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November 12 2008

(SPOILER) io9 predicts Dollhouse will be Joss's greatest work ever. Well, his greatest work yet. Nice to see something other than the doom and gloom we've been hearing so far.

Yeah, I see his point. Sounds good; maybe I can find a Tv that'll work in 2009.
And I agree with him on the starting points. BtVS and Friefly both were concepts that could easily be screwed up and made truly horrid in the wrong hands. Even Fred Silverman, Dick Ebersole, or William Castle would have trouble messing up Dollhouse.

I'm reminded of the other comemtns i ehard once about this being Joss's "most accesible" idea; no demons and vampires and magic, no high school metaphors, no spacehsips and alien planets, and no wEstern themes. Just the everyday world with a single and somewhat limited s-f- idea thrown into it. Of course, The Six-Million Dollar Man, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk also fit that category, so the track record has its sahre of quality potholes.. (Okay, I k now , unfair, 70s-80s marketing philosophy required fantasy shows to be restricted to single narrow concept in an otherwise ordinary world. Nowadays it's different.)

Macho chauvinist wiseguy comment: Which is the hotter look, the round-necked low-cut sleeveless top with the black slacks and bare feet, or the pointy-necked sleeveless low-cut top with the black slacks and bare feet? (Which gives me a Buffy moment flashback; in the Buffyverse Faith and Cordelia were about the only women who weren't in the SLippers-or-Socks-Around-the-House CLub.)

More seriously even if it's still sexist; ELiza has really matured in a gorgeous way. I guess there's nobody from the old gang who could play a teenager anymore now.
I skipped some parts that looked like they would be spoilery, but what I read was nice. It is very refreshing to read a Dollhouse article that's positive--I signed up for Google Alerts for "joss whedon" today, and 2/3 articles returned to me were downers. But this was lovely.

I don't agree, though, that Firefly had a shaky premise. Hard-to-sell, no doubt, but I think the premise and the execution were both great.
Yeah, it really is a great concept. Although I do really like Firefly's concept too.

I've become pretty zen about Dollhouse now. Even if we assume it gets cancelled and even if executives have messed too much with certain aspects, we're still about to get 13 episodes of Joss's work which he is really excited about.

(I reckon the round-necked top, and I don't think commenting on beautiful girls is sexist).
By the way, is there anywhere that I can watch the original aborted pilot? Didn't that leak a while back?
As far as I know, Let Down--and sorry if I'm misleading you--the original pilot has not leaked. I've been on the lookout myself.
The script was leaked.
Predicting it's going to be Joss' greatest show ever is as tiresome as predicting its doom. How about we wait until we see the show to make up our minds?

The doom and gloom, at least, is based in fact and historical precedence.
A teenage girl fighting vampires and demons absolutely does scream "masterpiece" to me (at least, of course, in the right hands). Then again, I am bizarre and have abnormally flexible thumbs.
But Joss making awesome things is also based on fact and historical precedence, and speculating on that is far less depressing than constant "panic, panic, Dollhouse is dooooooooooooooomed!" posts.
It's nice to read a positive article about Dollhouse, and those pictures of Eliza...WOW!

With that said, I'd really like to see a few episodes before I go too crazy.
Well, Joss's shows have (IMHO) gotten progressively better, so why wouldn't the newest be the best?
That was a great read at the end of a hard day. :)
finger. moving. off. button.
I agree: it’s great to read a positive story. The reason we're getting all these predictions (including all the gloom and doom) is because of this extensive waiting. It would have been much easier on us if it had started the same time as Fringe. Then it may have also gotten equal treatment. Or maybe not. All I know is until it does air I won’t be able to resist reading all the bits and pieces about it. And I don't think that will change when it does air, or after it’s over. While I don't necessarily believe (but do have hope) it will be Joss’s best show, I really can’t believe that it won’t be better than the average shows I am currently watching. Wait, did that last sentence make any sense?
It just must suck to be Joss with all this, because you've got people writing it off already, then you've got the people so hyped for it that they expect something awe-inspiring because he's *Joss Whedon.* I couldn't imagine the pressure. Not just from the network, but the pressure he puts on himself.

What I'm expecting is that...feeling only Joss has evoked. It's a feeling I can't describe, but it's one I got from Buffy, and it's the one I hoped I get from Firefly when I wondered if Joss could do it again.

There are shows with good characters, dialogue, stories, etc, but aside from all of that, with a Joss show, there's that *feeling*.

Anybody else get what I'm saying, or am I crazy?

[ edited by pat32082 on 2008-11-13 04:17 ]
I'm with UPC. (Except I have normal thumbs. :-P)

Seriously, though, I'd argue the opposite of this article . . . Joss's premises have always been good; it's his execution which has improved. It took Buffy a good thirteen episodes to find its feet; Angel got there faster; and Firefly hit the ground running.

(I do think Dollhouse has a more mainstream premise, in some ways--but I'd differentiate between a strong premise and a mainstream one. Often they're opposites.)

All the same, nice to see the positive.
I whole-heartedly agree with kyrumption. Joss's execution has just continued to improve with each project. Although I will concede that exponential improvements in technology, and Joss’s own personal growth and comfort levels within the medium of television helped with that over the years. What Joss had to work with in Season One of Buffy was not exactly the same as what he was able to manage by the later seasons of Buffy, Angel, and eventually Firefly.

I would also have to agree that “strong premise” and “mainstream” are not exactly synonymous. Take for example the original Starwars plot. Yes the concept is generally taken for granted now, but can you image what a hard sell that one was. “Ah, yeah. It’s the story of this kid who hangs out with two robots while he meets up with this old guy and space pirate in the first third of the movie. Then eventually he rescues a princess-type chick, with cinnamon bun hair from a star station. Once he’s done doing that, he meets up with his arch nemesis, whom we’d also like to mention wears a black suit and cape, and talks like he’s speaking through a permanent walking respirator helmet-thingy. Finally our hero will manage to blow the “Death Star” up in his little pea-shooting spacecraft.” Mainstream it became. Strong premise? I think not. But what a film series it went on to become.

That being said, naysayers be damned. I’m excited for Dollhouse. Failure or fanciful flight, it’s sure to be one hell of a ride.

[ edited by Buffy_Nerd on 2008-11-13 05:00 ]
I'm sure George Lucas left out the part about the cinnamon bun hair, because if I was listening to that pitch that would have been a deal breaker.
Yeah, I see his point.

That would be her point, as Charlie Jane Anders is female.
Dollhouse has been saved cause My Own Worst Enemy has been axed. Or something like that.

It's kind of a stretch, but that's okay -- I'm a lot more certain that Life was saved because MOWE and LJ were axed and that makes me happy. :)
Huh. I was kind of enjoying MOWE. But I'd agree it's more important to maintain Life. (Haha.)
I was pleasantly surprised by MOWE. I expected to hate it, but actually quite enjoyed it (the pilot at least, that's all I've seen so far). But I'm glad it has died so that Dollhouse can thrive in a sea of only 1 show about personality imprints.
pat32082, you're not crazy. It's called love and devotion that oozes from Joss' work. And respect.
"Dollhouse has been saved cause My Own Worst Enemy has been axed. Or something like that."

Sometimes it's good to be reminded that Fox is not the only network with a cancel button.
jpr -- if it makes you feel any better, something like 50-75% of new shows never make it past their first season on network TV. FOX just has the rep of being cancellation-happy b/c they tend to air innovative, interesting shows that viewers miss when they're canned.

And if Dollhouse is indeed Joss's masterwork (which I don't necessarily believe--I think BtVS, one of the best TV shows ever, is my idea of his masterwork--how terrible will I feel when the show (most likely) gets canceled? I almost want it to hate the show on initial contact, to make the potential loss much less painful. I really am not looking forward to another Firefly-like experience.

[ edited by dottikin on 2008-11-13 10:34 ]
I know dottikin, but sometimes the discussion seems to focus on Fox so much that it's good to be reminded that cancellations are mostly a network business thing. Actually according to futoncritics analysis only one show in three makes it to a second season, so not much comfort there, good to hear the positive things from I09 though.

But Sons of Anarchy and Sanctuary both got renewed so I'm happy and confirmed in my belief that cable is the place to look for the next good shows.
Bugger, I was quite enjoying 'My Own Worst Enemy', thought it was pretty decent with the potential to become even better. Still, if it was between that or 'Life' getting the full season then buh bye MOWE.

FOX just has the rep of being cancellation-happy b/c they tend to air innovative, interesting shows that viewers miss when they're canned.

In fairness, they also have a tendency to cancel shows quite quickly too (i.e. 'Drive' 4 episodes, 'Kitchen Confidential' 3 episodes IIRC etc.) though whether it's quicker than other networks or not is hard to say. And clearly it's a business thing, I doubt many of us believe Fox is actually out to get fans of Joss Whedon but whether a show you love is cancelled for sound business reasons or not, it's still cancelled.

Will 'Dollhouse' be Joss' greatest work ever ? On the one hand, it should be his technically best work because as others have said, that's something that improves with experience. On the other, it's a strange alchemy this TV business, even more than films IMO because, unlike films, you have to keep doing it, week in week out. I hope so of course (and that if it is, it lasts) but it's surely hard to say without seeing it first.
"FOX just has the rep of being cancellation-happy b/c they tend to air innovative, interesting shows that viewers miss when they're canned."

There is a lot of truth in this as well as the Fox Quick-Draw McGraw attitute, in earlier threads it's been pointed out that Fox could try to solve the problem by reverting to a miniseries/cable mindset, announce their new Sci-fi Fridays as the 'Try it you might like it' timeslot for 13 eps shows with solid conclusions. Then the cancellation issue is minimized and those shows that become actual Nielsen hits could be renewed and moved to more favourable timeslots. I realize that it goes agains the grain of the business but it's a way to get back some of the viewers/customers trust that they sometimes seems to squander quite freely and 13 eps would make for good and profitable dvds as well.

I'm in the Buffy will be hard to beat club but if Dollhouse would be even better than BtVS, yay tv magic.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-11-13 11:45 ]
Don't know if I'm going to read this or not, i'm so into avoiding spoilers. but it's great to see some praise coming along.
I'm told FOX have pulled the plug on Prison Break (just reading my memail), so that may play in Dollhouse's favour, too.
As I read this a question occurred to me: If the Dollhouse is so secret that the FBI has an agent dedicated to finding it, how the heck do the various clients end up being able to find it so easily?
Couldn't you say the same about any black market sales? Drug dealing? Human trafficking?

Btw, how does the demise of Prison Break help Dollhouse?
Dana, there are few secrets in the world anymore. Rumours are everything.

Let Down - makes Fox want/need another show to succeed? Creates less scheduling pressure?
Hmm okay. The first makes sense. But isn't Dollhouse's timeslot more or less set in stone now?
Better than Buffy? Very skeptical.
I finally read the article after being reassured (correctly) that it's not particularly spoilery, and it was nice to read something positive after all the gloom. But it does seem a little silly to say this will be Joss' greatest work when you haven't seen it. I'm a firm believer in managing expectations.

Also, for me a show couldn't be quite as good as Buffy unless it was as funny (as well as dramatic, etc., etc.), which I have the impression Dollhouse isn't going to be. Of course, since I'm spoiler-averse, that impression is based on very little, so maybe I'm wrong.
I don't know. Abraham Lincoln in Sugar Shock is going to be pretty hard to top. Still, I'm willing to wait and see.
Actually according to futoncritics analysis only one show in three makes it to a second season, so not much comfort there, good to hear the positive things from I09 though.

When I was younger, my dad subscribed to TV Guide and I would save the Fall Preview issue which featured all the new network shows premiering at the start of each season. I'd check back at the end of the season to see how many shows had actually made it through their first year -- it was usually a bloodbath.

Weirdly, the strike-shortened season last year plus the continual drainage of viewers this year has made the networks less inclined to cancel new shows rather than more. I was very surprised that T:SCC was renewed, and I've been figuring that Chuck was a goner, despite its creative blossoming this year. Has anybody else been watching Chuck? The show has gone from entertaining-with-appealing-performances to flat-out marvelous this season.
Ms. Anders (the article's author) compared Dollhouse to Season 2 of BtVS. I can think of no higher praise than that. We are in for a treat, fans! Let's just enjoy it while it lasts... however long that may be.
Most concepts sound pretty weak when stated in a single sentence. In my mind, that does not automatically make them "weak concepts". Judging what is essentially a pitch as weak is the same as judging a book by its cover or a band by its name. You must dig a little deeper.

But I do like reading a positive article about Dollhouse for a change!
But Joss making awesome things is also based on fact and historical precedence, and speculating on that is far less depressing than constant "panic, panic, Dollhouse is dooooooooooooooomed!" posts.

Yes, but what if it's not the best thing he's ever made? What then?

Ms. Anders (the article's author) compared Dollhouse to Season 2 of BtVS. I can think of no higher praise than that.

No higher praise? What if she compared it to Season Three or Season Five?
I may not agree with everything in the article, but when do we ever agree with everything? It was really nice to bathe in the stream of positivity from i09. I know they're not always our favorites (with polls), but they did good here. Helped my day.

pat32082, I know that *feeling* you get. I get it too. I like to think that if I ever witnessed a true miracle, it would be close to the feeling I get with Whedon. It's as if at first my head tells me that it was real because there's no proof of what I felt, except for my body screaming with vibrations that it was real. I usually end up with a stupid grin on my face because every part of me knows that whatever I just felt, there can be no doubt on where it came from and that I want more.

Which always leads to me wanting others to *feel* that way like I did. And hence the mass-convergence to WoW (World of Whedon).

... if I were religious, I would relate that feeling to that. Sure, it may seem far-fetched, but I believe in self-discovery and the "God within". So for the stars to align and for JUST ONE MOMENT the world connects in understanding and emotion... yeah, religion. Which would make the Black my church & DVDs of the Whedonverse my bibels. (ha, funny.)

Hopefully the road to February is a gentle rolling upward hill with fresh green grass and yellow flowers.
Interesting article, and it does ease some of the worries I've had about the show.

I would, however, disagree with the idea that Dollhouse is Joss' most original concept - Firefly owed much to Star Wars and Angel to Forever Knight, but there's also plenty of scifi around already exploring the exact same themes as Dollhouse, sometimes with very similar premises (see The Pretender, for example). I'd say that Buffy, with the idea of a blonde cheerleader who instead of getting killed fights back, was the most original of the bunch.
Since this is about off the front by now:

korkster: the Problem of Pain and the FOru loves and perhaps the Aboliton of Man might interest you. Just a side comment.
I'll believe it when I see it, or as they say in Missouri - SHOW ME!
Thanks, DaddyCatALSO. I'll check those out.

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