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November 08 2008

Welcome to the Underdoghouse. A premature obituary in the New York Observer declares Dollhouse's Friday at 9:00 slot to be "where shows generally go to die." And the Chicago Tribune asks, "Is Dollhouse in the Doghouse?" (For my answer, see headline.)

When your most anticipated show of the year looks no more likely to succeed than a black presidential candidate named Hussein, it is worth noting that stranger things have happened.

Doomsaying must have some strong psychological hold (the Trib guy self-reported "dread") and I suppose a fan of apocalyptic fic should not be surprised to find both it and gloomsaying to be on the outpour, but I don't care to join in it because (1) I'm definitely getting 13 shows by the awesomest creative team I can think of and (2) I just don't care to join in. Not my thing.

Bright side: Dollhouse is now seen as an underdog -- a deserving underdog. Not a bad position to be in, as both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain demonstrated (at different times) during the last campaign.

Updating David vs. Goliath is what campaign consultants call, I think, a "narrative." It's a story whose structure reminds people of the best and most appealing aspects of their candidate. And the narrative fits the Life of Joss, all of whose successes have been unlikely successes. Toy Story? Die Hard on a Bus? Who-fy the What Now?

All subtle reminders that this is a guy who takes big risks to make movies and television shows that people love, ones fans can spread from water cooler to coffee warmer as part of a Watch Dollhouse campaign, which is much more positive than the other kind of campaign, IMHO, hey, I ain't hating, just opining.

Plus, we need a nifty story to tide us over until February. One where the odds are stacked against the protagonist, oh, he's taking a pounding. It's horrible, folks, horrible! But wait! Do my eyes deceive . . ?

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-11-08 22:28 ]
I'm so tired of the panicky responses. Guys, can we just shut up and wait to actually see the show?
You do understand that there's a difference between concern over the handling of the show, and concern over the show itself, yes? Waiting to see the show is fine if one is concerned about the show itself. It's irrelevant if one is concerned about the handling of the show.

(Note: I'm using "concern" instead of "panic", since I continue to believe panic is pointless. Heh.)
Pointy's right, worse come to worst we've still got 13 episodes, which is pretty good indeed. I'll take that over my 45 minutes or so of Dr Horrible (as fun as that was).

(aside: Personal nit-pick, David and Goliath wasn't a fair fight, but only because David had God on his side; David plus God and Goliath so to speak. It's more like a Barack Obama and John McCain fight (oh wait, you beat me to that analogy) unless of course Barack Obama had God on his side (which apparently is a hotly contested subject))
That's a refreshing view of the situation, Pointy. I'm also depressed by the pessimism I've been encountering on sites like those, and even within our own community.

If Whedon fans have learned anything, it's that sometimes the greatest stories come out of dark and dire circumstances like these. I have faith that Dollhouse will be great, as most of you do, and as many obstacles FOX can put in front of the show's success, we'll be there to fight back - because great art speaks for itself, and we've done the impossible before.

So with the news of more production delays and the Friday night timeslot piling up, instead of preemptively pronouncing Dollhouse dead, let's asses the circumstances, and see what can be done to show our support, not our pessimism.
and we've done the impossible before.

Except, you know, not so much.

There is a difference, for whatever it's worth at this point, between needless pessimism and assessment based upon history. The reality is that Friday night historically is a graveyard for genre television more than it's a safehouse for it.

Does that it mean it's ALWAYS that way, or it always HAS to be? Of course not. But it's kind of silly to get annoyed at industry watchers, both professional and fan, who know their history and are pointing it out.

There is, unquestionably, no way to know how things play out in any particular case until we get there and actually find out. That's absolutely true. We won't know until the period beginning February 13 begins. But it's not like concern is being raised without merit.

(And I say that as someone who, as stated elsewhere, finds the Zap2It analysis of the overall FOX schedule to be a very good point, and as someone who isn't, in fact, panicking.)
I know there is a difference, bix, but for the most part, we're seeing a lot of people freak out over rumors and the scheduling. And it's all the same freak-out, repeated forty to fifty times- not just here, but other places, too. Really, 99.99999% of use have absolutely no influence over what's going to happen with this show, and those that do probably aren't sitting around writing posts about it online. Most of the things I've read about it- before I gave up- were all "panicpanicpanic!" and no "useful things to help" so I don't see why this is in anyway constructive.
Fox's decision to have Dollhouse air on Fridays has pretty much damned the show in the eyes of the media and blogosphere. I'd be hard pressed to think how the network could turn this PR disaster around.
Thank you, b!X. I've been trying to express those ideas for a long time now. Well said.
Yes, well said, bix.

And Simon, that's an interesting point about this turning into a PR disaster for Fox. In these days of constant and constantly updated media-blogosphere synergistic reporting, what might have been a relatively low key Fox announcement of the Friday time slot has turned into a flurry of meta-reports about Fox mishandling and pissed off fans. Interesting effect.
The thing about the PR issue is that it should have been a no-brainer for them to grok in advance the reaction, and gotten out ahead of it somehow. Instead they just dumped the schedule and watched the sh*tstorm. Baffling to me. I hate PR people, as a general unfair rule, but they don't tend, necessariy, to be stupid. But someone in all this got caught with their pants down.
I agree that moving Dollhouse to the Friday night slot certianly shows a lack of faith in the show's quality (or at least its' ability to garner ratings gold) but it's really the pairing with 24 that's most disturbing to me. That was going to be a great lead-in for Dollhouse, and it doesn't look good for those of us hoping the "new" FOX will be different.

I'm not disagreeing, bix, either, that careful analysis of the scheduling situation isn't unwarranted. I think we should be concerned. I just don't want that to eclipse what may be a really great show, even if we only get 13 episodes on DVD.
And also the timeslot will be the main story till the show premieres. Journalists won't be asking Joss and co about the premise of the show etc, they'll be asking the cast and crew what they think of Fox's decision to have the show on a Friday and whether the network has already written it off.
I'm surprised that Fox PR has been pretty mum for the expected backlash from this decision, which for some reason reminds me of the backlash Warner got when they decided to postpone the next Harry Potter movie. I'm not even pointing towards the show debuting on the 5th anniversary of Angel's cancellation, just for the fact that they scheduling it on Fridays. It was a great opportunity for some essential PR work from them, that was simply wasted away.

This is a live tweet from Jeremiah Owyang in a web 2.0 summit event yesterday in which Al Gore spoke:
Gore discusses how collective intelligence in web 2.0 also seen in Tuesday's voting. Obama was a collective decision #web2summit.

That's an interesting stance about the issue, and what happened with Dr. Horrible is a strong point on the subject. With the power of the blogosphere and the web, I expected some readier response from Fox as they were to release that in information during the week. They'll need to work 10 times harder, as the some of the trust they got from Whedon fans, that were even defending them (myself included) is almost lost by this point.

What's left of us now is wait, see and hope the US viewers can keep the support up, because - sadly - there still little International viewers can really do.
As far as the 24 thing goes, if I were FOX (if they really are pairing it with House to give it support after being off the air), I would've waited to see the ratings for the two-hour movie, then based on that, changed the scheduling.

If the movie tanks, then I could've understood moving from the original 24/Dollhouse plan. But if it kills, then you'll know the show didn't need House, and FOX's decision becomes even more idiotic. And possibly will expose the fact that the conspiracy theorists are correct and FOX wants Dollhouse to die.

[ edited by pat32082 on 2008-11-08 23:22 ]
And also the timeslot will be the main story till the show premieres.

Which is why, personally, I think it's now become essential that they release the first episode online in advance and make the buzz about the work, not the worry. Moving to Fridays was going to cause problematic buzz as it was, but the delay into February only means a whole extra month of it as well. FOX needs to open the door to talking about the show itself now.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-08 23:22 ]
That's not a bad idea, bix. Especially given the huge numbers of people who watch most tv online (myself included - no cable in college), or on DVR. NBC did the same with Chuck and 30 Rock, and at least in the case of 30 Rock it worked out for them.

Not to mention given the Friday night ratings slot, more and more people will depend on watching Dollhouse and Terminator on DVR and online - having it air first online would create some of the necessary buzz to ensure at least some people will watch it live Friday night.
Maybe the Fox PR people are counting on this being a tempest that passes over. Another side effect of the 24-7 infotainment matrix we're all plugged into is that new stories catch fire all the time, flame out, and are replaced by others. This election season in the U.S. has really demonstrated that. What would have been a week-long newscycle in the past is now rapid-cycled up to a 24-hour or less one. I think our collective memory tends to get shorter as we glom faster and faster onto new things and don't pay attention to the old.

Or I could be talking out of my a#$. Whatever. It's an interesting topic to consider. I'd be equally in favor of your proposition, bix, that the PR people dropped the ball on this big-time. Whedon fans and other ardent fanbases? We don't tend to let go easily. This could keep the bad story alive, with the assist of some high-level fans in the media biz. Whedon fans exist in many arenas and include some of the most visible TV reporters around. Matt Roush on wrote an entry in the last day or two on this latest Dollhouse news. He's not pleased. The underlying attitude in all the reports I've read by TV reporters and media observers is that Fox has screwed up in some way or at least is repeating bad habits of yore. Bad, bad PR for Fox. I'll admit to some schadenfreude about this. Oh yes.

I like your idea about releasing the first ep online, bix. Interesting. A good way to seize back the storyline. Come to ponder the idea for another second or two, it's kind of flat-out insane that they haven't done this. Wasn't the Fringe pilot released into the 'net wilds by official sources well in advance of its premiere?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-11-08 23:36 ]
It was gossi's idea to put the first one online, quite some time ago. I just think that now we've gotten to the point where it's their only chance at a discussion changer.

Wasn't the Fringe pilot possibly released into the 'net wilds by official sources well in advance of its premiere?

They deny it was official. But in this case I don't think it should be leaked. I think they should make an event out of it, like the original Dr. Horrible streams. Put it up online, officially, for only a day, or maybe two. Then take it down. Since the entire point would be to get people talking about the SHOW, draw as much attention to it as possible by, frankly, making something of a stunt out of it.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-08 23:36 ]
FOX needs to open the door to talking about the show itself now.

If Fox does genuinely want Dollhouse to succeed, I would suggest that they announce a very major guest star for the show. It'll help divert attention and get people interested.
Agreed, Bix, that releasing the pilot now would probably be the best course of action.

Of course, the fact that FOX have not reacted to this news, haven't tried to spin or sell it to us in advance and aren't trying to fix it now that the news has hit, is kind-of worrying in itself. It does make one wonder if FOX even still want Dollhouse to succeed. Because what's hurting the show right now is not the actual decission to place it on Friday (the 'lower expectations' and 'survive with lower ratings than needed on other weekdays' might actually end up helping the show in the long run), but the fact that it's getting loads of negative press and buzz right now.

Every television enthusiast and media watcher out there knows Friday is "the kiss of death". Of course, the effect of all this online buzz on the avarage viewer is probably very minor, but the fact that FOX - as of yet - are not trying to "make things better" might point to the fact that they'll not give it a fair shot once it's being aired and/or that they have lost faith in the project alltogether. Of course, they also maybe just don't care enough either way or - even - be stupid enough to not think this through a bit more ;).

But whichever way you twist and turn it, I think it's pretty much a given right now that Dollhouse has gone from one of the spear-points on their schedule to a low priority show. Which is sad in itself, if not persé a priori bad.
Love the internet "event" idea. However, perhaps Fox's PR is being run by Penn/Wolfson rather than Axelrod/Plouffe and they're just not up to it. Maybe they're all about old-school channels for profligacy and reliance on web 1.0 (or before) rather than tightly targeted big spending and use of web 2.0. (Or is 2.0 already dinosaurish?)

Edited to add: the more I think about this brilliant idea of releasing the episode online, the more I like it and the more outraged I get at what seems like a lack of vision by this not having been done. They've got one hell of a fanbase to tap into. Even if the proceeds on "Horrible" haven't been stratospheric (relative to the standards of Fox), surely putting it on Hulu or on their Fox site could net (a) lots of free publicity (like "Horrible" got) and general "ain't Fox cool and of the now" buzz (like "Horrible" got), plus (b) cross-fertilization (bringing eyeballs to ads and exposure to info about other programming on their website).

Having no experience in PR I shall nevertheless say this: idiots!

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-11-08 23:48 ]
I like b!x suggestion, which I did read about yesterday. They definitely need to release it online, even if it means leaking it. Seriously, they need people talking about the show, and not about their programimg decision, and how "their evil execs are trying to kill the show".

I just remembered, Reilly happened to be in charge of NBC when they debuted Heroes, and he has an interesting run for that season with other decisions, before being let go. I remember when the pilot episode was first leaked, it was a little before San Diego Comicon, when they would be the first official screening of it for a larger audience. I remember reading at the time some theories about how the "leak" was unofficially on purpose, since there was not big witch hunt about it afterwards and the blogosphere reaction was added to the buzz generated from the more official ones they got from the Comicon screening back then. The result was how the show became the breakout show of that season for NBC.

From the same season, we got a completely different reaction from Fox, as the first 4 episodes of the 6th season of 24 just happened to also be leaked online, which was about 2 weeks before the official release of the season. They did a witch hunt and did find how the content got online, but it was too late in terms of the episodes being online. But the PR results of their decision were very uneven, but did get some positive reactions for the what was sounding like a promising season. To this day, those first 4 episodes were the most memorable things from that season.
What is FOX's schedule on Fridays in January and the start of February? I'm trying to figure out why the move into February.
Holy crap, doesn't BSG air at that time???

If Dollhouse is on at 9 and then BSG at 10, I for one couldn't be happier. Fox is certainly looking for higher ratings than SciFi... but whatever.

I'll take Joss work in whatever form at whatever time. Niche genre shows need the networks right now, but less and less as time goes on.

To me, this does not spell death and doom for Dollhouse. Not immediately. If it's truly a quality product and Fox doesn't want to lose their investment, they'll make it available through more promotion through new media outlets. They'd be stupid not to.

Then again...

I've come to accept network interference with the product. Joss is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Guess we are too.

If Dollhouse Ba-Rocks, we might have a chance.
BSG should be on right after, at 10PM, yes.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-08 23:55 ]
What is FOX's schedule on Fridays in January and the start of February? I'm trying to figure out why the move into February.

Good question, the programming Press Release (even their blog brought nothing new) was so shallow in terms of real information, just seems like it was burped out, instead of some wider work they did with the previous day announcement, which did concentrate on the return of the new season of 24. And as pointed the programming are mainly for January and February, but most of the announcement concerns January, leaving only the Friday nights with Dollhouse and TTSCC information thrown into the text.
I'm very happy that Dollhouse will be on Fridays. If Dollhouse is good, I will watch it. It doesn't matter what day it airs.
I once ran across a blog written by a network's marketing department. I could've sworn it was for Fox and I'd give anything to find it again, just to see if there's anything related to Dollhouse or the winter schedule on it these days.
Some more random thoughts, before I leave....

Something that just came up to my mind. You know what would've at least lessened the pessimism at least, with a more positive spin towards the story.

There's been comments of how Dollhouse and TTSCC pair up works as an all Sci-Fi night for Fox. They should've made this sense official. A simple Press Release would've sufficed, a separate but simple piece of Press Release that should've have been released on the same day as they announced the January-February schedule. A Press Release about a new Sci Fi Night on Fox, in which "Joss Whedons's new show Dollhouse would serve as lauching tentpole, along with new episodes TTSCC", and work the text for such, that at least seems that there's an effort or belief in the show and all the investment that's been done on Eliza and Joss (including that shorter commercial break thing, they're already doing with Fringe). It wouldn't be some burped out information as it is right now, and the blow of being on Fridays, would've been slightly weaker.

They might still run with some similar take on this story later on, but the effect will never be the same, the damage is already done. If something we learn on PR is that even if you get respond to some action, the strength of the message will never be as strong as the first one.
Reuters did spin it that way in their article...
Fox launches Friday sci-fi block

Fox has shaken up its midseason plans, establishing a Friday night sci-fi block and giving a new drama series an "American Idol" lead-in.

The network plans to air Joss Whedon's highly anticipated new series "Dollhouse" on Fridays at 9 p.m., following the low-rated "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles," which will move from its current Monday time period.

Friday is the second-least-watched night of the week, ahead of Saturday. Monday, on the other hand, is the most popular night, according to Nielsen Media Research.

"Dollhouse" stars Eliza Dushku as an agent for a secret organization that imprints its operatives with skills and personalities. The drama was originally scheduled to air with "24" on Mondays in midseason but has been dogged by creative concerns. Instead, Mondays will feature "House" at 8 p.m. and "24" at 9 p.m.

'Geek Night- On FOX'- talk about a missed promotional opportunity!

The more I think about it, the more I agree with others here that a Friday night slot actually could be a really, really good thing. If the show was to air after 24/American Idol, and perchance the lead in numbers DID drop off, it'd be a bad, bad thing and would probably result in the show being yanked or moved to Friday, anyway, with the 'failed' tag.

At least FOX seems to be giving 'Dollhouse' a less threatening opportunity to grow an audience, accompanied by its' 'family member' TC:SCC. Perhaps we should even be flattered, since FOX may be depending on 'Dollhouse' to help grow T:SCC numbers.

Now, if only someone from FOX/Mutant Enemy could confirm all this, our lemonade may just be a little sweeter.
What will Sci Fi Channel have running on Friday nights for the two hours before BSG comes on at 10PM?
Either Stargate re-runs or Doctor Who probably. *Guessing* I think there is the last half of the last season of Stargate Atlantis to air too. (Not sure since I'm not watching it.)

Edit: OT- went to see how far their schedule is at skiffy and on Dec. 26th is an all day marathon of Highlander episodes! Sweet. (And a re-airing of The Source. Not so sweet.)

ETA: In the NY Times thing, they say, "where shows *generally* go to die." The word "generally" means that it's not definite. It's just what usually happens. Doesn't mean it's going to happen. I'm still not happy with the move. But I'm more annoyed that the bru ha ha (which should have been expected) about the announced move could have been avoided by FOX if they had a reason for the move. Like I said before, they should have gotten out in front of the storm- not announce, ignore the reaction, ect. It's the ignoring of the reaction that has me more concerned then any past history.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-09 02:05 ]
Well, haven't left yet.
As it seems Stargate Atlantis and also Sanctuary will both be over by the time BSG final 10 episodes begins, which is even before Dollhouse debuts. It seems that they'll be showing re-runs at those time-slots.
I don't know about Friday sci-fi or geek night. Last night was Friday night, both my roomie and I were at home, but neither of us were watching television (we both love genre tv). Even if I'm not out on Friday nights, it's just one of the nights that the tv doesn't seem to get turned on.
"OT- went to see how far their schedule is at skiffy and on Dec. 26th is an all day marathon of Highlander episodes! Sweet. (And a re-airing of The Source. Not so sweet.)"

Will it come as a surprise if I say that the Highlander marathon sounds like my idea of a good day's viewing? ;)

I said this in the first thread on this subject but I may as well say it here too. As bad as this Friday slot sounded originally I'm starting to believe that it's maybe a good thing. A really well disguised good thing.

It just seems to me that Dollhouse might have been even worse off in the original Monday night slot. Terminator wasn't exactly doing well there and I've got no real reason to believe that Dollhouse would have done any better. It's a hell of a strong night for television shows and a newbie show thrown into the mix probably wouldn't have survived for long, no matter how good it was. Especially if FOX were looking to it to help support 24's ratings.

The Friday night slot is historically the kiss of death for a television series, especially anything remotely sci-fi related but if FOX get even half decent numbers for Dollhouse in that time slot then it might be enough for them to stick with it long enough for the show to gain momentum. Mediocre ratings are bound to look better on a Friday than on a Monday, I'd say.

I guess all I'm saying is that nothing is certain right now. I just think we may as well do what we can to help Dollhouse survive this move, rather than just go into it believing it's already cancelled. It might actually end up saving the show, who knows?
One of the biggest TV series ever, Dallas, aired Friday night at nine or at ten (it went back and forth). It had the advantage of running during the economic contraction of the late 70s and early 80s, when the only money around was fictional and people stayed in on Friday nights to watch it on television.

Dollhouse is about the ultimate luxury item, bringing your fantasies to life, and it will have a natural appeal during hard times -- as will its (subtle, dramatic, comic, tragic and tragicomic) reminders that fulfilling one's fantasies is not the same as fulfilling one's heart and soul. We live in the perfect moment for such a show. We will see some of it, and there is a chance we'll see more of it. So my fingers are moved to type a gleemoticon.

Wow. A silver lining to our economic crisis. ;P

ETA: *is mentally hugging Pointy*

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-09 04:37 ]
Unless Joss is planning to have Echo emerge from the coed shower at the end of season nine and make the previous season null and void. That would suck.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-11-09 04:56 ]
Updating David vs. Goliath is what campaign consultants call, I think, a "narrative."

Funny enough, there's a new show coming in the spring that's exactly this, a re-tooling of the David and Goliath story. It's called "Kings" and it's going to be on NBC. I saw the first half of the first episode and it was really, really good. Watch out for it in the spring.

As for the entering the Whedon panic room over Dollhouse, maybe it'a little premature. Actually, I think that the fact that it's getting this much attention this early is kind of a good thing. This is almost a strange kind of promotional campaign. Not to say I didn't get a weepy at the "death slot" news but the show does have a built in fanbase that will get it better ratings then most other Fox shows that have gotten canceled early.
the show does have a built in fanbase that will get it better ratings then most other Fox shows that have gotten canceled early

Technically, it's Joss that has a fanbase, and not all fans of any particular example of his work necessarily are also fans of his other work. The reality is, we won't know what kind of fanbase Dollhouse will or will not have until it airs.
The reality is, we won't know what kind of fanbase Dollhouse will or will not have until it airs.

How do we differentiate between fanbase and regular joe viewers?

[ edited by Succatash on 2008-11-09 07:44 ]
The implants, of course.
Just finished writing FOX a letter explaining those very points.
I think its ridiculous for anyone to assume that Dollhouse will get decent ratings just because they feel that Whedon has a big enough or strong enough fanbase. The thing is, there are a lot of people who are interested in Whedon's work; but us fans are not enough. Theres a number of reasons why his shows get low ratings. Joss's shows and ideas don't appeal to everyone. For a show like Dollhouse to be a success, it needs to get a lot of support from non-Whedon fans and it is extremely important for a network like Fox to promote this show heavily and try to expose this show to a huge audience. Premiering the show an hour before 24 would've definitely gave this show a push. 24 is an immense show. People are still obsessed with it. And the amount of attention that 24 gets is incredible. Its a highly anticipated show.

Dumping Dollhouse on a Friday night is not going to help this show at all. If Fox kept this show on a Monday night, then it would have given off this impression that "Well, at least Fox is trying to expose this show to a wider audience." The media already sees what Fox is doing and it is embarrassing. Friday night is not a good night for this type of show. If Dollhouse does do well, then great. But I am getting this impression that Fox have lost interest in the show and that they are not confident in it. I think they were excited to work with Joss, but after seeing the final product I don't think they were impress with what they saw. It doesn't mean that the final product was bad, it just means that they probably wanted the show to be more simple. Joss is a genius and if things don't work out with Dollhouse, then I'm afraid he won't ever want to work on television again. And that frightens me.
And sorry for my long rant. I am just so annoyed with the Fox network. I wish the show was getting better treatment. Joss deserves better.
I basically agree ria.

Of course, the effect of all this online buzz on the avarage viewer is probably very minor ...

The problem with that is GVH, it's not just the buzz that "Friday's are bad" that kills shows on a Friday so it doesn't matter if the "average viewer" (whatever that means ;) hears about it or not. What kills shows on Fridays is that people generally don't watch TV as much on that day.

As to those talking about ready audiences, what, like 'Firefly' you mean ? Yeah, that went well. Joss' ready audience is dedicated and vocal but it's not big. If we're relying on his in-built fanbase then we also have to hope that Fox is happy with viewing figures of around half the normal size (i'd say his in-built fanbase could bring maybe 6 million viewers, tops).

Basically, Friday isn't a good day for achieving a mainstream hit and, until we changed the narrative, like, yesterday, everyone was agreed that we need mainstream viewers to watch to make 'Dollhouse' a hit. As it is we're relying on the kindness of Fox because for the show to survive we need them to pretty much turn a blind eye to ratings and play for the DVD or maybe to be building something long-term on Fridays, some sort of "appointment TV" event like Sci-Fi had (or maybe they're trying to win the DVR ratings for some reason). If we'd heard anything from them to that effect that'd seem like a much likelier proposition, as it is the silence has been deafening.

(and just to be clear, we all know we can't tell what's actually going to happen until it actually happens because of how, y'know, effects follow causes, this is speculation - to the folks tired of the speculation i'd respectfully suggest that you stop reading these threads until February rather than telling the rest of us what to talk about)
I'm only asking this because I live in the UK and don't know, but how relevant are the first run ratings for a show like this? Won't a large percentage of its audience be watching on PVRs and Tivo or is the network less interested in those because of advertising issues?

Otherwise there's the possibility that Dollhouse could redefine the timeslot, bringing up the Sarah Connor numbers in the process. Again, UK, but before 2005 no one had run a drama let alone a sci-fi drama in the Saturday tea time slot on network tv in the UK for decades. Then Doctor Who came along and now both the BBC and ITV are falling over themselves to broadcast something there whenever its not on, so we have Merlin, Robin Hood and Primevil and a prospective fourth show.

So you never know.
But people still watched TV on Saturday nights, it was just what they were watching that changed. The issue with Fridays in the US (as I gather it) isn't that folk are watching gameshows or Ant and Dec (or whatever the US equivalent is ;), it's that, comparatively, they're not watching at all. And much as I rate Joss there's no way he has the sort of mindshare in the US that 'Doctor Who' has in the UK (i.e. if they'd tried it with 'Primeval' first it might not have taken off in the same way).

(but yeah, you never know, very true. Can we just take it as read that we all know you never know so that we don't have to keep acknowledging it ? ;)

... how relevant are the first run ratings for a show like this?

Well, that's the big question in my mind. T:TSCC does very well in the DVR numbers (often growing its audience by around 30%) and given its prospective audience (i.e. lots of sci-fi fans) and the Friday slot, it seems reasonable to assume 'Dollhouse' would also do alright in that regard. So if Fox are aiming for a "DVR hit" that'd be one way to do it.

But as you say, although they factor the numbers into their decision, it's surely the live numbers that advertisers are most interested in because those are the viewers who, on paper, are least likely to skip the adverts. I guess only Fox knows how important DVR numbers are to them but it has to be less than the live numbers, it's just how much less that matters (it must count to some extent though cos without the DVR numbers T:TSCC is getting under 5 million).
What I also find troubling is that the new trailer generated a lot of positive media attention for the show. It appeared on many entertainment sites and even ended up on the front page of Variety which is quite impressive for a midseason show. And it seemed to get more buzz about it than the original trailer which got released back in May. And then two days later we had the timeslot of doom announced for Dollhouse.

Did anyone at Fox notice the goodwill building up for the show as a result of the trailer? Did it come to late too make an impact on the scheduling or did some exec go "I don't care". Cause ideally the buzz for the trailer should have carried over to buzz for a high profile timeslot in January.
I honestly believe that this move has very little to do with Dollhouse and everything to do with a) protecting 24 with a lead-in that they can depend on and b) trying to regain a foothold on Monday nights.

I don't think it would have made the slightest difference what the show was that they needed to move. There is no such thing as a guaranteed hit with a new series (even Fringe hasn't been everything that FOX wanted it to be) and so it makes no sense to take the chance on what could be a mainstream flop when you have to compete with a lot of already popular series and want to try guarantee viewers for the show on afterwards.

I'm not sure that any amount of goodwill from the new trailer would have made enough of a difference, given those circumstances. A proven show like House will always be a safer bet that a new series that may or may not do what you need it to do.
The post I made on the other thread which I ditched basically said, in a long way, why certain execs at FOX hate Dollhouse, and how they're feeding the whole problem.

Ultimately, there's no need to panic about dollhouse as 1, we don't know if we will like it, and 2 - we can't make a difference about if it stays on the air.

Only FOX can give the show a big launch, and they will still try regardless, but gone are the days where you had execs on press releases saying how much faith they have in Joss and how it's their front running show. Putting the show on a Friday, pairing it with T:SCC (which is getting less viewers than Drive) and announcing it with no commentary from the network or joss (or even telling joss about it) equals PR badness. Simon is right. Joss is going to get more scheduling questions than he is about strong female characters.

I'm not sad. I'm just pissed. I appear to have opened the door to 2002.
Yeah, i've since seen your post gossi and I have to say, if more people that came along later had seen it (assuming what you've heard is true and you're interpreting it accurately, no offence ;) then I suspect people would be a lot less with the optimistic "wait and see" and a lot more with the "Uh oh".

I honestly believe that this move has very little to do with Dollhouse and everything to do with a) protecting 24 with a lead-in that they can depend on and b) trying to regain a foothold on Monday nights.

It's not that they haven't put it on Monday, even with a big lead-in Monday always seemed too crowded for a show like 'Dollhouse' to me, it's that they've put it on the one night of the week guaranteed to fill people with foreboding without doing anything to allay fears. So it'd seem either they don't care about the critics/buzz (or consider even negative buzz a good thing) OR they didn't think of it ahead of time OR, worst case scenario, they did it deliberately, possibly timed to scuttle anything positive the trailer was generating. None of which possibilities fill me with warm fuzzies.

Still, ultimately, as gossi says, whether there're valid reasons or not there's no point in panicking, it won't achieve a damn thing.
gossi, don't you mean 2012?

Trying to maintain my "glass half-full" mind set here. Still waiting to hear what Joss has to say about this matter. Otherwise, I'm be manning one of those flaming pitchforks.
Whatever happens, Joss will keep writing (hopefully anyway - you better Whedon! Or I is comin' to get ya), and we'll keep getting to see inside his head. All gooey and enchanting scrumptiousness that he seems to have in there.
"'s that they've put it on the one night of the week guaranteed to fill people with foreboding without doing anything to allay fears."

I get where the main worry is coming from, Saje. I share it. I just think that it may well have been a no-option sort of situation, given all we can determine. Tuesday and Wednesday belong to Idol. Fringe at 9 was always the safe bet for the Tuesday and the procedural that will follow Idol on Wednesday (the name of the show escapes me at the moment) was always going to be favoured by FOX over Dollhouse. Thursdays are probably just as much of a minefield of quality shows as Monday night with Grey's, Ugly Betty, CSI and NBC's comedy block to contend with, not to mention that cult viewers already have the Smallville/Supernatural double to keep them happy. Friday might actually have seemed the only option they had.

However, I do agree that FOX need to establish that they have good reasons for trying Terminator and Dollhouse on Friday and that it's not just a case of throwing shit (in their opinion, obviously, not mine) at the wall and hoping it sticks. They really do need to assure people that they are doing this for all the right reasons or assumption will be all it takes for the average non-Whedon-fan viewer to not even give Dollhouse a chance.
I'm wondering why they can't put it on Sunday. I'm not sure about the schedules and all that but Sunday seems like a good place.
This is slightly OT, but one thing currently puzzling me about Fox's schedule is the complete absence of any mention of Ron D Moore's new show Virtuality. Did it not get picked up? Or has it been pushed back to Autumn 2009?
Because Sunday is the #1 viewing night of the week (I believe), and they evidently have little or no confidence in Dollhouse's ability to draw an audience. So, they're putting it on Friday, where it can either succeed against lowered expectations, or fail at the lowest financial cost.
What kills shows on Fridays is that people generally don't watch TV as much on that day.

Well, isn't what kills shows on Fridays the networks deciding they won't settle for lower ratings on a show, when they should know - upfront - that the numbers will be lower because of the day, Saje? Which seems silly. I think there were some examples posted of Friday night network shows which have survived on the other thread. Now I have no idea what percentage of new shows on Fridays survive and how that compares to the survival rating of new shows on other days, but in all honesty, I wonder what's more difficult: surviving on an overloaded monday with heavy competition, needing big numbers, or surviving on a less-than-stellar Friday, with less people around to watch, but possibly not needing big numbers.

I think in the end it's probably all about the share of viewers the show manages to pick up. This goes only to a certain extent of course, because with 3 people watching television, 2 viewers might be a great share, but won't sell any ad space. Still there should be enough viewers around on Fridays or the networks would stop broadcasting alltogether on that day.

I'd say the chances for a bigger share on Fridays are slightly better. Convincing people to watch a new show is in itself probably always just about equally hard, but - I'd say - just a bit easier when there's less competition and established shows to not-watch. Now like I said, I'm not sure if it's about the "share" or just the raw viewing numbers (in which the latter without at least considering the former, would seem silly to me), but it's at least something to be "glad" about with the Friday slot.

Having said this, though, the Friday night slot itself is not what's worrying to me at this point. Rather - like with others - it's the way FOX handled this: with complete disregard for the show and with no appareant idea of and/or care for what would make marketing sense. Any explanation for this particular course of action I can come up with on the part of FOX is bad. Some worse than others, but none good.
"Still waiting to hear what Joss has to say about this matter"

I think his silence is quite telling. I would be amazed if he didn't know the uproar this has caused on Whedonesque and other places. If there were some good explanation for the Friday night timeslot (like Fox is really trying to push a big sci-fi Friday night) then I'm sure he would quickly step in to say so (just like he did with his giant post about creative disagreements not long ago). That would at least do something quell the negative buzz. The fact that he hasn't done so (combined with Gossi's original post) suggests to me that there really is no reason except that Fox has lost interest in the show or even wants it to die. My guess - and I really am guessing here - is that Joss is fuming like the rest of us and probably doesn't feel much like making excuses for Fox
I thought Monday was the #1 night, although it makes sense for Sunday to be high as well, but I can't really think of a show that airs on Sundays, besides Dexter which is a cable show.

I'd also like to echo dzr's concern for Virtuality, That show sounded very promising.
Sunday is animation day on FOX. They dominate the night, so there's no way they would put a show like Dollhouse in that slot.

I suspect (don't know) the line from FOX will be this: Friday night can be Sci-Fi Friday night. Two quality action shows, both aimed at the male 18-49 demographic. Show a lot of Summer and a lot of Eliza in the promos. It could work.

Virtuality was due to film in the summer (it actually started in August) and airing in February if all went well. I don't believe the pilot was picked up for series. I'm going to put in a proper PR question to FOX on Monday to find out what is happening with it.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-09 14:27 ]
"I suspect (don't know) the line from FOX will be this: Friday night can be Sci-Fi Friday night. Two quality action shows, both aimed at the male 18-49 demographic. Show a lot of Summer and a lot of Eliza in the promos. It could work."

That was pretty much what I was thinking too, gossi. It would be nice of FOX could make it clear that this was the intention but it seems like a fair assumption this is at least a possibility.
Whatever the reasons for the shift to Friday, I have no doubt that Fox is going to promote some sort of "sci-fi Friday" or even "sci-fi Friday with hot chicks" thing.

Fox has been remarkably patient with TSCC, given its poor performance, so part of this may be trying to help out TSCC with Dollhouse, not the other way around.
Maybe but it seems a bit bizarre to try to prop up a show with a new show that many in FOX hate and then to do nothing to stop the bad publicity this move to Friday has caused (though, admittedly, that could be incompetence)
I don't think you help an ailing show with a brand new, unknown commodity that's already been labeled as having "a troubled production".

Well, isn't what kills shows on Fridays the networks deciding they won't settle for lower ratings on a show, when they should know - upfront - that the numbers will be lower because of the day, Saje? Which seems silly. I think there were some examples posted of Friday night network shows which have survived on the other thread.

Yeah OK, what kills shows on Friday night is actually some network exec pulling the plug, it's not the viewers. And maybe Fox is putting 'Dollhouse' on Friday nights because it'll be safe there and they're happy for it to get 5 million viewers and just trundle along (presumably) costing them money.

But given the news up to now, gossi's info and the complete silence from Fox on the issue, does that seem more or less likely than the alternatives ?

At the end of the day, this is kind of a Rorschach test - some of us will see it as good news, no-matter what, and some of us won't. I've seen the pilot being reshot as good news, i've seen the production being halted as good news and i've seen the apparent friction between Joss and the network as "healthy", the good sort of friction that's a creative plus. But in the absence of something from Fox I can't see putting it in the "Friday night death slot" (and delaying the premiere don't forget) as good news. Hopefully i'm wrong.
Yeah, we all have our breaking points. Mine was when the original pilot suspiciously went missing after Joss telling us it was to become the second episode
What kills shows on Fridays is that people generally don't watch TV as much on that day.

Given the state of the economy, no one can afford to go out on a Friday anymore so they have no choice but to watch tv. Probably.
Quick, let's do everything we can to destroy the economy some more. Pity it's too late for the Americans here to elect McCain

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-11-09 15:04 ]
Does anyone know for sure that Joss didn't heavily encourage sub-prime lending by the major American financial institutions over the last few years ? Cos that'd be one way to render Fridays safe again.

And we know from 'Graduation Day Pt II' that he can play the long game. Just sayin'.
Another thing is - maybe the average age of the population of Whedontown is getting higher, and we don't go out as much on a Friday night as we used to (like we did when Buffy started)?

What other sci-fi shows do FOX own the airing rights to that could go on *after* Dollhouse for a full "Sci-Fi Marathon!" type evening? Re-runs even.
Yeah, Saje, I think we're agreeing again, like per usual, without realising it ;). I'm saying that the Friday night slot in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. That it, in fact, can offer opportunities. Which is maybe where we differ.

But in the end, whether it offers opportunities or not, I'm still reading this as a bad thing because of the way that FOX is treating this. Every single explanation I can think of for their behaviour is bad, ranging from lack of interest to intentfully killing the show. As a person who's shared your optimism in previous threads, I now share your pessimism on this point. Unfortunately ;).
I thought something like this might happen -- but remember, "X-files" built an audience for a couple of years on Friday nights, then got moved to Sunday. Also, "Battlestar Galactica" has made Friday night "SF night" already for many of us so more SF there might work. I'll gratefully settle in with T:SCC, Dollhouse and the final season of Battlestar, talk them up to people, enjoy my 13 weeks or as long as I get, and try not to worry about what comes next.

zaphod, you mean go out of the house? Outside? After dark? On Friday night? What an extraordinary idea.
As a person who's shared your optimism in previous threads, I now share your pessimism on this point. Unfortunately ;).

Muhahahahahah ! My plan matures with each passing moment, soon bleak despair will be the default position ! ;-)

Agreed GVH, Friday night could be a good move if they'd handled it better (or at all for that matter). If they'd come out saying "We're gonna break this supposed curse by putting two shows we really believe in and support all the way on Friday nights" then we'd at least have reason to believe they're not cutting the show loose (they might still be doing so of course but at least we'd have reason to believe otherwise).

What other sci-fi shows do FOX own the airing rights to that could go on *after* Dollhouse for a full "Sci-Fi Marathon!" type evening? Re-runs even.

BSG is scheduled to play after it (just not on Fox - which, if the idea is to revive a sort of "sci-fi Friday", is actually pretty canny, since Fox are leveraging another channel's show).

Here's the thing though, the average age of Whedon fans doesn't matter IMO. I'm counting on all Whedon fans to be watching anyway, no-matter what the buzz - I just don't think that'll be enough for success on a big network.
When Dollhouse does finally air, what is the best way to support the show, a way that will be visible to the Fox executives and bean counters? I live in the US, but I am not part of a Nielsen family. So should I watch it online? What is the best way to make sure my viewing counts?
I'm still holding my ears.
I really wish I had read your post before you ditched it, gossi.
To borrow the lemonade thing from someone (Saje) on an earlier thread, they gave us Dollhouse on Fridays we make Sci-fi Fridays out of it, seems like the best spirit to take the news.
Ok, news looks bad from most angles, but doesn't it make sense to reserve bleak despair for when there is no Whedon show to look forward to at all, like the situation was before Dollhouse was announced ?
Why set the bar so high that only 5 seasons of Whedon goodness clears it ? I'm more of the yay looking forward to new show, 13 eps better than no show at all club ( and when they cancel the show after 4 eps I'm going to go yay we got 4 eps, I sometimes set the bar really low :) ).

[ edited by jpr on 2008-11-09 16:46 ]
Floofypooh, maybe write the advertisers that have ads on during the initial TV airing and let them know you saw their ad during Dollhouse.(Not sure about that one, actually. But if you aren't a Neilsen house, how else are they going to know you saw their ad. I don't think the ads are the same online.) And if you have a DVR, record it too. And if you are compelled to watch it again, watch it online.
BTW, because Dollhouse is going to have the same deal as Fringe with less ads, is the ad revenue as important? I'm not sure what I mean, but less ads should mean they are relying on them less... right? So maybe with shows like Fring and Dollhouse it will be the DVR and online numbers that count for more.
So should I watch it online? What is the best way to make sure my viewing counts?

Seems like watching it online is your main option floofypooh. You could also buy it on iTunes if it's available (and you can afford it). Or maybe if you know a Nielsen household that's not watching you could ask them to do so. Failing that, mentioning it to other people in a non-pressury sort of way or sending a short email to the network telling them you watched and enjoyed it might help (assuming you do enjoy it of course, it's always possible you won't).
It should be on iTunes. It would be neat if it's the number one TV series on iTunes all the time, actually - that would get press (see also: The Office).

Somebody should make a page for when the show starts, which says how to watch online (both inside and outside the US using Hotspot Shield and the like) legally if you aren't a Nielsen family. Fox know exactly how many people stream via Hulu and download on iTunes, so it's a good indication for them. I think part of what will help is if we can lead those fans who use BitTorrent (which includes, you know, me) to official means. 4 million or so people download Heroes each week - if they were streaming it via, the network would be excited.
Thank you all for the suggestions! It sounds like in my case, Hulu or iTunes will be the best way for Dollhouse to "get my vote" (I don't have a DVR). I do like gossi's webpage suggestion, too. That's something I could send to my family & friends.
I use BitTorrent because I can get my shows in my preferred format and play it on my TV in HD. However, if someone will show me how to from abroad, I'm happy to also make the effort to watch Dollhouse on Hulu or similar each week (or at least let it play in the background). I agree with gossi that we should encourage all fans who aren't Nielsens to do this.
Maximum Catastrophic Disaster = 13 episodes on DVD. Whedondom is large & loyal enough to make issuing a DVD profitable, so regardless of whether there's a season two, there shall be a DVD with all the season one eps. In the event of MCD, next year will still be our best since 2004.

ETA: (I just thought this worth reminding people since someone upstream thought we might get less.)

ETfurtherA: The DVD should include every version of the pilot. For once I'm not joking. So make that 14 episodes.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-11-09 18:08 ]
The difference is Obama tries to play to a majority, Joss plays to a minority.
At the end of the day, this is kind of a Rorschach test - some of us will see it as good news, no-matter what, and some of us won't.

I see bunnies. I just can't tell if they have heads.
Still want to know what it was that gossi posted on the other thread...

My panic meter developed a short circuit anyway and is lying broken in the corner. I find I just can't get any more stressed about something I haven't seen yet.

Does anybody know why Friday nights traditionally have fewer viewers in the US? I mean, in the UK it's always been my main night for watching tv - it's when political satire and the better panel shows tend to show up. And I think Have I Got News For You or QI or what was Ross' show must be some of the BBC's bigger hitters, ratings-wise. So why? Are we just that much more boring than people across the pond?

(Agree with the comment about Doctor Who too - I for one certainly wasn't watching saturday afternoon telly until that came along. But I think you have to be a bit of a sensation to change a nation's viewing habits like that.)
On Friday a lot of your audience is out and about - in particular the young folk (which is what Dollhouse is aimed at). That said, the advent of DVR technology and web viewing makes this a little less relevant nowadays.

FOX audience on a Monday compared to a Friday is about half. TSCC continues to sink in the ratings (it's almost below 5 million now) so it's ratings after the move will be, well.. Down. I imagine it will climb the DVR charts, though.

The problem FOX will have now is getting the word out about Dollhouse. Everybody knows what Terminator is. Those who are interested will record it. How are people going to find out what Dollhouse is about and that it may be worth a watch if they don't, well, see it?

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-09 20:37 ]
Frankly, the "hot gals/guys" aspect will get at least certain demos giving it a DVR chance at least I reckon. Closer to the time we'll have a better idea if Fox are trying to sell the show at all, if they really mean it then presumably we'll see 'Drive' standards of promotion cos it seems like it's gonna take at least that.

I for one certainly wasn't watching saturday afternoon telly until that came along. But I think you have to be a bit of a sensation to change a nation's viewing habits like that.

Stuff like 'Blind Date' would pull in 8+ million on a Saturday night skittledog and i'd bet Ant and Dec were getting similar numbers. They might not be your (or my) cup of tea but there's no doubt that lots of people were watching Saturday night TV before the Who relaunch (they just weren't watching scripted TV, possibly because nothing suitable was around).

That said, looking at other network's ratings, people in the US are also watching TV on Fridays, they're just not watching Fox (CBS pretty much owns Fridays with 'Ghost Whisperer', 'Numb3rs', hell, even the 'NCIS' repeat getting around 11 million viewers). So there's an audience there as it turns out, albeit not necessarily what you'd call a typical Joss audience (though that said, I actually watch 2 out of 3 of those shows ;).
FWIW, some thoughts from TV by the Numbers.
The TV by the Numbers article is (as usual) spot on (it's a great site).
Dunno enough to fault that analysis really - on one hand it seems to make sense from a costs/benefits point of view, on the other, as he points out himself in comments, the DVD market for reality shows must be damn near non-existent but on the gripping hand, isn't it 20th Century TV - i.e. the studio - that benefits from DVD sales anyway ? So why would Fox TV - i.e. the network - care much about that ?

From my own perspective of course, I couldn't really care less if Fox lose money, my aim would be not to maximise their profits but to maximise my enjoyment (which American Idol off-shoot programmes certainly wouldn't).

Somewhere in between the two interests lies reality ;).
Although in theory a studio and a network are entirely different, a sister studio (i.e. Fox) will benefit from DVD sales, which has an impact. That would be why so many 20th Century Fox projects end up going to FOX. There will have already been DVD meetings abotu Dollhouse. This actually works in our favour as fanboi's - Joss has a DVD draw, everybody knows that. It wouldn't keep a poorly rated show on the air, but it would be something which people keep in mind.
Didn't realise that. So it's basically "Yes, we are entirely separate companies *nudge nudge, wink wink*" ?
Okay, not to sound like psycho pep squad (to paraphrase a line from "Buffy"), but two notes:

1) Friday nights is not where "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numb3rs" (the latter starring our own Mr. Universe) have gone to die. I believe they're both in their fourth seasons. Friday night is also a good night for SciFi Channel (witness the zillions of years of "Stargate"), which, bless its heart, *repeats all its programming that night,* so if there is a conflict between "Dollhouse" and something on SciFi, the viewer can just catch the 11 PM repeat on SciFi.

The Television Critics Association press tour is having its January session in 2009 (this usually occurs every January and every July, though it didn't happen this past January due to the writers strike and in 2009, the July session is being moved to August to avoid scheduling conflicts with Comic-Con for both journalists and writers/actors), approximately one month before the premiere of "Dollhouse." This will give Joss Whedon, Eliza Dushku, et al, a chance to promote the living noun-of-your-choice out of "Dollhouse," shortly before airing, to everybody in the U.S. who writes about television for a living and some who do it as a pastime. From a p.r. standpoint, the timing is excellent.

So while the news isn't "Yay!", I don't think the cause is lost just yet. My humble opinion, your mileage may vary.
'Numb3rs' is in its 5th season in fact (dunno about 'Ghost Whisperer'). And yeah, Fridays being the death slot seems (as i'm finding out) to be a uniquely Fox affliction (although it's not really what you'd call a good night for anyone except CBS) with the obvious question being why that is (maybe Fox viewers skew younger and so tend to be out more ?).

(and even Sci-Fi's been suffering on Friday nights - the Stargates and BSG have all consistently slid in the ratings with both the former getting cancelled. That said, as mentioned, I don't doubt 'Dollhouse's ability to attract a dedicated niche audience, I just doubt whether that'll be enough)
Just to expand on something mentioned by Shapenew, 'Ghost Whisperer' is in its fourth season and has always, I believe, been broadcast as part of the Friday night schedule. Assuming it makes it through the whole of this season, that will take it up to 86 episodes. This does not, in itself, mean anything, but presumably being given a Friday slot is not automatic death by Fox executive firing squad. (I appreciate that 'GW' is not a Fox show).

Edited to correct worse than usual grammatical errors.

[ edited by alien lanes on 2008-11-09 23:17 ]
So what was the last FOX scripted show launched on a Friday that lived to run over a season?
oh geez...i'm tired of the cycle of joy and panic...i would rather stay joyous. i guess i'll have to be cautiously joyous now. =/
So what was the last FOX scripted show launched on a Friday that lived to run over a season?

Not sure. Wikipedia mentions one called "Grounded for Life" that ran for just over 2 seasons on Fox (they cancelled it a few episodes into S3) and then a further 2 on The WB from 2001-2005.
At the very least, even if the time slot does kill the show, there's no possible way it cannot be better and more entertaining than Firefly.
Gouki, I know Buffy fans who said that about Firefly, and then went on to love it. Although I also know Buffy fans who call Firefly Fireflop. And Firefly fans who hate Buffy.

A bigger concern than the airing situation, really, is highlighted by this. Will people like Dollhouse? I don't know. It's difficult to know how people are going to relate to characters who get mind wiped each episode and have different personalities each episode. Geez, I sound like a network person - kill me now.
I'm one of those that didn't give Firefly a chance to begin with. Not because I didn't like it but because I simply didn't think it was for me. I had always been more of a horror/fantasy fan and not so much into science fiction at the time. Shows like Buffy, Angel, Highlander, Xena and the like were what I would look out for and anything spacey was pretty much ignored. It was largely the fact that I finally gave in to a friend who had nagged me to check out Firefly/Serenity that I discovered shows like Battlestar Galactica and Stargate too. Still struggle a little with sci-fi but there is some real quality in there, Firefly being an obvious example of how you do it right.

"It's difficult to know how people are going to relate to characters who get mind wiped each episode and have different personalities each episode."

I suppose that it will work in a similar way to how fans of Quantum Leap and The Pretender accepted that the main character in both of those series was basically a different person each week, or at least had to portray themselves as such. The only real difference with Dollhouse is that the characters wouldn't be doing it by choice or be aware that it was happening to them. From the public's point of view it will still be the same person and, as Echo slowly becomes more self-aware, the viewer will be able to connect with the true personality of the character despite the fact she is still becoming other people. That is assuming that the show lasts long enough for anyone to connect with anything on the show at all, of course. ;)
The Toronto Star's Rob Salem (a long-time Whedon supporter) weighs in with his concerns. If I knew how to make it a link, I would.
That 'Toronto Star' article is pretty much wrong on every verifiable point BTW ...

the DVDs didn't lead to 'Serenity'.

Joss met with Eliza for lunch as a friend and mentor, not with a view to working with her again.

Buffy wasn't cancelled in any meaningful sense ("essentially voluntary" may mean that but why put it after "subsequent cancellation" ?)

It obviously wasn't anything meets 'My own Worst Enemy' because that show wasn't on at the time. And what does it have to do with 'Dark Angel', beyond both shows starring young, attractive brunettes ? Dystopian/post catastrophe future ? Uncheck. Mutant powers ? Uncheck. On the run from an evil organisation ? Uncheck. Metaphysical subtext ? Uncheck. If you're reaching for an obvious "X meets Y" short-hand, isn't 'Alias' meets ... a more logical choice ?

by his own account Joss rewrote/shot the pilot voluntarily, even, in fact, over the protests of Fox execs who thought that was unnecessary.

[ edited by Saje on 2008-11-10 16:23 ]
Alias meets Memento meets Fantasy Island?
there's no possible way it cannot be better and more entertaining than Firefly.

I don't think Gouki was a fan...

Surely you can think of some shows that Firefly was better than?
You're an odd one Gouki. I'm just rewatching Firefly now and I'm still blown away by how close to perfect everything is. Characters, clothing, music, dialogue, feel, comedic timing, props, atmosphere, language, attitude. Just plain everything. As good as Buffy. Better than Angel. As good as Twin Peaks, American Gothic, Moonlighting (to grab some others of the air).

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