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November 10 2008

Fox exec on Dollhouse - "We can give them 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience". FOX scheduling executive talks about midseason decisions.

Anyone feel reassured?
Yeah, I feel a bit better. This sounds good:

“If we put it on Monday and it didn’t do well, we might have to yank it,” he said. But because Fox’s winter lineup should be solid on Saturday through Thursday nights, “We can afford to let these shows run their course. We can give them 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience.”
I have to admit, it makes sense. Seems to come down to two choices (1) Fox put it on during a big night and it only gets two weeks to make a splash, or (2) Sacrifice some viewers by giving it a quiet slot but allow it more time to grow.

Tough call really.
I don't know if I feel reassured or just suspicious that Fox have been taking notice of the press and decided to take the more optimistic slant people have been putting on it as their own. I hope what they say is true though and that this means there won't be as much emphasis on the timeslot. All of this is just back-peddling and repairing though as the damage has been done in this Fox PR disaster.
"if we surprise ourselves, a Friday night". Erm!

The thing is, moving it from a Monday doesn't decrease the cost of a show.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-10 17:17 ]
I feel better... unless that means 12 or 13 weeks of shifting time slots, airing the episodes out of order, or preempting it for other shows.
I'm glad they at least commented on the time change, and what he said about Monday makes a lot of sense. If Dollhouse doesn't show solid ratings after 12-13 episodes (wish he would have said that instead of weeks,) then I don't think it ever will.

I feel better after reading that than before.
Another spin - if it lasts 12 or 13 weeks, it will last a shorter time than Firefly.
Yeah, maybe i've just got my grumpy pants on today but the "if we surprise ourselves" line leapt out at me too. So they don't actually expect their Friday strategy to work ?

Still, what he says about Monday is true and always has been. Thing is, why wait until there's been a load of bad buzz about the Friday move before saying this ? Wouldn't at the same time have been more sensible ?

(though that said, I do wonder if they're thinking "Generate some bad buzz then use some good news to re-generate some better buzz - that way we get two weeks of buzz and twice as many articles as critics have to reassess their initial assessment")
I don't feel any better, tbh, but I was pessimistic the second I read his next show was going to air on FOX. I'm totally prejudiced about the network and never had any faith in the "new Fox" thing to begin with, so... things can only go up from where I stand, because my expectations couldn't be lower. That said, the comment "if we surprise ourselves, a friday night" really annoyed me.
Fox's schedule seems so packed, I don't think there are many different time-slots they could move it to. I think it will live or die on Fridays.
I'm glad they have finally made some sort of comment on this. Also glad that I wasn't entirely naive in giving FOX the benefit of the doubt. It's a position that I would rarely have taken but this time it made a strange kind of sense to me.

True, it could be that FOX have simply decided to run with the idea that has been put forward in several articles on this subject to help spin the PR nightmare this move had become. That they have given Dollhouse the Friday slot so that it has time to develop without the pressure to perform it would have had on Monday. Maybe that never occured to them until someone else suggested it for them. Maybe we will never know. All that matters is that they go with the idea now and Dollhouse really will be given every chance to build a fanbase because then who will give a damn what FOX originally intended? If they get ratings they are happy with then in turn we get a show we will love. Everyone's happy. Hopefully.
Another spin - if it lasts 12 or 13 weeks, it will last a shorter time than Firefly.

As far as I know, the first season is laid out to have only 12 or 13 episodes - so we would actually get a full, concluded season.
I just think its funny there's all this buzz that Dollhouse cannot be sold to the general public--the idea is so fresh and innovative compared to so much recycled garbage out there that I think Dollhouse has the potential to be so much more successful than all these people think. Eliza is gorgeous--just get her face out there more and we're guaranteed an audience that will tune in every week to see her: Come for the pretty face, stay for the awesome storytelling (and Eliza and Tahmoh will still be pretty).
Call me cynical, but all I heard was bulls**t, bulls**t, "Bones", bullsh**t, bullsh**t, "Dollhouse", bullsh**t...

*sigh* Fox drives me crazy.
I am also relieved they took the time to comment on the time-slot. Thank the gods they finally seem to be trying to calm down the panicked masses.
Hope all their strategizing works out.
Or Fox might Wonderfalls us, where they see that Dollhouse has good Friday ratings, gave it to Thursdays without any advertisment, and then cancel it for being crappy on a Thursday. I feel reluctant in thinking that Fox is actually not just trying to fix the bad press it's been getting for Dollhouse, and thinks this is a good move.
But who knows, they might be right.
Personally I am not going to panic about a show that has not even aired yet.

If Fox airing it on Fridays means that they are going to let the full order of episodes run (which it appears is the case), rather than the ratings be under scrutiny from day one in a Monday slot, I will be happy. If it goes to a second season I will be ecstatic.

Joss' shows usually take time to build an audience, they usually involve complicated new worlds and characters that people need to get their head around. I think if Dollhouse is given the chance to run it's course then it will build the audience it needs to continue.

I'm pretty sure that many, many shows go through these kind of schedule changes and production problems, it's just that we don't care so much about those shows, so we don't seek out the information about them before they have aired.
What impact will the negative press re: Dollhouse's move to Friday have on advertisers?

Fox wants to make money (obviously). Will advertisers want to pay less for a 30-second spot in a timeslot that Fox positions as not a "tentpole" in its long-term strategy? Aside from our concern over smaller audiences on Friday, I'm also concerned about lower advertising revenue in the Friday timeslot.
Really starting to dislike the word 'panic'. Doubts aren't panic.

What impact will the negative press re: Dollhouse's move to Friday have on advertisers?

Haven't they already sold the advertising space after the May upfronts ? If not and they're still trying to sell the space then I don't see why they're not doing everything in their power to avoid the "troubled production" label (like e.g. not just throwing out a press release about the Friday move and then waiting 4 days to perform some damage control).
While I too noticed that they would be "surprised" if Friday nights do well for them (reading between the lines that they don't expect Dollhouse to succeed), I am relieved that they will run the full season. It won't be another Wonderfalls or Drive. If after 13 episodes the show doesn't find an audience, at least we can say they gave it something of a chance.

I just wonder where Joss will turn if he gets yet another project cancelled.
Anyone feel reassured?

Hell. No.
I thought they already sold the adverting space in May, also. I wonder if they would have to give a refund if the advertisers deem this time-slot to be less desirable? I hope not, and they realize the Joss brand comes with a lot of loyal views.
Really starting to dislike the word 'panic'. Doubts aren't panic.


The words of a man in the icy grip of panic ;).
If only they had said this last week when the Friday move was announced. Looks like they told us the airdate then went home for the weekend only to come back Monday morning and think "Holy Crap! We've got to say something!"
While I think the Friday slot may work out better than the 8 PM Monday timeslot where Terminator has been struggling, if FOX wanted to give this show a real chance they'd air it after American Idol or House. That's how Fringe became such a huge success. First week, it's ratings were disappointing. The second week Fringe aired after House and held on to most of House's audience. Suddenly, it was a hit.

My hope is that after the 12 or 13 episodes air, FOX will look at Dollhouse's ranking among DVRed shows, in addition to the traditional ratings, because I have a feeling it will be one of the most DVRed shows on television.
They already look at that stuff now. The Live+1 and Live+7 ratings are only becoming more important.
Thing is, why wait until there's been a load of bad buzz about the Friday move before saying this ? Wouldn't at the same time have been more sensible ?

Sort of get the impression that scheduling people made their announcement and whoever's doing other PR type stuff found out later that there are people on the internet freaking out about it.
1) Anyone wishing to use the word "panic" must instead use "anic-pay."
2) Fox appears to be in a belated "spin-cycle" due to well-known "right-hand, left-hand" phenomena.
3) Color me a puce-y "whatever" about it.
4) All I care about is Joss and his folks making what they want, which is what we want. Jury's out on that part.
5) Buggering "arrgh."
Yeah fair comment, never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence. Doesn't exactly fill me with warm fuzzies either right enough ;).

The words of a man in the icy grip of panic ;).

Ssshh, my amygdala might hear you !
If only they had said this last week when the Friday move was announced.

FWIW, it's actually worse than that, because the schedule was announced on Thursday, not on Friday. They had a whole other weekday during which they could have addressed the kerfuffle, and they didn't.

I also admit to being perplexed at the disparity between
Mr. Beckman said giving “Fringe” a monster lead-in was a no-brainer. “Even though we think it’s a long-term player, it’s too young for us to be arrogant and think we don’t have to give it support,” he said.

and dumping Dollhouse onto the traditionally-problematic Fridays. That said, I guess they obviously already have some sense of how Fringe plays since it's already been on the air, and I guess they'd argue that putting Dollhouse on Fridays where, they say, they can give it more time, is "support". (And, again, maybe it is, given their crowded schedule.)

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-10 18:28 ]
He said that they can give it 12-13 weeks, not that they would, and even if it were a promise, it would be a Fox promise.
Since Dollhouse is premiering on Friday the 13th, anyone else think David Boreanaz should cameo in the first episode wearing a long black coat and standing in the unemployment line?
I know most of you are in other timezones, but the day has just barely started on the West Coast. It is highly unlikely that this interview was conducted today (Monday). It most likely occurred last Friday or over the weekend.
I just think its funny there's all this buzz that Dollhouse cannot be sold to the general public--the idea is so fresh and innovative compared to so much recycled garbage out there that I think Dollhouse has the potential to be so much more successful than all these people think. Eliza is gorgeous--just get her face out there more and we're guaranteed an audience that will tune in every week to see her: Come for the pretty face, stay for the awesome storytelling (and Eliza and Tahmoh will still be pretty).

Network television audiences love recycled garbage, though. There aren't many hourlongs on network TV that really challenge the viewer in any significant way. I can't think of one. Lost isn't challenging, it's a comic book and not even a good one. Pushing Daisies is different (and good), but it still has the network mandated procedural element.

If originality counted for anything than the most popular scripted shows on the networks wouldn't consistently be procedurals, nighttime soap operas and medical dramas. Look at the top 20 for last week. CSI, NCIS, The Mentalist, Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy, Criminal Minds, CSI: New York, House Seriously. It's all the same. Mediocre, interchangeable, TV you can half-pay attention to and still get. House is elevated by Laurie, that’s about it.

The only real originality that pops up on networks is in the form of the occasional awesome comedy, like Arrested Developmemnt or 30 Rock in the last few years.

As for Dollhouse, I’m not seeing the need for nervousness. FOX is saying the right things. I'd just be curious as to what their expectations are. If it's 7,000,000+ total viewers and a something above a 3 in 18-49 with a decent DVR audience, that's totally reasonable. Especially given the timeslot and the state of TV audiences post-strike. If it's expected to pull down 10,000,000+ total viewers a 4.0+ in 18-49 viewers on a Friday night, that's not really fair.

As has been pointed out before, Kevin Reilly gave Friday Night Lights a second chance when it was pulling down >6,000,000 a week on Tuesday and Wednesdays at 8:00 PM. By all accounts, he’s a pretty nice dude, too. Even Friday Night Lights managed to get 6,200,000+ viewers on Friday nights despite the second season having some creative difficulties. If Dollhouse is even reasonably successful, it will have a shot at renewal.

There’s no formula for making a hit. Plenty of well promoted shows from known TV creators have failed miserably, regardless of the nights they’ve aired. The best any network can do is develop the show, promote it and hope that an audience of some significance is willing to sample something new. It’s no different on Friday than it is on any other night.

Are the chances of a show being a hit on a Friday night lower than on Sunday-Thursday? Sure, but there is an audience for shows on Friday nights (Ghost Whisperer being a recent example, even an awful show like Moonlight found a decent sized audience. If that show had been airing on Fridays on FOX or NBC, it would still be around. CBS probably should have kept it) and if FOX has reasonable expectations as to what portion of that audience Dollhouse can capture, things should be all right.

Again, to be fair, folks (and some have) should at least be willing to consider (given the production difficulties) that Dollhouse is bad. Or, not “bad” as in One Tree Hill or something, but not meeting the expectations FOX had for it when they blindly agreed to produce those first seven episodes. Given the folks involved, it’s going to be better than most of the stuff on network TV right now. But, it might just not be jump off the screen, audience capturing awesome in the way that Joss’s previous shows were at their best. Maybe they’re dumping it on Friday nights because it’s an expensive failure. We’ll have to wait and see, but folks should at least be willing to admit that.
I find some of Beckman's previous comments on the industry peculiar, but maybe only because it contradicts my own personal habits.
But some people see bigger issues ahead, including the growing popularity of broadcast TV shows on Internet services like Apple's iTunes. "If you train the audience to believe there's no urgency in watching anything," says Preston Beckman, Fox's head of scheduling and research, "then sometimes you never watch it at all."

I don't know about anyone else, but I've watched more TV over the past couple of years precisely because I don't necessarily have to catch it when it airs. Having no "urgency" has not led me to watch less television, it's just allowed me not to have to watch all my television on TV.

Then again, if he's trying to create a sense of "urgency", slotting a much-anticipated show into a day traditionally considered a graveyard, well, maybe from their perspective that's a weird kind of brilliant.
Dirk, that was all very well said and I agree with almost every single point that you just made. I do think that Dollhouse can be successful on Friday nights. It is a possibility. I also think it would truly surprise FBC if it is successful. My main concern right now is that the marketing resources that would be put into a Monday show will not be allocated to a Friday show with lower expectations. That will most likely lead to lower sampling, which will then lead to lower overall ratings and a self-fulfilling prophecy for the network.

I do think you underestimate some current programming, but that is a matter of taste.

edited, cause I skim too much.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-11-10 19:09 ]
I'll just have to assume that Dirk said something interesting, because anyone who disses Lost that way loses my attention pretty quickly. ;)
I'm not reassured in the least by Beckman's words. That doesn't mean I am "panicked." (Thank you, Saje!) I think the realistic thing is to hope that Dollhouse does what it needs to do on Fridays to make it economically viable to keep on air. A lot of what the Fox exec said seemed boilerplate yakety-yak. I'm not sure what to think. As gossi pointed out, the show is no less expensive on Mondays than it is on Fridays. There are some logic loops and whirls going on, it seems to me. Also, there are no gauzy words of praise for Dollhouse as there have been in the past. It's pretty much, we can give 'em 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience. O-kay.

All we can do is wait and see and support in ways we can. I get the logic of saying that hey, the show might not be brilliant after all, but frankly I have a hard time believing that from the footage I've seen and the snippets of dialogue I've read. And it's Joss! There's not one thing that man has done that I haven't loved. So while more level heads may proceed with the perfectly reasonable assumption that the show might not turn out to be wonderful, I shall stay in my little crazed corner of love. Wait. What?

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2008-11-10 18:57 ]
The X Files would have been cancelled with this strategy.

It seems that Fox have no faith in the show, and once again, a network is too afraid to grow an audience.
Also, there are no gauzy words of praise for Dollhouse as there have been in the past. It's pretty much, we can give 'em 12 or 13 weeks to find an audience.

To be fair, I wasn't really expecting creative praise from the network's scheduler. Not sure that's his job.
I don't understand the idea that FOX would sabotage its own show. I keep seeing hints about FOX not having faith or not wanting it to succeed. Bungling is clearly possible. But this is an investment in an economic climate where studios seem less willing to spread capital across multiple projects to see which ones don't sink. Am I missing something? They might screw it up but I don't see how they'd be willing to screw it over.
I think, in some sense, some people might see the possibility that FOX is simply getting what revenue it can out of it and then cutting it lose as "screwing it over". But, yeah, there's no motivation to outright sabotage it.
Dirk, that was all very well said and I agree with every single point that you just made. I do think that Dollhouse can be successful on Friday nights. It is a possibility. I also think it would truly surprise FBC if it is successful. My main concern right now is that the marketing resources that would be put into a Monday show will not be allocated to a Friday show with lower expectations. That will most likely lead to lower sampling, which will then lead to lower overall ratings and a self-fulfilling prophecy for the network.

I think your fears are totally valid. I’d hope that FOX (or someone at FOX, or someone who works on the show) would consider leaking that first episode. Or, they could just put it up on their website. FOX has the shittiest promo department of any TV network, at least as far as I've seen. The House ads are an embarrassment and I say that as someone who likes the show. They make me cringe and I hate that word, so, clearly. I’d love it if FOX (or any network) would just pull a choice 15 or 30 seconds of a scene and show it as a promo for a show. Be a much better indicator of what a show was actually like.

If FOX puts the pilot out there, Whedon fans could get it in the hands of friends/family/likely converts and just let the show promote itself on its own merits. Even if those folks would DVR it or watch in on the FOX website, that's still something. Plus, it would remove FOX’s promo department from the equation entirely.

I'll just have to assume that Dirk said something interesting, because anyone who disses Lost that way loses my attention pretty quickly. ;)

I like Lost, it's a profoundly flawed show, though. And, it's just that (like House) I’ve had to hear people on the internet and in the world say that those are “great” shows and they’re not. The Wire, Deadwood shows like that are great, innovative and incredibly well-performed; they push the medium forward. House and Lost are silly, escapist fun. So, you know, it’s clearly my duty to even things up by bashing those shows on a blog about Joss Whedon’s work.
I suppose that's the case, bix. Then again, there was a bit of praise for Fringe. Although that is a known entity, I suppose.
Dirk, that was very well said, and I do not agree with you. :-)

I am, for example, a major fan of CSI (Las Vegas version) because it is not just a procedural, but it incorporates elements that are based around character, such as the relationship between Grissom and Sara. I'd not reject this show out of hand simply because it is a procedural. CSI understands something that I worry other shows do not- that you need to attract viewers who invest and viewers who do not. Those that invest look deeper into the show and read it more thoroughly, and those who want to escape will enjoy the weekly episode without worrying about continuity and character development. But the show offers something for both, and it never condescends to its audience. Not everyone watched Buffy looking to understand how metaphor works or the nature of Queer Theory or Bhaktin's Carnival, you know? Some just liked the humor. So, Joss has his work cut out for himself- make a show that the cognoscenti will invest in, but which also draws new viewers who like what they see. There is no guarantee he will be able to do so, and our concern circulates around whether putting this on Friday will make that harder to do. In example, I loved In Treatment more than any show I have seen since Buffy went off the air, but only a few hundred thousand watched any given episode, and you needed, really, to see them all, in order, for the show to resonate best. Which meant an investment of nightly watching for 9 weeks, 5 days a week. Dollhouse will not find life easy any more- there are different factors at play from even when Angel went off the air- the world is very different now, in terms of entertainment. As Dr. Horrible showed. I am not sure Joss on Fox makes the most sense to me. He really ought to head to HBO or Showtime.
It seems to me that Fox:

A) Loves to produce big-budget, action packed shows, but

B) doesn't believe that most big-budget, action packed shows will succeed, so

C) they put these shows in death slots like Friday night, resulting in

D) the ultimate failure of these shows

It's like they never learn. They just have to have these shows, then give them no chance to succeed. I hope in the future all creators of such shows try the sci-fi channel or something.
Anyone interested in TV Guide columnist (and Whedon fan) Matt Roush's take on Dollhouse's plight can click here.
That scream you just heard? It came from the already nerve-wracked realm of Joss Whedon obsessives, who just learned of Fox's latest whiplash-inducing scheduling changes, as the annual American Idol-induced midseason shakeup spells bad (though not entirely bad) news for genre fans . . .

As for the Friday lineup: Good luck and godspeed. It will be an uphill climb, but I'm betting DVRs will be working overtime. And while it looks like these shows are being thrown away, Fox doesn't have the luxury to keep throwing Friday nights away. This is aggressive programming, and Fridays are a good environment for superior sci-fi (welcome back soon, Battlestar Galactica!), so let's hope for the best. For now.

Bull. Crap. They know it is going to have a hard time of finding an audience but they are doing nothing to remedy that fact. And I think it's very onimous that they are going to let Dollhouse "run it's course", like it's a virus to get rid of.
I can only see it this way : they don't think Dollhouse will succeed, so they put it on Friday night. That way, if they're right, they can't lose a lot, because it's Friday. If they're wrong, well they will have a Friday night and that will be huge for Fox.
Being French, I also wanted to ask this : is TSCC before Dollhouse really better than Dollhouse then TSCC ? TSCC doesn't seem like a real lead-in, so maybe Dollhouse has more potential even if it's new.
Anyway, it all comes down to this : what is Fox idea of a success on a Friday night ? Is Fox really ready to put that much money in a show like Dollhouse if it's to air on Friday ?
Sunfire, FOX have taken a show which they said they had massive faith in, given it a prime time Monday slot with 24 and set it up for a massive launch, potentially for the Fall.

Then they saw the first pilot, and moved it back to mid-season.

Then they saw the episodes coming back, and moved it back to February -- which is after they're set to finish their current episode order by the way (translation: it might be effectively cancelled before it even airs) -- and put it on Friday.

Which is, by the way, what happened with Firefly. 'Firefly' had things like moments from the aborted pilot in the trailers (River in a box etc), but don't worry - that's happened with 'Dollhouse' too. The current promos include moments which won't actually air.

No network sets out to piss a show up a wall, but if they piss around (and on) it too much, they end up with.. well... A mess.

I've said before FOX have lost the faith with Dollhouse, and - well - anybody can see that by looking at the scheduling changes. But from a creative point of view I gather Joss (and Tim) are fighting for their show. The move to Friday may have one advantage - maybe Joss and friends will have some breathing space to do their thing now. I hope so. I think the premise is still a hard sell, but it's workable as a piece of quality entertainment that says something to people. And really, in the grand scheme of history, that is what matters most.

With regards to the thing about 'Dollhouse' only being plotted to 13 episodes - that's not quite right. The original pitch - and this is documented in interviews - extends for several seasons. I think ep 13 might actually be some big relevationy episode. Hopefully not as cliff hangery as Drive's episode 6.

Is Fox really ready to put that much money in a show like Dollhouse if it's to air on Friday ?

Good question. The licensing fee for DH is around $2m an episode, which is more than Firefly was. It's not Heroes expensive, but it's a lot of moohla, more than Sci-Fi and the like could afford.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-10 19:27 ]
Status:
Happy that Friday might mean we get 13 episodes.

Sad that the people at Fox don't seem to believe in Dollhouse.
Worried about how that's affecting Joss.

Hopeful that Joss, in spite of everything, will be able to tell a story he wants to tell.
Dollhouse already has a production team in place and buzz from the fans. With the economy as crappy as it is right now, I don't think Fox would want to risk canceling it and starting a new show from scratch. Then again, I see Hole in the Wall is still taking up some of their time, so what do I know.

[ edited by EvilElecBlanket on 2008-11-10 19:40 ]
I was so happy when I read the article. Then I read the comments, and now I'm back in sadness mode.

I feel terrible for Joss. He was so optimistic a few months ago. And that they not only screw him over (so it appears), but in the exact same way they did the last time... it's a little mean.

C'mon, unexpected smash hit!
I still have a fundamental problem with a show only being given 12-13 episodes to find its audience. You listen to writers/producers/actors and they all talk about how a show finds itself as a season (or two) progresses.
And with all the changes being forced on Dollhouse, it may well take a while before the show jells.
If anybody is wondering, I'm looking at doing something to turn the sadness/worry into positive energy shortly. I think there's some milage in trying to embrace the online audience of Dollhouse to a useful (for Fox, and us) purpose, but it'll be a bit radical. And I don't mean a Save-Our-Show campaign.
I am, for example, a major fan of CSI (Las Vegas version) because it is not just a procedural, but it incorporates elements that are based around character, such as the relationship between Grissom and Sara. I'd not reject this show out of hand simply because it is a procedural. CSI understands something that I worry other shows do not- that you need to attract viewers who invest and viewers who do not. Those that invest look deeper into the show and read it more thoroughly, and those who want to escape will enjoy the weekly episode without worrying about continuity and character development. But the show offers something for both, and it never condescends to its audience.

Most of my hate for CSI as a franchise probably stems from David Caruso, but also because none of those shows are anywhere near an accurate depiction of what law enforcement is actually like. And, sure, most shows (almost every show ever made, actually) aren�t an accurate depiction (look at how many shows are marred by bad dialogue, they can�t even get the talking part right) of reality, but law enforcement and such is incredibly interesting/dramatic in its own right. It doesn�t need writers to enhance it. If Law and Order were a combination of something like Courtroom 302 and Simon's Homicide, it'd be the best show on TV. It's not like that, though.

And, really, every show (even the awful procedurals) has a serialized aspect in terms of the interpersonal relationships of the characters. Some do it well, perhaps the original CSI does, I don�t care for it. For the most part, though, the characters on procedurals are static. They almost always revert to their audience pleasing norm by the end of the episode, arc or season. House can�t stop being an asshole, because that�d ruin the show. Real, true development as with Wesley on Joss�s shows, or Carver on The Wire, or Dan Dority (though, unfortunately cut short) on Deadwood where the difference is easily discernible.

Not everyone watched Buffy looking to understand how metaphor works or the nature of Queer Theory or Bhaktin's Carnival, you know? Some just liked the humor. So, Joss has his work cut out for himself- make a show that the cognoscenti will invest in, but which also draws new viewers who like what they see. There is no guarantee he will be able to do so, and our concern circulates around whether putting this on Friday will make that harder to do. In example, I loved In Treatment more than any show I have seen since Buffy went off the air, but only a few hundred thousand watched any given episode, and you needed, really, to see them all, in order, for the show to resonate best. Which meant an investment of nightly watching for 9 weeks, 5 days a week. Dollhouse will not find life easy any more- there are different factors at play from even when Angel went off the air- the world is very different now, in terms of entertainment. As Dr. Horrible showed. I am not sure Joss on Fox makes the most sense to me. He really ought to head to HBO or Showtime.

Absolutely, but at a certain point, I appreciate the David Simon approach, which is �fuck the average viewer�. Attempts to reconcile creativity/originality with �watchability� for a television audience that re-elected Bush with 60,000,000+ votes is just going to lead writers to terrible, terrible heartburn and, the thing of it is, it rarely works. Rob Thomas attempts to make Veronica Mars more viewer friendly just hurt the show to the point that I didn�t really even regret its cancellation (despite a good finale). If TV abandons Simon, if Treme doesn�t get picked up, he�ll probably just write a few books until he gets another opportunity.

If Joss (or any creative person) has a vision, he should do his best to fulfill it and not compromise it for the sake of some viewers that probably won�t watch anyway. If he can�t do that on network TV, the dude should explore other avenues of TV development (cable, premium) or just try his hand at writing a novel where he�d have complete creative control. Or, he could just do more comics. As fans of Joss and TV fans, the money element is always going to get in the way. You need a shitload of money to make films and TV, even on a relatively small scale. The �art� aspect is already compromised to begin with, given those circumstances. No need to indulge it even further by inserting needless procedural elements or �life-affirming moments� or other such things to make it more palatable. I realize that�s not likely, but still.


[ edited by Caroline on 2008-11-10 19:52 ]

[ edited by Caroline on 2008-11-10 19:53 ]

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-11-10 20:08 ]

[ edited by Simon on 2008-11-10 20:09 ]
"I'll just have to assume that Dirk said something interesting, because anyone who disses Lost that way loses my attention pretty quickly. ;)"

Hehe, almost had exactly the same reaction to the Lost diss. Thankfully most of the rest of Dirk's post was pretty damn accurate, making up for the suggestion that my favourite television show is like a flawed comic book. ;)

Dirk, you might need to fix a tag in your last post.
While I am still kind of mad at Fox for moving Dollhouse to Fridays, this explanation actually makes a lot of sense (at least from Fox's point of view). The only thing that would reassure me completely though, is a comment on all of this from Joss.

Also, is it February yet :)?
"oh bugger"

Caroline just broke the thread. ;)
Fixing thread... now. If they make the revenue back in DVD sales, they can afford it. Was anyone expecting Dollhouse to be a monster hit?

[ edited by daylight on 2008-11-10 20:05 ]
Fixed it.

The Wire, Deadwood shows like that are great, innovative and incredibly well-performed; they push the medium forward. House and Lost are silly, escapist fun.


Everyone practice with me now "In my opinion, which I will not state as fact,".
turn the sadness/worry into positive energy

Ah, Medieval alchemy. Is there nothing you can't do?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer season one is silly, escapist fun if you ask me.

theonetruebix - according to Joss I can open him a portal to speak to everybody at the same time. I'm still working on that one.
"[ edited by Caroline on 2008-11-10 19:52 ]

[ edited by Caroline on 2008-11-10 19:53 ]

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2008-11-10 20:08 ]

[ edited by Simon on 2008-11-10 20:09 ]"


Team Modding! Next on FOX!!!

;)
I've seen you do it, gossi. Don't deny it because the villagers are carrying torches and pitchforks. Sure, they may think you're a witch, but as long as you either do or don't float, you'll end up dead. So there's a bright side... perhaps the one at the end of the tunnel, which may or may not be a locomotive.
Everyone practice with me now "In my opinion, which I will not state as fact,".

Dude, I'm the arbiter of good taste. Clearly, this is known. Also, given that it's my post, isn't it clear that it's my opinion? And, really, can't we agree on some things being objectively good and better than others? Dickens is a much, much better writer than Dan Brown/[insert mainstream writer here]. Shakespeare is a much, much better writer than (insert anyone here). (Dude, are you putting the The Wire and Deadwood beside Dickens and Shakespeare?) In the context of television? Yes.
Dirk, I thought Deadwood was a pile of wank, frankly. I don't think anybody will ever agree on what's good/better here, because it's entirely subjectional. Millions of people love Buffy - many (more?) hate it.
If anybody is wondering, I'm looking at doing something to turn the sadness/worry into positive energy shortly.

Not to pressure you or anything, gossi, but you better hurry. ;)

ETA: P.S. I'm in.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-10 20:28 ]
I was expecting Dollhouse to be a monster hit. Kind of still am, although I admit the outlook is less than stellar with recent events.

gossi, thanks for the recap. I'm not sure loss of faith is a good way for thinking about this, but I get that FOX has changed its approach and things are not good.
gossi: "I've said before FOX have lost the faith with Dollhouse, and - well - anybody can see that by looking at the scheduling changes. But from a creative point of view I gather Joss (and Tim) are fighting for their show."

This is what I was thinking, especially after yesterday.

If there's the remotest chance that fans can do anything to help, I'm so there. Interested to hear what you may have up your sleeve portal.
I don't think anybody will ever agree on what's good/better here, because it's entirely subjectional.

My adoration of the Powerpuff Girls is a fact.
It is really all about taste though, Dirk. Personally I would put Lost way ahead of The Wire in terms of great television. Lost has had me hooked since episode one whilst The Wire, after several attempts to get into it, never really interested me. Deadwood is an okay show at best for me and in no way as enjoyable as, for example, Dexter, BSG or Supernatural. We can certainly agree that some things are better than others but what those things may be is always going to be a matter of individual opinion, right?
Also, the second season of The Wire was dreadful, to the point where I almost try to pretend it didn't exist (I don't, because it's relevant to later seasons). And I say that as someone who nearly worships the rest of it. There isn't a single season of Lost that I wish I could ignore.

(Is that magic alchemical mood transforming portal ready YET, gossi? C'mon, it's already been a handful of comments since you mentioned it, it must be done by now.)
Dude, I'm the arbiter of good taste.


Sh!t, I totally forgot! ;) As the others said, this really isn't an objective subject. For example, some people claim that Friday Night Lights isn't made of awesome. Soem people think Charmed and Smallville are made of awesome. Yeah, I was shocked, too! Some people juggle geese, my friend.
QuoterGal, it did make me laugh that one of Tim's videos yesterday went on about how changes to Drive didn't work, and then said "Fight!". Heh.

I'm actually quite happy for Joss to sit out of the Whedonesque discussions on the whole issue, 'cos really - what do any of us know about network scheduling and business? For that matter, I'm not sure Joss' area of knowledge is about that, either. He's busy trying to make Dollhouse work with Tim and friends, and that's the good thing. The only thing that matters ten years from now is if the show is good.
Meant to say in my last post, regarding the gossi-plan-to-do-something-useful-that-isn't-a-save-our-show-campaign thing? Count me in too. I always liked radical.
gossi's plan is to mind-wipe us all into doing something we really won't want to remember later on. Sorry, gossi, if Comic-Con can't make that happen to me, nothing can.
Dirk, I thought Deadwood was a pile of wank, frankly. I don't think anybody will ever agree on what's good/better here, because it's entirely subjectional. Millions of people love Buffy - many (more?) hate it.

I was being facetious, partially. I have to dismiss any criticism of Deadwood as "a pile of wank" out of hand, though. I was watching the pilot the other day and it’s really remarkably good. From the first scene in, which establishes Bullock very effectively, to watching Al Swearengen pursue his self-interest precisely and violently (“Don’t forget to kill Tim.”, awesome)… That’s not wank, that’s just well-written, well performed drama. To deny that isn't subjective criticism, it's objective ignorance. “Restless” was wank. The performances by McShane, Douriff, Olyphant, W. Earl Brown, Powers Booth, Garret Dillahunt, and pretty much everyone that appeared in that show, make it worthwhile. The show is filled with well-written characters performed by excellent actors in a compelling plot. That's what makes it good.

I can understand not liking it, or the language/violence/dirtyness of it not working for someone, but it's essentially the equivalent of bagging on Shakespeare, to me. Hell, I love the show and I can't watch it with any frequency. I just started a rewatch of the entire show for the first time in two years. I was hesitant at first because it's not one of those shows that you can half-pay attention to (and guess who the killer is!), it rewards patience and attention. Just like The Wire. Or, The Sopranos or some of the stuff Joss has done, or any good piece of writing.

Edit;

Season 2 of The Wire is awesome. Chris Bauer (who is totally underused on True Blood) as Frank Sobotka, and the whole port storyline, are about ss tragic as the show ever got (outside of the kids in Season 4/5). Weirdly, the show presaged actual events in Baltimore and a condo development was approved on the grain pier a few months after the fact.

On the other hand, the second season of Lost with it's really hollow, place holding, free-will debate (half a season devoted to whether or not characters should push a button) was absolute proof that the show wasn't planned in any way. But, Fury admitted that when he left after Season 1, so.

[ edited by Dirk on 2008-11-10 20:46 ]
I haven't even let myself get excited about Dollhouse. And this is why.
"gossi's plan is to mind-wipe us all into doing something we really won't want to remember later on."

Weirdly? Still kind of interested in being part of the plan. Sometimes I worry even myself.
Now the question begs-what did bix do at Comic Con that he wished he could be mind wiped of?
To deny that isn't subjective criticism, it's objective ignorance. ... I can understand not liking it, or ... it not working for someone...

Oddly, that's the same thing I argue when people dismiss Lost. Heh. (And, no, I'm not comparing Lost to Deadwood, because I still haven't gotten to Deadwood.)
Now the question begs-what did bix do at Comic Con that he wished he could be mind wiped of?

That's not what my comment meant.
Also, raising the spectre of Shakespeare seems kind of, well, a somewhat invalid comparison. The problem with Shakespeare is that it's meant to be performed, not read. And there are far more crappy performances of Shakespeare than stellar ones. So when one goes running around crowing about Shakespeare being objectively genius, we get into something of a bind.
There is no comparison between Lost and Deadwood, bix. Deadwood is good television but Lost outshines it in every way, although Lost has considerably less horses in it, to be fair. If you prefer your television shows to be horse-heavy then go for Deadwood over Lost every time.

All in my opinion, of course. ;)
I haven't even let myself get excited about Dollhouse. And this is why.


Well it is the biggest crisis to hit the fandom since Serenity's performance at the box office. Veterans will have seen this all before but it must be highly unnerving for newcomers. I would quite understand if people moved on and solely looked forward to 'Cabin In The Woods'.

And btw I would hate for a discussion about which tv show is the best to take over the thread, especially when there is a lot of concern around at the moment.
I'm one of those people who didn't start watching "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" until it came to DVD and because a friend brought the DVDs over. After that, I was hooked. It is my #1 favorite show of all time, and couldn't get enough. I still can't, as witnessed by my drooling over Season 8 comics and my W&T fanfic habit (both reading and writing).

Since I wanted to watch BtVS in order, and I didn't want to get spoiled, I waited months for the DVDs. The first time I watched Buffy LIVE off the air was the very last episode, and that was because the same friend friend wanted me to tape it for him.

So I guess the network isn't happy about my kind of viewer, because I didn't watch all those silly commercials. But hey, I do have two entire copies of Buffy and Angel on DVD. They're bound to have made money off those.

There are other series I didn't watch while they were on the air. Firefly and Wonderfalls come to mind. Now I have them on DVD.

Point is, a TV series can make money even after it leaves the airwaves. They aren't just limited to "selling detergent and cars" time. Of course, networks make a lot of money in advertising, which is why they don't give a series a chance. They aren't selling the series to us. They're selling our eyeballs to advertisers.

I watch TV so infrequently that for me, DVD subscription is a better way to go. I will pay good money for a well-done TV series. The fluff, the hours of wasted time currently on TV, is so boring it doesn't really hold me.

That said, I'll be there for Joss and Dollhouse, and I'll give it a chance. Unfortunately, that probably means it will be cancelled, because anytime quantumac watches a series off the airwaves, it gets the hatchet. Sorry, guys.

Hmmm. Or maybe if I avoid Dollhouse, it'll stay on the air? It's so hard to play reverse psychology with the suits. You never know what they're thinking.
Also, raising the spectre of Shakespeare seems kind of, well, a somewhat invalid comparison. The problem with Shakespeare is that it's meant to be performed, not read. And there are far more crappy performances of Shakespeare than stellar ones. So when one goes running around crowing about Shakespeare being objectively genius, we get into something of a bind.

Because a television script isn’t meant to be performed? You see more plays in classrooms being dissected as literature than you do screenplays or teleplays. I’ve always thought that argument, the performance argument, was a bit of a cop-out. The events in his work (the tragedies, at least), read or performed, are incredibly dramatic and the language (edited and updated as it has been throughout history) is wonderful.

I raised Dickens as well, Bleak House and such are probably more in line with The Wire than any TV show ever. Simon has mocked the comparison, but still.

As for Deadwood/Lost, both are flawed. Lost (even in the eyes of folks that are bigger fans than myself) is a profoundly flawed show, dating back to the second season. Fans of Deadwood criticize it (especially the theater troupe plotline in Season 3, which was being set up for Season 4 and was totally unresolved), but not to the extent of Lost criticism.

[ edited by Dirk on 2008-11-10 20:59 ]

[ edited by Dirk on 2008-11-10 21:00 ]
Can't I love Lost and Deadwood?
Can't I love Lost and Deadwood?

Of course. And I fully expect that I'll fawn all over Deadwood when I get to it. I just get a bit rankled on the Shakespeare thing, because the problem always becomes "which Shakespeare". Not to mention (though I will) that the genius of Shakespeare, in part, was playing to high and low ("mainstream") culture alike. Sorry, did Deadwood do that? No, it didn't. But it seems like Lost has. What does that say? Heh.

But back on target: We're again several comments on and I'm still not feeling any alchemy. Bring on the emotional alchemy!
You see more plays in classrooms being dissected as literature than you do screenplays or teleplays.

I probably would have paid more attention if they had dissected screen/teleplays instead of Shakespeare. My English teacher murdered any joy for his stuff for me for many many years.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-10 21:08 ]
"half a season devoted to whether or not characters should push a button"

Don't want to get into this debate again or take this thread entirely off-topic in doing so but it seems to me that I watched an entirely different season 2 to Dirk (not to mention a lot of other people that see the season as a waste of time). I'm not going to argue that there was a lot of padding in the second season but to try boil it down to whether or not they were going to press a button or not ignores a hell of a lot of interesting story and character development. Sure, not every moment of season 2 was necessary for the central story but some of the best character moments came from the so-called padding episodes.

Never did understand why so many people have an issue with episodes that are just a little bit of fun. Not every second of a show needs to be forwarding the main story. Sometimes it's good to just take a breather and enjoy the characters in less dramatic settings. The Jack/Sawyer Ping Pong match might not have answered any island mysteries but it was damn funny television anyway. Moments like that are what really attach you to the characters and the "padding" of season 2 provided many of them, which may well be why I enjoy it so much, "flawed" though it may be.
I probably would have paid more attention if they had dissected screen/teleplays instead of Shakespeare. My English teacher murdered any joy for his stuff for me for many many years.

I wish we could have broken down Chinatown in English class. I was down on Shakespeare in high school too, didn't make his stuff less good in the interim, though. Just meant I was fifteen years old and I didn't get it. I didn't care to (and I think that's key). Not that I "get" it now, I'm still a dumb ass, just taller. But, after seeing a TV series like Slings and Arrows and talking/interacting with folks that have such passion for Shakespeare, I totally see it now.

Of course. And I fully expect that I'll fawn all over Deadwood when I get to it. I just get a bit rankled on the Shakespeare thing, because the problem always becomes "which Shakespeare". Not to mention (though I will) that the genius of Shakespeare, in part, was playing to high and low ("mainstream") culture alike. Sorry, did Deadwood do that? No, it didn't. But it seems like Lost has. What does that say? Heh.

If that’s true, I’d say it’s more a function of the fact that Deadwood was only available to folks that could afford HBO (which has or had 40,000,000 subscribers, nowhere near the almost universal access to ABC or the free episodes on their websites) from 2004-2006 or illegal downloaders still reached a fair number of viewers. Still, I don’t see Lost being a hit with the high-culture crowd. Many TV critics, Sepinwall and others, have criticized the show for its lack of planning and occasional tendency to raise ideas/mysteries only to have them entirely dropped. Not to mention the generally broad characterization, the heavy handedness of the flashbacks, occasionally immense/plot contrived stupidity on the part of certain characters and generally weak dialogue outside of Ben/Locke.
Dollhouse is what, 14 weeks away? There's about as much time before Dollhouse as there is for whatever this audience-finding period should be called.
"Fans of Deadwood criticize it... but not to the extent of Lost criticism."

Could be because there are a hell of a lot more Lost fans to be doing the criticizing. :p

"...and occasional tendency to raise ideas/mysteries only to have them entirely dropped."

I'm not sure how anyone can accuse a show that is still on the air for two more seasons and is known for not giving answers easily of dropping ideas entirely. Surely that can only be known when the show has actually ended, assuming by then that there are indeed unresolved plots and questions? Seems a little unfair, at this point.

Okay, that's the end of my Lost defending, I promise. ;)
I might as well put my thoughts on here:

- Any campaign thing has to be not a Save-A-Show campaign. That will get laughed at - and rightly so. It's too negative an idea for a show which isn't launched yet.

- Any campaign has to be nothing to do with existing fan sites. It needs to gain support of all the fan sites and groups so it needs somebody to bridge it together.

- There needs to be some effort to making sure people actually know what Dollhouse is and when it's on. I.e. Watch Dollhouse, not save it.

- There needs to be an easy way for US and International viewers to legally watch Dollhouse on their PCs in a way which a network can track, and make a profit from. A lot of people plan to watch online anyway via Torrents - if we can bring these people into the network's own online sites somehow, they will see that peak. Really. In a notable way.
Sooo... does this mean gossi is Gl.. BANG!

*this post imploded because this particular whedonesque injoke has reached its fair use limit*

ETA: wow, my post had strange timing, considering all the posts in between. I was ofcourse, replying to mind-wipe gossi ;)

[ edited by GVH on 2008-11-10 21:28 ]
Could be because there are a hell of a lot more Lost fans to be doing the criticizing.
Could be that there’s more criticism to be done, too.

I'm not sure how anyone can accuse a show that is still on the air for two more seasons and is known for not giving answers easily of dropping ideas entirely. Surely that can only be known when the show has actually ended, assuming by then that there are indeed unresolved plots and questions? Seems a little unfair, at this point.

Dude, you avoided the legit criticism of the mediocre characterization and occasional bouts of plot contrivance.

Still, I think a combination of factors leads folks to criticize the show, the lack of planning being the big one. As others have pointed out, Gregg Nations compiled the bible in Season 2, clearly no heed was being taken of certain elements of the show that had been raised to that point and they were just winging it. As TV writers often do. Compounded by the fact Ben, a hugely important character, wasn’t planned. The actor worked out during the “Henry Gale” episodes, so the devised the character around him. The character and actor saved the show, essentially, but not immediately. He didn't really start taking off into awesomeness for a while.

Season 4 was the best since Season 1, because they have a direction and there was no needless time wasting. No excess fat. Even the episodes that didn’t move the plot forward significantly, like “The Constant” were just better than what they’d been in previous seasons. They used Reddick’s character (among others) to recton character motivation, to set a plan in place (Abaddon tells Locke to go on the walkabout, right?), but that doesn’t forgive the nearly two seasons of placeholding and awful characters (that tailies, with the exception of Bernard).

I'm done too, though. Good talk, I apologize for the diverting of the thread, but we were debating. If I could PM, I would.

[ edited by Dirk on 2008-11-10 21:35 ]
So long as Fox doesn't have a whole series of sporting events lined up to pre-empt Dollhouse on Fridays nights then I have to say that I'll welcome both (along with T:SCC) on a night when I have nothing to watch on TV.
I'd say that what is needed is something along the lines of what Team Winchester has been doing these past few years for Supernatural. A proactive campaign to get people watching the show, rather than just asking the network to keep it on the air for the already dedicated fans. The way it has been run covers pretty much all the requirements that gossi listed above and from what I understand it's been a pretty successful campaign. Nice site too.
Simon has mocked the comparison, but still.


No mocking by me (I think).

Good talk, I apologize for the diverting of the thread, but we were debating. If I could PM, I would.


Well that means I can take this opportunity to remind everyone about the Libary over at Flickr or Whedonesque.org which are better suited for more off-topic subjects. There was an epic election thread which seemed to go on forever. Plus there's loads of discussion about everyone's favourite tv shows, books and movies. And last time I looked you can PM each other over at Whedonesque.org.

There's about as much time before Dollhouse as there is for whatever this audience-finding period should be called.


What did happen to the webisodes? Are they still going to happen?

Watch Dollhouse, not save it.


I like that concept.

It needs to gain support of all the fan sites and groups so it needs somebody to bridge it together.


Good luck with that. Not a road I would go down.
I'm not sure how anyone can accuse a show that is still on the air for two more seasons and is known for not giving answers easily of dropping ideas entirely. Surely that can only be known when the show has actually ended, assuming by then that there are indeed unresolved plots and questions? Seems a little unfair, at this point.


That's exactly why I haven't watched Lost at all yet. I really like the idea of a defined stopping point; it gives me hope that all the mysteries raised will be answered. I'm waiting until it's over and someone says, "How awesome. It was all explained. That ending was satisfying." Then I'll watch it. :)
If there is some kind of effort to drum up interest, I don't think it should even be Watch Dollhouse. People don't like being told what to do, and that still has an advocacy flavor to it. For this to work, it has to be more selfish. Your average tv viewer who reads some tv blogs and whatnot doesn't care about saving a show. Maybe they do care about knowing about a new show they might like. It should be more about building enthusiasm and communicating that than shaping behavior.

I agree that it should avoid Save The Show or The Show Will Be Awesome. More like Dollhouse Countdown. That's the main idea-- it's not here yet, and people are already talking about it. Maybe make a counter with the basic info and fan sites can put in on their pages.
I just read the article. I'm sorry but did he really said "to have (...) if we surprise ourselves, a Friday night"? IF WE SURPRISE OURSELVES?!? They gotta be kidding me!

Aidan W.
(1) Fox put it on during a big night and it only gets two weeks to make a splash, or (2) Sacrifice some viewers by giving it a quiet slot but allow it more time to grow.

(3) Put it after American Idol and let it be the hit it deserves to be!
- There needs to be an easy way for US and International viewers to legally watch Dollhouse on their PCs.

Point me and the three computers in the house the way.
Nice to know that our (what seems like forever now) eagerly awaited for show is the independent variable in Fox’s controlled social ratings experiment. Sounds like Fox is saying no one will be more surprised than we will if it succeeds under these conditions and if so party! However, we do not expect it to so we will just let it do its own little thing over there for now.
Maybe next year they could call in Joss and burn a big pile of money in front of him, or will that not tie him up enough?
Sunfire's point makes sense to me, about subtly communicating anticipation.
A highschool student's appreciation for Shakespeare depends first and foremost on their willingness to try to get it in the first place (being a bookworm at the time helps, but even that didn't make my Grade 10 teacher's decision to give us The Merchant of Venice any less mindnumbingly boring. All I got out of that play was a catalyst for learning about the origins of Jewish stereotypes). Also depends on how good the teacher is at making it engaging for their students. However, even the highbrow crowd in highschool is gonna be a hell of a lot more interested and entertained by stuff like 1984 and Frankenstein than Will's plodding old plays (the "plodding" feeling probably wasn't helped by only covering a scene or two per class. I mean you could read ahead, but you wouldn't get a lot of it without the teacher's help, or at least those little footnotes they put in the student editions. But there was no chance I was gonna read ahead after school when there was so much in the way of distractions like Buffy and video games and whatever other good stuff was on TV back then). I remember being okay with Romeo & Juliet in Grade 9, liked Macbeth a lot but felt we spent too much time studying it in Grade 11 (fondness helped along by the character, his wife, and the Weird Sisters/Three Fates being included in the very well written cartoon Gargoyles), liked Othello quite a bit in Grade 12, and was obsessed with Hamlet in Grade 13/OAC (saw every film adaptation that was available at the time).

Dirk said:
"after seeing a TV series like Slings and Arrows and talking/interacting with folks that have such passion for Shakespeare, I totally see it now."

Aw man, Slings & Arrows is absolute gold (probably the best TV series Canada has ever solely produced, I freely admit that most of our homegrown television sucks), I don't talk it up enough here when we discuss "hidden gems" and "overlooked underdogs". Season 1 and 2 originally aired during my year and a half of experimenting with theatre (both on stage and behind the scenes) so it was doubly entertaining for that.
- There needs to be an easy way for US and International viewers to legally watch Dollhouse on their PCs.

I think this is the best idea that anybody has had. Especially for a show like Dollhouse, where there are likely to be MORE people watching it over the internet than on live tv.
I think Dr Horrible proved that it's possible to launch a #1 TV show on iTunes, as that is exactly what they did. They had no advertising budget. I know "The Office" (at the time helmed by Kevin Reily, who is the new FOX head) got a second season partly based on iTunes sales and web streaming, and -- being Joss fans -- that's probably our biggest strength. I actually spoke to Kevin a few months ago and pointed out this, but haven't managed to get anywhere with it, and there seems to be some level of fear about putting Dollhouse online early due to... well, I think we can work it out now.

Anyway, positive wise, I think Fox have a huge asset in terms of the Joss fan base if they can figure out how to translate it into a bigger, profitable audience. There's an argument it will involve progressive thinking which a big company is too ill placed to do, so should we do it for them? I don't know.

I do think it's amusing many of the people involved in the biggest web hit to date (Joss, Jed, Maurissa) are actually working on this show with a huge online audience, and yet again the network isn't embracing the online potential. No offense to the online peeps, but that Dollhouse wiki isn't going to find an outside audience, it's just going to make an echo chamber. Whilst the show goes the pan, the fans will be locked in to the site whilst they go mad with each other.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-10 22:08 ]
Do you have something in mind that we can do now?
No offense to the online peeps, but that Dollhouse wiki isn't going to find an outside audience, it's just going to make an echo chamber.

It's not even linked off the actual main Dollhouse page anyway. And I've already been bitter at them on the Future On Fox blog about exploiting the fans to make a website for them without bothering to try to actually understand the fans. (Pointless, I know. But sometimes it's just about the vent, heh.)
I'm unlikely to use that wiki much. I leave consolidating information about tv episodes to more industrious fans than I. I'll read a good wiki, but that one looks like an editorial free for all to me.
I think the wiki is a great resource for fans, to be clear. I just don't think it's anything which can break out and find people. Jed actually did a really good job with 'Horrible'.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-10 22:29 ]
I did not mean to begin a discussion about alternative shows; I was simply trying to note that rote condemnation of procedurals begs the issue. Often, there is more than meets the eye. While I don't watch the 2 other CSI franchises, the LV one I find compelling because I care, a lot, about the characters. As I did in In Treatment. For me, Dollhouse will live or die on whether or not I can find a character to identify with, not on the actual strength of a given story line. The latter is needed, the former is necessary, for me. And I was trying to suggest that the best TV writers know this- Joss has done this quite well, right? I'm a Tara lover for Buffy- and Willow, too; in Angel, Fred; in Firefly, Kaylee. These are my points of identification. I will fall back on a statement I made a couple of threads ago: if this show was a new show that we were just hearing about, but it did not have any involvement of a Whedonverser, how many of us would be sweating blood about whether Fox shifting it to hither and yon is worrisome? Not nearly as many as are now.
In my head, I'm picturing how to show that people watch Dollhouse, once it premiers. If not for the fact that it would require Fox allowing copyright infringement, I'd suggest that everyone video themselves watching the premier and then post those videos online. Not so much for people to watch (I mean, ultimately, boring), but just as a quirky way for people who don't show in the ratings to pull off some sort of public stunt.

("We watch Dollhouse, and we're just like you." or some such silliness.)

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-10 22:39 ]
People got all excited about that game, but then it went nowhere. Maybe a contest? What would you hire a doll for? Or what would your favorite fictional character hire a doll for?
Maybe I am in my own little bubble - but in all of this kerfuffle about the move to Friday nights - I'm just thinking that it will be great to have appointment television again and invite my friends over on a Friday night to watch Dollhouse with me. It is one of the rituals I miss most. So yeay.
Gossi, great info and ideas from you in this thread. But what did you mean by the last sentence thingie in this:

"I actually spoke to Kevin a few months ago and pointed out this, but haven't managed to get anywhere with it, and there seems to be some level of fear about putting Dollhouse online early due to... well, I think we can work it out now."

Do I take it to mean that the concern was that what was going to be put online wasn't up to snuff?

I'm a bit thick sometimes. Yes, I'm blonde.
The most any of us can do is rally the troops and spread the word about Dollhouse as best we can. From there it's entirely up to Joss and co. to make a show worth watching and coming back to. If Dollhouse is going to make it, we're all gonna have to watch it and preach it from the rooftops.
I agree that internet viewings and buying episodes and seasons from iTunes are going to be the show's biggest assets. Come February, if we support Dollhouse the same way we supported Dr. Horrible (i.e., if the #1 downloaded episodes and season are from a show that airs Friday night and maybe doesn't pull big numbers), it'll make a splash.

Before Dexter's last season premiere, Showtime set up elaborate "Dexter newstands" in major cities where they were giving out DVDs with a trailer for the show's third season. Everyone takes them, because who doesn't like free DVDs? What Fox ought to do is produce discs that contain the entire first episode and information about how easy (and free) it is to watch online at Hulu or fox.com, and hand them out on the street. Fancy displays aren't neccessary, but getting the first episode into people's hands (maybe a week or two before it premieres) and urging people to watch online (since they probably won't watch on Friday night) might generate some interest.
I'd suggest that everyone video themselves watching the premier and then post those videos online. Not so much for people to watch (I mean, ultimately, boring), but just as a quirky way for people who don't show in the ratings to pull off some sort of public stunt.

The Infinite Dollhouse Project?!
Erm, no. Heh.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-10 23:32 ]
[play the ball not the man]

[ edited by Simon on 2008-11-11 00:00 ]
Yeah, that's productive.
Count me in. For whatever we agree on.
The Infinite Dollhouse Project?!

Hah!

I was indeed suggesting that there's a bit of concern about if the new-new first episode of Dollhouse is - well - good. I know Jace from Televisionary (who's seen it) has posted on both Televisionary and here to air his concerns about the quality of it. Fox are also refusing to give out screener DVDs to anybody in case they get leaked. At MIPCOM (where they sell the show to international networks) they recently screened the first episode of Dollhouse (which is where my End Of Show episode recap came from). It turns out they aired a different episode (note: the audience didn't have a clue what was going on with Paul Ballard, and that was why), either accidentially or on purpose. Again, no screeners, and no networks actually picked it up, either. The amount of negative buzz for Dollhouse probably isn't helping international pickups (and Fox is partly to blame for that - Friday night?!).

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-10 23:40 ]
I wonder if Fox would have any interest in theatrical advance screenings of the premier, a la BSG: Razor.

Were I to spitball regardless of impossibility or reality, I'd even suggest licensing the premier for Premier Night viewings in theaters across the country.

If they want to spin this as "FOX Sci Fi Fridays", then try making a big pubic splash by making it nationwide premier night events.

I wish we actually lived in the world I imagine in my head.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-10 23:47 ]
I wondered if they aired a different episode than the pilot at MIPCOM, because the review that person at TWoP posted mentioned something about a cubist painting, which goes along with what we know about the second episode, "Gray Hour" (one of the guest characters is an art professor).
Correct, dollrific. They screened, essentially, the wrong episode at MIPCOM.
I don't think there's much point in brainstorming about what Fox should do. We can only initiate fan efforts.
I think brainstorming should start all-encompassing, personally. Otherwise, something might get missed. Even if someone spitballs a theoretical about Fox, it might spark something fan-based that would not have come about otherwise.
I think it's really sad that the amount of trust in the project has dropped to the 'let's not show this in advance' levels. But then again: they'll have to show the new pilot eventually. So why not hand out review copies of the first couple of episodes to critics, if the quality rises after episode one?

I remember the reviews of True Blood saying the pilot wasn't all that great and mentioning the show picked up with the fourth episode-or-so. And they were right: I really didn't like the pilot, but after that the show improved with leaps and bounds. I'd say that's a valid option for creating some positive buzz.

All this does have me worried if the first episode actually is any good. I'm sure it at least has some redeeming quality, but a first episode certainly is pretty important, all things considered.
Well, let's face it - there were reports that the first episode of Firefly -- the real first episode, Serenity -- wasn't very good. I think it's a fine episode if you invest 40 or so minutes in it. (Roughly, the point where Kaylee gets shot, which is where it becomes a compelling drama).

I do think we're all incredibly like a horse on crack when it comes to TV and movies. If it isn't amazing from the first episode, we aren't interested. If a movie doesn't open massive, studios don't care. Dollhouse exists in an environment where if it isn't an instant hit, it probably won't stick, and that's kinda sad making. So anything we can do -- can we do anything meaningful? -- to prop it up if we like it would be nice.
I really don't care much for first episodes. All this pressure for what (in my mind) seems to end up in a "meh" category. It's the improvement ep-after-ep that I'm interested in. And, yeah, GVH, if Tru Blood didn't get better after ep 1, I wouldn't have continued watching it. But I do like where it is going.

IMO, Buffy's first 2 episodes weren't all that. That had some good one-liners, and nice set-ups for the side characters, but the overall idea seemed flimsy at first (as it should, being the first episodes). BUT, you could see it deepen as the ideas of the show deepened for the writers. Doesn't that have merit any more?

What CAN we do that would help the show, gossi?
Anyone else find it ironic that there's a Dollhouse trailer on the Firefly Blu-ray?
I think this can work, it doesn't need to keep monster ratings, and if it's successful enough to create a brand for Friday's and lift it up into competition with CBS it will be good. We'll just have to wait and see what it will be up against on CBS because that will be it's real competition due to Ghost Whisperer's (relatively) monster lead-in.
I still don't trust Fox. But we will see what happens...
I like Zannadoo's comment about 'appointment tv' and think that's one contribution I could make as an individual. At the very least I'll invite over a bunch of friends to watch the premier episode. If it goes over well, then we have more watchers for later episodes. At best, it could be a wonderful excuse to get friends together on a weekly basis. And, Friday's are a good night for gatherings.
Okay, this isn't related really to the topic, but I've just gotta say that I think the Firefly pilot episode isn't merely "fine" but one of the greatest episodes in the history of television. Right from the very first sequence, it is electrifying and beautiful work. Now if we're to discuss "The Train Job," then yes, that is certainly underwhelming. But "Serenity" is personally my third-favorite thing Joss has ever done (after "The Body" and "Once More, With Feeling").

As for Dollhouse, I feel slightly better, but mostly the same as before, when other sites began hypothesizing on this kind of explanation. Color me cautious, with a sprinkling of optimism and a dash of pessimism.
I thought I'd link to Tim Minear's Open Letter from 2004 about "Wonderfalls" (sniff) which refers to the "time slot, charmingly known as The Fox Friday Death Slot.”

Just in case anyone wants to refresh their memories - and also because Tim said back then he was writing to the fans "because I believe you’re a huge untapped resource." We still are, if we can do it right - maybe moreso.

I'm not yet sure what that might mean yet, though... it hafta be good and it'd hafta be just the right kind of positive, without being all faith-based fandom, as b!X has aptly called it. Which makes it tricky, as - we've never seen it ourselves!

I dunno. I'm thinking, though. I do think there should be some kind of preview-viewings or DVD or online advances, or hulu-pilot postings.

Wait a minute! - why doesn't FOX have an "appointment preview viewing" (one time only, or maybe available only for one night) on the internet, available internationally and then we could promote the hell out of anticipating that? Why not make it appointment pre-viewing? And then we could break the internets with it, like Doctor Horrible?

Eh? Eh!?! Mebbe? I know we have no control over what Fox is doing to promote this, but maybe someone who does might read this and consider it?

'Cause we sure do know how to break the internets, and that's a fact.

I'm just thinking out loud here...
I know we have no control over what Fox is doing to promote this, but maybe someone who does might read this and consider it?

That's the other reason why I think the brainstorming should be all-encompassing.

I've made much the same argument, re: making appointment or event viewing out of some sort of advance Dollhouse thing. I think one of my pitches before was that doing a "one time only" or "short time only" thing might feel more comfortable to Fox than, say, just "unofficially" leaking the episode or something.
I think it's a great idea, which doesn't mean they'll do it. But they should consider it - not only was the Doctor Horrible team good at promoting it, but they got us to help in a way that did not feel all exploitive or pushy. And we promoted that without seeing it, because it was so clear from the previews that it was gonna rock.

If I had that same confidence about Dollhouse - that it would be the way the creators want it, and not all watered down and/or mucked about by other, more-suit-wearing folks - I could promote the hell out of "Dollhouse Online Appointment Preview."
Anyone feel reassured?

Nope. What can the guy say besides this? That the network has lost confidence and decided to dump the show in an impossible timeslot and let the dice roll as they may? This is only slightly less cruel that dumping a child in the woods!

Because a new show is like a child, esp. on network TV. Pilots are like babies, and they need to be nurtured with certain specific things to succeed: a decent timeslot, advertising dollars, hopefully a cushy lead-in show. It just seems like Fringe got all the nurturing and Dollhouse is being dumped out in the cold. It's a bitter reality.

Look at the two of the shows that are FOX hits: House blossomed after AI and Bones after House. The days when The X-Files premiered are long, long past; FOX was still a fledgling network (like WB when BtVS premiered) and could afford to take the long view and let a show with promising ratings grow. I don't see that kind of patience in recent FOX history.

I also can't help but bring up a network that truly did right by a show: NBC and 30 Rock. It premiered to mediocre ratings, they got worse, and was up against a show with 10x the buzz and prestige, Studio 60. Yet the execs liked the show and once the critics came on board, Fey's show was renewed and it was Studio 60 that got the axe. Second season, it was given the timeslot right before, then after The Office, NBC's highest-rated sitcom, and it went on to win a boatload of Emmys. This season, after creator/star Tina Fey shot to the big times with her Sarah Palin impression, the show has premiered the first 2 episodes to the best ratings ever. It's rating 95% of the viewers after The Office and has guest stars like Oprah, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Martin lined up.
How many acts does the new pilot have?
I also can't help but bring up a network that truly did right by a show: NBC and 30 Rock.

And who's credited with developing 30 Rock? Kevin Reilly, now at FOX.

[ edited by theonetruebix on 2008-11-11 02:18 ]
FYI, just how clueless are the people doing PR for Fox? Whoever runs the @FoxBroadcasting account on Twitter just spoiled tonight's T:SCC for any of its followers not in the Eastern or Central time zones.
Anyone feel reassured?

Nope. What can the guy say besides this? That the network has lost confidence and decided to dump the show in an impossible timeslot and let the dice roll as they may?


Exactly. We've seen this before and we know how it ends. Fox is doing to Dollhouse what they did to Firefly, and I hope Joss and co don't fall for their crap a third time.
I'm actually gonna ask a serious question. Not being sarcastic, but really genuinely curious as to what people think.

How long do you think a network (not necessarily FOX, but any TV network) should give a new show (not necessarily one by Joss Whedon, but any new show for the season) to find its audience?

Five episodes?
Ten?
Fifteen?
A full season?

At what point in the game is it acceptable to simply call it a loss and walk away?

Again, I really am curious as to what people think.

BetN
It's always going to depend on the context.

They let Viva Laughlin go straight away, but it was pretty much panned across the board so no one particularly took offense to it... other shows networks will stick with for longer depending on the program, it's appeal and the momentum behind it.

I don't think there is one definite answer.
BetNoir - to be honest with you, and taking your question seriously, I think it's unanswerable. From a financial standpoint only, it depends on too many factors to answer without much more information: what the show is, who are the creator(s), what studio/networks are involved, how much does it cost to make per episode (what's budgeted in total, and as compared to the other shows airing on that network), how much commercial time costs and how much has been sold, what ratings it's getting and how they are moving/changing, what star power is involved, what night it's airing, what are the lead-in shows, what studio support it has and how much executive interference is involved, etc., etc.

If you're asking how many episodes of Dollhouse should be made and aired on Friday nights in its current scheduled timeslot, I think at this point that's also unanswerable. We simply don't know enough about it to say how many episodes made and aired wouldconstitute giving it a fair shake.

Me, I'd give it a few years, easy...
BetNoir, there really is no one answer to that.
Quite a few great (long running and profitable) shows have taken a couple of seasons to find their feet while I seem to remember that the network wanted to cancel Lost before it even aired and actually fired the guy who green lit it. It was only the vast amount of money that had been spent on the pilot that made them go ahead and air it.
On the other hand many shows have been given a season or more and just not found an audience.
BTW, if we can't control FOX (but oh how we wish we did, right?) we can at least influence our friends and loved ones, so if no 'appointment' viewing of Dollhouse appears online (which I wish would because I think it's a great idea) then why not anyone who wants make it appointment TV on the premiere date. It's Friday the 13th. Obviously an unlucky day, so do your peeps a favor and keep them inside that day. It's for their saftey, really. Invite them over or invite yourself over to their place, make them some popcorn or pie and welcome them to the Dollhouse.
So spread the word: Friday the 13th completely unlucky for anyone who is not watching TV!!! (Superstition should be our guide here.)
It would be great if the first ep was aired online. I honestly don't understand why Fox wouldn't be interested in trying this strategy. Even if it is restricted to US viewers only, us internationals can get around that and boost the viewing numbers. As far as I can see they have nothing to lose, and they could get some positive rave reviews circulating in tv review land when we break the internet for them.

I've been trying to think of other fan campaigns that have successfully produced positive hype (without being off-putting) and what comes to mind is the charity screenings. Maybe some sort of Dollhouse charity screenings leading up to the premier date might be useful, but again this would require a big commitment from Fox, and somehow I doubt they would be interested into putting such effort in.
I agree that they should have some way of getting viewers to watch in on their own site. I'd watch and I'd be able to get quite a number of others - people I've turned into Whedom fans - to watch. I think the numbers could be really big. There are a lot of people who have been turned into Joss fans since Firefly went off the air, myself included.
Some people here have crossed the fine line between realism and pessimism. Are FOX's words reassuring? Err, no. But they're better than nothing.

What concerns me is that some of you seem to be on the 'Let's go push Dollhouse to the general public' bandwagon. I'm all for positive promotion, in fact, if I lived in the US, I'd be dropping 'Dollhouse' mentions all around the office/bar on Friday and the watercooler come Monday morning.
But having seen some Browncoats go almost suicidal after the initial box office takings for 'Serenity' came in, I must urge restraint against the cult-like stuff that makes other people look at us funny. Sure, be a fan. But don't be THAT fan.
In terms of just online, fandom stuff - I realize that nobody has expressed the slightest interest in my contest idea. But I've kept thinking about it. What I like about it is that it's based soley on the premise of the show, and requires no permissions that I can think of, or spoilers for anyone. Basically, it would be whoever could come up with the most entertaining or intriguing idea of a mission for Dollhouse. To keep it from becoming a fanfic free-for-all, submissions could be limited to a form, like a work-order form. And there could be rules like no porn, and no hiring the Dollhouse to wreak vengeance on Fox, because almost everybody would pick that, plus it's too meta.

Anybody likey?

Admitting up front, if it's just fans, I have no idea what the motivating fabulous prize would be.
Missb: Honestly, I don't really think it IS better than nothing. It essentially said what most of us already thought: they don't have confidence in the show and that's why it's on Friday. The main new piece of information I got from the interview is that there's some chance they won't even air the full season. I'd almost have preferred nothing.

I don't think anyone in the thread has been saying we should annoyingly promote Dollhouse; I've only seen people cautioning against that. I'm finding the positive suggestions pretty great in a situation with few positives.

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-11-11 07:25 ]
I'd caution against a jihadist spamming of Dollhouse across websites saying how amazing it is, as let's face it - that isn't so much a positive buzz as like having a bee fly into your house and say "HEY! HONEY IS AWESOME! EAT SOME!!!ONE ELEVEN!". Unless you have product to sell (sadly a bee has not tried to sell me honey yet) it can be just annoying.

I still think putting an episode of Dollhouse online via Hulu is FOX's best bet at this stage. Sticking it on Friday night, not having much faith in the show, thinking you'll be lucky if it sticks? Fine. Whatever. Right now you have nothing to loose, so stick something on Hulu, let the Whedonites go mad and spread it around (they can even embed it in their sites) and see what happens.

Each episode of Dollhouse is fairly stand alone -- well, the concept is reintroduced in each ep I've read -- there are on going plot threads but nothing too complicated, so it really doesn't have to be the pilot if they're concerned about quality. Put out Deknights episode. Everybody seems to agree it's great. A web event launch will get publicity, it will change the questions away from "What do you think of the Fox Friday Death Slot?" to "What do you think of FOX's Web Event launch?", and - you never know - it could just bring in eyeballs.

Or they can just dump it on Friday night with a poorly rated show as it's lead in, and do nothing great to support it, and then complain about it when it fails from a business point of view.
If you don't mind me asking, how do you know insider stuff, Gossi?

I like the idea of showing DeKnight's episode if the new first episode isn't all that great (which I'm treating with a grain of salt given that the same was said of 'Serenity' and given that that Jace guy also disliked the original Dollhouse pilot)
gossi is an intelligent mist that can travel around the globe via the jet stream and pass unseen into the inner sanctums of Hollywood's movers and shakers, only to alight from the room like a gentle Pacific breeze.
Insider stuff - I'm like thrush.

I thought the first 10 minutes of 'Serenity' (the episode) was pretty dull, to be honest, as it had a bunch of characters I didn't care about in a war I didn't care about, and then a load more characters I didn't care were stealing stuff - I didn't care about. But each to there own.

I'm pretty sure Jace actually really liked the original Dollhouse pilot - he was the first person to review it, and said it was great. (I just checked, he called it "brilliantly evocative").
Is it known yet who will be doing the music for Dollhouse?
Are you sure that wasn't the script he was reviewing? In the first huge thread about the Friday time slot he came on and said that he loved the script for the first episode but that the final product of both pilots wasn't very good

Personally, I loved 'Serenity' pretty much from the get-go, but there's differences of taste for you

Edit: just checked. It was definitely the pilot SCRIPT that he called brilliantly evocative. (Can someone please tell me how to get italix?)

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-11-11 09:33 ]

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-11-11 09:34 ]

[ edited by Let Down on 2008-11-11 09:52 ]
Like <i>this</i> or like <em>this</em>.
I don't mind the contest idea but i'm kinda struggling to see the point (beyond fun, fun, fun ;) - if we have to sell 'Dollhouse' to fans then we're dead already IMO.

The limited time early view idea is still a good one though I don't see it being possible internationally (legally) just cos of our old friend, regional music negotiations (as well as maybe not wanting to step on the toes of international buyers).

(though i'm shaky on that - assuming they're using GeoIP or similar to screen users, would using e.g. Hotspot Shield technically be in breach of the DMCA and therefore actually illegal since it's a circumvention measure or is it one of those scarce and getting scarcer loopholes whereby we're still allowed to use our own computers as we wish and a desire for anonymity isn't seen as a criminal act in and of itself ?)
Hotspot Shield isn't for copying content though Saje - it's a perfectly legal VPN service which just happens to be based in the US. Side effect, it causes Hulu to think you live in the US.

My current plan is a single website, unrelated to the existing fan sites, which has a countdown digital clock to launch and a very simplistic design suggesting what the show is and why people may want to watch. Once content (trailers, episodes) become available it will act as a single, easy way to watch. See also: Dr Horrible. Episodes will also be embeddable in Facebook, blogs etc. The idea is to create a world wide web event.
Sounds like a plan. I think simple is the way to go and the "one-stop shop" idea makes sense.

I agree BTW, they shouldn't see Hotspot Shield as a circumvention device because it doesn't "have limited commercially significant purposes other than circumvention or [is] marketed to be used for circumvention" but WILL they ? It's grey IMO because an argument could be made either way (and Anchorfree actually say on the frontpage of their website
* Hide your IP while you're on-line
* Access all content without censorship; bypass firewalls
* Protect yourself from snoopers at Wi-Fi hotspots, hotels, airports, corporate offices and ISP hubs.

(my emph) which could be seen as selling on the basis of circumvention.

(course, ultimately, if HS Shield's doing its job, "they" shouldn't be able to prosecute you anyway - you can't sue what you can't see ;)
I don't mind the contest idea but i'm kinda struggling to see the point (beyond fun, fun, fun ;) - if we have to sell 'Dollhouse' to fans then we're dead already IMO.

Eh, good point. But isn't the premise sort of infinitely sell-able if anybody was bothering to sell it?
I wouldn't worry about being prosecuted for DMCA circumvention; "They" are usually more interested in the makers of the tools than the users. It would also be much easier in jurisdictional terms to go after a U.S. company rather than its overseas clients.
Just to be clear, I think the possibility of being prosecuted for using Hotspot Shield is vanishingly small, i'm pointing out that if there're plans afoot for legal international viewing instructions it might be worth bearing in mind that going down that route might actually not be strictly legal (i.e. just a heads-up lest folk register domains and generally are identified with a website that might be encouraging illegality).

But isn't the premise sort of infinitely sell-able if anybody was bothering to sell it?

Oh most definitely dreamlogic. Course, bending over backwards to be fair, as far as marketing goes it has to be early days, right ? I mean it's not on for over 3 months yet, hopefully we'll see more promotion nearer the time (or you will anyway ;).
gossi: if you need any help with anything, please let me know. I'm a web developer and UX/UI/interaction designer. I'm currently working in Paris for a small agency with very very high profile clients. I'm incredibly busy, but if there any small technical things -- XHTML, Javascript, CSS, XSLT, PHP, SQL, Ruby on Rails -- I can help with in my spare time I'm only too happy to do it for free. My email address is in my profile.
dzr - cheers. I could do with people who are good at graphic design, as I make a 3 year old look like Jo Chen.
gossi: sadly I'm not a graphic designer. I am surrounded by graphic designers, but I doubt I could persuade any of them to work on anything for free ... Surely someone on Whedonesque is a graphic designer?
Wonderful to wake up to some rampant positivity!

I cotton to the idea of a limited time, world wide online premier of the show for the reasons stated above, plus one more: Making it truly world wide gets the marketing people in Fox involved in a positive way -- they'll be needed, for legal and promotion reasons, to bring the world wideness, and that will get them personally invested in its success. It's a new, non-traditional way of marketing, so they'll take pride in making it work. It permits them to be cutting edge and innovative, and to use words like to describe themselves in job interviews.

We already know the Nerdish Realm is plenty big and enthusiastic enough to make a Dr. Horrible-sized splash, so an online premier will serve as a nice palate cleanser shortly before the broadcast premier, one that will demonstrate large-scale interest in Dollhouse and turn the discussion from the making of the show to the show itself.

Plus: Fox's marketers will have to prove they can get more people to watch a show online than the Whedon Family & Friends did with their no-budget production. Again: pride thing.

Also loving:

Countdown clock: Any way to make one embed-able on our web pages, so people can stumble across our anticipation when they visit us online? Possibly featuring pictures of our hot & talented cast making "What's Your Fantasy?" eyes at the camera?

If I Had a Dollhouse Gift Certificate is a nice twist on If I Had a Million Dollars and seems to me like a more than fine way to generate discussion of and interest in the show.

Just random thoughts about the (better) thoughts of others. :D

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-11-11 15:25 ]
Okay, so here's my somewhat unintelligent question: I love the idea of putting it only and trying to make it like Dr. Horrible. But is there any way of suggesting that to Fox, or are we just speculating on how we'd do it? Or hoping they read this and take the free advice?
gossi - I'm no graphic designer, but I am a little artistic, and have plenty of free time at the moment. So please let me know if I can be of any help.
. . . sadly I'm not a graphic designer. I am surrounded by graphic designers, but I doubt I could persuade any of them to work on anything for free ... Surely someone on Whedonesque is a graphic designer?

My daughter is a graphic communications major in college, and while I know she is too busy to take this on, my point is that there are many talented graphic art students out there. If you ask around at the local colleges/art schools, it could be possible to find some who would be willing to take on a project for free if they can add it to their portfolios.
Oh, another thing I suck at - do we know if there's any really talented fanvidders out there, who are good at things including titling? I don't mean Windows Movie Maker stuff, I mean stuff which looks great. There's quite a lot of promo material for Dollhouse, interviews etc which could be made to look great, if done right. All of this is, of course, Fox's job and responsibility. But there's part of me that's arrogant enough to think we can probably out talent them.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-11-11 17:06 ]
Talented fanvids? I don't know how this person is with titles, but I seem to recall this video (Firefly and Serenity: Defying Gravity) getting stamps of approval from both Joss and Tim. Might not be a bad person to ask. (The video is, in fact, awesome. Also check out that user's "Simon and River: Golden Slumbers" and "Brave Sir Reynolds" vids)
gossi posted on twitter that he could use a good name for the aforementioned Dollhouse site/enterprise and NYPinTA reminds us that a clever name for the Countdown Clock wouldn't go amiss, either.

I know we've got some clever and creative folks on whedonesque who don't use twitter - yet - so I just thought I'd post these tweets on here.
Random silly ideas that might spawn a good idea from someone else:
Faith in Dollhouse. Cuz it's a play on her previous character and that someone has faith in the show being good (if not, you know, the network putting it on the air.)
To inside?
Echo Chamber. (blech)
Echo's Memento. (cuz she forgets who she is every episode.)
De Ja Dollhouse.
Unless You Are A Templar Knight, Don't Be Afraid of Friday the 13th. (Too wordy?)

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-11 19:14 ]
I'm liking House Party as some ace person suggested, but HouseParty.com is taken.
DollhouseParty? (Is available.)

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2008-11-11 19:25 ]
You could try stringing together some of the phonetic alphabet terms. Like AlfaBravo or DeltaEcho.
"WATCH THIS OR DIE!"

No, maybe not.
House Party is verra catchy, but I think it's too House-y, anyway.

I think DollhouseParty is pretty good. Also, using Sunfire's idea, what about using the police alph to spell something specific & meaningful?

I don't know what that might be - but it always cracks me up when someone types "WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot" so maybe there's something apropos we could spell for Dollhouse?

All I can think of are the snarky or nasty ones using "Foxtrot", so someone more upbeat and nicer can mebbe think of something... actually useable.

A: Alpha
B: Bravo
C: Charlie
D: Delta
E: Echo
F: Foxtrot
G: Golf
H: Hotel
I: India
J: Juliet
K: Kilo
L: Lima
M: Mike
N: November
O: Oscar
P: Papa
Q: Quebec
R: Romeo
S: Sierra
T: Tango
U: Uniform
V: Victor
W: Whiskey
X: X-Ray
Y: Yankee
Z: Zulu
When you spell it out like that, I really like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot! Haha.
Intrigue would be a good hook, since the Dollhouse is all secret and stuff. Operation Echo.

WTF seems not so good to spell out for this kind of project. We want to minimize the WTF-ness.
The only thing that comes to mind for me is Delta Hotel (abbreviation of Dollhouse), but I'd suspect that's not what you're looking for.
What is the word or term they are using to describe the process the dolls undergo to become whomever the patron wants?

PS I didn't mean Whiskey Tango Fox as an option. I just like it now, in the general sense- as in I'm going to be using it. A lot.
What is the word or term they are using to describe the process the dolls undergo to become whomever the patron wants?

I'm not 100% sure, but I think it might be "imprinting".
"Spooning".

No, wait, sorry, that's entirely something else.
But still chargeable.
Maybe "Whiskey Delta Yankee November" blending cleverly in some graphic artist-y way with "What Do You Need?"
Just wanted to be the 200th comment.

And... did a name get picked yet?
What about EchoFox? It gets you the main character, sounds interesting, and gives some blessing to the network (and is shortened for Foxtrot which is too "tt-y" for me).

Or, we could jsut name it after a few of our dolls... like...
SierraEcho
RememberNovember

Or, let's play off the "did I fall asleep?" thing with...
ForALittleWhile
Awaken
EchoWakes (EchoWhiskey...nah)

I'm loving gossi's move and all the support for it. What better model to model after than Dr. Horrible? I think it's fantastic (and there could be bridge-building there). And, HONESTLY, we can do a better job promoting than Fox has so far. And I say let's do this!

Somebody like a name enough to buy the domain. People with art-talent will pitch graphics. We'll vote. Gets posted. Have our generous volunteers embed & countdown & linkage. I'll be here with the raw-raws & figuring out how I can play a part in this.

All the social pools are great. I also think if the Dr. Horrible page mentions something for the preview-y-ness of gossi's idea it'll boost our signal for fan attempts.

What about YouTube? Any efforts to salvage what's been scattered?

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