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February 16 2009

Variety on Dollhouse ratings. Dollhouse off to "credible start" on a "fair" Friday.

"Josh" Whedon again. Seriously, who the hell are they giving journalism degrees to these days?
It will get a new lead-in on April 17th. Prison Break, which I expect to have lower ratings on a Friday night than TSCC.
To be clear, it calls the overall Friday ratings "fair", not Dollhouse's. It calls the Dollhouse ratings in particular a "credible start", which is better than merely "fair", in this context.

(FWIW, it's always possible that the reporter got the name right, and then a copy editor "corrected" it.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-02-17 02:15 ]
Yes, not "fair." "Credible."
That's just lazy jouralism when they can't get a person's name right.

TamaraC- If Prison Break is the new lead in starting April 17th, what is going to happen to TSCC?

[ edited by Spacegirl3200 on 2009-02-17 02:24 ]
PB takes over then because T:SCC's season will be over.
TSCC (as b!x states) will have gone through all of its 22 epsiodes. Fox will be burning off the remaining episodes of the already canceled PB as a lead in to Dollhouse. So unless, Fox decides to pre-empt an ep of Fringe and give Dollhouse an Idol lead-in on a Tuesday (March 17th looks like a good date for that), I don't expect Dollhouse to have any better lead in support than what it will get from TSCC.
The rating systems today are abyssmal. In point of fact, they always have been abyssmal. Analog television, and TV essentially as we have known it and taken it for granted, is DYING. At one time I would have mourned this. Now? I just want someone to pull the plug already.

Personally I'm now looking forward to The Guild returning, more than a continuation of Dollhouse. Why? Because Felicia Day is entertaining audiences.

Whedon is apparently entertaining network executives.

Why do I say that? The motorcycle scene. The kickboxing scene. Two examples of gratuitous action which did not further the plot whatsoever, but was obviously placed in keeping with formulaic requirements. Wasted time that could have been better spent on the kidnapping plot, which felt comparatively rushed and half-baked. Yet the bit between "Miss Penn" and the girl's father was some of the best stuff in the episode. Two strangers learning how to work together towards a common goal. We needed more of that and less gratuitous violence, but that's not how network executives think. Frankly I'm surprised the network didn't insist Miss Penn challenge Poppy to arm wrestle!

When he made Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, he was entertaining audiences. He was entertaining ME. That first episode of Dollhouse, though "okay" was not geared to ME. It was not geared to YOU. Whedon wrote it to appease THEM.

Out of necessity, Whedon is not entertaining you or me. He's entertaining THEM. When Whedon gets back to entertaining US AND NOT THEM, call me. I'll be in my bunk.
Every show on television has to appease its network.
I loved Dr.Horrible but it doesn't compare to Joss TV. If Dollhouse improves and becomes another great addition to the whedonverse then I'd much rather have it than probably anything else by Joss.

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-02-17 04:29 ]

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-02-17 04:37 ]
The motorcycle scene. The kickboxing scene. Two examples of gratuitous action which did not further the plot whatsoever

I'll give you the motorcycle scene, but the kickboxing scene didn't contribute to the story? Please.
Yeah, I might dislike the boxing scene, but it was obviously geared toward explicating Ballard's character, and therefore its intent was to contribute to the story.
I think Dollhouse needs a new night. There are actually quite a few of my favorite shows that air on Fridays, but I don't watch a single one of them that night. I agree about the motorcycle scene, it reeked of FOX.

Also, I emailed the author about his "Josh" mix up. To his credit, it was corrected and I got a reply back in less than a minute.
There is no room on Fox's schedule for Dollhouse to be on a different night, and if it was on a different night, it would already be canceled.
Buffy, Angel and Firefly were all written in part to please "them." It's a given constraint of the TV business. It doesn't lead ipso facto to badness. Not everything that is written for "us" is ipso facto great, either, The Guild aside. There can be a fine line between "them" and "us" in terms of what brings quality.

I also doubt very much, based on what Joss has said in many interviews, that what we are getting by way of Dollhouse episodes was churned out just for the network. I think he is still writing to please himself most of all, to play with ideas he has. I'd rather he keep doing that than write primarily to please "them" OR "us."
When he made Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, he was entertaining audiences. He was entertaining ME. That first episode of Dollhouse, though "okay" was not geared to ME. It was not geared to YOU. Whedon wrote it to appease THEM.

Of course he has to appease them. They're paying for it. Individuals can't afford to make the sort of thing that appears on broadcast television. They don't have the money to make 13 50 minute episodes of television. It's too expensive for individuals to create both the quality and quantity of shows like Buffy, Angel and Firefly. They need the networks. And if the networks are paying for it, they do have a right to have an opinion on what it is they're paying for, because it's not a charity. If broadcast television dies, then what? It's not like Joss'll be able to afford to make those shows on the internet. Doctor Horrible was wonderful, but I doubt it'd be endlessly sustainable.

That isn't saying I don't wish that Joss could be allowed to do his thing. But we have to accept that, in the end, our world isn't perfect. And anyway, I'm assuming that people here are fans of Joss's past shows? They were also made with network interference. I enjoyed them anyway. I think there's room to entertain more than one group at at time.
I really don't think FOX is this big filter that sucks some good out of the show and replaces it with bad. Even if it is, I don't have faith in my ability to identify which parts are theirs. I certainly don't think it's as simple as attributing the bits I don't like to FOX and the bits I do like to Whedon et al.

Although I could always do that if it makes the writers feel better. Sort of think it'd do the opposite. "I don't like this part, it must be from the network. Stupid FOX!" seems harsher to me, anyway, than "WTF was Joss thinking with the boxing scene. Ok he's a badass. We get it. Really."

At the end of the day, the producers and writers decide how to respond to the studio's notes. So if we don't like the end result (i.e., Boxing Badass Ballard), it's still their work we're complaining about. It's not like FOX wrote the scenes, even if people are correctly surmising that they said they wanted to see more action, or even if they wanted to see Paul in an action scene.
In the meantime, Dollhouse is now #1 in TV episodes on iTunes.

Dr. Horrible is #2 in TV Seasons.
gomtuu: "the kickboxing scene didn't contribute to the story?"

No it did not. It barely contributed to character development, because rather than have Tahmoh Penikett actually ACT in the debriefing scene, they transpose the kickboxing scene over the boring debriefing scene. The kickboxing is used to show us that detective Ballard is bubbling with frustration towards his superiors. How about showing us THAT instead of pointless kickboxing? Let Penikett ACT in the scene, and not just sit on the other side of the table like a doofus. That was the most atrociously dull staging of the debriefing scene. I _understand_ Whedon was going for a juxtaposition of images here, but that's just it - image over substance is not necessary. The image will carry through if the substance already exists.
Except that you're saying it did contribute to the character development, you just don't like the method they chose to do it. So it wasn't pointless, it was just poorly-done (in your opinion).
Plot development and character development are two different things. The kickboxing did not contribute to plot. It barely contributed to character.

What would have better contributed to both was getting the three men in the debriefing scene off their butts and standing. Put them in a hallway as Ballard is going to or from something. The formal setting slowed things down.

Ooh! Better! Perhaps rather than describe what Ballard did during the FBI's white slavery bust? SHOW us!
I liked the boxing scene. It spiced up the otherwise cliche and exposition-laden (but necessary) ream-out session scene and gave important insight into Ballard's character. And it didn't waste any time at all because the dialogue of the ream-out continued to play while the boxing went on. The motorcycles were admittedly kinda lame but I didn't really mind it. And if that kind of thing gets non-Joss-fans to watch, I'm all for it.
I liked the boxing scene as well and the whole episode in general. The pilot just has to have some exposition in it as Squishy said, and I think that scene was a neat way to do it. Not only did he get a good Tony Jaa-esque hit in toward the end we already have a good idea what kind of dude Ballard is. Clearly the scene accomplished what it was supposed to and even placated the network's need for action. If you consider that, the scene was extremely useful. If you decide that because of a few scenes in one episode that a show is not worth watching I think you are probably going to be missing out on what will probably be a masterpiece of television.

I am excited. Rock on Joss.
The motorcycle scene was character development, and the crash lead to more character development at the dollhouse with Amy Acker.

Plus, if we had not seen the wild echo in the slutty dress, we wouldn't have seen much of a change between her "virgin state" and the negotiator character. Everyone would have said Eliza couldn't be different characters since two unemotional characters are not showing her range.

It also gave us our first example of how a mission works with the handlers and such.

SO I respectfully disagree that it was not needed and wasted our time.
the only thing really really irking of the motorcycles scene is the bit where she gets rid of the helmet. Because that made no sense whatsoever. Hot girl riding with the wind in her hair is cool, I get it. Just show the helmet is damaged or something. It's a very minor thing and I actually feel a bit silly that it annoys me so much. But I can't help it. I groan just thinking about it.
Okay, I've been thinking about it. A lot.

Regarding the motorcycle scene, it is my understanding that the function of this scene was for a bit of exciting action after the talky lead-in, to illustrate some guy's "perfect date", and usher in the first of her personalities. The helmet tossing of course was a way to make it clear that we were watching Our Lady Echo nee Caroline and of course the hair tossing was there to be sexy even if it was a bit cliched.

Now going with the idea that this bit was intended to introduce Echo's then current imprint and demonstrate her competitive personality (aided later by the good-natured quibbling in the next scene), I think the whole thing could have been improved immensely by just one thing:

If, when Echo laid her bike down (happens to the best riders - a bit of gravel, a bit of trash, a small furry animal and...), she had actually rendered her face shield unusable by cracking it or getting something on it that obscured her vision, she could then have impatiently yanked it off showing us her strong desire to win and the hair toss could have been portrayed more like "get this damn stuff out of my way." This gives us... actual character driven REASON for it all and I, for one, would feel so much better. (The series WAS made just for me, right?)

I'm still working on my ideas of how I would have handled the debriefing/boxing thing better. So far I've got nothing.

Rewriting after the fact has to be sooo much easier than creating it from scratch. Twice. It must be weird to write something, know it could be better, make it anyway, put it out there, and then have the world scrutinize it with a molecular microscope.

If any of this made no sense I apologize. I'm tired and am going to go dream about Dollhouse.
I don't know about TSCC, it could be suffering from the same Friday slot as Dollhouse (how did it do on iTunes anyway). My suggestion is for FOX to do what the TheCW did for Privileged. When OTH was off, TheCW paired Privileged with Gossip Girl on Monday Nights which I think helped attract more viewers for it. So what about pairing Dollhouse with AI or 24 while House and Fringe don't have new eps. Then run it again on Fridays.

and Yay! This is my very first post on Whedonesque
Good suggestion about the crash helmet BreathesStory.
Re the meeting/kickboxing scene how about showing him calmly accepting the instructions of his boss and then walking into the restroom and putting his fist through a wall? Too cliché? Too Xander in The Body ish?

I think the fight scene was better because it specifically showed him getting beat down but not giving in and coming back to win. Showing him angry during or after the meeting might just suggest him being too weak to object and that he was just meekly giving in. The way it was done made clear he was saying one thing to his boss but thinking and feeling something else.
I don't know about TSCC, it could be suffering from the same Friday slot as Dollhouse

Which is a damn shame, because it was a great resolution to the cliffhanger it ended on. And oddly, I was thinking out loud at another forum that Dollhouse was fortunate to be following it. Then it turned out TSCC had the lower ratings.
Somethings are cliches for a reason - there apparently were too many things in the episode for most general audiences to get confused about (who was that naked man? wha? who? whaaaa?) - so sometimes cliches can work well to get the idea across and move on.
I'm going to say that the boxing scene was due to The Big Purple watching a little too much Galactica of late, though he may quibble with the "too much".

Clearly, the Olmos name drop was indicative of an unhealthy cylon fetish...
Anyone who wants to make art for art's sake- be it television, painting, sculpture or otherwise- can do it alone in their own private box. If you want others to fancy your works, they gotta have some connection to it. And if you want others to finance your works, they gotta get paid too.

I don't defend Fox or any other network that pulls the plug on shows after two or three episodes- that just seems like bad business to me- but no way in hell is anyone spending the kind of dollars that a tv show costs without having some serious input.

I also don't mind if Dollhouse throws in some gratuitous action; just do it well. The motorcycle sequence was about as non-kinetic an action scene as I have ever seen. The "something fell on me" set-up did not make up for it.

I liked the boxing scene. It did provide some energy during some voice-over exposition. Also, it showed that Ballard is tough, will never give up, and will lie to superiors to back them off while he continues to do what he believes is right. The only thing I am unsure about is the kick to finish the fight. Was it a boxing match with the "illegal" kick showing that he is also willing to cheat to win (i.e. solve the case)?

A final thought on gratuitous action. Buffy and Angel lived on fight scenes. Sure they were symbolic for fighting inner demons, and yes they were well-woven into storylines, but no way you convince me that they weren't used by Joss to provide energy/excitement/action to the shows. Action is good; it holds our attention, keeps us interested. It just needs to be done better than the cycle scene in the pilot.
During Comic Con Joss mentioned that he put in the moi tai (totally butchered the spelling) scene to show that Ballard is actually competent, since if we just see him being dressed down by desk jockeys, we're less likely to take him seriously. Or something, my recollection is a bit hazy.
"MyNetworkTV has already said it will keep its recently acquired “WWE Friday Night Smackdown” on the night next fall. And no wonder: The franchise is setting ratings records for the network, last month crossing the 4 million viewer threshold."

Since MyNetworkTV is a FOX network isn't FOX competing with itself for the same target audience?!
By the way, just to add another data point to the speculation about whether Fox might want to toss a Dollhouse episode on after Idol at some point: Sweeps months this year is March 5 to April 1, instead of in February. So the period during which they'd have to do that (presuming they wouldn't do it quite as soon as the next teo weeks) would be sweeps. Whether that's an argument for or against doing it, or irrelevant, I have nothing to suggest.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-02-17 08:00 ]
Have to say that the ratings we see for the subsequent episodes of Dollhouse will be more telling about its long term viability. The first show's ratings include a look-in audience that might not show up ever again. The way I see it, Dollhouse has to survive on its own merits. There is no show I can see that will serve as a good lead-in to it. Putting it on Friday, Fox has at least committed to giving it the 13 episodes to grow an acceptable audience. I agree that this show on any other night would result in its almost immediate cancellation. And no, it is not prime Fox property that it will get an Idol lead-in. My bet is that Fringe is first in line to get that honor.

We almost have to certainly factor in the current climate that exists for the type of shows people want to see and what kind of return on the business side Fox is looking for. In better times, one can almost certainly argue that this show would probably survive on a "credible" level of ratings but these days its hard to say that if something does not have respectable ROI it will stay on the air. If TSCC debited this year it will almost certainly have been cancelled because of its ratings. Dollhouse almost certainly offers escapist programing that one would think a recession-weary audience would gobble up but then again it is hard to predict what programming would be acceptable these days. It seems that standard fare programming is probably more reliable than out there premises. Take a look at the big hitting shows - Dollhouse sits pretty far out from the maddening crowd.

So in the end while the initial ratings are promising. The show has to bring in the numbers to survive, otherwise its a short run for Whedon's return to TV.
I didn't like the boxing scene until the end, but unlike everyone else seems to, I didn't see it as a sign of strength. His superior asks "Are you able to back down?" and the boxing clip shows that no, no matter how much sense it would make, the man cannot stop. Which I actually prefer to the whole tough-and-sexy perfect Mr. Action-man thing that the cop character so often is. I love that he's a little screwed up--yes he closes, but at what cost?

The helmet toss was stupid, yes, but it fit into the scene in a way. She is the perfect male fantasy--strong, sexy and a little bit kinky, she dances in an impossibly short dress and wastes time and safety in order to look hot. But...the whole sequence was a throwaway. Joss introduced the dollhouse, and then did something that to me said, yeah, yeah, she can be a sex/girlfriend fantasy, sure, BUT LOOK WHAT ELSE SHE CAN DO. Brilliant.

As for ratings and lead-ins, the show will have to rely on its own merits and word of mouth, but I think it's got fair shot. The "procedural" aspects that some critics complained about made the complicated premise easy to follow for the non-invested viewer, as well as drawing the focus away from the sci-fi angle. Once Joe Blow loves the show, he won't be put off by the genre stuff. That's what I hope, anyway.
And no, it is not prime Fox property that it will get an Idol lead-in. My bet is that Fringe is first in line to get that honor.

Erm, that's where Fringe has been, after Idol on Tuesdays. And now Fringe is gone until sometime in April.
Judging from all the opinions, I say "Dollhouse" was a success.

Ooh! Better! Perhaps rather than describe what Ballard did during the FBI's white slavery bust? SHOW us!

Nice to see you posting.
Was it a boxing match with the "illegal" kick showing that he is also willing to cheat to win (i.e. solve the case)?

Nope, as others mention, it's Muay Tai - kickboxing in other words (we see kicks before that and both fighters are barefoot).

And I prefer Breathestory's motorcycle scene (with the cracked helmet and consequent valid textual reason for her to remove it) and think it's as plain as day that the kickboxing scene is there to show us Ballard not backing down (and being 'maverick' enough to lie to his superiors) - it's even cut to show the immediate contradiction between what he says (i.e. that he can and will back down) and what he does (i.e. not back down) - it's basically similar (though not as good IMO) to Mal kicking Niska's guy into the engine and says "This is a hard man with a somewhat pragmatic approach to morality who'll do whatever it takes". Whether the individual likes it or thinks it's well executed or not is gonna vary but it's most definitely character exposition in the fine old tradition of showing not telling.
I think the big question here is what Fox does with TSCC. I happen to love the show, but I also understand its future is pretty well set at non-existent. The question Fox has to grapple with is: do we pull it now and try to get a better lead-in for DH, or do we continue to let it play loss leader and let them both go down in flames. Were I a Fox exec, knowing that it is not going to sustain TSCC, I would pull that show and find a better replacement for it as a lead to DH, since DH is coming in with all sorts of cultural cred because of Josh, uh, Joss. I would work to build the audience for DH, and if that means sacrificing Terminator to do it, so be it. Plus, that would free Summer Glau to jump shows.....
See, the Mal kicking Niska's guy into the engine was my "I'm going to love this show" moment. I don't feel I've had that yet with Dollhouse.
I assumed the scraped helmet thing, I must be an apologist fanboy :)
For me, it was Dichen Lachman leading commandos to rescue the child from the grips of her kidnappers. She had real screen presence there.
Yup me too, that gave me a thrill. Dichen FTW.
It was rather awesome :)
Plus, that would free Summer Glau to jump shows.....
Summer on Dollhouse S2, now there's a thought I like.
Jewel could use a new show, too...
Pilots are never the best episode of a series. They need to do too much exposition setting up the universe of the show - especially one as complicated as a Joss show. I thought the kick-boxing scene was fine as a shorthand introduction to Paul Ballard's character. Not just the frustration and unwillingness to back down, but also a certain amount of brutality in him.

Anyone else seeing a correspondence between Ballard and Kate Lockley? The emotionally troubled law enforcement professional, obsessed with something that is also getting them in trouble with their superiors - Lockely with the supernatural, Ballard with the possibly unreal (from their perspective) Dollhouse.
Summer on Dollhouse.... sorry I think my brain just exploded from how incredible that would be.

I would however prefer TSCC to somehow continue. But if it ended, my biggest complaint would indeed by the lack of Summer on TV, so if she could move to Dollhouse, that would ease the pain.

Hear that Joss? ;)

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-02-17 17:23 ]
FYI, if anybody wants to compare the Firely to Dollhouse ratings:


In a night of mixed news on the series premiere front, although Fox's Firefly inched out of the 8 p.m. starting gate with a third-place 4.9/8 [approx 5.2 million viewers], lead-out John Doe premiered at a time period-winning 6.8/12 -- 39 percent above Firefly. ..[Firefly had] a loss of 4 percent in rating and one share point in the second half hour (5.0/9 to 4.8/8)."


In series-premiere news, Fox drama Dollhouse opened with 4.72 million viewers (third behind CBS' Flashpoint and ABC's Supernanny) and a 2.0 rating/6 share among adults 18-49 (second behind Supernanny) at 9 p.m. While that is nothing to boast about, it built from re-located lead-in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Viewers: #3, 3.71 million; A18:49: #2t, 1.4/ 5 at 8 p.m.) by a noticeable 1.01 million viewers and 43 percent in the demo.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-02-17 17:24 ]
gossi, the context that needs to be added is the ridiculous loss of viewers that broadcast TV has had over the last 6+ years. Something like 30% at least. Actual TV viewership is up, but broadcast is way way down.
These days, I actually prefer to wait for the end of a season and purchase the box set. I just did this for Chuck. When home yesterday with back pain, I watched 4 eps and got involved. This is how many people now watch.
This is how many people now watch.

It absolutely is. But it's certainly not a viable model for keeping new and slow-burn series on television long enough to even develop boxed sets. (Or, at least, to develop more than one.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-02-17 20:15 ]
I agree- but then, what do you do if you cannot watch the show when it is originally broadcast? I was never able to watch Buffy when it was on because my children ran cross country and track meets on Tuesdays, for example. It was only the existence of the DVD sets that made it possible for me to engage in the show. New models need to account for this factor. I like the fact that Discovery Channel will often broadcast a new episode of their leadings shows (Anthony Bourdain, Mark and Olly Among the Machigenga, Bizarre Foods) twice in a row on the day they are first broadcast. If I am watching a 9pm network show, I can miss the 9pm broadcast of these shows, but catch them at 10. And then they rebroadcast the shows during the week. Network does not do this; instead, they use Hulu or their own websites for a short time, but you do not get the viewwer quality of watching it on TV.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-02-17 21:19 ]

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-02-17 21:20 ]
Dana5140, obviously it's an added expense (but so is buying DVDs), but what about a DVR? That seems to be the easiest and most common means people use to watch shows that are broadcast at inconvenient times.
As for Firefly vs. Dollhouse: Are there any demo numbers on Firefly?

And putting Dollhouse behind Idol: I still think episode 6 "Man on the Street", Joss' second-half-of-the-season-pilot, would be the perfect episode to do this. Right now it's scheduled on Mar 20, right up against the BSG-finale. That will inevitably cripple it, I think. Putting it on Mar 17 would do wonders.
Wiesengrud, I have heard other people say that Dollhouse is "against" BSG. Is that actually the case? Are there markets where they are both on at the same time? (Because where I am - East Coast, US - Dollhouse is at 9PM and BSG is at 10PM.) Or, did you just mean that people psyched for the finale of BSG might not pay much attention to Dollhouse on the same night, even if they are at different times?
I have wondered the same thing, Septimus, because here on the West coast Dollhouse is at 9 pm and BSG is at 10 pm, and it makes for a very exciting Friday evening of television (including T:SCC at 8 pm, of course).
Perhaps wiesengrund is referring to a two hour BSG finale? That would pit Dollhouse "against" BSG, if BSG begins an hour earlier than usual to accommodate its long finale. Otherwise, there is no pitting against, I am pretty sure.
And there's also a repeat of the 3rd from last BSG episode in the T:TSCC slot on that night.
On the West Coast (of Canada, at least), BSG is on at 7 pm, T:SCC at 8 and Dollhouse at 9, so it's a night of Sci-Fi goodness for us. :)

I found Dollhouse to be intriguing, engaging and intense, especially the last half hour or so. I liked the way it was presented, keeping in mind that there may be people tuning in who have not been obsessing over it for months. :D

My thoughts: Adele and Caroline had some kind of previous relationship. Someone on the other thread suggested Adele was her mother, but I didn't think it was that close - my first thought was stepmother or possibly older sister, but I also thought it could be a former school principal or counselor who thought much differently than the teacher Caroline was trying to emulate. (My assumption is that the "her" she said she was trying to be like in the first scene was the same teacher she refers to in the yearbook scene.)

We cut from Adele saying, "What if there don't have to be consequences?" to a fast-riding motorcycle scene and an obviously carefree young woman who likes fast bikes, dancing in daring dresses and taking a chance on love. It's a nice juxtaposition and it works to introduce us to the concept of the dolls. Most of the criticisms I'm reading of this scene are that it was a gratuitous scene and forced on Joss by Fox. (Yes, I did think of Faith in the Bronze while she was dancing.)

However, look at it as a new show that you know very little about. Here is a young woman who looks as if she's having a great time with nary a care in the world and a guy who looks as if he's falling for her, too. Then her whole demeanour changes as she heads out to the van and we realise there is more going on. The heart necklace falling out of her hand while she's being stripped of her memories of the 'engagement' was painful to me.

Regarding the kidnapping seeming like a run-of-the-mill procedural, I didn't get that feeling at all. Maybe that was because I like procedurals and watch quite a few, as mentioned on a recent thread, but I was totally focussed on Echo/Miss Penn and her handling of the situation and her reactions.

Although I watched Firefly on TV from the first episode shown, I wasn't a Joss fan then, so my first exposure to the anticipation of a Joss creation was Serenity and then Dr. Horrible. Watching week to week is going to be a lovely exercise in delayed gratification for me. :D

I haven't stopped thinking about this show since I saw it on Friday - and then rewatched it Sunday - and can hardly wait until the next episode this week! As far as I'm concerned, Joss is back!
Since Samatwich is singing the praises of the motorcycle scene, I'll just add that one of my favorite lines (and it's entirely the delivery and the context) was Echo's "I met a guy." It was perfectly sweet and, in context, heartbreaking.
Putting it on Mar 17 would do wonders.

Not if you want to go out in the evening on St Patricks Day ^_^.
Septimus: I still prefer the DVD because then I get a full concentrated dose of the program without the need to wait a week or longer between connecting episodes. There is something I just find appealing about viewing in this manner.
Generally I prefer it, sometimes I reckon it takes something away because the episodes don't stew in your subconscious for a week (and also don't get discussed and dissected on a weblog ;).

Not if you want to go out in the evening on St Patricks Day ^_^.

It's a school night this year anyway though, we're all much too sensible to indulge in midweek drinking, right ? ... Everyone ? ... *crickets*

... I'll just add that one of my favorite lines (and it's entirely the delivery and the context) was Echo's "I met a guy." It was perfectly sweet and, in context, heartbreaking.

Pretty much everything she said leading up to her "treatments" really resonated with me, just because we know what's coming (i.e. she is, effectively, about to be executed). Knowledge of mortality adds a poignancy to most things, in the right context.

And that's true samatwitch, nice observation about the no consequences/motorbike scenes. In fact, it even adds a take on the helmet thing, in that someone that rides without a helmet is clearly not someone overly concerned with consequences.

ET appease the parenthesis gods ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2009-02-17 23:48 ]
Yeah, I thought I saw on SciFi's schedule somewhere that Mar 20 will have 3 full hours of BSG. That could hurt Dollhouse pretty much.
Oh goodness, that isn't fair at all. And I don't think I would be home so I couldn't use DVR. Though I would have to assume that Joss will be watching BSG since it is his favorite show...
And he's probably already seen a fair bit of 'Dollhouse' - I heard he's got an in with one of the producers ;-).
Hehe, yeah. No I'm just giving evantual justification in my mind for it, since if I'm not mistaken BSG finale will take a while to go to Hulu while Dollhouse should be next day.
Well, if even Joss is watching the competition Dollhouse is in a bit of trouble that night. I'm mainly worried because it's the much heralded episode 6
Didn't realise that. So the episode where it's gonna really hook the sci-fi crowd is the episode it has the most competition for amongst the sci-fi crowd ? Bugger.

(just keep repeating over and over "everybodyDVRseverybodyDVRseverybodyDVRs..." ;)
Yeah, the timing does seem kind of sucky. But I'm pretty sure most people'll find a way to catch up on the episode. I'm not that worried that Dollhouse'll miss an opportunity to hook the sci-fi crowd. I just think that the ratings for that particular episode will probably be lower than the others. Which shouldn't hurt the show overly much in the long run. Hopefully.

Also: did I mention I finally saw 1x01 (I was away for the weekend and am recovering from a nice case of the flu, which made me miss out on all the whedonesque premiere fun unfortunately) and I quite liked it. In fact: a lot more than I was expecting to from just the initial batch of reviews. I guess I really am a fanboy, after all ;).
samatwich, very interesting thoughts about a possible prior relationship between Adele and Caroline. Very.

What I can't get out of my head is the opening line to the show - Adele intoning, "Nothing is what it seems." That made me wonder about the possibility of this whole show being presented from the pov of some unnamed unreliable narrator. You know, the whole show being threaded through at the core with trickery and uncertainty and we're going to find ourselves very, very discombobulated at some point when what we think we know about the fundamentals of the show are upended. Then again, that opening line could just refer to the basic theme of the show that is revisited every episode - memory, identity, self being wipeable, not the reliable or eternal things that they seem.

Oh god, I'm getting all ridiculous.

Wait - *three* hours of a BSG finale?! Really? Wow. Damn, I hope Dollhouse is moved that night to a prime spot not against BSG. It'd be a damn shame if it weren't.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-02-18 01:35 ]
Wow, this last bit about overlapping Dollhouse and BSG makes me really glad that we have 3 tivos in the house. :-)
I think you're right, phlebotinin, that those opening words will come to mean more than we might realize right now. Surely not carelessly chosen! I'm glad you liked it too, GVH. I was also a little pessimistic about whether I'd enjoy it, and happily did.

I got the same sense samatwitch did, that there was clearly some kind of prior relationship between Caroline and Adele. Caroline saying "You're loving this, aren't you?" suggested that Adele had reason, perhaps, to be feeling "I told you so"-ish about whatever was going on with Caroline. Or that she'd tried and failed to recruit her before? I just hope we get to find out!

I've always been a DVD box set kinda girl myself, Dana5140, so I know what you mean. But I'm not so good at preventing myself from binge-watching, so it doesn't always work out brilliantly. I'm really enjoying the wait-a-week thing for my current three shows, BSG, The Office, and now, yay, Dollhouse!
Glad to hear you liked it as well, catherine! I skimmed the gigantic review thread for the opinions of most of the regulars here (you know you frequent a site too much when you start wondering how particular posters will respond to an episode ;)) and didn't catch your opinion there :). I was pleasantly surprised to see that most people here actually ended up liking this first episode, seeing as that was by no means a guarantee (it was after all, pretty different from the usual Jossian fare).

As for the opening line, I'm not sure they'll end up meaning much more than is usual in a Joss-show. I don't think they're carelessly chosen, I'm even partly sure that it's one of the major mission statements for the show. But I don't quite think that it might lead to a situation where the narrator isn't trustworthy. If the viewer can't really trust what (s)he's seeing, that'd make getting involved in the show ever more difficult and would create a lot of confusion. Not sure Fox'd even allow that :). But yes: certainly not randomly chosen.
samatwitch - ooh, I totally missed the previous relationship between Adele and Caroline, but it's pretty obvious now that I watch it again. Notice how Caroline talks about how she was just trying to take her place in the world like she wanted. One might assume the "she" is Caroline's mother, and the past tense suggests she is no longer around.

I get the sense that Adele knew Caroline's mother, and there were some tensions in the relationship. Perhaps Adele is the sister of Caroline's step-father or something like that. One of those cruel Dickensian family-but-not-quite relationships.
My mom totally asked if Adelle and Caroline were mother/daughter.... points for her if she's right.
The "she" in that conversation is outed later on when Naked Guy is watching the video of Caroline. It's Mrs. Dundee, presumably a professor of hers.
She wouldn't call a professor Mrs. But yeah I got the same idea: a teacher or some similar mentor.
I thought that that statement about "taking my place in the world like *she* wanted" was really, really odd. Made me sit up and take notice. Well, obviously, there's a story there, but I didn't think it signaled a normal mentor/mentee relationship - at least not in any professorial/student relationship *I've* had.
It's not the initial use in the episode that suggests that to us, it's how she also uses the line in the college video, with attribution that time.
I didn't think it was odd, just interesting. I think we're going to learn more about this Mrs. Dundee.
Also what bix said. The references bookended the episode but we only learn *her* name the second time around.
Well, professorial or mentorish relationship or whatever, the usage struck me as very odd - when it was first said in the first scene, and when she said it later in the college video. It's just not something I or my friends would typically say. Sounds strange phrasing to me. But then I'm not a character in a Joss Whedon show :)
The phrasing WAS strange. The "she" line really stuck out like a sore thumb. But, I don't think that it's all that odd to call a professor "Mrs. Dundee." Why would that be strange?
Ooh, totally off topic, but this just struck me. Many people have been griping about the boxing scene and speculating that it's a Foxified add-in. It occurs to me that Joss promised quite a while ago that Tahmoh would be shirtless in the first episode, and this is where it happens. Did Joss make that promise/comment before or after the rewrite/reshoot?
Who was it who said that the Tahmoh boxing scene evoked BSG and maybe was a Jossian homage (conscious or not) to his favorite show? I agree with you, whoever you are. BSG is a wonderful show but can be as heavy as an anvil at times in getting points across. I remember one loooooong boxing scene with Katee Sackhoff. Or was it Apollo? I remember it as a similar kind of approach. Or maybe I'm misremembering.

Septimus, I'm in academia and know more professors than I'd like to and I don't know anyone who goes by "Mrs." or "Mr." But I'm sure it's not impossible. Just not common.
I used to be in academia (I told my students to call me by my first name, but they usually went with "Mr." or "Professor," though not "Dr." because I didn't insist on it). My partner is still a professor and she goes by "Ms." or "Professor." I seem to remember it being fairly common.
Most of my professors went by either Professor or Mr./Mrs./Ms/Dr. - or by first names in a couple of cases, especially when I went back to university as a 'mature' student and the profs were younger than I was! :D
Maybe Mrs Dundee is the groundskeeper (a nod to ST:TNG)

ETA this:

And speaking of Josh Whedon (which we were at the start of the thread), does anyone know anything about the Twitter account @joshwhedon? It is one of only four people that @julietlandau follows, the others including Felicia and Amber, and Juliet seems to be real (or at least Amber thinks so).

[ edited by AlanD on 2009-02-18 16:07 ]
Juliet, Amber and Felicia are real. I don't think that Joss has an account.. but how would I know. Maybe it's him. I know that he had a facebook account for about 2 days.. but then he took it down. I guess he was too busy for it. And I have to agree, I would much rather see him writing new amazing stuff insted of hanging out on fb all the time.
Josh is not Joss on Twitter. There's always people pretending to be him and, oddly, sometimes Tim online.
Re: When did Joss say that he was going to have Tahmoh shirtless - I believe it was at the SD ComicCon panel when he explained he didn't have anything for people to watch 'cuz they were reshooting and one of the mistakes he was fixing was no shirtless Tahmoh.

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