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March 28 2009

Ratings for last night's Dollhouse. It scored a 1.3/4 in the demo and 3.87 million viewers tuned in to "Echoes" last night.

Pifeedback reports:
Fox remained out of the competitive loop with Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Viewers: #3, 3.83 million; A18-49: #3, 1.3/ 5) and Dollhouse (Viewers: #4, 3.87 million; A18-49: #3, 1.3/ 4), which did increase from Sarah Connor as it normally does.

Last night's Dollhouse is filed under 'Friday's Losers'.

Personally, I figure the NCAAs have more to do with ratings than BSG or anything else did, last week or this week. Sweet 16 has more cache than genre TV shows. So next week is sort of the "no more excuses" episode -- huge plot episode, even a casual or non-viewer could connect to the idea if they see the preview, and no sports or series finales up against it.
Oh dear. We're definitely now in dangerous territory.
Maybe there's people who will want to see TSCC come to an end (it ends in two weeks) and stick around for Dollhouse.
Well that's... not good. When does March Madness end?
I think this is the final nail in the coffin, unfortunately.
Unfortunately, I think you might be right, shambleau.
I must admit that I watched the game, but dollhouse kept going in and out for me, so I never switched back. It was an amazing game.
Yup. Frak :(
This is very discouraging: Basketball is a great excuse, but I'm not sure that Fox is looking to excuse it. I keep hoping that 'next week' will be better, after the BSG finally, and now after the playoffs are over. I hope that people are creating some buzz online about how much they enjoyed episodes #6 and #7!
My Fox provider came going in and out too. Stretches of blank screen and interrupted scenes. It didn't affect other channels...only FOX. Grrr Arrrghhh
Ouch, that hurts. I was hoping the show wouldn't get less than 4 million viewers again, and the fall in the demo is very disappointing.

[ edited by Ameer on 2009-03-28 17:48 ]
I think March Madness was not accounted for by FOX. I still think that we'll see all 13 episodes. While I am confident in cast & crew's ability combined with Joss' writing, the episodes after March Madness ends will be the most telling on the ratings. TSCC will have ended by then. One bonus note, most original programming will have ended by the beginning of April! But you do have Wolverine opening on 5/1/09. Plus, State of Play lands on 4/17/09 as well.
Balls! Well I guess that about seals it.
Well, at least they've said they'll air all 13 episodes.
These ratings disappoint me. If they cancel it, I will be a puppy without food, once fall comes around.
Start the "Save Dollhouse" campaigns please!
Please don't. Those campaigns will only make the show look more doomed than it already is! We need positive publicity.
I wonder how many areas got the bad fox feed. I did, in Pittsburgh- had to turn it off- black screen with flashes on and off for more than 10 minutes. Watched this am on hulu. The blackout can't have helped.
It happened in Syracuse as well.

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2009-03-28 18:17 ]
I live in Pittsburgh too, toast.
I think FOX will air all 13 because it creates more good will long term than they'll lose money by keeping it on the air. Nobody could say they did wrong by Joss, so they avoid blog-hate. They don't break faith with their contracted star Eliza who presumably they'll be developing other shows with. They rehabilitate their previous image of being a network that won't give genre shows a chance.

And that's all if there's no chance that they renew it -- it could be that they sit down with Joss and talk about whether or not they can do anything with the show's focus or premise and tweak it to try again on a short second season. For instance, could it work if it was a bit more like "The Pretender", a chase epic following a composited Echo, and still exploring all the issues of identity that Joss wants to look at? That's just a hypothetical.
Ouch. Well, that's pretty bad, there's no other word for it.

Maybe the blackout didn't help, maybe the basketball didn't help, but I'd say we have to hope this is a one-time glitch and Dollhouse returns to its usual ratings (and heck, maybe even a rise for once) next week, because this surely isn't helping things much.

Also, we have to hope that the drop is accidental and/or due to the one-time reasons stated above, and not due to casual viewers dropping out as the show gets more arc-y and complex.

Either way: next week's ratings seem the most important yet, to me. Ratings along these lines or another drop would seem the final nail in its coffin. A rise to old levels or beyond would mean it still has a chance.

But in the end: I'm glad Dollhouse has gotten really good. I'm looking forward to the rest of the season.
This is not good at all. I am so very sad and angry, and the only logical thing I can reach right now is blaming sports.
I think the one factor that hasn't been mentioned is DVD sales. The fact is Fox has made a lot of money from Firefly/Serenity (more than they could have possibly imagined). This was surely a deciding factor in allowing Joss to produce another show for them. Surely they'll take DVD pre-orders into account when considering whether to renew Dollhouse. If this were the case, we could expect another half-season of Dollhouse, which would make sense business-wise, were they to rely on DVD sales to make their money (A half-season at say, $44.99, gives a higher return than a full one at $59.99).
If there were to be a fan campaign (and I agree it's too early at the moment), this is were it should be focused. Execs ultimately talk one language, and it's not barbie dolls.
As has been argued ad infinitum, Fox the network doesn't care about DVDs as much as one might like to think, since they aren't the Fox that sells them.
The fact is Fox has made a lot of money from Firefly/Serenity (more than they could have possibly imagined).


Firstly the Fox network had nothing to do with the DVDs and would get no revenue from the sales of the Firefly DVD. Secondly Universal made Serenity.
Can someone remind us of the breakdown of ratings for past episodes? Pretty please :)
Episode 1 - 4.8 million, 2.0 in 18-49 demo.
Episode 2 - 4.3 million, 1.7 in 18-49 demo. 5% share.
Episode 3 - 4.2 million, 1.6 in 18-49 demo. 5% share.
Episode 4 - 3.5 million, 1.5 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Episode 5 - 4.3 million, 1.6 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Episode 6 - 4.1 million, 1.5 in 18-49 demo, 5% share.
Okay, I guess it's back to plan B, then: being happy to have 13 new episodes of Whedon-TV in a shiny new DVD set coming to my shelf soon. *sigh*
Looking at the linked website, it seemed that for whatever reason all the shows suffered due to the sports game. Perhaps not as bad as Dollhouse did, and Dollhouse still managed to lose to those reality shows (sigh), but hopefully Fox will see this and think "Darn that ball game" rather than see it as a sign of Dollhouse death.

Despite the above attempt at a positive spin, I am preparing for a long period of mourning following Dollhouse's failure to get renewed.
Btw, I'm trying to keep an organized and updated table of the ratings here.
I don't get it. 1.3? Why?
I think I must have jinxed something, because for the first 5 episodes I thought to myself that I wouldn't really be devastated if the show didn't get renewed. But now that I actually like the show, it starts tanking.
Why?

I thought it was a really poor episode, very badly placed. Comedy 'character' episodes like that work great - if you're a fan. Season three? Yep, knock yourself out.

Say you're a casual channel hopper. Grey Hair Security Guy (Dominic) walks up to Fit Guy (Enver). Fit Guy says he outranks Grey Hair Security Guy. Grey Hair Security Guy says something like "Topher". What? Let's watch something else, hunny bunny.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-28 19:06 ]
Are you saying "Echoes" is Dollhouse's "The Naked Now"?
Ouch. Ouch ouch ouch.
Well that looks to be the final nail in the coffin. What really upsets me is reading the comments on sites like the one linked above and others and seeing all the Whedon haters coming out of the woodwork seemingly enjoying this show's "failure". It really shows how mean-spirited some people can be. They act like Joss is some hack who makes shows absolutely no one likes, which is far from the truth.
Simon, I apologise for my mistake on Serenity. I assumed that since Fox were first to produce the franchise, they in turn would profit from subsequent releases (like Buffy the TV series, which was distributed on VHS/DVD by 20th Century Fox). I haven't found any evidence that suggests either way that when Fox sold the rights, they didn't ask for a share of the profits. However, based on the little I have read, I'm assuming it was just a lump sum.

I respectfully disagree about DVD sales of Fox shows based on articles like the following:
http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2004-03-24-family-guy_x.htm
Fox clearly takes DVD sales into account.

[ edited by applie on 2009-03-28 19:22 ]
applie, that was Fox the production company deciding to produce more, since they're the ones that make the DVD money. You'll notice that, at that point, it was scheduled to air on the Cartoon Network and only "possibly" on Fox the network.

So, what we've been saying here stands.
Well, applie, they do take it in account, but it's not because they make money from them - it's beacuse they think they can drive eyeballs to the show, where they do make money. And it does happen a lot, in the sense of "oh, I never watched that show because I thought it would be cancelled or whatever. The first season's out on DVD. I'll Netflix it. Now I"m hooked." And they're back for season two. I think the problem with the astronomical sales for Whedon projects is his geek/cult cred. And fans of cult TV like us tend to be the ones who get really obsessed over something, in the way a fan of Law And Order or CSI probably wouldn't, even if they watch every week. So it's far more likely that a massive Whedon fan is gonna want to have six copies of Dollhouse on DVD, one to watch, one to display, one to lend out, what have you. And it's far less likely that a CSI viewer is even going to want to collect the show on DVD. Which means that the show isn't really getting exposed to too many NEW viewers, just that the people who watch the show are more passionate about it. For all the speculation on the Firefly DVD sales bringing in new Browncoats, Serenity's opening weekend was $10 million, which at an average of $6.41 a ticket, equals about 1.5 million people, or a little over a third of those who watched Firefly on a weekly basis when it was on the air.

[ edited by bonzob on 2009-03-28 19:32 ]
Fox can take DVD sales into account, if the production company (20th Century Televison in the case of Dollhouse) takes them into account. The scenario would unfold something like this: "Hey, Fox. We're 20th Century Televison and we want to sell you Dollhouse Season 2 for 30 million dollars*!" Fox says: "Are you kidding? Have you seen the ratings of season 1? There's no way we gonna get that money back!" 20th Century then looks at the DVD sales of Season 1 and gambles that even if they sell the second season at a lesser price to Fox, they will make the money back via DVDs of Season 2, so they say: "Okay let's make it 20 million!" And then Fox Broadcasting Company maybe agrees.

So, the DVD sales might factor in the price the studio is demanding for the second season. Since Fox's decision to pick up the show has been made (or will be made these days), long before 20th Century Television has even a chance to wait for sales numbers of the first season and lower the price for the show, I don't think DVDs will play an role in Dollhouse's renewal.

(*all numbers are of course made up)

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2009-03-28 19:35 ]
DVD sales count in the sense if they wanted to make another series of DOLLHOUSE, 20th Century Fox (studio) could opt to drop the "licensing fee" to FOX Broadcasting Corp (the network). It's an accounting thing, but make no mistake, how the accounting works is hugely important to the people at FOX (the network). It is - literally - the bottom line.

To put it in one sentence - everybody knows DOLLHOUSE will sell, say, 250,000 DVDs. But FOX (the network) can't put that profit on THEIR balance sheet. They get to put $0. If they put anything down, they're AIG.

Also, check it out - DOLLHOUSE has less share than TERMINATOR. That's a first, I believe.
Who gets the revenue from iTunes? The Fox network or 20th Century Fox?
Weirdly, I'm still optimistic. Ratings dropped, yes, but it still improved over its lead-in show, it's still higher than some previous eps, all the other shows in the timeslot also dropped so it's not indicative of loss if interest, and FOX expressed support very recently. I'd be willing to bet DVR percentages show a corresponding jump (dunno if FOX cares, though).

And gossi, I disagree. We needed something like this. Silly it was. But it also gave us a LOT of backstory, added a lot to the arc, and more importantly it finally gave Adelle and Dominic more than one level. It worked for me as a viewer, not just a Whedon fan.
But subsequently, they decided to air seasons of Family Guy on Fox. (presumably because the more people that saw it, the more would buy the DVDs). To say the two markets have no impact on one another is surely naive. Given the fact the likes of Futurama/Family Guy have went back into production based on the DVD market, surely it's not unrealistic to suggest a good performance for Dollhouse will influence the future of the show? (In the same way Serenity was made because of Firefly's DVD sales)
I don't think Serenity was made because of Firefly DVD sales. I believe they helped but Joss had already pitched the movie before the DVDs were released.

And Family Guy already had a few seasons under its belt to be released on DVD. By the time Dollhouse puts DVDs out, the show's fate will already be decided. If the sales are through the roof, then maybe someone would consider bringing it back, but isn't Family Guy something like the only time that's happened, ever? sounds like a very, very long shot.
The build from Terminator was down to ~40,000 and they were even in the demo which for Dollhouse was the lowest the show has ever been.

As for ITunes revenue, it primarily goes to the studio rather than the network, or at least that has been the traditional set up.
I made a list of all the ratings for my site. Check it out here.

PS: It's in portuguese. Hope you don't mind. It's understandable even for people who only know english.

[ edited by Rikardo on 2009-03-28 19:45 ]
applie, SERENITY wasn't made because of FIREFLY DVD sales.

C.A. Bridges, we might have needed something like this, yes. But average viewer, who doesn't know the characters? Not so much. Seriously, try watching this episode in a Doll-like mindwipe state. Forget who the characters are and try to get through the first ten minutes. In that state, I didn't have a clue who anybody was, didn't care, and was deeply concerned about Eliza dressed as an anime character.
Gossi said:
Say you're a casual channel hopper. Grey Hair Security Guy (Dominic) walks up to Fit Guy (Enver). Fit Guy says he outranks Grey Hair Security Guy. Grey Hair Security Guy says something like "Topher". What? Let's watch something else, hunny bunny.
Apart from the fact that your example is ridiculous (Why shouldn't one character refer to another by name? What would you suggest as an alternative?), the "casual channel hopper" was already given five "pilots" to sample the show. It's always great to hook new viewers but at a certain point you have to service the people who are actually watching the show.
Okay, the ratings are disappointing but I also must admit it was a noticeable drop in quality from ep 6. It seemed like it was aspiring to Buffy episodes such as "Band Candy" but failed because we don't have the same connection with the characters. I'm starting to agree with the main criticism advanced so far -- the characters are just not sufficiently accessable. I agree this may be the final nail in the coffin. But for the first time, I'm not sure that is necessarily a bad thing.
Thanks for everyone's help explaining the DVD distribution thing. My understanding is thus:
Fox (studio) sells the rights to Dollhouse season 1 to Fox (network) based on say 250,000 copies being sold.
If it sells more than this, it would suggest Fox (studio) can ask for less money for rights to the second season, and therefore that'll make it more financially viable. It could also help advertising revenues, since Fox (network) can claim that high sales of the DVD suggest more people will be watching the second season of the show (have little hard evidence to back this latter point up, but know FNL and Veronica Mars reduced the RRP of their first season DVDs in order to try and attract new viewers for their second season).

EDITED above based on re-reading what people were actually saying. Fox (studio) owns the rights to Dollhouse, and then sells it to the network.
Things are a lot simpler in Britain with the BBC/license fee and no advertisers!

[ edited by applie on 2009-03-28 20:04 ]
Family Guy and Futurama have both been "uncancelled" but they're both cartoons. If Dollhouse gets cancelled, unreal DVD sales won't bring it back... the set will be gone, and the cost of building it again is... big.

The only real hope is that the production company banks on high DVD sales, and sells it to the network for less.
I blame basketball. I mean, NOBODY ran new episodes this week, except DH. House was off. Bones was off. Both flavors of Law & Order were off. Everything on CBS is obviously off. Aside from Dollhouse, I don't think my DVR picked up anything running opposite basketball (and I tape a lot of shows). If we're in this same pickle next week, there will be trouble, but as it stands this is more of a blip than a trend--on balance, things were pretty steady with 4+ million viewers live and a 5 share in the demo, and a nice (if sadly unimportant) DVR bump. Probably still toast as far as a season two goes (unless Reilly in his mercy moves DH to FX) but still worth hoping for.

And I'm puzzled as to why Fox wouldn't take DVD sales as an upside--network, studio, whatever, it's all the same stock price and money for Rupert spends the same whether it's TV- or DVD-scented.
Lost had a new episode.
Very dissapointing news. Dollhouse still hasn't done anything for me like Joss' other shows has but it is showing improvement and I want to see it do so.

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-03-28 19:56 ]
Barry, there's many more examples in the episode of things which don't work if you've haven't seen the show. I'm not saying don't make arc episodes - I thought episode 6 was a brilliant episode in terms of accessibility, but also in terms of advancing the plot. But the keyword there is accessibility.

LeafOnTheWind, there was new Heroes, The Office, Lost, Terminator this week.
If I make a $40 million movie I want to have confidence it will make a profit. 500,000 DVD sales were surely a factor in Mary Parent's decision to greenlight Serenity:
http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2005-09-21-serenity_x.htm
As I said: If FOX would actually advertise their Friday-night line-up, they might actually see an increase in viewers, rather than a drop-off.

Who here can say they saw ONE SINGLE AD during the entire week leading up to last night? I sure as hell didn't, and I was watching Idol (Say what you will - I like it.) and other programs.

I really do not understand their reasoning - they are advertising that Osbourne "reality" show, advertising the return of "Fringe" (It went somewhere?), advertising next week's "House," but nothing for the Friday night shows until...Friday night. WTH?
That damned USA Today article mucking up reality again.
ShadowQuest - ROI. (Return Of Investment). Why spend money advertising something you don't think will return it?

applie, here's Nathan Fillion announcing Serenity before Firefly even came out on DVD. The Firefly DVD thing was a wonderful sales tool.
I stand corrected.
Applie, the movie was greenlit months before the DVD set came out. Fact. Mary Parent wanted to work with Joss, Joss wanted to do Serenity. DVD sales surely eased the studio's minds later, but it is chronologically impossible a greenlight decision to be made on sales of a DVD that wouldn't come out for 8 more months.

Edited: sorry, got beat to the punch.

[ edited by C. A. Bridges on 2009-03-28 20:11 ]
Fetch the razor blades!

Anyhoo, enough of the depressing. The good news is I expect next weeks ratings to be a fair bit better, as the episode is, well, a fair bit better.
Since critics did recieve a screener for it, hopefully there's some early reviews and buzz once again.
I expect next weeks ratings to be a fair bit better, as the episode is, well, a fair bit better.

And we all know that quality always determines ratings.
True, they are inversely related right?
The pace of 'reveals' has accelerated so much. I'm wondering if Joss knew that Dollhouse would likely get only a single season and so he decided to tell the full story in the original 13 episodes -- more a mini-series than a multi-season show?
NOBODY ran new episodes this week, except DH. House was off. Bones was off. Both flavors of Law & Order were off.

That's not actually true: Law and Order was new (SUV was bounced by Obama), Grey's Anatomy was new, Bones was due to be new but got bounced when the Obama press conference shifted AI onto Thursday. So things got shaken up by the presidential press conference rather than the networks avoiding going against the NCAA tournament.
And we all know that quality always determines ratings.

b!X, I actually meant in terms of accessibility. I'll eat my hat if it doesn't rate higher - it's a very well put together episode anybody can watch.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-28 21:44 ]
Meh. I go away from this site now. For me, even "there's a reveal coming up!" is more than I want to know going in. Heh.
Gossi, who wrote next weeks ep? Was it Jane?
The ratings make me sad.

But here is my question. Instead of Fox chosing TSCC, a show that was already failing, as a lead-in for Dollhouse, how about they change the day and put DH on after American Idol, a show with hugely high ratings. (Oh, no wait, they are using AI as a lead in for Osbournes Unloaded cause that's such an important new show).

Or what about Bones or House, or some show that lots of normal people actually watch?
Gossi wrote:
I'll eat my hat if it doesn't rate higher
We will hold you to that vow (and there must be video evidence).
it's a very well put together episode anybody can watch, with a great reveal moment nobody knows 'bout yet.
I know you thought "Echoes" was rubbish (I disagree), but it isn't that a ton of people tuned in after seeing "Man On The Street", saw the quality of the episode and tuned out, it's that not enough people tuned in to begin with. Even if "Needs" is better, how will the casual viewer know if they aren't watching?

[ edited by Barry Woodward on 2009-03-28 21:51 ]
As has been said, new episodes of L&O, Chuck, Heroes, Lost, Supernatural, Smallville, The Office...lots on Thursday. Just no Bones because of A.I.
b!X, I actually meant in terms of accessibility. I'll eat my hat if it doesn't rate higher - it's a very well put together episode anybody can watch, with a great reveal moment nobody knows 'bout yet. It also makes you care about the characters, which "The Target" and "Man on the Street" both did kinda well.



I'm not quite sure how that works though. Casual viewers wouldn't really have any more incentive to tune in, if anything I would think if it is a really good episode it would help the ratings for the following week more than next week.

Though episode 6 being great didn't seem to help this week at all. So who knows.
Ratings are a complicated thing. If you have a really poor episode, the following weeks ratings usually always suffer. ("Stage Fright" took a huge chunk off the DVR ratings the following week, for example - people simply quit watching after that episode). But there's many things which impact week to week. The quality of the show does, on occasion, matter. If an episode is deeply boring, poorly written or doesn't make sense if you haven't seen prior episodes, they usually rate lower, or at whatever the bottom out to the series is. Obviously, there are exceptions to that rule - Lost, for example - but those series take years to get to a point of deep serialisation.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-28 21:06 ]

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-28 21:06 ]
Yeah I totally agree. Can we not have even seemingly elliptical spoilers about future episodes please ? For me "I won't tell you what it is but man, the twist in episode X is great !" constitutes a spoiler. Yes, I am a maniac.

OK, so this is not good news numbers wise. Ah well, still enjoying the ride ;).

(been pretty much resigned to non-renewal for a few weeks now - if i'm right we at least get the boxed set, if i'm wrong, gravy)
The studio gets all ancillary revenue streams. The only revenue the network gets is from commercials. Dollhouse is going to be and do awesome on DVD! It will be way too late for a second season pick up though.
iTunes just posted "Echoes" for those who want to buy it.
And if it tanks next week at least we still get to see Gossi eating his hat. Maybe we could get a whole reality series of Gossi eating his hat. Hats.
I don't even own a hat, but I'll buy one and eat it if required.

I've edited my post above slightly re spoilers, apologies.

According to Fox all the episodes will air, and there will be a DVD in a few months time. So that's the least we'll get, which is pretty awesome when you think about it.
I think the publicity for last weeks episode boosted things a bit but either people weren't impressed enough to come back this week or weren't so taken with it to remember it was on this week with the reduced publicity. Personally I gave up last week - if that was the big step up in quality then there was no point sticking around any longer. Looks like I wasn't alone.
When Fox last sent out episodes to critics, they sent #6 and #8 instead of two sequential episodes. That suggests that they didn't think this week's episode was very good. Would it be too much of a stretch to think that next week's ratings will be more crucial than this week's?
janef, the next few weeks ratings are key. FOX have already started filming on stage 19 - the DOLLHOUSE stage - so I worry about those sets. So far they've filmed one of their shows and a pilot or two on it.

It wasn't like this weeks episode was OMG!TERRIBLE!WRITING. I just think it was an odd episode 7 of a new series. I think the people who watched it this week will return next week. And next week reintroduces the characters (and concept), so hopefully new people or floating viewers will tune in.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-28 21:59 ]
And next week reintroduces the characters (and concept) ...

Jesus, how many "pilots" are we having ?
Making it clear who your characters are and the show premise does not equal pilot, Saje.
Hence the quotes. But I do think you get to a point where reintroducing the characters and concept is just boring the people who actually are watching in aid of catering to people who aren't.

Episode 8 is maybe a bit beyond the pale IMO. Are there really that many people that are likely to "just start" watching a show at episode 8 when they don't even know what it's about ?
"I just think it was an odd episode 7 of a new series. "

But it there are only 13 episodes, ever, to this series, then episode 7 might in fact be the perfect spot for a funny one (which still forwards the arc). It might end up to have been the perfect place for it! At least this is how I'm viewing it, we are getting 3 to 5 years jammed into 13 episodes, and so I am perfectly happy to get some fun. I wish we had had the opportunity to have a similar 'Firefly' episode.
Jaynestown sort of?
True dat, embers.

Saje, people jump in and out of series all the time. I started Heroes mid-season. I started 30 Rock mid-season. And The Office. And The Big Bang Theory. Those are all my favourite shows now, also.

The thing with the 'five pilot' thing is that it's a mislead in my opinion. It just means you can jump in at any point and work out what's going on. See also, seasons one of Buffy, Angel, Firefly. It doesn't mean the show can't be rich story telling. You earn the right to do the big confusing episodes or the comedy body swap episodes, in my opinion. Unless you're on cable and have big balls.
Crossing my fingers that there will be no hat-eating next week.
Didn't Gossi say something last week about "eating his virtual shoe"? I don't remember the context, but something to do with ratings. What does a virtual shoe taste like, anyway?
That depends, is it a virtual slip-on ? Cos virtual laces are pretty chewy. If you have to eat a hat I recommend a Buff beanie, never eaten one but they look pretty thin, I bet you could get one down.

Saje, people jump in and out of series all the time. I started Heroes mid-season. I started 30 Rock mid-season. And The Office. And The Big Bang Theory. Those are all my favourite shows now, also. (my emphasis)

Right, and (of the ones i've seen) none of those shows wasted time reintroducing characters or their concept two-thirds of the way through their first season (it's clearly worse because it seems it may well be the only season of 'Dollhouse' but I can totally understand Joss et al not taking that into account - there's no real point in planning for failure from the outset).

I'm fine with people jumping in and out (and obviously hope many more jump in to 'Dollhouse') even if that's totally not how I watch TV myself. I just think there comes a point where you say "OK, now we start to just make TV for our viewers". We don't have a lot of time left, frankly I kinda resent devoting much of it to people that aren't watching (but might).
Does anybody have the half hour numbers? If what gossi says is true (that this episode was inaccessible) the numbers would have gone down at the half point. I also know a NCAA game started at 9:37.
Illyria, I've never promised to eat my shoe. I think. I hope.

Animal Mother, I've just asked for the half hours now, I'll let you know.
"OK, now we start to just make TV for our viewers".

I always love shows that do that. Make me feel all special :). Used to be a strong suit for mister Joss “I'd rather have a show that a hundred people need to see than a thousand people like to see” Whedon.

Haven't seen the seventh episode yet, but funny sounds good to me.

If Dollhouse would get cancelled, I hope Joss continues to be as productive as he has been the last year. In recent interviews he sounded quite fed up with development hell, but then again, who wouldn't be.
I can't really agree with you on the whole "keep things totally accessible and don't do in-depth character" stuff, gossi. That actually seems counterproductive, and I'm at the point with Dollhouse where I want to see that, and need to see that. I honestly don't care about some casual viewer's experience. People were given the time to catch on, and as others have said, if this is the only season we're going to get, then I want it to go as deep as possible.

Arrested Development is a good example of something like this. That show demanded that you watch every single episode to understand their obscure references and storylines. I know several people, including myself, who started Arrested Development mid-season and hated it, only to go back from the beginning and fall in love. Did that prevent it from having a large audience? Yes. Did that make it one of the most brilliant shows in the history of television? Yes.

So, yeah. I want the ratings to be good, but not at the expense of storytelling. And I understand that you can be very accessible and very good at the same time. But the level of compromise needs to be kept in check, and I'm pretty tired with the "re-introducing the characters and the world" thing.
UnpluggedCrazy, I specifically meant you *can* do in-depth character stuff AND keep things accessible. And I'm not saying Dollhouse doesn't do that later on. I was just saying this episode - if you hadn't seen previous episodes, you would have had no idea what was going on. Like, at all. That's bad.
I'm sure it was you, gossi. I'll go back and check. Although, as I said, I don't remember the context, so you might not have to eat your shoe anyway.
Oddly, despite the low rating number, this episode got more in actual millions of viewers than "Gray Hour" did. But apparently they don't care about that.

What I find more depressing than the ratings is the fact that those running the biggest fan sites seem to be constantly moaning about the quality of the show. Gossi, you always have the insider news and great commentary, which I appreciate, but your comments have been really downbeat lately. Also, it seems WatchingDollhouse has now closed because the author decided they didn't like the show enough. This gives the impression to the casual viewer/internet browser that the fan base isn't really behind the show.
"What I find more depressing than the ratings is the fact that those running the biggest fan sites seem to be constantly moaning about the quality of the show. Gossi, you always have the insider news and great commentary, which I appreciate, but your comments have been really downbeat lately. Also, it seems WatchingDollhouse has now closed because the author decided they didn't like the show enough. This gives the impression to the casual viewer/internet browser that the fan base isn't really behind the show."

Knowing fanbases, and the nature of "expectations," is this really that surprising?
Dollrific.com also closed, as has Dollhouse Fans. But, ya know, what am I supposed to do - pretend to like everything? WatchingDollhouse was a great website, as was Dollrific, so I'm sad to see them gone.
Seems like dishonest reviews would do as much damage as anything else since people'll read your glowing write-up, watch it and then think a) this is actually not that great and b) that guy doesn't know what the hell he's on about (so when you mean it they won't listen to you - it's like The Boy That Reviewed Wolf... Not the Nicholson/Pfeiffer werewolf movie).

Then there's your personal integrity to consider - why say it if it's a lie ? That's what PR departments are for ;).
Saje, you're walking a wicked path there, rabbit. Better turn back now.
Applie, the movie was greenlit months before the DVD set came out. Fact.

Fact - not true! The Firefly DVDs came out Dec. 9, 2003, and Serenity was greenlit on March 4, 2004. :)


Also, regarding FOX network caring about DVD's - I'm a little confused by this statement from Peter Liguori back in January. As the head of FOX network, he seems to care a lot about DVDs:

We both know enough about the financials of the business to be able to say that one or two Houses at 10 o'clock certainly does a lot for the overall financials. They're forgoing that. A big hit, the ability to sell that in syndication, the DVDs, the licensing, the merchandising....

The line between studio and network seems a bit blurred, I don't think I fully understand, but it appears that he's saying the network profits from DVD and merchandise sales?
From the Serenity Official Companion:
Did the sales success of the Firefly DVDs help convince Universal to make Serenity?
They were definitely going ahead. It did not hurt at all. It definitely helped light a fire and make them go, 'Okay, we've really got something here.' It definitely helped them just be comfortable with the decisions they were making, but they really had been supporting us for quite some time already.

He also says they were originally supposed to start shooting in October. The greenlight was to start filming.

Peter Liguori is no longer head of FOX and most of what he said in that interview didn't make sense anyway. FOX doesn't even have 10 o'clock shows, and House is produced by Universal so is irrelevant to his point.
I'm not sure I understand you, hacksaway. A development deal is not a greenlight, is it?

Regarding Ligouri - I find what he said confusing, but it doesn't really make sense to dismiss his past comments because he recently left FOX, or because FOX doesn't have 10 pm shows, since he's talking about NBC in that interview.

He seems to imply that FOX profits from House DVDs, merch, licensing, etc. and that all networks profit from these things. Why would he say that?
Seems like dishonest reviews would do as much damage as anything else since people'll read your glowing write-up, watch it and then think a) this is actually not that great and b) that guy doesn't know what the hell he's on about (so when you mean it they won't listen to you - it's like The Boy That Reviewed Wolf... Not the Nicholson/Pfeiffer werewolf movie).


In terms of the critics, sure, I agree with that. I just think the fan sites should be run by, you know, actual fans. It seems that like a lot of fans, the individuals that started these fansites were wanting the next Buffy or the next Firefly, and that's not what Dollhouse is. Maybe I'm just being impatient, and when the DVD comes out new fan sites will pop up.
My point was that they were supposed to start shooting the film before the dvds even came out, but the script was not finished in time. That's Joss himself saying the dvds came later.

I'm dismissing Liguori's comments because I don't think he should be criticizing NBC for dropping something FOX doesn't even have and gave a bad example to boot.
Succatash, how many times does Joss have to say the DVD sales didn't get Serenity into production for you to believe him?

flugufresarinn, I'm an actual Dollhouse fan. I didn't like the last episode for many reasons, but one of them was it felt like a Buffyverse episode mated with DH. The chap who did WatchingDollhouse isn't a Whedon fan particularly - I don't think he even likes Buffy or Angel. So to say the people doing the fan sites want it to be like those shows isn't quite right.

Liguori's comments above are hilarious. A network doesn't get licensing rights, for example, let alone DVD sales. And the example he's giving, House -- the studio isn't even Fox. Plus - the show isn't on at 10pm, because FOX isn't on air at 10pm.
I'm just blown away by how many people are slapping this show around without really seeing very many eps. I mean six or seven episodes is nothing. I even mentioned you all in my blog at www.fanaticspace.com, cause the tone in here has gotten so dark and disapproving.

I'm liking Dollhouse, mostly just cause I committed myself to watching this season, and I planned on liking the show. Is it perfect? No. Do I agree with everything they are doing? No. But is the show over yet? NO! I plan on giving it as much of a chance as Fox and Joss allow.

All this talk about DVD sales and ratings and death is depressing and pointless. We have 13 episodes, let's just enjoy those 13 episodes, good or bad.

Look, I hated so many things about BtVS, and yet it's still my all time favorite, ever, show. I can hate things about DH and still enjoy it.

Am I the only person who feels this way?
Back to the 'dark and disapproving' because bugger, these numbers just do not bode well.

We can blame all the external factors we want (Friday! Friday 13th! Watchmen! BSG! Men playing with balls!), but it all boils down to the fact that people, and not just the crucial demographic, just aren't tuning in to watch the show.
So yah, please excuse my crushing lack of optimism in watching the numbers go down, and leave me be in the corner where I'm munching on a shoe (albeit one made out of chocolate.)

Oh Dollhouse, I barely knew thee...

[ edited by missb on 2009-03-29 12:42 ]
flugufresarinn, I'm an actual Dollhouse fan. I didn't like the last episode for many reasons, but one of them was it felt like a Buffyverse episode mated with DH. The chap who did WatchingDollhouse isn't a Whedon fan particularly - I don't think he even likes Buffy or Angel. So to say the people doing the fan sites want it to be like those shows isn't quite right.


OK, maybe I was being unfair in my comments. I'm well aware you are actually a fan, gossi, and I wasn't trying to do you down any.

It seems to be a thing, and I remember this phenomenon existed with Buffy and Firefly also, that the negative chatter from fans only seems to be around while the show is actually on - prior to the show everyone is just excited, and afterwards everyone has their retrospective rose-tinted glasses on, seeing the positive aspects more than the negative.

Of course Dollhouse isn't perfect, but since it's looking more and more like we'll just get our 13 episodes, I bet the majority of the feeling in a few years time will be that Dollhouse was a great series with lots of potential that should have been given more of a chance, much in the way people think of Firefly, rather than concentrating on the unevenness of the episodes and blaming that for its downfall. It's just a shame we as a fandom don't seem to be able to think of the series in those terms while it is actually on the air.
flu, I think the people who didn't really like Firefly are far less likely to be posting about it obsessively years later. DVDs really bring out a positive fandom, because they find their own little fan base over the years.

The same thing happened with SERENITY. Everybody was really excited about it, then it premiered, you had a wave of people burning their browncoats over Wash, people who didn't like it, then the people who loved loved loved it. The people who loved loved loved it are generally those who are still obsessive over it.

I do think it takes a while for any show to find it's natural fan base. (As evident with "Fireflop", if anybody remembers that from the Buffy fandom days).

Whedon's work has the added stigma that some Joss fans (and many non-fans) think we like everything the man does. That's not always the case - I just think he's very, very talented and will always keep an eye on what he's doing because his work has touched me. (So I want to touch him) (Joke copyright Jed). Dollhouse doesn't connect with me, and often I find it offensive. The ratings reflect it doesn't connect with other people. It'll still find a fan base who will be obsessing about for years to come.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-29 13:51 ]
and afterwards everyone has their retrospective rose-tinted glasses on, seeing the positive aspects more than the negative


There's still plenty of bitterness about Buffy around the fandom.
There always is for a long running series, Simon. Firefly wasn't on air long enough for them to start killing people off and all that good stuff.

My current favourite fandom wank is over Ghost Whisperer. They've run a story line which has parts of the fan base up in arms. Like, seriously annoyed. They're busy calling for the show to be cancelled. And... the ratings have gone up. Considerably. The fans are irate.
Look, I hated so many things about BtVS, and yet it's still my all time favorite, ever, show. I can hate things about DH and still enjoy it.

Am I the only person who feels this way?

BuffyGroupie | March 29, 12:19 CET


No, you're not. I'm always amazed at the "it's got to be perfect (in 7 eps, no less) or it can't possibly be Joss-worthy" mind-set.

That being said, I finally, being a late comer to this fandom, understand the Fox hate. I know there are other networks that don't give a good, promising series a reasonable chance, but Fox seems to be far and away the worst.
If Dollhouse gets renewed, I'll eat my words with relish. ;)
I'm with Gossi. I have not found DH compelling and the last ep seemed truly off to me in many way- from bad editing (the shot of Boyd hitting the kid- Sam?- out out in the college commons was especially poorly done) to the entire idea of so much happening where the entire college could see it happen- Echo going down a public sewer entrance and no one cared or saw? Echo as animal rights savior, as Caroline? And just coincidentally she is on the college campus? But anyway. For the first time I am reading comments that are taking people to task here, on this board, for not being positive enough. What is this, total groupthink? "Gossi, you always have the insider news and great commentary, which I appreciate, but your comments have been really downbeat lately." Like Gossi has to think a certain way and only state certain things? I'm typically critical, but of late I have not come to post because there seems no point to it when my comments are negative; they sometimes don't seem appreciated, for want of a better term. And that to me is the real problem with fandom. I got almost driven off a CSI board devoted to Grissom and Sara because I happen to like the character of Lady Heather (and love the GSR). There is no real discussion if everyone agrees with everyone else and does not allow alternate voices to be heard. That has not been an issue here, on this board with its great moderators and discussants, but I hate to see these kinds of comment begin to get made.
You know, my Fox station was having issues as well. The volume was so low during the show that I had to turn my TV volume almost all the way up just to hear the dialogue. Then of course the commercials were at normal volume, so it scared the pee out of my dog every time it went to commercial.
Maybe I just need to stop caring what people on the internet are saying. If I like something I want to talk about it and read what other people think. Like you, Gossi, I think Joss is very talented and he's touched me in different ways at different points in my life with his insightful intelligent work. I'm not expecting to like everything he's going to do, but despite the unevenness, Dollhouse has really excited me and stimulated my thinking about the nature of identity. So I keep reading the internet forums because I want to further explore these interesting ideas, as well as share the feeling with others. So when what I find on the internet is a lot of negative feeling, some of it unnecessarily hostile, it can be upsetting. I'm not necessarily talking about Whedonesque, however. I think this place attracts much less vitriol than other places. But even on here some people go on and on about the failings of Dollhouse rather than the successes, which I think is a shame.

Dana: I'm not saying anyone has to think a particular way, that would be thoroughly ignorant of me. Of course we're all allowed different opinions. I just think it would be nicer if there was more conversation on the interesting themes that Dollhouse is exploring, rather than the overriding sense from a number of people that the dips in quality are contributing to its imminent cancellation. I guess as Gossi says, the real fandom will emerge at a later date, and those that didn't really like the series will forget about it. I'll try and be patient for that.

[ edited by flugufrelsarinn on 2009-03-29 15:20 ]
Dollhouse has created a vicious cycle for me. I watch a new episode and it makes me fall even more in love with the show and then I see its ratings and get depressed. And the only thing that can pull me out of that depressions is seeing the next episode of Dollhouse which makes me love the show more ...
Sounds a lot like Heroin in that respect. Err, apparently, I should hasten to add.

I think this place attracts much less vitriol than other places. But even on here some people go on and on about the failings of Dollhouse rather than the successes, which I think is a shame.

Well, vitriol gets mod-slapped pretty quickly on here ;).

Seems to me like if you're civil and present worthwhile (preferably new) justifications then there's no issue with being honest about how you feel and if how you feel about an episode (or even all of them so far) is largely negative then that's how your comment will come across. I kinda see it as "So what ?" - it's just someone's opinion at the end of the day and, no matter how many websites it's reposted on, still worth less to me than my own.
I kinda see it as "So what ?" - it's just someone's opinion at the end of the day and, no matter how many websites it's reposted on, still worth less to me than my own.


I like this, Saje. It's very sage ;)

[ edited by flugufrelsarinn on 2009-03-29 15:29 ]
I think the thing is, ultimately, ratings threads for a show which isn't getting a good sized audience is always going to be a depressing read. There are some sites which buck the trend - notably, the Terminator websites are all about being positive and spinning the numbers. In the case of Terminator the sets have been taken down, so whilst they're busy telling each other it's fine, it got cancelled. There's also another trend, which sites like TVByTheNumbers and MediaWeek bring out, which is pure vitriol from certain posters.

The funny thing about ratings is that it's about numbers, math and finances. Some of it is network and studio politics. Very little is about feeling and emotion. Yet on ratings related matters, some people get very upset or very angry. That's really because people connect with shows, and because they're human. So if nobody was bothered about the tone of Dollhouse ratings topics being negative, that would be a bad thing.
Jesus, he's gone native. Quick, someone send him some tea and Hob Nobs ('S' mate, math comes with an 's' ;-).

I agree with that, the ratings aren't good and there's no point in living in cloud cuckoo land. The show probably won't be back is the depressing fact of the matter. We don't know yet so there's still hope but would anyone here be less than very surprised at this point ?

Currently i'm torn between hoping the ending is a semi-resolution and hoping that Joss just did exactly what he wanted, however cliff-hangary it might be.
The funny thing about ratings is that it's about numbers, math and finances. Some of it is network and studio politics. Very little is about feeling and emotion. Yet on ratings related matters, some people get very upset or very angry. That's really because people connect with shows, and because they're human. So if nobody was bothered about the tone of Dollhouse ratings topics being negative, that would be a bad thing.


Sure, the numbers aren't going to lie, and 1.3 is known to be particularly bad. I can't deny that, nor would I try to. However, the reasons behind these numbers are complex. What upsets me more than the numbers themselves is when there are a large number of comments going "Are you surprised? The episode/series was awful!" when I just don't see that as the case, and sports/reality tv shows that imho are much lower in terms of television quality, get much higher ratings.
BuffyGroupie, six-seven eps is a lifetime in TV these days. Plenty of shows didn't take that long to hit their stride. I'm a Big Joss Fan, I have everything he's ever made in multiple copies, but I highly resent the implication that that means I have to suspend my critical judgment for weeks and weeks.
I think I was expecting the numbers to hold, so therefore I'm disapointed with a 1.3. However, considering that there must have been some of the demo that went to watch the sports, it's understandable.

It's like being on a knife-edge! I'm really an enjoying Dollhouse, but Joss's shows have always been on the knife-edgey edge. Maybe....just maybe, that's some of the fun. Yes...I.am.a.drama.queen!
It certainly gives us something to talk about. The ratings topics are second only on Whedonesque to the episode topics.

flu, I don't think it's disingenuous to say the quality of the show effects the ratings. Just look at the DVR ratings - "Stage Fright" caused a whole lot of people to stop watching the show. The DVR ratings aren't impacted by sports, movies etc, so give a reasonable impression as to what turns people off and on. Obviously, the fact the show launched so low ratings wise in the first place is nothing to do with the quality of the show and everything to do with the quality of the marketing and scheduling, however.
Though even the lack of quality marketing and scheduling has to do with somebody's not too optimistic opinion of the show.

I personally liked Echoes ok. For me it was perhaps the worst episode of the show because it felt way too disjointed. Though I did love parts of it. Another issue I had was the sound was poor (which I blame my local fox.) As a fan of the show there was too much important stuff thrown out in a chaotic but entertaining episode. I've had to re-watch a few times to grasp it all. Watching this episode and knowing Fain&Craft wrote it makes ot me fear this pair is not right for a Joss show.

[ edited by beckyboo on 2009-03-29 19:30 ]
I don't see why I should spend time watching a show which doesn't work for me. Do I have to commit to watching the whole season before I say I don't like it? I watched the big 'this is where it gets good' episode last week. Was seriously underwhelmed and thus don't care to watch again. I keep an eye on the ratings because I find TV ratings interesting and wanted to see how whether the episode 6 bump was sustained.
The pace of 'reveals' has accelerated so much. I'm wondering if Joss knew that Dollhouse would likely get only a single season and so he decided to tell the full story in the original 13 episodes -- more a mini-series than a multi-season show?

StevieP, yes. I'm sure this explains the sudden amped-up storytelling modes. Not unlike Firefly. If you know the end is coming, cram in what you can to successfully complete at least one solid arc. Makes for better storytelling (See Firefly).

I'll be happy with my 13 eps of Dollhouse and future Joss projects. The pacing of Dollhouse is off, and I don't blame Joss.

ETA: OiS didn't successfully complete the arc; it's simply the best hour of television ever. All we knew at the end of Firefly was "we're still flyin' regardless." I guess Serenity resolved River's initial arc, but unfortunately in a too-rushed manner. They did the best they could with the options they had.

I'm not surprised by and do not disagree with some "negative" posts. Sure, I'm enjoying Dollhouse. Is it as good as some of Joss' other works? Not yet. Is it as good as Firefly was at this point? When viewed in order, no. Will I continue watching anyway? Of course.

[ edited by April on 2009-03-29 18:30 ]
so it scared the pee out of my dog every time it went to commercial.
Bummer. Hope you don't have carpet.

flugufrelsarinn I understand how depressing it is to find a bunch of criticism of the show when you're hoping to discuss the themes you find interesting, but the good news is that there's a big long "discuss the episode" thread mostly filled with people doing just that.
gossi
I don't think it's disingenuous to say the quality of the show effects the ratings.


I keep reading these kind of assertions and I must say I find them depressing and I disagree quite strongly. By that logic, didn't Firefly fail because it just wasn't very good?
Sure, quality as judged by the average American viewer has a big impact on ratings; but my tastes are quite different. (reality shows, sports, I rarely enjoy the most successful American movies nearly as much as a good arthouse flick, etc.)
Demo ratings for Dollhouse have been fairly stable ep2-6, and now a week after an ep. generally seen as the best yet, ratings dip. I just don't see this (strong) relation between quality and popularity that you (and others) claim there to be.

[ edited by Tristan on 2009-03-29 18:35 ]
That Ligouri comment has to be out of context because Fox has never received a dime of House DVD revenue. Networks only get money from advertisers.
The thing that bothers me the most is that this show had potential to be the best thing on TV ever. It had a good premise and Joss was behind it, but not only that, it had more time to develop than any other show I can think of. It was announced in October 2007. FOX and Joss had a lot of time to think this thing through, and still they went for some really bad choices. I love Dollhouse, and I wanna see it back next season. But I agree with gossi on the fact that Stage Fright was a really poor episode, and many people might've been drawn away by it. And the bad press the show got from the start probably didn't help. It really makes me sad, I never thought something Joss and Eliza could do together would be this mess. But I'm still hopeful the show will improve and that Prison Break will help it find an audience.
Lack of quality isn't to blame for low ratings. And in my opinion Stage Fright was still better then a lot of scripted stuff that gets millions more viewers on FOX (House, Bones etc.)
I want to weigh in here...

To be honest, I feel nothing towards Dollhouse. I certainly don't hate it. I certainly don't love it. It's Joss, it's on, so I watch it, and frankly, maybe I'm not getting attached to it because I know it's not long for this world.

Dollhouse feels much more like a Fox show than a Joss show. Firefly felt Joss-y even though it was on Fox, but Dollhouse has that Fox smell..do you know what I mean? Maybe that's why it's not clicking.

And I know this may be controversial, but perhaps part of the problem is its star. I find myself enjoying the non-Echo scenes much more than scenes with her in them. Eliza was a great Faith, of course, but she doesn't have that leading actor charisma that Sarah Michelle Gellar has. In retrospect I doubt I could've handled an entire Faith spinoff series.

In terms of context, I didn't watch Firefly when it was first on. I saw Serenity when it came out on DVD and loved it so I went back and watched Firefly, but it never connected with me. So basically I've come to the conclusion that I LOVE anything to do with the Buffyverse, but stuff like Dollhouse and Firefly take some getting used to.
There's still plently of bitterness about Buffy around the fandom

Which confuses me to no end. Why?
Let's face it. The first 5 episodes were not that good. That is not how you hook an audience. I wanted this show to be great but it wasn't until episode 6 that things seems get even interesting for me. My wife loves Whedon too and she said this show is horrible. As much as I love Whedon I would not cry if it was canceled. I might feel different by episode 13 but as of now....this show is huge dissapointment.
I think "Ghost" and "Stage Fright" were the ones that hurt the show the most. "The Target", "Gray Hour" and "True Believer" are pretty great. I like "Ghost", but not as a pilot. The story is good, but I didn't like it as a pilot. And I agree with J.I.G. about there being stuff a lot worse than "Stage Fright" on FOX, but I didn't buy the need for an active as a body guard in that situation. At least we got to see Eliza sing. The other problem I see with the first five episodes is that eventhough I loved "The Target" it felt a little too rushed into the Alpha storyline, it probably would've worked better as the 4th or 5th episode.
Which confuses me to no end. Why?


Because fans don't always get what they want.
[play the ball not the man - Simon]


As far as Echo and Sam using the sewer access goes - I'm not sure that a hue and cry would be raised about two people going down a manhole on a normal day, let alone with all of the craziness that was happening on that campus that day. I dare guess that most of the people there who weren't even infected by the drug saw stranger things than that that afternoon. And, the episode showed that the sight of the Rossum Building on the news bulletin triggered a deep memory in Echo, drawing her there. (In fact, Adelle's knowledge of Caroline's past there, combined with the growing signs of her abnormal [for an Active] behavior, is likely why she wanted to leave Echo off of the mission to begin with.)

As far as gossi's impressions of the show - while I personally disagree with his feelings about this episode, of course he has the right to have, and express, his honest opinions about Dollhouse. I think where that remark about his negative comments came from is just the idea - possibly an outdated one at this point - that the people running sites/fanzines/etc. dedicated to a work would be among the greatest, most fervent fans of that work on the planet. And back in the days of fan magazines and such, that made sense - who but the most devoted fans would spend the time and effort to put them together and get them out there? But now, with the reach and the realities of the internet, we have the situation where people rush to register domain names for programs they've never even seen, months or even years before their release, based on the promise of the show's creator or staff, or even the potential to get in on the ground level of "the next big thing". And that would seem to have led to the downfall of some of the defunct Dollhouse sites - the people who set them up ahead of time apparently have not found the show to be enough to their liking (or, possibly, enough of a popular phenomenon) to keep putting the effort into running sites devoted to it. Gossi clearly is a fan, of course; I think some may just be adjusting to the disconnect they feel when realizing that the runner of perhaps the most prominent Dollhouse fan site actually hasn't enjoyed the show as much as some of us "just ordinary folks" fans have.

[ edited by Simon on 2009-03-29 22:49 ]
I thought Man on the Street was excellent. A couple of the episodes were entertaining enough to watch if nothing better was on.

The premise is neat, the acting pretty good and the visuals and sound ok. A few of the characters are engaging. My problem is with the writing. I have to suspend belief at the situations and the characters' behavior in those situations so often that it's getting to be heavy lifting. The pacing is erratic and there seem to be loose ends.

The dialogue in this week's episode when Given that some mainstream shows like CSI get the details right when depicting subcultures, I expect better.
I love the show. Though I agree that Stage Fright was the weakest ep. I stay out of the show discussion threads because I don't enjoy seeing a show disected and picked at until all that is left is a decaying carcass. Not fun for me. I like my entertainment to stay entertaining. The ratings threads I can understand and enjoy. This is simple math, finance, and business. And all the math, finance and business (right now) points to one 13 ep season and a great DVD. Maybe that will change over the next couple of weeks but it will have next to nothing to do with how "good" the fandom thinks the episodes are. We are small and not very mighty no matter how much power the media and the critics like to attribute to us.
Most college-age monkeywrenching discussions are rather clueless.
I agree TamaraC.
"Most college-age monkeywrenching discussions are rather clueless."
I don't know about 'monkeywrenching' but I attended an SDS meeting back in 1970 and it was exactly like a High School dance decoration committee meeting (ie totally clueless... and lame).
I couldn't agree with you more TamaraC.
I can't now and never have understood how discussing the subtext and themes of a show is somehow diminishing it or reducing it to a "decaying carcass", at their best the discussions do nothing but add to my enjoyment of the episode.

Still, I do genuinely appreciate those that don't enjoy it staying out of the discussion rather than insisting on posting in the thread to tell us all how pointless it is, that's become a pet hate of mine (and one of the few "bad habits" from other sites that also makes its way onto here).
Saje, discussing subtext and themes can be interesting. I'm talking about minute by minute disection of what worked and what didn't. This second was unbelievable and this second the acting was bad and this second the framing or editing was crap. That kind of thing. Along with the inevitable "Joss killed Tara so I hate everything he does. " It's why I try to stay away.
It sounds as if what you prefer is for the people with anything critical to say should just shut up and not try and explain what they didn't like or why they didn't like an episode.
I'm talking about minute by minute disection of what worked and what didn't. This second was unbelievable and this second the acting was bad and this second the framing or editing was crap.

I kinda agree with that to an extent TamaraC, sometimes for some people the minutiae seem to become the point and I also think that there's a danger of reading things into stuff that might just be a production issue (e.g. the actor was filming something else so a double was used) or, at worst, just a mistake (by the writers or whatever).

In fairness though, it's really difficult to judge where that line between detail that's important to the subtext and detail that isn't lies and I think erring over the line is pretty much inevitable for any discussion beyond broad plot (for all of us BTW, i'm certainly not saying i'm immune to it).

(and I also like the clarity of the numbers, even if where ratings are concerned I think that clarity can be a bit deceptive at times. It tricks us into thinking we actually know something concrete - cos gosh, look, numbers ! It must be real knowledge ;) - when in fact, we don't and nor will we until Fox tell us whether the show's renewed or cancelled. It arguably gives our speculations a more solid base but that's still all they are)
What caused Firefly to get cancelled was this - it started off to low premiere ratings, then it fell week to week, losing viewers across the spectrum. Obviously, the network contributed to the problems so it's impossible to know if the premise outreached it's audience (I suspect so), but the show was a commercial network TV failure from a business point of view, which lost them millions of dollars upon airing. It's a bitter pill to swallow, so I can see why there's a collective belief of otherwise in fandom. Creatively, I think it's my favourite show ever as everything hangs together extremely well. You just know the people running the show absolutely understand what the show is, and who the characters are.

I think the parallel to Dollhouse is - for me - it feels more commercially friendly, but far less like they know what the show is and who the characters are. It feels a bit like a jigshaw, where not all the pieces fits together. "The Target", I thought, was a brilliant episode. Well paced, entertaining, funny, and the brilliant Echo/Boyd stuff towards the end. It's no coincidence everybody loves Boyd - they sold his position in all 13 episodes during those few scenes. Whoever wrote that episode knew how to piece things together.
On the topic of accessibility: I don't see why there have to be a lot of casual viewers turned away by "Echoes" specifically. I see just as much going: "Oh, that's that boring, dark, humor-less shit everyone's been complaining about the last few weeks? What are they talking about, that's hilarious!" I think "Echoes"' funny isn't entirely resting on the shoulders of a "You-have-to-know-the-characters-to-laugh"-giant. It also is very well acted hilarity with some very funny physical comedy that you can understand perfectly without a backstory.

And that's talking about about, I don't know....25% of the episode. The rest is drama, action, client-of-the-week and mixed-in longterm character stuff, like all the episodes before, like it was envisioned by MotS. You even have a clear client-meeting, a (exceptionally long) Topher-exposition clearing up the premise of the show (and of the episode, but even setting up more of the show-premise ["giant, big corporation"] than the episodes before), Echo being on sexy engagement, Echo thinking/walking outside the box and everything. I just don't see this as a completely incomprehensible riddle (like some claim lentils to be) for new viewers - at least not more than any of the previous episodes.

Now, one may not like this episode, no doubt. But to claim it was impossible to understand for byzappers when in fact one isn't a byzapper is kind of besides the point, I think.
"The Target", I thought, was a brilliant episode. Well paced, entertaining, funny, and the brilliant Echo/Boyd stuff towards the end. It's no coincidence everybody loves Boyd - they sold his position in all 13 episodes during those few scenes. Whoever wrote that episode knew how to piece things together.

From Joss: And finally, young Steve DeKnight, after writing and shooting an ep so cool it helped not only define the show but save its ass, is ending his consulting duties, the f#%&er.

Partially true in retrospect, I think. But yeah.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-03-29 22:28 ]
Monet - look too close and it's just dots....
Sure and then step back and you see the entire painting again, it hasn't gone anywhere. Knowing it's just dots doesn't detract from the beauty of the painting, knowing Shakespeare used iambic pentameter doesn't diminish the power of his words.
Gossi, funny, how I can so deeply find myself in your opinion of the show on the whole (and Firefly for that matter) and disagree so completely on the indivual episodes. This:

I think the parallel to Dollhouse is - for me - it feels more commercially friendly, but far less like they know what the show is and who the characters are. It feels a bit like a jigshaw, where not all the pieces fits together.

Sums my feelings for Dollhouse up better than anything, but "The Target" was by far my least favourite episode and I thoroughly enjoyed "Echoes".

And for me personally "Echoes" also is exactly the kind of episode I might stay watching if I did not know the show and just came across it channel surfing. Stuff like MotS and (if the preview is any indication) "Needs" on the other hand, with big reveals or developments, I mostly tend to like when I'm already watching the show.

What are they talking about, that's hilarious!" I think "Echoes"' funny isn't entirely resting on the shoulders of a "You-have-to-know-the-characters-to-laugh"-giant. It also is very well acted hilarity with some very funny physical comedy that you can understand perfectly without a backstory. That's what I've been trying to write. Well, now that you beat me to it I can only nod in agreement.

But to claim it was impossible to understand for byzappers when in fact one isn't a byzapper is kind of besides the point, I think. Good point. Guess it would be hypocritical to claim the opposite thing?
True Saje - I'm blaiming that one on the wine. I'm not dismissing discussion, not at all. In fact, it's what I love, especially about Whedoneque.
I'll take this opportunity to remind people that attacks on other posters are not welcome here and that action will be taking accordingly.
Wait, you know for a fact that Terminator: SCC has been canceled/sets are gone? When did this happen, and how come no one's announced/mentioned it, here or elsewhere?
The sets for Terminator got taken down, I dunno, a week or so ago kungfubear. I highly doubt there will be any official announcement by Warners any time before June, because of this: the Terminator movie. Nothing breeds bad press like having your TV show of the same franchise shit canned before your movie comes out. So the fans will just be kept completely in the dark. Brian Austin Green has just signed for a CW pilot, so, ya know.

I just heard that as of a few weeks ago the Dollhouse sets were still up, by the way. They've shot almost a full episode of - I think - Bones on them, so keep an eye out for Boreanaz in the 'house.
Good point. Guess it would be hypocritical to claim the opposite thing?

Of course, yes. I don't actually try to say "Echoes" was more accessible than the previous episodes, I try to say a) I can think of people that might have just as well actually joined the show on that episode and b) that "Echoes" accessibility for newcomers is kind of hard to grasp for us and that for that reason (and some other ones like the presence of the exposition described above) I tend to see it just as accessible as any previous episode. It's just my default setting of "I surely can't know, but I can see it both ways - gaining and losing newcomers".
Helcat, I think it is fine for you to complain about the show. It is also ok for me to not give a damn about you not liking the show and choosing to not read your complaints. That's why I don't go in the episode discussion thread. I truly don't care what anyone else thought about it. The only opinion that matters to me is my own.

I know many of you actually want to hear what others think before making up your own minds, and I am glad this site affords those so inclined that forum. More and more I am discovering that isn't something I enjoy reading or participating in. I don't think I am alone. Isn't great there is something for everyone here?
TamaraC -

The only opinion that matters to me is my own.


I assume for your sake that this is merely posturing; if you have no interest whatsoever in discussing aesthetic experiences then you've got far bigger things to worry about than anything said on these boards, eh?

Helcat: Would love to see a reasoned analysis of the show's content from you, versus the one-bit information you provide above.

Squishy -

I also must admit it was a noticeable drop in quality from ep 6. It seemed like it was aspiring to Buffy episodes such as "Band Candy" but failed because we don't have the same connection with the characters.


I do have a strong interest in some of these characters, and find their situation - the moral schema of the show crossed with the state of play at the moment - riveting. But that's off to the side. 'Echoes' was very definitely not 'Band Candy Redux': if you looked at the screen and saw 'a bunch of people acting all wacky and reverting to childlike states' then perhaps you missed the fact that the wacky/childlike people are:

pimps

whores

seemingly ethics-free 'scientists'

cops

ex-cops

a conflicted, vindictive madam

rapists and their victims

...and a hell of a lot of innocent bystanders, all having the most nuanced TV drug experience yet depicted on a Joss Whedon show.

People keep saying this ep was like 'Spin the Bottle' and 'Band Candy' but - I suspect - that's because they're desperate to fit the show into a recognizable, already-understood slot.

What's the Internet jargon for this situation? Is it 'EPIC FAIL'?

Or: 'Dollhouse: UR DOIN IT WRONG'?

Honestly I know nothing about the Internet. Alas.

[ edited by waxbanks on 2009-03-29 23:42 ]
wiesengrund: Good point. Guess it would be hypocritical to claim the opposite thing?

Of course, yes. I don't actually try to say "Echoes" was more accessible than the previous episodes


Oh no, I didn't mean to imply you did that at all. You were eloquently making a point I completely agree with. I was just trying to jokingly poke fun at myself, since I was writing a comment arguing it really seemed like an episode accesible to byzappers, then read your comment and agreed with it and then found me getting myself in a difficult position. (Though I saved myself just a little by writing it looked like an episode that would be accesible to me if I was channelsurfing, which might be why you didn't get what my comment was meant to say.)

Anyway to get back on track with the ratings: I was trying to say I don't understand were they are coming from, since I thought the episode seemed quite accessible.
Waxbanks, you think there is something wrong with me because I'm not interested in what people on the Internet think about a TV show? You sure you want to go with that? I'm ok with making up my own mind and am perfectly happy with my opinions of the show. I like it. It entertains me and occassionally makes me think a little. That's really all the discussion I need.

Now about the ratings. Does anyone think the ratings can go back up and if so what kind of demo number do you think would be needed to keep it on the air and what kind of number is needed for a season two (if not already seen as impossible)?
Waxbanks, I get that it's your take on the show, but I think it's pretty overly simplistic to say that it's a depiction of pimps and whores and all that (which you say a lot and vehemently, as if it were a fact). It's not really, or it's not that any more than Buffy was a show about murderers. There were plenty of bad people running around in "Band Candy" and Buffy in general, some of whom were sympathetically or humorously portrayed and some of whom were not. Were you morally outraged when Trick kills the band candy line worker? What about when Giles steals the dress/boa/whatever-it-was and punches the policeman?

I don't get how this was a particularly nuanced depiction of a drug experience, either. It seems to pretty much fit the Joss-depiction-of-drugs formula (music in OMWF, magic in all of S6, candy in Band Candy, etc.): fun and funny at first, but too much and bad things happen.
TamaraC & waxbanks, did you read what Simon wrote just a few posts above? Here's the relevant part again:

[A]ttacks on other posters are not welcome here


Address the subject, and not the poster. Otherwise, you'll find your comments will be wiped.
Well it is a show about pimps and whores in the same way Firefly was about thieves and murders (and whores). The point is that there are always gray areas, people feel that they can justify their actions, no one is without some blame, and life is complicated.
I know many of you actually want to hear what others think before making up your own minds, and I am glad this site affords those so inclined that forum.


I don't think that's the point of the discussion threads ;). I mean, one visit does show that everybody has very much made up their mind. It's just interesting to talk about the ep and hear what others made of it. For me, anyway.

The Band Candy comparison seems apt enough to me, or useful in thinking about why the episode left me a little cold. Obviously there are very different things going on in Echoes than in Band Candy, but if one is just trying to make a point about the intended comedy not working brilliantly, then saying that the characters weren't established enough for their erratic behaviour to be as revealing or as funny as the erratic behaviour of the adults in Band Candy seems fair enough. It's a superficial point, maybe, but I don't think it "misses" anything or reveals a desperation to fit the show into a "recognizable, already understood slot."
I have been trying to speak solely from my perspective about what I think. I apologize if it came across any other way.
Does anyone think the ratings can go back up and if so what kind of demo number do you think would be needed to keep it on the air and what kind of number is needed for a season two

We'd be guessing, as it's unclear what the profitability line for Dollhouse is. We know 30 second spots for Fringe have sold for around $300,000 a piece as it was disclosed in the press. There's - what - ten minutes of adverts per Dollhouse episode? Or is it 5?
8 to 10 minutes usually. I don't see how it could be earning Fringe like numbers at one third the viewers. Let's say $200k per 30 sec spot. At 8 minutes that is 16 spots for a total of $3.2M. If the license fee is $2m (though it may me lower than that) FBC is still making a profit of $1.2m. That doesn't suck but since we don't know what their hurdle rate is, we still don't know if it is good enough.
Yeah, there's no way the money they would make in the end from the advertising is Fringe rates, 'cos Dollhouse has a fraction of the audience. I've read (not sure if it's true at all) 1.7 in the demo is the actual profitability line. Should that be true, I'm guessing they sold the spots for about $100k each or so in the end, so about $1.6m per episode.
That makes a little more sense probably. It kills me not to know the real numbers. But then, even if the show is marginally profitable, in order for it to be renewed, the network would have to be convinced that they couldn't (or don't want to) find something that will do better. I find it fascinating how few pilots are getting made this year. It has to be half of what they did last year.
Networks are tending to look for lower risk projects, Tamara, hence the reduced numbers. Sony are producing 9 pilots, for example, and 8 of them are comedies. It's something to do with the economy collapsing, methinks. Almost all the pilots this year are comedy shows, hospital shows, lawyer shows or cop shows.
I wonder what the product placement revenue looks like.
Succatash, what products have you noticed? None have really jumped out at me. Does anyone know what kind of revenue streams are realized from casual product placement? I honestly don't have a clue.
I don't have a clue either. The only product placement I've seen is the odd Dell logo. Two, to be precise. Oh, and there was a BMW car. The last episode had Dell "porn" shot, where the camera was focused on the Dell logo.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-03-30 02:05 ]
I haven't really noticed any PP that I can think of. I'm a little fascinated by the concept of it though, from a business perspective. It's such a great way to advertise if you can make it work, in this "new media" age. Though I imagine it has to totally suck for the writers and creators.
I definitely noticed the Dell logo on Topher's computer. Seemed like it was in the shot on purpose since they could have just moved the camera up a few inches up to avoid it being shown. Other than that, I haven't noticed anything. Except the motorcycle, maybe. Didn't Matt say what kind it was after "Alice" called it a dragon?
The NCAAs *plus* it was spring vacation, with people traveling and such (or so I hear).
Yeah this is another reason the ratings are deceptively concrete - there's apparently always something that can be used to explain bad numbers beyond the obvious i.e. "people don't like the show".

Re: product placement, 'Dell' stood out a mile in this one, not noticed too much else which sort of surprises me. For myself i'm kind of ambivalent about how '30 Rock' deals with product placement, seems like they're trying to have their advertising cake and eat it too ("Hey we're subversive and cool ! But still, buy the stuff").

I apologize if it came across any other way.

Well it kinda came across as claiming everyone partaking in the discussion threads is incapable of forming their own opinion about the episodes TamaraC which, as catherine points out, can be categorically proven false with even a fairly cursory glance at the threads in question.

ETA: Actually, you know what ? It doesn't when you actually read the words properly, it says "many" not everyone and that may or may not be true BUT it is a matter of subjective opinion (whereas claiming it of everyone in the thread would be a provably untrue statement about the world). So I take this back and apologise for misreading your post TamaraC but i'm gonna leave it in its entirety so that you don't think I called you bad names when you see Simon's comment and the "edited" tag at the bottom ;). [/ETA]

If you're not into the threads then it makes sense to stay out of them. What doesn't make sense is judging their content or the people in them when by your own admission you don't have the information you need to do so.

Let's avoid the trap of assuming anything we personally don't like must be crap and the people that do like it deficient. It's very lazy thinking.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-03-30 11:38 ]
If people are having problems with other posters then it would be a good idea to email us about it so we can look into it. I'd rather not see posts about whether people should stay out of certain threads.
I wasn't saying she should, I was only confirming that she does and that that makes sense because she doesn't like the discussions (TamaraC and I talked about it further upthread Simon, that might add a bit of necessary context).

It's none of my business what threads people stay out of, that's up to them.
Well I see you've edited your post which was nice. This thread is pretty testy at the moment. And I don't want to see people fight even though

1) the ratings for Dollhouse are rubbish
2) we're more than likely not going to get a second season
3) not everyone likes the show.
4) we're having an abnormally quiet period in terms of new items on the front page.
"4) we're having an abnormally quiet period in terms of new items on the front page."
This is what happens when we have a juicy topic like the Streamy Awards, and keep adding all the new links to that one thread instead of starting new threads for each good article mentioning Joss' and Felicia's HUGE successes: we just don't bury the old threads as quickly as usual.
Many? Some? A few? It's all subjective. You're right. And it's all good. Different interests and playgrounds for everyone. I love the show no matter what and will watch it on DVD obsessively and repeatedly since it is probably all I'm going to get. Luckily there is lots of good TV and eventually Joss will be back with more in some form or another. I'm pretty sure the man can't not create.
I know this may sound kind of odd, but I'm against the save Dollhouse campaigns.

I don't dislike the show, I just think the Mutant Enemy can do miles better than this. We're past the halfway point of the first series and I'd peg it for being an above-average slice of television.

I'd much prefer it if Joss retired to the drawing board and came up with something phenomenal again, rather than so-so.

He might even consider the move to cable this time... it's where the action's at!
Is anyone seriously thinking about a "Save Dollhouse" campaign? That would probably be a bad idea at this time. A "Watch Dollhouse" campaign might not be a horrible idea though.
I did set up a Dollhouse thing called ActivateDollhouse.com, but struggled to find people to help with it.

I think there's a few more weeks before Fox make a call either way about the series, anyway.
I'm encouraged to know that Fox hasn't taken down the set yet, that must mean that they are keeping an open mind. But I agree it would be good to have some kind of 'Watch Dollhouse' campaign (I wish I knew some Neilsen families! The only one I ever knew was a Gay couple and I don't think Dollhouse has offered much for their interest so far).
Re: Product Placement - Aside from the "Dell Porn", both Terminator and Dollhouse prominently feature Dodge Ram trucks and vans. They often pull into a frame, with the Dodge logo approaching the camera. If you'll notice, especially in episode 7, all of those black, Dollhouse vans are Dodge. :)
It's possible that you could know an "occasional" Nielson family... In March, my family (man & woman in that coveted 18-34 demo, and a 1+ year old boy) participated for a second time in Nielson's diary program, in which they send you diaries for each television in your home and ask you to record in them all viewing over a period of one week. I believe they do this during sweeps periods (February sweeps were pushed back this year in anticipation of difficulties in the transition to digital); so it's possible that you or someone else reading this thread may become or be acquainted with a temporary Nielson family during May sweeps....

Although, to be honest, I don't really know the impact of the diaries. Does anyone here know if their data is eventually added into the ratings from the Nielson boxes, and if those numbers are ever made public?

(For whatever it turns out to be worth, we did [of course] give our viewership to that week's Dollhouse - "Gray Hour", iirc - as well as to T:SCC, and taped the premiere of "Castle" and Summer's appearance on "Big Bang Theory".)

ET fix typo and add: whoops, a post was made while I was writing mine. That is interesting to hear about the Dodge trucks, though; if that is product placement, it really doesn't appear to be interfering with the storytelling at all, does it? If Dollhouse can make some extra money for using real life products, in a way which doesn't impact the creative process - that's very good, and nice to know!

[ edited by LKW on 2009-03-30 20:01 ]
Re: Product Placement - Aside from the "Dell Porn", both Terminator and Dollhouse prominently feature Dodge Ram trucks and vans. They often pull into a frame, with the Dodge logo approaching the camera. If you'll notice, especially in episode 7, all of those black, Dollhouse vans are Dodge. :)

Except for that one with electrical tape over the Chevrolet emblem which, of course, drew my attention to it instead of the Dodge trucks.
What should we send in, and where?
Final ratings had Dollhouse pick up a 1.4/4 in the demo.
Less encouraging news, in the finals Terminator actually beat Dollhouse in total viewers (3.87 million vs 3.86 million).
Good thing the total viewers are less relevant than the demo.
I still have no idea what to make of the numbers. I mean I see them, and I know that 3.8 million is not as good as 4.1 million viewers, but the 1.4/4 thing really boggles me. Where does that come from? It's a fraction of what? 1.4 of the 18-49 target range over 4 million total?

Still confused. :(
I think it's 1.4% of people in that age range, and 4% of people in that age range who are watching TV at the time. Or something. I'm sure I'm butchering it, but it's something like that.
Yep, that's about it. 1.4% of the 18-49 demo in the US have watched the episode and 4% of the demo that were actually watching TV during that hour. Rating and share have nothing to do with the overall viewing numbers.

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