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December 08 2008

Sci Fi Wire uses random YouTube commenters to pronounce Dollhouse DOA. It was going to get posted here at some point, so I thought I'd engage in some editorial angling of my own via the link title.

So... You Tube is the predictor now? So, what color does this raise the alert level? Mauve?
Sci-fi Wire has lost all their credibility.
Using youtube commenters as a source to say a show is DOA? Wow, that's just odd.

Maybe I should make random youtube comments about how the show will succeed and have a successful 10 year run with dozens of Emmys.

I love your tags, b!X.
Using YouTube comments to build a article...that's a bit jarring. Seeing YouTube videos all over the news was one thing, but, anonymous one-side-of-the-story comments? Really? Come on, journalists.

ETA: crazygolfa, seems we had the same initial reaction. Except I type slower. heh.

[ edited by Jav on 2008-12-08 06:44 ]
I'm just curious how many worried posts are on the You Tube videos vs not worried or neutral posts, just for statistical reasons. I mean, a poll consists of a set number of people, right? This just focuses on some of the negative or concerned comments, but it doesn't say if there are others with an opposite view. Where are the percentages? Pie charts?? A sentence like, "65% of You Tube watchers are concerned about Dollhouse." I mean, it's like they aren't even trying!

Oh wait...
To be clear, they don't actually do what the headline here says, that was indeed editorial angling.

Leading their article off with YouTube comments was a dumb move, given that the article is actually about their 7 valid points about why Dollhouse is in trouble (not DOA =).

[ edited by jam2 on 2008-12-08 06:45 ]
I heartily approve of your editorializing, b!X. Nothing more need be said.

[ edited by Lirazel on 2008-12-08 06:44 ]
I'm getting happy about the lack of specifity. Maybe there's not anything wrong.
My Dollhouse Panic Alert Meter level is a soft gray-green with hints of gold. In other words, I can barely keep my eyes open I'm so panicked. *yawns*
Wow, I really hated that article.
My editorial angling is no harsher than theirs, and frankly less so. There are at least five instances of using random YouTube comments to support their own position -- and they are not just in the lede. I think my title is safe.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2008-12-08 06:48 ]
4. Bad dialogue. I watched the trailer, hoping for a laugh. Whedon is known for his snappy dialogue and witty lines. But not this time, at least not in the trailer. Where is the "Prince of Night, I summon you. Come fill me with your black, naughty evil." Or "Every well-bred petty crook knows that the small concealable weapons always go to the far left of the place setting." In the Dollhouse trailer, we get "Did I fall asleep? For a little while."

There's no end to how annoyed this one makes me. There's no snappy dialogue in the trailer?

I'm cutting myself off there for the good of everyone.
Here's the other thing I find kind of shameful: In another week or so, they should have the screener and can review the actual end product. Were they just annoyed that magazines and newspapers were going to be able to do that one or two weeks ahead of them?
The author assigns dire meaning to a lot of things that may not warrant it. Lots of factoids in there, but lots of assumptions, too. For instance, is it really true that the show "has had one of the most troubled preproduction journeys of any show in recent history"? It seems unlikely to me, anyway. It is probably the most anxiously dissected by internet commentary.

Frankly that internet opinion poll is a joke if it doesn't also include comments from blogs, twitter, social networks, and boingboing. Also a few blog entries by Nate Silver tearing it apart for undersampling lolcats.
I also find it weird that they seem dismissive of the very idea that the network and Joss might have THOUGHT they were thinking of the same approach to the show but turned out not to be. Frankly, that seems like something that's probably nearly universal in the industry.
I think people should wait and see the first ep before deciding if it has any failings. Whether the network is behind it or not is probably a completely different and mostly unknowable thing.

Sunfire, Nate Silver reference FTW.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-12-08 06:54 ]
There was some mod-editeding going on in there, since I know I didn't get to mine there in time, but that could be self-defeating, after a point, for the board.

[ edited by dreamlogic on 2008-12-08 06:56 ]
I thought about using a quote from Billy Madison to describe my feelings about the article in a clear concise manner, but I decided against it because it might too mean.

I think this article is trying to induce a PANIC! Why else would they use youtube commenters. If they used industry insiders, I'd lend more weight this column.
Also a few blog entries by Nate Silver tearing it apart for undersampling lolcats.

Hee.


[ edited by Effulgent on 2008-12-08 07:33 ]
I don't know what's more annoying about this article, that its writer is named "Jenna Busch" or that she has no idea how to conjugate "alumnus". Oh, and she's blowing things out of proportion 'cause she had to write about something this week. God, how do I get a job there?

[ edited by PuppetDoug on 2008-12-08 07:17 ]
I think they talked a lot of crap, but they also had some valid points too. I've been basically ignoring 99% of the dollhouse posts, as once it got pushed back to practically spring I was a little bit disinterested. Ooh, Dr. Horrible DVDs! Where was I? Oh yeah, so I haven't heard these things before, like Friday night?! I have no DVR-- guess I'm living in the land of the caveman-- and that's gonna be hard to swing for me. I don't have a ratings recorder in my house so no worries, still this is completely annoying to me.

Yeah, they had their spin, but I don't think you can just write this off as "youtube comments, pah!" What's all this about Friday night? And throwing out the pilot all together? Really?

You have to admit, it doesn't sound good, and it has nothing to do with being framed with youtube comments. I'm not one to fall for obvious spin, but it seems like there's been some of that done by Joss and co as well. As would be expected cause that's how it's done. Everything's fine! Friday night is a GREAT timeslot! If I could have picked any time of the week, that would be the one!

Maybe that's the hurdle I can't get over. Anyone familiar with the industry could possibly explain how this is in any way not a bad sign? Excuse me while I look up "Friday Night Death Slot" on Wikipedia, my interest is piqued.
Wow. That article won me over. Really. I'm a sheep and SciFi Wire is the shepard.

Please.

I'll form my own opinions when the show airs. I'll decide for myself, after actually watching the show - myself. I am the viewing public and I have a brain. Thank you very much.
Re: conjugating alumnus. Doesn't one decline a noun, and conjugate a verb? Or were my Latin teachers cruelly misleading me all those years?

BTW: please try in your comments not to break one of this site's golden rules, which is to not bash other sites (or, indeed, writers). Thanks.
I always thought it was considered rude to decline a noun. Or maybe I'm confused again.
In lieu of SoddingNancyTribe's kind reminder of site rules, I will not bash another site/writer and just state that if one wanted to be well-informed one could use more research or, like b!x said, wait for a screening of thing one was reviewing instead of using youtube commenters as sources. I'm just saying. :)
BTW, b!x, I really liked your tag "overblown anti-hype". Well played, sir.
I would never be critical of someone who has actually seen a good body of the work, has gathered their own information and not trolled the net for second hand sources, and who has the journalistic integrity to search out quotes from people who will actually give their proper name. But in this case...
I'm not seeing any difference between what was said at YouTube and here or come to think of it anywhere else. A lot of people have written it off.
This is really getting boring now. I really wish everyone would just not talk about dollhouse anymore until it premieres. I just don't see the point of the endless speculation. It's just making things worse. Does anyone think that maybe fox saw the outcry from the fans and kinda lost faith in the show? What if we were a factor in causing fox to want to retool? That might be my self-flagellation talking, but it sort of gives me belly rumblings to think so..
What a snarky piece of crap. No one is letting me enjoy the fact that Joss has a new series. People have been nay-saying from the start. I'm tired of it. I'm not gonna read anymore of this kind of negative stuff.
I didn't think the article was too bad until I read the words "bad dialogue". How can one make such a call after merely seeing the trailer?

Having read the script for the original first episode "Echo", I can say, without hesitation, that the dialogue is great. Sure, the show has changed a lot since then, but it's still Joss, and I laughed out loud quite a few times while reading that script.
Ya know every time I read how he kept reshooting a scene cause it wasn't working, I think of the story of filming the scene in "Surprise". How it was suppose to be in front of her house and how it was not working until he realized it was a bedroom scene. Change is not always of the bad. Great things can come from flexibility.
I've made it a point not to get excited about Dollhouse. I have a bad feeling that it'll be shit-canned pretty fast, and I don't want to get attached.
Regardless of this obviously non-credible article, I remain ever-excited for Dollhouse. My feeling is, no matter what Fox does to it, we'll eventually get a DVD, and that's at least something. Who knows? Maybe they can pull a Family Guy/Futurama and get picked back up due to profitable DVD sales and syndicated cable ratings. :)
I've made it a point not to get excited about Dollhouse.


At least you'll get a chance to see it. It's still not been picked up in the UK despite other shows getting snatched up.
Well that is one of the side effects of the negative publicity, international buyers are slightly less attracted to a show when all they read about it is Doom, Doom, Doomedy Doom.

Still optimistic myself but if this show dies quickly the headstone should say, 'Killed by the internet, a lot.'.

[ edited by jpr on 2008-12-08 10:22 ]
Or maybe they've seen it.
People really have to stop thinking *the* Dollhouse is made of glass. FOX has a sick sched, they're a dominant company, and Whedon knows how to do business. I'm confident it'll be a successful show.
So, are we in the business on shooting the messenger now?

Throwaway references to Youtube aside, this article makes some very good points. Granted, not points that regular Whedonesque readers haven't heard before, but not everybody's so lucky to be ... such an enthusiastic Whedon follower.

It has frustrated me somewhat that the Dollhouse promos have yet to include any good dialogue. It's one of Whedon's great strengths, and you'd think it would be an easy enough thing to showcase in a 30 second commercial. Someone in marketing isn't doing their job.
I don't think the article considers the YouTube quotes to be "throwaway" - blog quotes etc. feature throughout and even if we hadn't heard this all before, it says "the buzz may be turning ugly" and then goes on to make points that have been known (and not just by we on here) for months. It's a rehash using random anonymous internet posters to bolster its claims of currency i.e. of being news (which I assume is one of the qualifications for articles appearing on Sci-Fi Wire which does, after all, paint itself as "A News Service of the Sci-Fi Channel").

Reminds me of when i'd forget to do homework and end up having to bodge some rubbish together during registration ;). In short, nothing new, nothing of substance (that hasn't been reported back when it was actually, y'know, news), nothing to see here, move along home.
I for one am still looking forward to seeing Dollhouse... But then I said that about Drive, and that never made it to the UK either...

Personally, it wouldn't bother me if Joss himself said "This is crap - don't watch it!" When I've seen it for myself, then I'll decide if it's any good.

Also, for some reason, I really like the "Did I fall asleep?" line in the trailer...
The only point I found particularly valid was the Friday night thing, which has been done to death already, and isn't exactly news any more. I don't think "bad dialogue" can be judged from a trailer (I've seen horrible trailers for awesome shows). Half the other points related to various retoolings the show's gone under during development -- when editing, rethinking ideas, constantly trying to make the show the best it can be shouldn't be a bad thing.

I guess I'm trusting Joss to give us a show worth watching, for however long it lasts. If that's only for 13 episodes, well, that's 13 more episodes of Joss tv than we've had in years. If it lasts longer, so much the better. Either way, I'm going to let myself stay excited over Dollhouse, because I'm figuring that whatever happens, I'm still going to get a lot of pleasure out of watching it.
Thanks for doing your bit to get Dollhouse cancelled Scifi-Wire!

Not only is the article is a pointless rehash of old news it also adds a baseless criticism that the show has 'bad dialogue' because in the very short trailer there was no funny dialogue. Way to make people not want to watch it.
The lack of snappy Whedon dialogue in the trailer is a good thing IMHO.
For one, snappy or emotional dialogue out of context sounds just lame. You really need to see the whole scene, know the characters and what's going on, to appreciate it.
Secondly, again IMHO, Serenity (the movie) suffered because the funny dialogue in the trailer made people think it was a comedy or even a spoof. And if you made that assumption then it didn't really look that funny. It would have been better to sell it as a straight action movie and have the funny bits as a suprise bonus.

And again, this article makes it sound like every other show on TV had a smooth, perfect, journey to the screen. If this was Buffy starting now what would we have? OMFG! Pilot scrapped! Leading role actress fired and replaced! Scenes reshot months later!
This is getting kinda silly now. I don't follow online gossip for yet-to-air shows very often so I may be wrong here but has there ever been such a lot of negative press and opinion for any show prior to it actually being on television. Yeah, you see random people making assumptions about whether they will personally like an upcoming show and you see critics giving their take on whether a new show will be successful or not but never have I seen anything like this before. Certainly not to this extent and so long before the show will even be seen.

Again, I could be wrong and this might happen more often than I realise but it seems to me like Dollhouse has been dogged by negativity from day one and every single setback has been blown out of proportion. Some maybe more worthy than others (the move to Friday being an obvious example of justified worrying) but all adding together to make Dollhouse feel like a show you would be an idiot to even bother to watch, because it might as well have been called "Cancel Me Now!".

Honestly, I'm just glad I'm not Joss, Eliza or anyone else on the cast and crew because this really must be one of the toughest shows they have ever had to work on. How hard must it be for them to feel positive about what they are doing when all they see is negativity in every Dollhouse article?
Okay, having now had time to read that Sci Fi Wire article properly I can officially say that the writer has found whole new ways to find the extreme negative in every single point she makes.

She works for Sci Fi though, right? Maybe this is their attempt to safeguard Friday nights for their own shows. Make sure Dollhouse and Terminator fail to prevent any science fiction fans straying to FOX. Sneaky, sneaky Sci Fi types! ;)
Let's remember that this is coming from a Network that produces cheesy, made-for-TV Movies that are truly awful, and then has the cheek to call their Saturday Line-up "The Deadliest Night on Television."

They compiled all the negative comments they could find about DollHouse into one Article, with hardly any attempt at including positive comments. Bad Journalism... Good attempt at Snarky Hype. It got them linked to Whedonesque.
In addition to DVR, there is always Hulu.com, so anyone in the US with a high speed internet can go out on Friday nights and still see the show legally. (Terminator and Fringe are both on Hulu, so I'm sure Dollhouse will be as well).

And it seems a little silly to see the SciFi channel's news service talk about how Friday night is a death slot for genre television. I know they are a cable network and don't need to numbers of the major networks, but Friday is the only night the SciFi channel actually shows science fiction.
Someone could write an interesting book on Dollhouse already. Between the real problems the show has had, fans on the Internet complaining, the media reporting on the fans on the Internet complaining, and finally the fans on the Internet complaining about what the media is reporting.

"Echo Chamber" would be a perfect title.
Do they, mayhaps, have a problem with FOX starting a "Sci-Fi" night on Friday nights?!?!? Maybe, huh, maybe? Maybe they only have like 2 entertaining shows in their line up and have started airing professional wrestling... maybe?
Dumbledore is crazy. There's no way Voldemort is back.
Tired looking?

Eliza has never looked better.
LOL! What montresor said- They don't want someone else having a a 'Sci-Fi on Friday nights'!
This article just recycled all the negative hype and nothing else.
I don't want to attack the writer or editor of scifi.com personally, but this article is extremely poor. And keep in mind that's from somebody who has a vague clue about the Dollhouse woes.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-12-08 16:04 ]
kishi, it's perfectly acceptable to decline a noun, however it's rude to make fun of it among your friends afterward.
Dumbledore is crazy. There's no way Voldemort is back.

Harry Potter And the Ghosts Who Won't Stay Dead?

"Echo Chamber" would be a perfect title.

That's going to be my review blog name, thankyouverymuch.
In scientific writing, often the abstract of an article is the the entry point into whether or not a potential reader actually does read the full article. The obvious corollary here is to the trailer; if someone is perhaps not a cognoscenti of Whedon, the trailer is all there is to hook that person into watching the show. So I actually fell that the comment here is justified. The program needs a good trailer; it is not that we here won't watch, but we are not the real target audience. In order for Dollhouse to succeed, it will need to draw several million viewers. As time goes on and the negativity continues to grow, that becomes harder and harder. At this point, I do not hold out a lot of hope.
That's going to be my review blog name, thankyouverymuch.

You're welcome. I thought it was kind of low-hanging fruit at first, but it does work nicely.
Sci-fi Wire has lost all their credibility.

I'm with you in that one!


I think this article deserves an award as "the stupidest article of the year". On a second thought, maybe it would be more appropriated "the stupidest article... ever".

Bad dialog? Because of the trailer? WTF?

THESE GUYS ARE INSANE!!!!!!!


I don't want to attack the writer or editor of scifi.com personally

You don't? I do... *Just kidding*

[ edited by Rikardo on 2008-12-08 17:38 ]
"Dollhouse" has *not* had one of the most troubled preproduction histories of any show in recent memory." "Brothers & Sisters" fired its showrunner (Marti Noxon, as it happens, who is now just fine over at "Grey's Anatomy") before it aired and is still surviving at 10 PM on Sundays (talk about a death slot). "Life on Mars" had the showrunner leave; "My Own Worst Enemy" fired its creator. So far as I know, Joss Whedon and Eliza Dushku and Craft & Fain are still ensconced at "Dollhouse," with no major creative types getting fired/quitting. And, as others have pointed out, if Friday night is so dire, why is it SciFi Channel's night to run their flagship dramatic programming? Which they run twice on the night, by the way, so anybody who gets SciFi Channel can just watch Fox from 8 to 10 and then watch SciFi from 10 to midnight, or even 11 to 1 and still get everything. Oh, yeah, and "Ghost Whisperer" and "Numb3rs" are still chugging along in their multiple seasons on Fridays on CBS. Well, the elections are over, I guess somebody needs to yell "The sky is falling!" about *something* and "Dollhouse" is what got pulled out of the hat. Personally, I think we should all talk about the trouble "Geffuffle!" is in. This show has no script, no producer, no network, no one has ever heard of its nonexistent cast and it's not on the network schedule. I think it's doomed ...
Lack of snappy dialogue in the trailer? Excuse me, but I thought the "happiest day of my life!" bit was very snappy and hilarious.
Maybe its just me.
While not viewing spoilers, I'm also making it a point to stay excited about Dollhouse -- in fact to look forward to the entire "sci-fi-friday" lineup of T:SCC, Dollhouse and BSG in February. And if Dollhouse only runs 13 eps or whatever, it'll still be interesting and possibly great. Firefly, My So-Called Life -- sure we wanted more, but that we got them at all is all to the good.
Following up on Shapenew's point -- One of this year's best shows, ABC's "Life on Mars" had the pilot ready to go a while back, but it wasn't, shall we say, good. So they scrapped it, along with nearly all the cast, and reshot the entire thing on another coast. The result is a significantly improved show. Sometimes retooling does mean there's an issue, but without it, a series might not get the audience it needs to survive.

As far as Friday being the "death slot" -- that may be the case with non-genre series being moved into the time prior to cancellation. But as X-Files demonstrated, genre TV can do well on Fridays, 'cause the popular wisdom goes, the nerds are home on Friday nights.

These days, of course, with time-shifting due to DVRs and Internet-viewership, it may not be an issue where series are placed on the schedule any longer. Plus, with the economy in shambles, who's going out?
Is SciFiWire jealous that Time magazine was the first to see the pilot, rather than them?
I mean, Rosie Live! had better respect before it aired that Dollhouse is getting now, and it's really getting out of hand. Let's just wait until February 13th, and see what it has.
Besides, why should a trailer about a new drama have comedy?

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2008-12-08 18:53 ]
Hmm, seems that with Terminator/Dollhouse on the same night as ghost whisperere/Numbthreers there seems to be some counter-programming for the same niche audience going onskis.
The Friday Night slot I think will be good. They fail to mention that they have had a very successful 10 year run of Friday night programming. This month SciFi will be losing Stargate and their SciFi Fridays will be gone. With Doctor Who being another year till return all the have left with pull is Battlestar. I would be willing to bet that a good percentage of their viewers from that night will move over to Dollhouse. So to me this article just seems like a way to get people to stick with their network and invest time into a new show they know will hurt their ratings.

[ edited by flamepulse on 2008-12-08 19:05 ]
I don't quite get why people are so afraid the production process is similar to Firefly (actually I do very well, it was the cancellation, I'm not that stupid, but just lets carry on for the sake of the argument) Firefly was a great series. One of my altime fav's, propably for most of us. Maybe the Train Job wasn't up there, but still, on the whole, I would call the production a giant succes.

With Firefly the main problem was, I think, the inaccesability of the concept. While people I got to watch it all loved it, there also were I lot of people I never could get to watch, because they wouldn't watch a Sci-fi Western in a million years. The concept of Dollhouse sounds a lot more accesable to me. If it is anywhere near as good as Firefly (which I think it will be, I believe Dollhouse will most likely be mindblowingly great) people are going to watch it, talk about it and suits are going to realise they have gold in their hands and if it isn't working on fridays they'll find another place. And in the unlikely event that it won't be any good, well maybe then we won't get more, but then I wouldn't want Joss to waste his time on it anyway.

Wishfull thinking? Maybe. But even if 13 hours is all we're going to get, I'm still glad we got that. 13 hours would still be more then any move it would take 2 or 3 years to not get of the ground, so yay television!

BTW, great post Shapenew, well put and agree with everything you say (though I'm not sure we should talk to much about "Geffuffle", the absence of bad press is the only thing the poor show has going for it, let's not put a final nail in the coffin, shall we)

And while I like the civality we usually have here I do appreciate highlander pointing out what seems to be a genuine bias.

And finally a non-related question: Interesting to hear you like the US Life on Mars, Whedonage, have you also watched the british one and would you recommend it to fans of the original if you have?
flamepulse, a good number of SciFi's 2 million (tops) Friday night viewers ain't gonna be enough. We need to remember that SciFi is a teeny tiny little niche cable station and Fox will not be at all satisfied with those kinds of numbers.

And this article didn't seem premeditated to have some sort of network vs network bias. It is just silly negativity and not so well researched.
Frankly that internet opinion poll is a joke if it doesn't also include comments from blogs, twitter, social networks, and boingboing. Also a few blog entries by Nate Silver tearing it apart for undersampling lolcats.

*kneels before the fount of hilarity that is Sunfire*
I think that there are many things happening with Dollhouse that are cause for worry and this article doesn't really say anything I haven't heard bfore. I also think that we (fans) are a bunch of obsessed crazy people and that we have the tendancy to dissect everything to DEATH until it's no longer interesting. I will wait to see what happens. Dollhouse will either be successful or it won't. I will say that the fact that fans are writing it off can't be a good sign. I understand that we are all jaded and have been hurt before - but how about we don't give up hope before the damn show has even aired.
Exactly TamaraC, this article seems to me to be geared specifically to discourage viewers from even trying the show. Basically Sci-fi Wire is talking to Joss' base : telling them that he has lost his touch and can't write well any more, and saying that Eliza's huge fan base shouldn't tune in because she is looking old and tired. I feel that Sci-fi wire is actually trying to damage the show, and I can't imagine what they hope to gain from that.

Personally I blamed the constant preempting of Firefly (about 1/3 of the aired shows were aired after midnight) for the fact that the show couldn't grow an audience. I had a lot of friends who loved the show but gave up because they could never figure out when it would be on. If Dollhouse just has a consistent time slot then I think it will do better than Firefly did.
Question: Did Firefly fail solely because of Fox's messing it with it? Is that the conventional wisdom? I ask because this show (Dollhouse) will either make it or not. If it does not, will it be because it was shipped to Friday night and had several rewrites and productions stoppages, or because it did not engage viewers, or both? What was the sitch with Firefly?
"How do you not know what the network is looking for? Didn't they tell you?"

This is either disingenuous or naÔve - it happens all the time in TV, film - or, indeed, any other art or business. "This thing you've created is not all all what we thought we talked about when we didn't want to get bogged down in specifics, and we told you you had us at hello." *sigh* Of course this can happen.

"Really? The creator of the show had to reshoot something three times, and it still didn't work? "

Ditto. Happens all the time. - would think she'd know that. Or maybe not.

Sorry she didn't get any yucks off the trailer for this drama. She says she's a Buffy-fan. Maybe she's upset it's not Buffy. *sigh*

"Some are calling her "tired-looking" in the trailer and saying she seems bored. "

This was just ugly. Why report the judgmental tripe that some fan - allegedly - said about the radiant female that is Eliza?

Ya know, this was an buzz article about buzz, written as buzz - and with a tone of something sounding almost like the proverbial "disgruntled employee" or somesuch similar "got an axe to grind" thingy - or at least someone looking for some online attention. Not worth much more effort than I've put into this comment - a minute or two.
Question: Did Firefly fail solely because of Fox's messing it with it? Is that the conventional wisdom? I ask because this show (Dollhouse) will either make it or not. If it does not, will it be because it was shipped to Friday night and had several rewrites and productions stoppages, or because it did not engage viewers, or both? What was the sitch with Firefly?

Someone correct me if I have this wrong, but this is my understanding of the situation: we don't know how Firefly would've done with audiences. Maybe it wouldn't have caught on. But the problem is that, because of the timeslots and preempting and everything, it didn't get a chance to engage or not engage viewers, because viewers didn't know about it or didn't know where to watch it.
"I did not see her becoming another person. I thought, 'Oh, look! There's Eliza Dushku with glasses and her hair in a bun!"

In Alias, I never thought Sydney Bristow was anyone other than Sydney Bristow regardless of whether she was in a bright blue wig and bondage outfit, or in a business suit. I'm not worried.
"Some are calling her "tired-looking" in the trailer and saying she seems bored."

This reminds me of people saying that SMG looked bored and unenthusiastic during S6. Hello! Fiction! Acting! Did you not get the theme of season six?

If Eliza looks "tired" in a scene it's because the director wants the character to look tired.
You know, if enough media outlets say it will fail, it more than likely will. I'm tired of all the negative - bring on some positive.
I've been a worrier about Dollhouse since early on but this article goes to ridiculous places. I'm officially sick and tired of the "overblown anti-hype" as b!x so hilariously puts it. If this article had a solid basis of non-youtube-generated reality behind it and didn't ignore inconvenient facts (such as Shapenew pointed out) about SciFi's own Friday scheduling, then I wouldn't discount it with such a "grrr, arghhh." But discount it I do. This piece may have gotten me so irritated that I think I'm done with my own hand-wringing. I'm going over into "it'll be a Nielsen blockbuster!" head-in-sand-land just for spite. Or kicks. Or spiteful kicks.

I mean, honestly, folks. The bad buzz has reached the point where it may, unfairly, do some real damage. It sucks. Which, in my opinion, the trailer dialogue most assuredly does not.
I miss the days when nothing was known about what was coming out. When it did it was a big hit or not so much -- but it was judged fairly instead of all the nitpicking so far in advance it make people not even want to watch.
If Eliza looks "tired" in a scene it's because the director wants the character to look tired.

Actually, best will in the world, I think that was also lifted from a blog post and I think it might even have been from here. In the thread for the 3 part set visit a few days back where we see Eliza and Joss answer questions about the time-slot etc. a couple of people commented that they both looked a bit down and kind of tired (not blaming those posters or casting aspersions in any way, we should be free to call it like we see it, no-matter which "journalist" might be reading).

In Alias, I never thought Sydney Bristow was anyone other than Sydney Bristow regardless of whether she was in a bright blue wig and bondage outfit, or in a business suit.

Without in any way judging Eliza (cos I haven't seen her in it yet), Sydney Bristow was meant to be in disguise, she wasn't meant to be an entirely different person each week (i.e. she had to fool her enemies, she didn't have to fool us). That combined with the fact that most of the "characters" she played were simply excuses to get Jennifer Garner into dominatrix outfits or her skimpies mean it's not really a fair comparison IMO.

... we don't know how Firefly would've done with audiences. Maybe it wouldn't have caught on.

Yep, that's my understanding too. And the whole thing where the feature length $10 million pilot (that, IMO, perfectly introduces the setting and characters) was bumped and Joss and Tim had to write a new pilot ('The Train Job') over a weekend couldn't have helped.
If Eliza looks "tired" in a scene it's because the director wants the character to look tired.

I've seen tv shows where the tired character doesn't look tired. They tend to be the ones where kids become teenagers overnight after 3 years of babydom, and people's twins are discovered astonishingly late in life only to dastardly rig someone's car brakes so that they go off a cliff. And there's amnesia. Lots of amnesia.
Even if the "tired" thing came from here (and it made no sense to me at the time anyway), it wasn't even about the SHOW, it was about an INTERVIEW. So it still fails the smell test as far as this "article" is concerned.
Yep, couldn't agree more. I'm not saying that makes it truer, more that, again, it's using random anonymous internet posters as a source (when we're really not - or shouldn't be).
flamepulse, a good number of SciFi's 2 million (tops) Friday night viewers ain't gonna be enough. We need to remember that SciFi is a teeny tiny little niche cable station and Fox will not be at all satisfied with those kinds of numbers.

im not saying that those numbers will mean success but it will go a ways in helping. what i am saying is that a employee of scifi is saying that friday night is a dead zone for tv when they have in fact been very successful.
Question: Did Firefly fail solely because of Fox's messing it with it? Is that the conventional wisdom? I ask because this show (Dollhouse) will either make it or not. If it does not, will it be because it was shipped to Friday night and had several rewrites and productions stoppages, or because it did not engage viewers, or both? What was the sitch with Firefly?

Firefly was a totally different situation than Dollhouse. FOX greenlit Firefly because it was a 'Joss Whedon project', not because they understood the concept or story that Joss was trying to sell; as a result, they gave the series very little in the way of support, pre-empted it, and aired the episodes out of order, all of which resulted in poor ratings... which they then used as an excuse to cancel the series. Conversely, with Dollhouse, FOX has been nothing but supportive of the series from the moment that Joss and Eliza pitched it. Although Kevin Reilly has apparently admitted to being a bit 'awestruck' during Joss and Eliza's first pitch session, which may have affected how much of the initial pitch he actually heard, he nevertheless greenlit the series based solely on said pitch, and picked up 7 episodes of the series before a pilot had even been written. It was only during the course of normal production that changes started to be made based on interaction and feedback between Joss and the execs at FOX, and it was Joss himself who instigated many of those changes (including the writing and shooting of a second pilot).
Saje said: "... we don't know how Firefly would've done with audiences. Maybe it wouldn't have caught on.

Yep, that's my understanding too. And the whole thing where the feature length $10 million pilot (that, IMO, perfectly introduces the setting and characters) was bumped and Joss and Tim had to write a new pilot ('The Train Job') over a weekend couldn't have helped. "

But, you know, this is sort of my point. The fact is, the program failed specifically because it failed to garner enough viewers. Despite all else, desite whatever reason people wish to advance, Firefly did not make it because it did not have enough viewers. My question was designed to get at the why; the CW here is always solely that it was Fox's fault for forcing the rewrite of the pilot and putting it on Friday night and then not waiting long enough. But there are always excuses why a show fails- Pushing Daisies just failed, for example. And what reason is there- well, the strike took too long, it is too quirky, it is this and it is that, whatever, and the fact is, it is going off the air because not enough people are watching it. I know I state the obvious.

But it is also saddening here. First, it is saddening that this article is yet another jumping on the "Dollhouse is dead" bandwagon or the Joss schadenfreude bandwagon, before the show ever has a chance to air. No matter how you cut it, this kind of speculation cannot help. Yes, it is equally obvious that the show has not yet aired. Yes, people should watch before they make an opinion on whether it will succeed. But even development issues play a role in whether a show succeeds. And it is saddening as well to see all the comments here, for the umpteenth million time, defending the show by dismissing the comments of people whose jobs actually ask them to speculate on matters such as this. I hate to say it, but they cannot be so easily dismissed, because they influence opinion. This is a josscentric board, of course, so the defense comes easy. But this is not such an easy situation here- no matter what, this speculation cannot be helping.
They can be dismissed (in this case) because they're lazily researched and not offering anything new. I.e. the article itself isn't particularly well produced. Do they influence opinion ? Sure. But what can we do about that except correct them where they're wrong ? And I doubt any of us think the speculation's helping.

But, you know, this is sort of my point. The fact is, the program failed specifically because it failed to garner enough viewers.

Yeah, true. As you say, spectacularly obvious (since in the US, ultimately, that's why all programmes that fail fail) but true for all that.

Not really seeing what you're saying on this one Dana5140. Negative buzz is bad ? Programmes fail because not enough people watch them ? Fans tend to be biased towards what they're fans of ? All pretty dog bites man, surely ?
Well, Dana5140, like I said in my comment above, I've long been a hand-wringer about Dollhouse. I have based my hand-wringing on some solid journalism coming out about production delays or shutdowns or rewrites. There is legitimate stuff to worry about, although as some clear-headed folk have pointed out here, there are (a) shows on Fridays that are still on years later despite not being blockbuster hits, and (b) many relatively successful shows (Brothers and Sisters, for example) have a turbulent production history before a single episode airs. So the situation, while admittedly not fantastic, isn't all black, necessarily.

I definitely get your point that it is not untoward to ask how successfully articulated the Dollhouse concept is and how it might play out for audiences. Shows do fail, good ones and bad, and as you point out, there are reasons for these failures. But I don't think this article asks anything in any meaningful way. I think a lot of people here are not dismissing the Scifi piece out of fear of some sad reality or sad set of undeniable facts, but because the piece frankly tells us nothing new. Moreover, it taints itself by building a case using fan-feedback on....what? On reports like itself about bad buzz and production issues. I find this vastly irritating and not helpful. I feel fine questioning this piece because I think it isn't good journalism. Point me to a well-written piece with some new, hard info and I'll be happy (in a morbid way) to read whatever questioning might be posed.
And not only that, it cherry picks the fan-feedback too. Whether I agree with them or not there've been plenty of people here and elsewhere that remain optimistic about 'Dollhouse' (not just that it'll be quality - many of us are optimistic about that - but also that it'll actually do well for Fox on Fridays and get renewed). Where's that "buzz" mentioned in the article ?
"Point me to a well-written piece with some new, hard info and I'll be happy (in a morbid way) to read whatever questioning might be posed."

'Zackly - not a big fan of "web-comment-based & buzz-gossipy-flavored-rehash-journalism" - & while we're at it, I'd vastly prefer articles written without that particular "faux surprised" tone.
Sunfire: I've seen tv shows where the tired character doesn't look tired. They tend to be the ones where kids become teenagers overnight after 3 years of babydom, and people's twins are discovered astonishingly late in life only to dastardly rig someone's car brakes so that they go off a cliff. And there's amnesia. Lots of amnesia.

And nothing will ever be the same again... until the next commercial break.


Dana5140: The fact is, the program failed specifically because it failed to garner enough viewers.

Yes, but the point people bring up is: if the program didn't get mistreated, just an average amount of treatment, would it have garnered enough viewers?

I could easily say that fifth episode of Drive failed to garner enough viewers. But it would be tough to pin that all on the episode, considering the network didn't air the episode.

[ edited by OneTeV on 2008-12-08 21:39 ]
Kinda interesting to be both witnessing and feeling the mob mentality come to life.

We all just want "Dollhouse" to succeed so badly that you can just smell the waves of fear emanating from the ether.

I've always thought it interesting that first Sci-fi writers imagine something and then later it becomes manifested. There is just enough disturbing information out there right now about the process, the production, and the PR surrounding "Dollhouse" to plant these annoying and pesky seeds of fear.

None of that though, has ANYTHING to do with the actual product.

*portentous voice* "Let these seeds of fear find only rocky ground!"

I mean, does anyone have any doubts, honestly, that it will be anything less that fabulous. Even Joss's bad is... well, not really bad, but instead maybe just not a particular person's cup of tea or maybe a little light weight compared to his highest degree of excellence. He just sets that bar so damn high. The best creativity thrives on a few challenges and limitations after all.

We don't need a lemming rush here, people. Let's try to stop imagining the worst. If enough people believe something to be true, they can generally make it happen.

Let's use our powers for good. We are the mighty Whedon Nation!

*Did you hear the crowd roar?* ;)

I mean come on...writers strike? Can't Stop the Serenity? Dr. Horrible sales? We make miracles happen here on a regular basis. Or at least help them along a bit. :)
Yeah, a couple of people up above articulated it right. There is concern. Even bad writing and shoddy journalism cannot help, because the fact is, most people- those not invested in the work Joss does- will never be bothered to actually look at the merit of those reports. They will just jump on the bandwagon of doing what they think the "cool people," for want of a better term, will do. That is, if they see a groundswell of support for something they know nothing about, they will check it out; if they see tons of negative press, they will shy away. Why do you think there is such a huge support for Twilight? Because all those young girls want to be part of this larger cultural phenomenon. The actual product sucks, of course, but it was not written for 55yo guys.

I am at a point in my life where I feel that the only thing that matters is quality. Or, I wish it did. Some people think JJ Abrams is God. I have never been able to watch any of his shows. Ever. I've tried. I love Joss. But I have no idea whether I will like Dollhouse. I might. I might not. Whether I do or not has nothing to do with the fact Joss created it. It will simply be whether or not I engage. My suspician right now is that I will not have a point of identification- Echo is basically a cypher, whose humanity is revealed slowly over time. I am not sure that will work for me. I'll certainly take a look, but I am not certain whether this is going to really engage to where I invest.

Unless, of course, it has lesbians. :-)
For (hopefully ;) the last time - yes, many (maybe most) of us here are concerned to varying degrees. Does that make this a well written article that's worth bothering with ? No.

I really kind of resent this idea that because we don't rate this specific article we must all have our heads in the sand - we know stuff like this isn't helping. We know the points are (mostly) valid or at least factually accurate but they're not NEW and they're often not backed up (in this article) by anything except blog posts and the opinions of random internet farties just like us (in some cases, as I say, possibly actually us).

Which is why this specific article has taken a bit of a pasting. Not, just to repeat, because we're all wandering around in some Panglossian wonderland singing to the trees and just knowing in our heart of hearts that there's absolutely nothing to worry about and absolutely no merit to any of the "troubled production" articles out there.
Uh Saje, in that case, just who is it that's wandering around outside my window singing to trees? (And why aren't they wearing clothes?)
Whoops. Sorry about that, barboo, lalala, I think my toga must have slipped off.
I'm not so sure that "Firefly-like ratings" would be such a bad thing at this point.
I dunno, 'Firefly' was getting around 3 million when it was cancelled (and never topped 5 IIRC) - even on a Friday I reckon that'd be too low for a full order, let alone renewal.

Whoops. Sorry about that, barboo, lalala, I think my toga must have slipped off.

Ah, that was you toast ? In that case, whose window is this ?

(actually, I talk to the trees. But they don't listen to me)
♬ "All for the best in this best of all possible worlds." ♪ ♫

*puts toga back on, too.*

My bad. Hot flash. Forgive.
Guyyys ?! Ix-nay on the ... inging-say (I didn't take cod Latin at school, can you tell ? ;).

Ahem. Anyway, as I was saying, none of us, none of us at all, are singing to the trees.
So can we please take all this energy and make something positive with it?

I was starting to post a request for all Whedonesque members to vow to convince at least 2 viewers each to watch the show and that those viewers needed to vow to bring in 2 themselves. Well with about 7000 members, even with the exponential growth, its still a tiny number (just over 50,000). So Iíve already scrapped that idea and decided we need to make up some kind of totally kick-ass water cooler rumor. For example, lets tell everyone that Brad Pitt is in the last 5 minutes of the pilot episode. Or maybe something like, ďthereís a ghost on the set and its image is captured in a few scenes in the background if you look really, really closely.Ē

I donít care if I have to trick people into watching, as long as the end justifies the means. You know if they watch it, they will be back for more.

Edited to add: If you start Dollhouse at the exact same time you hit play on The Dark Side of the Moon, they are completely in sync!!

[ edited by alexreager on 2008-12-08 23:16 ]
Dude, I actually freeze framed through "Three Men and a Baby" so I can personally vouch that the ghost thing could totally work.
Dude, I actually freeze framed through "Three Men and a Baby" so I can personally vouch that the ghost thing could totally work.

Huh?

PS I'm also not singing to any of the trees.
That'd be cruel to the trees.
Huh?

Illuminatum !

(I didn't take real Latin either ;)

When I first saw it (as depicted in the bottom left screen grab on the linked page) it was actually pretty creepy.

...most people- those not invested in the work Joss does- will never be bothered to actually look at the merit of those reports. They will just jump on the bandwagon of doing what they think the "cool people," ... will do.

Dana5140 | December 08, 22:05 CET


Then it's guaranteed to be a hit. Because where Joss's stuff is concerned, WE are the "cool people," and we're all gonna be watching! :D
The folks at Scifi Wire are becoming lame AV Club wannabes.
I was talking about rating shares, not viewers, Saje. Network viewers has dropped dramatically since 2002. If we can pull a 4 household share (what The Train Job got) on a Friday night, I think Fox would be ecstatic. By comparison TSCC got a 3.5 household share last Monday night.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2008-12-09 00:21 ]
And is in danger of cancellation.
Is it? I thought it was guaranteed 22 episodes.
TSCC got picked up for a full 22 ep order and is being moved to Fridays where expectations are lower. It may not get a third season, but getting a 2nd season at Fox is kind of a miracle.
People who already will be watching the show but who are not Neilsen families simply need to buy the download from Amazon's Unbox -- where I presume it will sell for the same $1.99 that the Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles sell for -- in order to show that they are watching. I've been dropping 2 bucks on T:SCC for the past few weeks, and I'm pretty sure that's why Fox renewed it. Well, me and maybe some other reasons. But mainly me.
Is TSCC available on iTunes? Because if so--and then assuming DH will be too--then I wouldn't be surprised if I bought every episode when it came out. And then watched it. Also on my DVR, to get those numbers in.
Yes, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles is also available on iTunes for the same price ($1.99) per episode. So presumably Dollhouse will be as well. I try to buy it within a day of the airing.
Saje, I'd never before heard of cod latin, so this article indirectly ended up teaching me an actual thing. Who'd a thunk it? (Although I do believe we'uns Yankees would refer to "Ix-nay on the ... inging-say" as Pig Latin.)

And yes, we would call me a "pedant" rather than some other words beginning with "ped."
Forget the pig Latin. You all need to speak double dutch, where my name is, and you need to say this out loud, Dayganaga Laygoraygence. When I was younger I could hold long conversations in this at high rates of speed, thereby fooling all adults in the area. Just saying.

I sincerely hope TSCC is okay, for I love it. But there was a lot of question about whether it would get its full order this year, and I am close to certain it will not make it to next year, but I really hope it does. The new add today, the young lady, is superb. Who the heck is she?
Seems to me Joss & Dollhouse are once gain breaking new ground and the old ground isn't sure exactly how it feels about that.

I can't recall another series that had so much hype plus so much access from the moment the concept was announced. Most of the shows that have become huge online hits were limited either (1) by starting before blogging and social networking and pennyante freelance online "journalists" could make this much of an impact or (2) by not making a big splash at their initial concept announcement so interest didn't really start to build until much closer to air date.

The closest to Dollhouse I can think of is Heroes. I joined one of about half a dozen forums 3 1/2 months before Heroes premiered and there were also several news and photo sites, but I don't recall anything like the frenzy over Dollhouse. Firefly, of course, had a lot of internet interest going before it premiered, but at that time old media's interest in the internet wasn't even a tenth of what it is now. Lost and BSG were the same. Of course, I'm a genre girl, so there may be some straight dramas or sitcoms that have achieved Dollhouse-like notoriety that I've missed. Anyone?

You know the new media people at every network and production house are paying attention to the frenzy over Dollhouse, even if its only peripherally. What happens with Dollhouse may well cause shifts in how the interwebs are used for both news and promotion, something like the lowered expectations after Snakes on a Plane underperformed its internet hype. I think Joss did a better job promoting Dr. Horrible (with our help, of course) than Fox is doing promoting Dollhouse. Maybe they should pay him a couple dollars more and make him a new media consultant? ;)
Correct me if I'm wrong and maybe this has been stated before but when Buffy started as a midseason replacement we did not have as much internet activity (if at all) tracking every step of the "supposed" development of the show and yet many people thought Buffy had no chance and look what happened!! I guess what I'm trying to say is, as wonderful a tool as the Web is, sometimes I feel like with all the scutiny and ability to track a show's development I feel at times it can sabotoge the joy of looking forward to a show by all the "supposed" knowledge of how a show is doing before it even gets on the air. Anyway, I hope that made sense..."All I am saying..is give Dollhouse a chance"...(music playing)lol

Or some time to grow! As I said before in another thread, I'm just grateful Joss & Eliza will be back on TV!!
Most civilians have never heard of Dollhouse or Joss Whedon and it's their eye balls we are discussing. I hope the promo's have an impact once they start running regularly. Maybe even generate some non-fanboy buzz.

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