so stupid that they think taking their personalities and memories, copying them into a computer, and then transferring them to another human being will somehow transfer their consciousness.
posted by ODiV at 6:49 PM on December 3, 2009


Ruining Runaways should have been enough cause to get everything else he was involved with canceled. Just as a preventative measure.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 6:56 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is how are people so stupid that they think taking their personalities and memories, copying them into a computer, and then transferring them to another human being will somehow transfer their consciousness.

I think the true horror of Dollhouse and other media and stories which involve this trope is that it wouldn't. It's the same as disassembly-reassembly teleportation.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:03 PM on December 3, 2009


/looks at prototype teleporter.

Crap.
posted by Artw at 7:05 PM on December 3, 2009


What I want to know is how are people so stupid that they think taking their personalities and memories, copying them into a computer, and then transferring them to another human being will somehow transfer their consciousness.

Um, weren't you paying attention? They put they put it on a hard drive. Foolproof!
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 7:22 PM on December 3, 2009


I had too many friends go to art school to think that just exploring sexuality and intimacy is enough to make compelling work.
posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on December 3, 2009 [6 favorites]


It's like if you port a game from the arcade version to Atari ST - sure it's the same thing, but it's on different hardware and does it really have a soul?
posted by Artw at 7:37 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Never got the Whedon wank fest that's so rampant among smart folks nowadays. I've never seen *anything* good with his name attached, Firefly included. It was overlong, leaden, dull and had not a tenth of the imagination of shows that cost half as much and had less than half the adulation.
posted by littlerobothead at 7:45 PM on December 3, 2009


Such as?
posted by Artw at 7:46 PM on December 3, 2009


I don't know. After it's all said and done I'm kind of iffy on the show. I like it and it had a good premise but failed to deliver on it's potential.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:51 PM on December 3, 2009


This part of the interview is my favorite:

But for me, the Internet is slightly more interesting right now just because I feel like we have to get in there and start figuring out how to create entertainment without the networks and the studios, because they’re basically trying to figure out how to create and entertain without us...

Residual checks that are so important to the writer, they’re coming in for "Dollhouse" and they’re pennies because they’re not re-running it. They’re just putting it on Hulu. So that whole system is crumbling and with the advent of the new technology, crews are going to get smaller and when things move to the Internet, there is no format where people make the kind of money they’ve made in television.

I think the idea is going to be to create enough jobs so that more people are working so that they can work on more things and that the middle-class writer can emerge and [right now that person is] sort of being squeezed out...

You know, we didn’t win the [writers'] strike. It didn’t go our way. The artistic community is more and more left out of the equation, so the trick is going to be finding out how to make the Internet work in such a way that people [can get by] because it’s not going to pay TV money. It’s not.


And here I thought he'd already come to that understanding years ago, and that Dr. Horrible's success pointed the way pretty clearly. I guess I can't fault him for having one more go at the old definition of success under the dying system, but still get a laugh when I recall his "it's a completely new bunch of people, and from what I've seen, a fairly impressive bunch" comment about Fox when the series was first announced.
posted by mediareport at 8:17 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


God, I hate True Blood. I have watched every single episode to date and I think it's campy, vapid schlock. It hurts me to say it too, because I fucking love Six Feet Under.
Thankfully, I still have Fringe, It's Always Sunny in PA, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Nip/Tuck, Dexter, Family Guy, Archer, The Office, Parks and Rec, and so many other shows that I only keep True Blood for when I've run out of everything else. And I mean everything. I fucking catch up on Hoarders before I watch that show.

I blame it all on Twilight. Twilight may have just possibly ruined vampires forever*.


*Not including Let The Right One In.
posted by Bageena at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2009


Mr. Gjokaj in particular is tremendously talented.

In retrospect, I love love love how he was so implausibly bad as the pretend Russian mobster in the beginning, and then you find out he's a doll and he's supposed to be implausibly bad. And it's wonderful to watch throughout the rest of the show how he effortlessly becomes new people with just a shift of posture, or a look. Lachman is the same way.

I'm not the kind of person to follow actors from show to show, but I will look for the next things those two do, because they were the only bright spots in a cloud of badness.
posted by winna at 8:30 PM on December 3, 2009


If Firefly didn't exist, I wouldn't be getting married in a monthish to the love of my life. For that, I will always love Joss, at least a little.
posted by kmz at 9:29 PM on December 3, 2009


it's campy, vapid schlock.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Even Whedon thinks Terminator should have been renewed instead.

Terminator being cancelled so Dollhouse could live is bad, but not as bad as Deadwood being cancelled prematurely for John From Cincinnati.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:31 PM on December 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Man, I decided that dollhouse was awful about 6 minutes into episode one. I'm surprised they managed even one full season.
posted by empath at 9:37 PM on December 3, 2009


It's so cool that the kid that played Wesley Crusher grew up to write interesting science fiction shows.
posted by fuq at 10:06 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I forgot who wrote it but there was some talk of Fans vs. Viewers, and the key difference is that fans follow the creators around

There's another key difference, at least in my neck of the woods: fans download torrents and share them around, sans ads, gutting one of the major revenue streams for the shows they love. Viewers put eyeballs to a screen and generate the revenue that pays the likes of Whedon and underwrites their show budgets.

Fans are killing the shows they love.
posted by rodgerd at 10:51 PM on December 3, 2009


I liked the whole first season of Fringe, and now at this point in the second season that show is about at the apex of a massive jump over a shark.
posted by P.o.B. at 11:46 PM on December 3, 2009


God, I hate True Blood. I have watched every single episode to date and I think it's campy, vapid schlock.

Terrible, and such big portions!
posted by Artw at 11:57 PM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I just realized that I watched The Alphabet Killer just a couple of months before the first episode of Dollhouse aired. Holy hell did Dushku stink it up in that movie (sorry, it's true), and I think that kind of prejudiced me into not liking her acting in Dollhouse, although I was never fond of Faith at all.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:00 AM on December 4, 2009


Eliza Dushku and Cary Elwes??

burn it. BURN IT WITH FIRE!
posted by mek at 12:06 AM on December 4, 2009


I think the true horror of Dollhouse and other media and stories which involve this trope is that it wouldn't. It's the same as disassembly-reassembly teleportation.

Of course, because the reassembled body hasn't had the magic fairy dust sprinkled on it, which is what matters.
posted by evilangela at 12:11 AM on December 4, 2009


It's actually a valid question in the philosophy of mind, as to whether your copy (or your mental copy) would share your consciousness. Eg. if we could do a brain transplant, where would "you" be afterwards, in the transplantee or the donor. (What's the difference between a brain transplant and a mind wipe?) Transporters are another example, yes, and amnesia is a real-life counterexample.

And it's a totally philosophical question, because how could you tell? It can't be proven or disproven as consciousness is completely qualitative and unmeasurable. You could only know by doing it yourself and then you wouldn't know, because "you" would be no more. Replaced with a new, functionally identical person who would say "yep, worked like a charm!" because they'd have your memories and personality and wouldn't know the difference.

This is why I <3 this show.
posted by mek at 12:36 AM on December 4, 2009


fans download torrents and share them around, sans ads, gutting one of the major revenue streams for the shows they love.

If you don't have a Nielsen box, it doesn't matter.
posted by mek at 12:38 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


And in fact, watching on Hulu is better. Too bad us Canadians can't.
posted by mek at 12:47 AM on December 4, 2009


if we could do a brain transplant, where would "you" be afterwards, in the transplantee or the donor.

There's some argument as to whether consciousness exists in the mind rather than some other part of the body?

(What's the difference between a brain transplant and a mind wipe?)

One is where they take your physical brain and move it to another body. The other one is (presumably) where they erase your mind. They seem completely different to me.

And it's a totally philosophical question, because how could you tell? It can't be proven or disproven as consciousness is completely qualitative and unmeasurable.

No argument here.

You could only know by doing it yourself and then you wouldn't know, because "you" would be no more. Replaced with a new, functionally identical person who would say "yep, worked like a charm!" because they'd have your memories and personality and wouldn't know the difference.

On what grounds could you say "yep, worked like a charm!"? You would know going in that your current body would be destroyed. You would know that a new, identical, individual would be created. I don't see how you could assume that your consciousness had transferred over. I imagine the prudent thing to do at that point would be to be grateful you're alive and never do it again.

A more interesting question, to me, is whether there is something that would cause the same effect already taking place without our knowledge.
posted by ODiV at 1:08 AM on December 4, 2009


I guess you must have watched her do tough-girl in something other than Buffy, because she played that like Jo on Facts of Life.

I was thinking more in this show; I thought her 'tough' roles were actually pretty good. Shockingly, I rather liked her as a bank robber. She overplayed it, but it was still fun to watch.

She was my least-favorite actor in Buffy, but I didn't think she was terrible, just ... kind of repellent, I guess. I wasn't sure whether I didn't like the character or the actor, but considering that I liked her even less in Dollhouse, I suspect it's the actor.

Victor and Sierra constantly surprised and impressed me. Nearly always, Echo made me cringe.

Honestly, I think all of the supporting actors were anywhere from good to great. There was a LOT of talent on that staff. But Dushku was so bad that she threw the show off the rails all by herself.
posted by Malor at 2:02 AM on December 4, 2009


Holy hell did Dushku stink it up in that movie (sorry, it's true)

Oh, I am soooooo sorry that you watched it. After the last Dollhouse fpp I went and looked up what she was in to see if she really did have any other range in her ability. Nope. She has "sexxxy" look, "mean" look, and "confused" look. The confused isn't what she's actually going for, it's just that's all she can muster for sad and scared...and anything that may fall into that spectrum of emotion.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:13 AM on December 4, 2009


I didn't think the show was very good. Reasons:

1) I didn't feel any connection with Dushku's character. Maybe that was a given due to its premise, but still...I really missed all the colorful, sympathetic characters Whedon throws into his shows. I could sympathize with nobody.

2) Where was Whedon's humor? It's one of his very best skills as a writer--his ability to lighten the mood after heavy or serious segments. This show just felt very "one note" in tone. I don't remember laughing through the first three or four episodes I watched. Without his trademark humor I felt the show was way too hammy, self-serious, and stilted.
posted by thisperon at 2:15 AM on December 4, 2009


One is where they take your physical brain and move it to another body. The other one is (presumably) where they erase your mind. They seem completely different to me.

Yes, but you've missed the point: how are they different in terms of consciousness? Is your consciousness transferred in one action, but not in the other? Why or why not?
posted by mek at 2:26 AM on December 4, 2009


Dollhouse: Joe 90, but with lots of dumb Joes.
posted by davemee at 2:38 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


But, hey, tonight we get Summer Glau on the show. That's never a bad thing.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:10 AM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It was tedious and painful to watch Dushku in every episode of Buffy she was in. Each time we saw her, my husband and I would groan, grit and bare it to get to the next episode. I'd seen her in Tru Calling before that (though I am sure it came after, but I didn't watch Buffy as it was coming out, only after it was all finished and done with) and despised her then as well.

I am sure she's a wonderful person, but wonderful actor she is not. She ruins anything she touches when it comes to the stage. She's not believable in any role she's cast in, overacts or underacts, and can never come across as sincere.

Personally, I want to be a Whedon fangirl but the only thing's I've ever liked that he's made have been his comics, Buffy and Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog.

I'll never understand why he picks the least likable characters to make a spin-off with, or new series with, such as "Angel" and "Dollhouse".

The Buffy spin off should have revolved around Spike. He was a much more liked and less one dimensional character with a full history and background that could have been explored. Angel was like a piece of marble with no personality.

Anyway, I'll watch Dollhouse, I tried to have high hopes despite Dushku having been in it but given the comments, I'll lower the bar before doing so.
posted by Malice at 4:41 AM on December 4, 2009


Fans vs. Viewers

Fandom, not fans per se, is perhaps the worst thing to happen to genre content. I'm not sure where it came from (Harry Potter, perhaps), but there seems to be this drive to be a Big Name Fan (and therefore Internet Famous) for almost every new piece of content that comes out. No matter how shaky the show, there seems to be a rush to claim territory as a Big Name Fan from the moment of inception. There is little evaluation as to whether or not the content is worth the devotion - it's the devotion, the being first, that matters. The original fans, the Trekkers and Trekkies, at least had a completed project (TOS) to show their devotion to. The new fandom usually has more than a few promos and some marketing buzz to build on.

But they build! And before you know it, there's a built in audience for a show, ready to evangelize it to anyone who will listen (just remember who told you about it first, K?). This is seen as a great thing by the folks who stand to make money off the content as it amounts to free advertising and a core consumer base. Genre shows that don't involve cops taking off their sunglasses to The Who usually have a hard time in the ratings, so the fandom becomes a great way for execs to defend the property they previously championed. Sure, my pet show didn't outperform that episode of Fat People Sweating in the ratings, but look at the TWOP boards! Think of the DVD sales! This reinforces the desire of gold-rush fans to become Big Name Fans, to become taste makers, people whose opinions matter.

And their opinions seem to matter, not just to the execs who greenlight a project, but to the creatives as well. Fandom is vocal about their shows and an easy way for creators to check in on their audience and their opinions. But due to the nature of fandom, you end up with either sycophants that ignore the fact that the Emperor Has No Plot and love the show/book unconditionally, or fans who complain that 'their' show is being ruined and each new episode is an affront to the Glory Days of last season and How Dare They. Any middle ground tends to be ignored, swallowed up in the Best Thing Ever vs End Of The World debates. So the creators are left with the impression that they are either geniuses whose very poo turns to gold and restores the sight of the blind at the merest whiff OR that their poo suddenly no longer sparkles and in fact is worse than normal poo in that it is so stinky that it can reach back in time and turn previous golden poos to festering turds.

When that happens, the execs get nervous that their core audience is going to flee (they won't - they'll stick around to complain until the show is canceled) and tell the creatives to listen to what they have to say. The creatives are inclined to listen anyways, these were the people that told them they shat gold bricks last season, after all. So then the show gets changes to match a subset of fandom's opinion, which in turn creates a new subset of How Dare You Meddle With My Show and the whole cycle begins a new.

Eventually, keeping up with fandom's rewards are no longer worth the effort. Why bother to 'save' a show again and again if fandom will just flock to a new property? And thus the show dies, its participants free to move on to new properties where they can bring with them some portion of their fandom base eager to be the Big Name Fans for this show which is totally going to be different and better and sparklier than the last one, you guys.

Lost in all this are the viewers, the people who turn on a show to enjoy it for what it is. If they like it, they'll keep watching. If they don't, they change the channel. There are a lot more viewers than fandom and due to the advertising/ratings driven nature of the medium, their opinions, in the long run, matter much more. Courting the viewers is a strategic option that promotes long term success, courting fandom is a tactical option to generate a core buzz. Joss Whedon is great at the latter and sucks at the former. While he can plan out a long arc storyline, he can't plan a strategy to retain viewers. Instead, it's more of a series of tactical moves to keep fandom happy which, at first blush may seem like a strategy, but on further consideration lacks cohesion.

Dollhouse's main weakness was that it counted on fandom to tactically get it over the hurdle of its high concept. Whedon alums! BSG alums! Come watch! Let's show FOX what we can do! Yay! Moves were made to give fandom something to talk about, but the plot, the story engine, just wasn't there. But because of fandom's support, there didn't seem to be a need for things like good storylines, good lead actresses, or a story engine capable of producing plots. Why do that when you could just cast Felicia Day? Hey, let's bring Summer Glau over! Those will pump our ratings for a little while, right? Right, viewers? You all know who Summer Glau is, right? Hello?

Hello?

Where did you all go?

D'oh. Would the last fan out please turn off the light?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:23 AM on December 4, 2009 [19 favorites]


Reaper is AWESOME. I've only seen one episode, but that one episode was better than 90% of television and movies I have seen. I would have watched more, but I didn't actually have a television at the time. I really should watch the rest of the series. Is it out on DVD?
posted by jb at 6:51 AM on December 4, 2009


Yeah, Reaper is out on DVD. Two seasons, no less! The first episode is the best though. The rest are a bit pedestrian. Although I didn't watch the second season because they waited 10 months after the first season to show it.
posted by smackfu at 7:13 AM on December 4, 2009


(The Black Donnely's is another show with a good pilot. Especially the original version with the Arcade Fire song at the end.)
posted by smackfu at 7:22 AM on December 4, 2009


make Topher more of a psychopath

Make Topher MORE of a psychopath? MORE? HOW CAN HE POSSIBLY BE MORE OF A PSYCHOPATH? If you look up "psychopath," he's the photo in the dictionary, because Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell, who brought us "I killed 11 women and kept one of their skulls in a bucket" isn't as photogenic.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:37 AM on December 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


Sebmojo: No, I didn't really like Firefly. I don't really, to be honest, get why anyone would be a big fan of Firefly. It was so mediocre. It wasn't bad -- not nearly bad enough to be cult-popular. But it also wasn't good enough to care about. The stories were predictable, the caricatures... I mean characters were stock. Every episode had at least one relatively enjoyable moment, lots of blah blah blah and usually an ending that left you wondering why you just wasted that precious hour of your life. I watched the first season, or maybe most of it? I don't really remember. At some point I stopped watching, because I didn't care enough to bother.
posted by rusty at 7:47 AM on December 4, 2009


God, I hate True Blood. I have watched every single episode to date and I think it's campy, vapid schlock.

WRONG. True Blood is not schlock. It's trash. Glorious, beautiful trash.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:18 AM on December 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


I did enjoy the scene where Dushku fights Yoda.
posted by brain_drain at 9:22 AM on December 4, 2009


On the subject of fandom, it was a real shame that CBS brought Jericho back from the dead after angry fans sent them a bunch of peanuts. Now rabid fans of every show think that after their show is canned they have a shot at getting it back by doing these sort of idiotic schemes of "support". Well, the revived Jericho only lasted 7 episodes and the ratings were poo. But yet these campaigns continue. I can't remember the details but I'm sure there was one for Moonlight and Pushing Daisies and possibly T:SSC. Fans need to realize that cancellations are all about ratings and nothing else.
posted by Rhomboid at 9:39 AM on December 4, 2009


Fans need to realize that cancellations are all about ratings and nothing else.

Don't be ridiculous! The shows I love are so self-evidently great that everybody watches them. Networks only cancel shows to be big stupid meanie heads.

Well, FOX anyway.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:42 AM on December 4, 2009


Fans need to realize that cancellations are all about ratings and nothing else

Well, there can be some outside factors* governing ratings. Meddling with the substance, order or timeslot of shows can certainly minimise a shows chances. That just doesn't seem
to have been the case here.

(As far as I can tell the majority of outside factors are in turn governed by massive cocaine abuse)
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on December 4, 2009


I wanted to like Dollhouse and actually did get into a bit the first season, despite a litany of problems I had with certain aspects. But over time it just kind of wore on me. Not the concept, which was actually pretty compelling, but the execution. I like the idea stated upthread that it should have followed the people in the Dollhouse and the dolls themselves should have been background characters. It would have made for a much more interesting premise.

And I get where he's coming from, but what did Whedon expect? Did he completely forget his experiences with Fox and Firefly? They meddle, it's what they do.
posted by quin at 10:40 AM on December 4, 2009


So... anything decent and vaguely genre-ish on TV these days?
posted by Artw at 11:09 AM on December 4, 2009


Warehouse 13 got really good ratings on SyFy. Like, best ever for SyFy. I don't know if it's any good; I only watched the first episode and then forgot to watch more.
posted by smackfu at 11:48 AM on December 4, 2009


I think Flashforward is pretty decent. There's also a new UK series in a similar vein called Paradox, although with only 2 episodes having aired it's a little too early to tell whether it will be worthwhile. The V remake has potential but their decision to air four episodes then go on hiatus for several months seems criminally stupid given how hard it is to maintain an audience for a new show these days. Warehouse 13 is generally pretty good but every episode has this moment where they go for maximum emotional melodrama and weepy tears and it always turns me off as the acting just feels too exaggerated and silly. (Plus Joanne Kelly needs like a lip collagen intervention or something.) I'm not a fan of the Stargate franchise at all but SGU recently launched and people seem to like it.
posted by Rhomboid at 11:51 AM on December 4, 2009


I enjoyed and watched every episode of: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dr. Horrible.

I enjoyed and read every issue of Whedon's runs on: X-Men, Runaways, Buffy: Season Eight

I watched several episodes of, did not enjoy, and did not continue viewing: Dollhouse.

Now, I realize that's anecdotal, but perhaps there's a lesson for Mr. Whedon there?
posted by Amanojaku at 12:17 PM on December 4, 2009


Warehouse 13 (season 2 begins sometime next spring or summer) was totally fun, as long as you don't mind getting your X-Files in your Indiana Jones (just the part at the end, where you see the warehouse full of stuff).

I really tried to watch V, but couldn't last the whole first episode.

On the other hand, I thought I didn't like Fringe, but I caught an episode this season, went back and watched last season, and am now a fan.
posted by rtha at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2009


Fringe sounds like it might be pleasingly X-Filesish, but quickly catches a horrible does of "mythology" disease.
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on December 4, 2009


But Whedon said he always wanted look more closely at the desires and fantasy lives of the Dollhouse's clients. [...] Part of the show was going to be about "what we get from each other in our most intimate relationships, be they sexual" or whatever else, Whedon said. But "the interest in the client kind of moved away."

That sound like a show I might have enjoyed more than I enjoyed Dollhouse as realized (i.e.—not very much)

That said, the strength of Whedon's shows has always been the relationships between his characters—a strength which Dollhouse's concept seems calculated to counteract. Also, not enough snappy dialog.
posted by paulg at 12:36 PM on December 4, 2009


Fringe has plenty of episodes that are standalone/monster of the week, if that's your thing. I do follow it, but my main problem is that I have a real problem in the suspension of disbelief department. It's really hard for me to just unclench and let slide all the complete non-scientific horseshit. I don't know why I'm able to do that for some shows and not for others.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:50 PM on December 4, 2009


I'll never understand why he picks the least likable characters to make a spin-off with, or new series with, such as "Angel" and "Dollhouse".

If you had said "least compelling" I might have gone there with you. But least likeable? Speaking as someone who started watching Angel having had very little exposure to BTVS I would say because there's so much more to do with them. What are you going to do in an Allyson Hannigan spinoff that you haven't done before in Buffy? (I'm at a loss as to who more likeable you'd spin off -- Xander, I suppose? The Willow and Xander Show?)

It takes skill to start out with unlikeable characters and build sympathy, or take likeable characters and gracefully destroy that likeability. Unfortunately, it's also become formula, so it's cropping up everywhere in ham-fisted form. I'm only (just a tad painfully) making my way through Buffy, and so see that they appear to be engaging in some character evolution with Cordelia, but from my perspective, starting out with Angel, she was a narcissistic bubblehead, full stop. Of course, they don't stop there, and we get all sorts of interesting (if not unpredictable) characterization coming from that fairly one-dimensional starting point. Angel, the character, is a different story as he is, effectively, fronting the band.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:55 PM on December 4, 2009


I'm at a loss as to who more likeable you'd spin off

Either a show about Oz's walkabout or the mooted Ripper would have offered a lot of goodness.
posted by rodgerd at 1:13 PM on December 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fringe sounds like it might be pleasingly X-Filesish, but quickly catches a horrible does of "mythology" disease.

...you mean like the X-Files?


Either a show about Oz's walkabout or the mooted Ripper would have offered a lot of goodness.

I would watch the hell out of Anthony Stewart Head being a badass occult detective Water guy. Oh my, yes.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:13 PM on December 4, 2009


...you mean like the X-Files?

yeah, but on a superfast sped up timescale.
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on December 4, 2009


Fringe has plenty of episodes that are standalone/monster of the week, if that's your thing.

Last season it did, but this season is pretty much concentrating on the huge story arc that was built up slowly from the 1st. I'm all about overall story arcs but I think it's gonna run it into the ground just as it did for X-Files. I also agree with you on the believability aspect, not that the crap they do is totally unbelievable but comparing last season to this one you could have at least said to yourself "I could see that happening."

The Warehouse 13 finale of last season really fubared it up. Previous to that it was enjoyable, but I'll see where they go with it from now on.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:50 PM on December 4, 2009


Somehow watching Warehouse 13 felt too much like I was watching the Sci Fi Channel to me. Something about it screams Mansquito/Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus .
posted by Artw at 2:56 PM on December 4, 2009


Also something about the whole "We've got videophones/tasers/whatever - but their steampunk!" aspect of the show really rubs me up the wrong way.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on December 4, 2009


Yeah, it's pretty much steampunk with ghosts.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:15 PM on December 4, 2009


Yes, that bugs the shit out of me, along with Artie's whole schtick about how paper and pencil is better than any computer and you can't trust new technology and so on. It just feels to me like it is a character trait that was invented to make it seem like he's a deep/fleshed out character but it just comes across as annoying. If you're going to be such a whiny grandpa about computers what are you doing in a job that requires their constant daily use?
posted by Rhomboid at 3:20 PM on December 4, 2009


I think the one that turned me off watching it forever was one where some dude re-invents a teleporter but it turns him into a ghost in another dimension or something, and they use this old-timey movie flickery effect on the ghost, and it all just seemed so fucking lame.

I probably watched that show a bit more than I should have done before giving up TBH.

Hey! SGU finale tonight! Didn't that just start?
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on December 4, 2009


Rhomboid : Plus Joanne Kelly needs like a lip collagen intervention or something.

I feel bad for saying this because I kind of enjoy the show and I think she does a fine job, but every time I see her, I think that she's about the prettiest fish I've ever seen.
posted by quin at 3:35 PM on December 4, 2009


I have no idea why I have been watching SGU. It's had exactly one episode that has been decent.
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on December 4, 2009


I like SGU. Nothing really going on, but I like it. It hasn't totally morphed into BSG yet so there's that.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:41 PM on December 4, 2009


Jesus christ, quin, I'm laughing so hard.
posted by rtha at 3:45 PM on December 4, 2009


Artw: that's not the finale, that's a season break, a new thing that seems to have arisen in the last few years. They'll have the second half of the season early next year, and then (if renewed) will also have the first half of Season 2 starting in September.

I've liked parts of SGU really well, but I'm not yet enthusiastic about it. Galactica totally had me within the first hour, and then lost me when they turned into a soap in space in Season 2.

SGU has been interesting, but not yet compelling. Worth watching, good TV, and reasonably good SF, but not yet great.
posted by Malor at 4:09 PM on December 4, 2009


A few more moments where Carlyse is right to be a dick over something would help. Having him be evil-scientist-who-is-permawrong is just wasteful.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on December 4, 2009


What's up with all this "Tune in for the fall finale" stuff I keep seeing? That must be at least sort of new, because I don't remember noticing (and being irritated) by it, at least for broadcast TV shows.
posted by rtha at 4:28 PM on December 4, 2009


It's really not new at all, for example BSG season 2 ran ten episodes from Jul-Sep and then a midseason break, then ten episodes Jan-Mar. Practically all of the USA network shows (Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, etc.) follow this pattern as well, except it's 8 and 8 there. Stargate as well was 11 eps Jun-Sep then 11 eps Jan-Mar for ten seasons.
posted by Rhomboid at 4:43 PM on December 4, 2009


Or that Carlyse needs to do shit without explaining even the simplist bit, even after the fact, is a bit annoying. I understand to have tensions build you need to write in a kind of moral ambiguity to characters so that context may make them evil in one instance but in another may make them the good guy. Thereby creating endurance for the characters and in turn stories for the show, but no less annoying.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:07 PM on December 4, 2009


Yeah, honestly, BSG's season "x.5" thing drove me a little nutty, but having mid-season finales made some sort of sense when the next part of the season wasn't going to start for ten months. But for a broadcast channel show that's going to pick up again in January, it just seems odd.
posted by rtha at 5:38 PM on December 4, 2009


Obviously no one watched tonight's Dollhouse but apparently Whedon is telling us that Dubya was a doll and his handler was either Laura or Cheney.
posted by Ber at 8:19 PM on December 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Argh, SGU. It started out slow, but I was sorta getting into it around 6-8 (I thought the time travel one was particularly good). And then they did the cheap melodrama back on earth. WTF? It felt more like it should've been on Lifetime day television. I just don't care enough about these characters yet to put up with 45 minutes of that shit. And the whole thing with the not-actually-fat ("tv fat" I guess) math geek and his ditzy crush annoys the hell out of me -- I was actually hoping she died.

They need to do something with Rush's character, because I also wouldn't mind if he just up and died either.
posted by cj_ at 8:12 AM on December 5, 2009


Whedon knows TV, and still has good ideas (and there is a good idea in Dollhouse, somewhere.) And even though I predicted Fox would pull the plug in 5 minutes the last time Doll House was in the blue (or corporate white) I hope he will be back.

I still think he's crazy for trying to work his ideas on network TV, but that's his thing, man. Shine, on brother.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:09 AM on December 5, 2009


I did think the one of the jungle planet was kind of neat though. But I like that kind of thing. IIRC it was too busy telling a story to have any bullshit Earth drama as well, or if it did it kind of zoomed by without me being irritated enough by it to remember.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on December 5, 2009


Yeah, that's what I meant about the time travel one. I enjoyed it, and the 2 episodes before it were pretty good. I'm thinking the full episode of earth drama was due to blowing their budget early on.
posted by cj_ at 9:17 AM on December 5, 2009


The whole Earth thing just seems unnescesary to me, except as a means of bringing in guest stars from other Stargates that I do not give a shit about. And as a way of doing ham fisted "characterisation" second only in badness to flashbacks.
posted by Artw at 9:24 AM on December 5, 2009


^ Either a show about Oz's walkabout or the mooted Ripper would have offered a lot of goodness.

'Ripper' always seemed to be an easy task and a missed opportunity.

The BBC had already signed off on it. All they needed to do was get Whedon into the same room as Joe Ahearne (Doctor Who, Aparitions, Strange) and they could put something together.

Ahearne's 1998 miniseries, Ultraviolet is practically a prequel for the kind of show that Ripper could, or should have been.
posted by vhsiv at 11:23 AM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ultraviolet is aweosme alnd all, and it would have been great if they followed up on it, but no Buffy spin off is really going to be anything like it.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on December 5, 2009


^Ber:Obviously no one watched tonight's Dollhouse but apparently Whedon is telling us that Dubya was a doll and his handler was either Laura or Cheney.

That idea is as old as Frankenheimer's 'Manchurian Candidate' (1962) and hasn't been done well since. And, yes, I'm looking at you, Jonathan Demme...

Even after the reveal on Dollhouse, my money was still on Barbie being some sort of plant or double-agent.
posted by vhsiv at 6:01 AM on December 6, 2009


This looks kind of hopeful
posted by P.o.B. at 6:40 PM on December 6, 2009


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