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December 31 2008

An updated list of episode titles, writers and directors for Dollhouse. The fansite Dollverse has the scoop. And there's also some speculation about the possibility of a Dollhouse preview DVD.

Give me that preview DVD. NOW!
I'm pretty sure "Needs" is written by Tracy Bellomo. Also, I was under the impression David Straiton did "Man on the Street", but I don't know where that came from.

ETA: Oh, and... every source I found called the second ep "Gray Hour", not "Grey Hour". Don't know what's correct.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2008-12-31 14:11 ]
wiesengrund, I was just questioning the MOTS thing myself. I've added Tracy into Needs - cheers.

It's Gray. I can't type.

[ edited by gossi on 2008-12-31 14:13 ]
Four Engagements written by Andrew Cambliss... is that Cambliss or Chambliss? Can't find any info on the former.
yeah, that should read "Chambliss", a fellow staff writer.
I am btw very positively excited that Allen Kroeker is a director on Dollhouse. He even makes a bad Star Trek script watchable, and all his whedonverse-related episodes are visually pure genius. Every time i watch "Ariel", my jaw just doesn't stop dropping.
DVD!* OMG!**

*Possibly.
**Tentatively.
If anybody is wondering with the DVD thing - Best Buy has a promotional agreement thing with FOX, to distribute promotional material (DVDs) for their shows in stores. You can get a "Lie To Me" promo DVD from them now, which includes a Dollhouse trailer. "Lie to Me" starts in January, so it's possible a Dollhouse could appear. I don't know. FOX have been very shy when it comes to showing people "Dollhouse", so personally I think now is the time they should put their money where their month is, and show people the show. Why? Because it helps stops everything online - which is leaking into the print press - being negative about the show. Have a little faith, FOX - you've got nothing to lose at this stage.

Allen Kroeker is a great director, Tim's a great writer (and I've heard he's writing ep 12), and David Solomon's a great director also and is doing quite a lot on Dollhouse. IMDB list him as a co-exec producer now - is that new?
Where does the Best Buy rumor come from, or is it just speculation? Is that ever done before? Releasing the DVD of the pilot before the show even aired. Would be cool.

Also what does TBC mean? To Be C...? To Be Confirmed?

edit: gossi, you answered my DVD question, thanks.

[ edited by J.I.G. on 2008-12-31 14:32 ]
about one month ago the Solomon-thing appeared here. don't know how reliable it is.
I'm still daydreaming about a worldwide online Dollhouse premier buzzily crashing the web.
It's Gray. I can't type.

You can type fine gossi, you just type in British is all ;).

('grey' is our way, 'gray' is American)
American english is actually rather split on the subject of the gray/grey distinction (it may be regional) and grey only became the common British in the 20th Century (so sayeth the monster that is Wikipedia). Netflix sometimes gets these DVD preview discs (as they did, for example, with Studio 60 and a number of others in the past).
...and grey only became the common British in the 20th Century

Are you calling me common ? How very dare you !

Good point though by "became the established British spelling in the 20th century" I think Wikipedia means, that's when 'e' was officially decided upon since up to then both spellings were used interchangeably - 'grey' appears as far back as 1466 according to the OED. It's actually quite often the case that the American spelling is the original and it's the British spelling that's changed over the centuries. I mean, ours is still the right way of course, it's just not necessarily the original way ;-).
It's a gray/grey area.
Grey looks more right to me than gray does. I don't think I ever use the latter unless quoting.
It's a gray/grey area.


And it's al(l )so misunderstood.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2008-12-31 15:29 ]
The Best Buy thing comes from the fact, as stated above, that Lie to Me is available right now at Best Buy. So, some of us have been speculating as to whether or not there will be a Dollhouse one at the appropriate time.

Also, Man on the Street being written by Joss was info that came from a mailing list by someone who had read the first five scripts. *shrug*
Also, Man on the Street being written by Joss was info that came from a mailing list by someone who had read the first five scripts. *shrug*


oh, damn, my comment was very unclear on that: I'm fairly certain Joss wrote it, my remark was dealing with the director (Straiton or Solomon?).
That list of familiar names makes my heart squee!
I need to paste to my desk: Coffee first, posting second.
Happy to see Jane Espenson and Tim Minear on the list, too. Sounds like Jane is dealing with a fairy-tale related concept. I like that idea, being that I've always liked "Gingerbread". Also: First post. Yay!
Welcome, shadicar!
Dollhouse is certainly not suffering from a lack of talented people on staff. This list oozes storytelling prowess.
Geekdad has a suggested resolution:
2. Will wait until I have seen at least one full episode of Joss Whedon's new TV series Dollhouse before I start writing letters to Fox begging them not to cancel it.

That list is so exciting, I love these storytellers.

PS. Matt Blum (Geekdad) cracks me up. And I totally relate to his resolutions (BSG, Lost.)
I saw the first (well that I've seen or heard about) Dollhouse billboard on my way home from work last night. It was very exciting. Yay!
DaisyButtercup, yep, nobody has mentioned them to me! What do they look like?
DaisyButtercup, where is it?
Jane Espenson!!! I'm so happy!!!
Woo.

But didn't I hear that Joss was directing more than one episode early on? Or was that just back when the pilot was actually the pilot?
There never was a pilot. There was a different first episode called Echo, but no pilot for this show ever existed. It was picked up to series without a pilot.
Right, TamaraC, but I believe the first episode of any show is referred to as a pilot, even if it was picked up before the episode is shot? While maybe not technically true, I've never heard anyone call the first episode of a show anything but a pilot, regardless of how it made it to air. Although I suppose getting picked up pre-pilot is relatively rare, so I could be wrong.

Anyway, there are Dollhouse billboards up all over LA. They look sort of similar to those first season billboards for Terminator, with Summer and the white background. These show Eliza against a white background, hiding between two actual dolls (mannequins), also white. There's a hard-to-read tagline that says something like "she can be whatever you want her to be." I don't believe Joss' or Eliza's names appear anywhere. They seem to be going for an intrigue/mystery vibe.
Aha. Yeah, that's the image FOX PR released recently. Thanks, bonzob!
For Canadians: You can try if you like, but often I've tried going to see if Best Buy's stores up here carry any of the exclusives like the free Buffy Paley Reunion DVD and pilot screeners and whatnot, but they never have 'em. The only time I've been able to get Best Buy exclusives is when they're included in an actual seperate release DVD (like the extra DVD in the first Futurama film's package).

B!x quoted the Geekdad site:
"2. Will wait until I have seen at least one full episode of Joss Whedon's new TV series Dollhouse before I start writing letters to Fox begging them not to cancel it."

Would also love to be able to imprint this into the brains of every comic reader on the planet:

"7. Will allow for the possibility that the Watchmen movie will be good even if it is not 100% faithful to the comic books. I will remember that Batman Begins and The Dark Knight were awesome despite the liberties they took with the characters and storylines involved. If necessary I will keep repeating to myself "Alan Moore is not sacrosanct.""

[ edited by Kris on 2008-12-31 21:12 ]
The difference, on 7, is that there is no single Batman story, there's decades worth of takes on the character. Not so for Watchmen, which very specifically was written as a single story, not a franchise. I don't necessarily dispute the general point (although I dislike some of what's been done with Watchmen), but I do dispute the comparison.
While I didn't look at the episode details(so tempted though!) I'm glad we finlly learned SOMETHING about the composer. :P
I went ahead and sent an email to Best Buy to see if they had any information about a possible promo DVD for Dollhouse. Figured it couldn't hurt, anyway, and it'd be nice if we got some sort of confirmation. Though the guy answering emails probably doesn't know.
Also what does TBC mean? To Be C...? To Be Confirmed?

Doesn't it mean To Be Continued? One can only hope.
To Be Confirmed, yes.
TamaraC the billboard I saw was on Overland Ave right before I got to Venice.

Gossi, it was indeed that same pic that Fox PR released. The tagline was "She can be anyone, except herself" (on that one - don't know if it's different on any others).
Great group of writers! i have complete faith in the show.

Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain (angel)
Maurissa Tancharoen (dr. horrible)
Steven DeKnight (angel, buffy)
Jed Whedon (dr. horrible)
Tim Minear (firefly, angel)
Jane Espenson (buffy)

and David Solomon (buffy) directing some eps.

No way it can be bad from a fan's perspective.
i hope to see douglas petrie maybe write a couple episodes some day also he had a style that i think would fit this show greatly.
"But didn't I hear that Joss was directing more than one episode early on? Or was that just back when the pilot was actually the pilot? "

When 'Echo' was going to be the first episode, Joss said that he was going to direct the second episode to keep the ball rolling. But that plan seems to have been scrapped along with 'Echo'
i hope to see douglas petrie maybe write a couple episodes some day also he had a style that i think would fit this show greatly.


also, with the cancellation of Pushing Daisies he should have some free time on his hands. Is he still doing CSI? Doug Petrie, always one of my favourites. Doug Petrie should really, really join Dollhouse.
Can't wait for Dollhouse, please let it not be canceled I couldn't stand another Firefly, Angel or Veronica Mars!!!!
Angel got 5 seasons and VM got 3. How can we even compare them to Firefly?
I couldn't stand another M*A*S*H.
I couldn't stand on my head for ages, then one day I just could.
There's going to be no Best Buy DVD for Dollhouse, I've been told. Nor any advanced preview DVD elsewhere.
So, they really are putting all their PR eggs in the Lie to Me basket? (Billboards in LA don't count, since most of the country doesn't happen to live in LA.)
It's a limited advertising budget now, so there's only so much they can do b!X. I have to admit, I don't think they've exactly embraced the internet very well on this one. They should hire somebody who's done something successful online to work on the show, like Maurissa Tancharoen, Jed Whedon or Joss Whedon. Oh wait.
It's a limited advertising budget now, so there's only so much they can do.

Well, we'll see what happens over the course of January now that it's here and this is when the PR push is supposed to start, and might make all of what I say here nonsense and irrelevant, but the above seems kind of a cop out.

Limited just means you have to make choices. So far, they appear to have chosen to promote LtM and not DH. There's "only so much they can do" because they made a choice to go one way and not another, not because God told them they had no choice. Heh.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-01-01 22:35 ]
Oh, they made a choice, and that was indeed to put Lie To Me in Dollhouse's big Monday slot. They will need LtM to launch big, so that will be where the focus is.
so... LtM gets a post-AI-slot AND more promotional treatment? doesn't make any sense, but let's see what they have in store for the rest of January.
So what is FOX doing FOR Dollhouse? Other than putting it on Friday to lower the bar for its ratings.
wiesengrund, it makes perfect sense - Monday night is a big, big timeslot (also: busy), and FOX are launching a new series into it - they need to tell people it exists.

Sunfire, they're busy editing Dollhouse trailers, which should appear on air mid-January. The bar for Dollhouse's ratings for a second season is actually still quite high - according to THR the show costs in the region of $2m per episode, and that will need a lot of eyes on a Friday night to break even. Almost double FOX's current Friday night audience, in fact.
Thanks for the information, gossi. I'm getting more pessimistic about this as time goes on. Do they need to get such a larger audience on Fridays because Dollhouse costs more than shows currently airing Fridays?
Monday?!? I thought Lie to Me was on Wednesdays after Idol
isn't Lie to Me on Wednesday? but anyway, i get your point. big night means big promotion. even in a post-AI-slot.

but what numbers are we talking about here? do you think dollhouse will need to pull in a 3.0 rating in 18-49 demo on average?
Eh - isn't Lie To Me on Monday? What's on Monday instead of Dollhouse now? I'm confused as always. (And sadly not armed).

wiesengrund, TNS (a research company) have some information on the cost of advertising in different timeslots, you can use it to work out how much of an audience they realistically need to cover the cost if you're really, really sad. Like me!

In FOX's defense, I think the tactic is to try to give Dollhouse some space to find an audience. On a Friday night, paired with Terminator, it will get slaughtered in the ratings. There's no two ways about it. But I doubt they will take it off air, because - you know - it's Friday night. They can leave it for the season, and see if it grows an audience. If it does grow an audience, they have an option to put it to a second series and (critically) move it off Friday. Everybody thinks "The X-Files" was a big Friday night series, but in fact, it wasn't. It was low rated on a Friday. FOX moved it off Friday after it's first series, and then it found it's audience. Sadly "Firefly" debuted on Fridays to not great numbers, and then fell, and fell, and stammered around with not much of anything. Here's hoping Dollhouse doesn't repeat it.
Monday is House and 24 now.
Monday?!? I thought Lie to Me was on Wednesdays after Idol

isn't Lie to Me on Wednesday? but anyway, i get your point. big night means big promotion. even in a post-AI-slot.

Lie to Me is scheduled for Wed after AI. House is scheduled for Mon at 8 as the lead-in for 24 because that needs a big launch as well.
i'm just asking because Fox doesn't pull a 3.0 average in 18-49 in the season-to-date numbers overall, including all other stronger days. my guess is, if Dollhouse opens to a 2.0 and works it's way up to a 2.5, it should be renewed. of course it would be even better if it opens to much better numbers and they change the timeslot immediately.
wiesengrund, the way I look at it is the share in 18-49. (Yes, I'm losing my soul as I type this. I know).

If anybody fancies a trip down Whedonesque memory lane, here's the first 2002 Firefly ratings thread. Firefly actually debuted to an 8% share, which I personally think Dollhouse won't reach due to lack of publicity, negative buzz, DVR, the Internet etc.

Let's end of a positive. I'm hot! No really, it's hot in here.
Ah, X-Files Fridays. Got me through some horrible high school weeks, that show.

/adolescent nerd nostalgia
I wouldn't hold your breath on them changing the timeslot - not during this initial run at least. The only way they would have an opening in their schedule would be if Lie to Me = epic fail. Everything else on their schedule is not going anywhere until at least the end of the season. But even then they aren't likely to move it to that timeslot.
here's the first 2002 Firefly ratings thread.


I don't even remember writing that. But then Firefly did debut to somewhat mass indifference in the fandom.
Yeah, on the bright side there are no preexisting Whedon shows on the air this time around.
Well, I don't know if i'll have time to watch it cos of the comics. Sure they only take 12 minutes to read but I happen to do so at 9:17 on a Friday evening.

Everybody thinks "The X-Files" was a big Friday night series, but in fact, it wasn't. It was low rated on a Friday. FOX moved it off Friday after it's first series, and then it found it's audience.

X-Files didn't move from Friday until its 4th season by which point it was averaging about 17 million viewers and a 10 share. It's true that its ratings went up even higher when it moved though.

Course, I don't think the X-Files really tells us anything useful either way, TV viewership's changed a lot since then.

... according to THR the show costs in the region of $2m per episode, and that will need a lot of eyes on a Friday night to break even. Almost double FOX's current Friday night audience, in fact.

If that's true I think that's pretty bleak news. Seems pretty unlikely they're gonna pull in 10-12 million on a Friday. And that's just to break even ?! Are you sure you remembered to carry the one gossi ? ;)
Has does $2 million an episode compare to other genre shows like Lost or Battlestar Galactica? Or even Bones and House at a stretch.
I would guess X-Files and Firefly both have quite its own context. TTSCC got a renewal and a full second season with a average 5% share in the 18-49 demo on a Monday. and it seems they are also not very cheap to produce.
Who told me The X-Files moved after the first season? Seriously? I'm full of shit tonight.

I bet Dollhouse debuts to 3 viewers and gets renewed for 12 seasons now.
Hey, internets, you heard it here first ! 3 viewers and 12 seasons. I could live with that.

TTSCC got a renewal and a full second season with a average 5% share in the 18-49 demo on a Monday. and it seems they are also not very cheap to produce.

T:TSCC may have got a full order because it was still cheaper than creating something brand new (and Terminator 4 is out soon too, maybe they thought they could ride the buzz). Even though it's been doing slightly better in the last few weeks, i'll be (pleasantly) astonished if it's back for a third year.

Has does $2 million an episode compare to other genre shows ...

'Heroes' reputedly costs $4 million per episode Simon but that aside I think $2 million is actually (amazingly) on the low-ish side for an "hour" show in the US, genre or otherwise (that may well change next year though, what with the arse falling out of the economy).
Next year will be very tough on TV in the US (and across the world - BBC drama budgets, already tiny compared to the US, are being slashed to "theatre" rates (quote - outgoing head of drama at the BBC)). NBC recently announced it's giving an hour a night of it's original programming to Leno, which effectively puts a whole lot of TV people (crew, cast, writers, directors etc) out of work.

I'm curious about the X-Files thing. I've no idea how I had that so wrong. So, apologies, and thanks Saje.
I think X-Files orignally worked with a relatively low budget (for a prime-time hour-long drama at the time) and an intense work schedule to pull it all off. I seem to remember reading a story when it was still on the air about the completed editing and whatnot of one episode running fantastically close to the deadline for getting the episode to the network for distribution. I could be misremembering that, but my impression from reading up on them more toward the end of their tv run was that they were doing a lot with less than you'd think.
I call dibs on one of those 3 viewer slots! :D
Party at cabri's house! I'll bring soda.
Well, okay, since there's just 3 of us. I'll make chili! :)
Debuts to 3 viewers he said, by the 5th minute there could be 12 million people crammed into your place cabri. Maybe we should bring dip ?

I've no idea how I had that so wrong. So, apologies, and thanks Saje.

Ah no worries gossi, you're still way better informed about that stuff than I am. S'just that i'd seen a couple of folk on here mention X-Files as a counter-example to the "Friday night death slot" and so a couple of weeks back I read the Wikipedia page while bored at work. Cos as we all know, bettering yourself or doing something actually productive is so passť ;).
Hey, I never said it was an all-episode party! :P Although of course you're welcome anytime, Saje. (You do live all the way over in England, right? ;)

Edited because I actually read all of Saje's post this time.

[ edited by cabri on 2009-01-02 00:18 ]
You do live all the way over in England, right?

I'm willing to travel for chili though.

;-)
Oooo, I'm making some tonight! You'd better hurry. :)
$2m really isn't that high. Middling really. TSCC is not an expensive show. I don't know how that rumor got started but it simply isn't true. I doubt its licensing fee is as high as Dollhouse's. Actors are expensive. CGI isn't. I'm sure that Bones and House are much much more expensive and 24 is crazy money. Fringe averages near $400k per 30 sec spot. If Dollhouse can manage $300 then FBC will make around $3m an ep on ad revenue. With promotion costs it may break even. If ratings are better than FBC expects then it might just be profitable. It's possible.
Legend of the Seeker supposedly costs $1.5m an ep, and that's syndicated. It'd be interesting to see if that could survive in today's tv market.
So, that means you think promotion will come to roughly 13 million, TamaraC? (3 million an ep in ad revenue, with luck, minus 2 million in cost leaves 1 million for promotion, for 13 episodes.)
I'm just speculating, shambleau, and am probably horribly and embarrassingly wrong. :)

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