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January 29 2009

Will TV slay Joss Whedon? The Daily Beast speaks to Joss about Dollhouse, the networks and the Internet.

Ah God! The horrible punctuation!
fans lobbied so hard for its return that Universal produced a follow-up feature film
Sigh.
Will the 8 p.m.
9PM.
I do like how Joss keeps putting the message out there that artists need to be an integral part of developing the new entertainment models in order to thrive.

"Because itís not like the Star Wars kid retired off of his residuals."

*snicker*
Really don't know what you're going for, here. But the lack of an apostrophe in "its return" is wrong, there should be one between "t" and "s" there.
dreamlogic Umm....no. I T apostrophe S is the contraction of "it is," not the possessive of "it."

There is no apostrophe needed for the return of an object - "Its return was looming." However, if we were saying "It's going to return this fall," then, yes, the apostrophe goes after the T, before the S, since we are saying "it is" going to do something.

I believe b!X is sighing because of the perpetuation of the myth that the fans had anything to do with Serenity being made.
I don't know whether I feel comfortable to be called a slave, even though I like to call Joss master.
... and be beaten by him with a honey-coated feather duster ... ^H^H^H^H ... Umm, does anyone have a spare delete key that actually works ? In fairness BTW, it says "slavish" which I don't mind, even if I generally prefer slavesque.

If youíre smart, you use that tension to create something between their desire to sell and your desire to tell.

If you're smart, you come up with pithy phrases like that one.

And though i'm not averse to whiz-bang fireworks I also don't mind "a lot more subtle than that" either, it bodeth well.
Aw, fuck. I got confused again. I thought I was on the thread that was discussing the press about Dollhouse.

I'm sorry. And I hate like hell to ask for mercy, but my head is in a tizzy. I just found out that what I thought would be my job for the next year is canceled.

I promise to build back up to bad snarky person given time.
I hadn't seen that trailer/clip/whatever before. It was really well done... I especially liked that comment Adelle made about the psychological element of the series.
Bit of a tangent, but noone knows what happened to Tim Minear's two-parter do they? Joss posted a while back that Tim was writing a two-parter that came just before the possibly insane final episode. But now we know that the last three episodes are written by Jane Espenson, Tim Minear and Joss in that order. Was the two-parter abandoned? Or is Jane now writing part one of it?
I think that was back when they only had a 7 episode order but I might be misremembering - i'm pretty sure it was before the various rejiggings though so those eps might've gone out the window anyway (someone paying closer - i.e. any - attention to episode summaries etc. might shed more - i.e. any ;) - light).
Thanks Saje, but Joss's comment is actually much more recent than that. It's from his recentish post letting us know about the rejigging that had been taking place ('What happened when the lights went out?'):

"We're still heading toward Tim's intense two-part mind-blower - right before a thirteenth ep that may actually just be insane."

So perhaps even more rejigging after Joss's post leading to them abandoning the two-parter? Or the lazy Flim Flinear decided to halve his work load by giving the first half to Flane Flespenson?
The two-parter was still on route when they got 13 episodes. It was planned as episodes 6/7 at first, then got pushed back to 11/12 around the time of the hiatus.
a Minear's "intense mind-blower" followed by an "insane" Whedon finale, and an Espenson's ep in the mix, too... is that a description of TV heaven or what?
I'm mainly asking because I just rewatched Tim's Reprise / Epiphany two-parter and it's really strong. But I suppose even if the Dollhouse two-parter has been scrapped (and I think it's actually more likely that Jane Espenson has taken over writing duties on the first half) we can't complain too much about the final episodes being written by those three. Not exactly skimping on the writing talent
The Bold Purple One's got emotional intelligence. And the other kinds.
Yay, sounds like I was almost exactly wrong ;).

But agreed, the current writers are no slouches either (and given how writer's rooms apparently work, it could be TM pitched the story or outlined it or whatever and then the credited writers wrote the actual script).

(and also agreed, 'Reprise'/'Epiphany' are among my favourite episodes of 'Angel'. Minear has a rep for writing dark stuff and a lot of it is BUT it often has a really optimistic core underneath too)
They've been shooting 11/12/13 in a strangeish, overlappy way due to the abandoning of 'Echo' (they've had to make another episode) and the production stoppages along the way, so I suspect the two partner bit the dust.
This does make one wonder about the time line, though. The only way to ditch a two-parter with (supposedly) pretty big consequences, is to have certain events and/or revelations take place in different episodes, right?

So do these final three episodes now consist of one big heap of elements written by either Joss, Tim and Jane, remixed and stitched together into something semi-coherent (that's probably still very, very good given their talent :))?

Or did they resturcture long enough in advance that the episode scripts for the new episodes were finished before shooting (which I'm assuming)? In which case I'm wondering: if the two-parter was still there after the first rewrites and dissapeared later, how many rewrites on scripts have there actually been?

Let me point out, though, that I know next to nothing of how this works, so I'm putting forth that all above questions may veryu well be stupid ;).
Will TV slay Joss Whedon?

Nope.
I believe b!X is sighing because of the perpetuation of the myth that the fans had anything to do with Serenity being made.

The fans didn't get the movie into development, but the DVD sales certainly helped get it greenlit.
Saje--I agree, slavesque is better but it still kinda sends a fairly bad message to any civilians that might have stumbled on this thread.

But the scary thing is that it's really true. Would we not do pretty much anything he asked?
Would we not do pretty much anything he asked?

Nah. There was strong support for the writers' strike here, but it was hardly unanimous. And among people who supported the strike, there were varying opinions on what actions were best, even when Joss was asking fans to do things like buy pencils.
Hell, I can't even bring myself to like 'The Core'. Some fan I am.
And I watch my Buffy dvds in widescreen (on a 4:3 tv!) - take that Joss! ;)

[ edited by NotaViking on 2009-01-29 17:54 ]
So...anyone else read "dancing around that concept" and wonder if the next Dr. Horrible might be all-dancing as well as all-singing?

Oh. Just me then. O.K.

(And of course Bad Horse dances the waaaallltttzz...)
Succatash, they really didn't. Serenity was in development before Firefly even came out on DVD - we've been over that before.
Sunfire--I seem to recall overwhelming (but not blind) support for Joss and the writers. I assume this site wasn't the apex of support for the studios for obvious reasons.

I remember there were debates about the strike issues, how best to support "our" actors/writers, how to coordinate ME day and discussing sending pizzas and things like that but I don't recall a single instance of fans arguing because people were taking the side of the studios. Even when asking people to spend their hard earned money on pencils, it seemed everyone wanted to buy pencils and many did. And those that couldn't afford the dollars posted notes of support and encouragement to the rest. Maybe it's just selective memory but I remember a feeling of "us against them" with us being a rag-tag group of underdogs (yes, Browncoats). When Joss publicly took a role in the fight, it seemed to become our fight.

Further, whenever Joss has favorite cause, it becomes our cause; whether it's backing the writers in the strike or supporting a new show or supporting charities like Equality Now.

Wow, I guess I've become a minion. When did that happen?
we've been over that before.

Is this one of those examples of the British gift for understatement?
I for one am glad that he has this new series and l hope it succeeds esp the way the networks treated firefly and angel l believe Joss will triumphed and add another great series 2 his resume.
I for one am glad that he has this new series and l hope it succeeds esp the way the networks treated firefly and angel l believe Joss will triumphed and add another great series 2 his resume.
Also the article diesn't say "fans bought a lot of DVDs", it says "fans lobbied". So even iff the DVD thing were true, it isn't what the article ralks about.
Succatash, they really didn't. Serenity was in development before Firefly even came out on DVD - we've been over that before.

Gossi, I said, "The fans didn't get the movie into development..."

I'm referring to the Greenlight which came 4 months after the DVD's. Yes, we've been through this before. You simply have no evidence. The Naysayers are basically substituting one myth for another.
So even iff the DVD thing were true, it isn't what the article ralks about.

Agreed. But I was quoting ShadowQuest, not the article.

ETA: I guess the point I'm trying to make is that just because the assertion that "fans had everything to do with getting the movie made" is false, it doen't make the opposite true.

[ edited by Succatash on 2009-01-29 19:03 ]
I love how these headline creators are so clever! Man. Mentioning "slay". No wonder they get the big bucks. I'll be laughing about that all day. So clever!
ETA: I guess the point I'm trying to make is that just because the assertion that "fans had everything to do with getting the movie made" is false, it doen't make the opposite true.

I think that's reasonable. We know for a fact that we weren't solely responsible but we don't know to what extent (if any) we were a factor and probably never will (short of Mary Parent publicly elaborating on her decision making process).

In fairness though, that means we also can't really say "... but the DVD sales certainly helped get it greenlit." (even though, again, it seems reasonable to assume the DVD sales at the very least didn't hurt).
A Peter Sellers reference in a thread about a genre show; how can I possibly ever stop loving to hate this guy?

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-01-29 21:35 ]
I found that reference interesting for another reason. This concept does call for a Peter Sellers, Meryl Streep type, IMO, and ED isn't that kind of actor. I think there's been a shift here in what Joss is saying about her. Before, he stressed the versatility that he thought she possessed and that others hadn't recognized. She was going to surprise everybody. Based on the reviews so far, though, Eliza's range is not being particularly praised.

So now, Joss has changed emphasis. She'll always bring a bit of Eliza with her and that's what the audience wants, not someone who disappears into the role. This may be a round-about concession that she's a more limited actress than he thought. Or, maybe he thinks that the show needs her to not be too different, so that the audience has someone to connect with, I don't know.
shambleau, it's the last thing you said. She is the same person who has been imprinted with these different experiences, skills, etc. But is she really the same then? That is what Joss seems to be exploring. He isn't exploring a premise where the character Eliza is playing needs to completely dissolve and disappear on every assignment. I think the fact that she doesn't disappear is the point.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2009-01-30 00:41 ]
Actually, I don't think the concept calls for a Sellers/Streep type (what an odd combination that is) at all, and I don't see a change in emphasis. Versatility does not inherently mean "where'd Eliza go?" -- I don't recall ever seeing Joss say "Eliza's perfect for this because she'll disappear into each role".

Also try to remember that the "reviews so far" are based upon a single episode and therefore tell us almost nothing about how she will or will not work overall.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-01-30 00:44 ]
I agree, bix. I think Eliza's range will be tested/proven in the following episodes.

Could one also compare this to SMG's Buffy Summers to an extent? No, she's not mind-wiped, but she does wear different "hats" and become different "people" based on whatever task she is doing. Ditzy Buffy in high school vs. Merciless Slayer Buffy vs. Head-over-Heels in Love Buffy vs. Grown Up Buffy...

Not to mention the episodes where she did change (but still remain inherently Buffy) like Beer, Bad; Normal Again; Anne, playing Eliza in Buffy's body, Buffybot, etc...

They're all different shades of Buffy, but they still hold her essence.

I see Dollhouse doing the same with Echo, but on a darker scale.
Seems like a big difference between "this one person behaves very differently in different contexts" and "this person has no inherent personality, we give them an entirely new one every week."

I could rave (and have raved, and will rave) endlessly about SMG as Buffy, but I wouldn't pick SMG to be a "new personality" week in and week out on a TV show. There are a certain range of looks, poses, intonations etc. that she tends to draw on over and over in quite different roles (which is fine--so did Barbara Stanwyck, say). I haven't seen enough of ED to form an opinion, but I will be surprised (pleasantly) if she really manages to sell me on the "I've just been implanted with a completely different personality" thing each week. Luckily we do know that her overarching plot is supposed to be about a certain stubborn persistence of "soul"--so there will be good story reasons for her not necessarily sell you on the character changes.
I think it would be definitely cool if Eliza "disappeared" into the implanted Personality of the Week, really became somebody else, and then showed glimmers of another self or of some increasing awareness at particular moments... it would take an amazing and subtle combination of writing and acting to do that, and I won't be devastated if they don't pull it off just like that. I think Eliza is completely magnetic on-screen, and if the stories are compelling and she is compelling, that's enough for me.

I've been interested in Joss talking about Eliza's versatility too, because although I think she's fantastic, I'd never really thought "there's a chameleon actress" - she seems so Eliza (which I consider a good thing). I have no doubt, though, that he knows her better as an actress than we do and will play to her strengths. Pretty soon we'll see what he meant, I hope!
"I think there's been a shift here in what Joss is saying about her. Before, he stressed the versatility that he thought she possessed and that others hadn't recognized. She was going to surprise everybody. Based on the reviews so far, though, Eliza's range is not being particularly praised."

Yeah, I noticed Joss's change in emphasis too. It seems like a response to some of the reviewers who are wondering about her acting abilities

But I think it's worth pointing out that the reviews actually haven't said that Eliza didn't pull it off in 'Ghost' and wouldn't be able to pull it off in the series. They've mostly said something along the lines of 'I'm not sure if she can pull it off week to week'. In other words, they were just stating what their fear was and not saying that 'Ghost' confirmed that fear. If I recall correctly, there was only one review which (mildly) criticised her in Ghost (the writer said something like 'when she changed character I just saw Eliza in a business suit')
Soon, we will be discussing what an aired episode really means. Screeee!
the writer said something like 'when she changed character I just saw Eliza in a business suit

Yeah but it's the fact that he/she said that like it's a bad thing that makes them banoonoos ;).

...and then showed glimmers of another self or of some increasing awareness at particular moments...

Yeah catherine, that's exactly what i'm hoping the show will achieve if/when it starts to fire on all cylinders because that's how the premise works as described by Joss at the start (though maybe that's changed slightly).

I have to say, I like Eliza as an actress and, from what i've seen of her in interview (i.e. nowhere near enough to judge her or claim to know anything about her ;) as a person too, she seems really grounded and switched on. But the one time I saw her actually act another character (in 'Who are you ?'/'This Year's Girl') she was less than 100% convincing IMO (SMG, for all that I agree she has a few "SMG tools" that she uses in several roles, did a much better job playing Faith than Eliza did playing Buffy). Course, she's no doubt grown as an actress since then so i've got high hopes.

(and it's also worth noting that, to be blunt, good-looking actors are very, very rarely "chameleon" style actors because we want to see them. Just look at the fuss made over Charlize Theron's transformation - note, not her performance though that was rightly lauded too - in 'Monster')

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