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April 10 2009

The WaPo weighs in on the 13-episode controversy. Lisa deMoraes of the Washington Post weighs in on the controversy that is brewing over Fox's decision to not broadcast the planned final episode of Dollhouse.

Oh man, so much misinformation! Is this the how the first draft of history is written?

It makes me take the most interesting point she makes (that the reason that the network is not showing the episode is because it has not come to terms with the studio to pay them for it) with a grain of salt. I assume that's standard practice, but do we know if that's what's going on here? (Ugh, and quoting Tim as if he were speaking for the studio? WTF?)

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-10 20:10 ]

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-10 20:25 ]
Then word got out -- "somehow" -- that there exists a 13th "Dollhouse" episode, "Epitaph One...
Um, no. We've known there's a thirteen episode since, like, ages ago. Why are so many media reporters incapable of the simplest research?
Tons of misinformation in there. I was gonna say something else about the overall tone of the piece, but then I remembered my manners.

But the weirdest thing is, as b!X points out, that "somehow" we discovered there was another episode... seems to be another article jumping (obliquely) on the "let's blame Felicia" train, without mentioning her by name. But it's not like no one knew there was another episode until she mentioned it. I think we knew about that episode before Ghost even aired.
Wow! That's a lot of wrong information, but it's the Washington Post so that is not really surprising. Pretty sure that facts are never required by their editors.
That's one of the more painfully uninformed articles we've had in a while though I guess the gist is right (the extra episode may not air for financial reasons), it's just the details that aren't (for instance 'Echo' wasn't a conventional pilot is the easily discoverable reason why Fox picked the show up anyway i.e. they already had picked it up).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-10 20:26 ]
So, wrong information aside, is there any truth (or corroboration) to this point?

And because times are tough for everyone, including Hollywood studios, Twentieth Century Fox would like to find a way to offset the out-of-pocket cost of producing this extra episode.

...

But the network would have to pay extra to get the "extra" episode. Nobody's saying how much Twentieth Century Fox TV wants Fox network to pony up for the episode, but a drama series can cost more than $3 million an episode these days.


Are the studio and the network negotiating over the price to air the 13th episode?
But was it planned to be the last? I thought it was a sort of DVD extra, which wasn't planned to be shown since it's not really part of the current story???
That was the other silly point, Saje.

Not only that Dollhouse didn't have a conventional pilot and was already picked up based on the concept and the talent involved, but also that even conventional pilots are retooled all the time. Parts are recast, scenes reshot, and sometimes entirely new pilots shot. I would have thought a journalist would know that.

Hunted: episodes are never shot just to be DVD extras... far too expensive for that. It was intended as the final episode. Fox never officially said they would air it, but it's clear from the reactions at, say, the DrHorrible twitter account that the writers weren't planning on it being a DVD extra, and did not know its fate till recently.

The network is essentially exploiting a loophole, usually the network would just air it. My guess is that the network felt a) Omega would wrap up the season it a satisfying mannner, which meant b) they could put on a two hour Prison Break on the last week of sweeps, which, let's face it, will most likely have higher ratings than Dollhouse.

[ edited by bonzob on 2009-04-10 20:32 ]
Very true, 'Life on Mars' US being a recent example (totally reshot and almost entirely re-cast AFAIK).

I thought it was a sort of DVD extra, which wasn't planned to be shown since it's not really part of the current story???

The "extra episode" in question isn't "Echo", the original pilot (which is appearing as a DVD extra), it's "Epitaph I" which was originally episode 13 in the run.

Except now it seems some back-pedalling is being done and we're to believe they never intended to show it and the first season commitment was only for 12 episodes.
Except now it seems some back-pedalling is being done and we're to believe they never intended to show it and the first season commitment was only for 12 episodes.

The real sticking point, as I think buffyfest was pointing out on Twitter, is that Joss announced that Felicia was in a episode back at his Apple Store event. Why would he have done that unless he, at least, believed it was going to air?
And then you've got this post: http://blogs.nypost.com/popwrap/archives/2009/04/dollhouse_canceled.html - which has sent some people into a panic that the show actually is cancelled.

Sigh. The 'net is our worst friend and our best enemy.
I think FBC paid for Echo through Omega and then allowed the studio to use Echo for parts. 20th made Epitaph because they needed one more episode for foreign broadcast deals. They hoped Dollhouse to be wildly (or moderately) successful enough that FBC would gladly pay for an additional episode. BTW $3M falls in the range of a crazy number dreamt up by our less than thorough WaPo reporter.

FBC may be negotiating for 20th to throw Epitaph in for free if a 2nd season is ordered. No one knows and I am just a big ball of speculation.
Let me just say that if FBC were requiring that it get Epitaph One for free as the price of renewing for a second season, I would strongly encourage the studio to give it to them.

I think realistically, it's one big negotiation about ep 13 and renewal all at once. I don't see much point in FBC buying ep. 13 if they aren't going to renew the show.
I'm leaning towards what Septimus says. The Dr Horrible tweet seems to suggest the same thing.

Interestingly - it type of coda episode that it seems to be would lend itself to being used as a lead in to Season Two. A marketing tool itself. Well - that's the positive spin anyway.
$3 million wouldn't shock me, particularly if Epitaph One is . And with the show only pulling in a (slowly shrinking) viewership of a few million, I can understand Fox's being reluctant to shell out for an extra episode, if that's what actually happened.

[ edited by JesterInACast on 2009-04-10 20:50 ]
Re: cost, we do know that "Epitaph One" was shot at half the budget a normal episode has. It was not more expensive to produce than the others, it was cheaper.

(ETA: And now we know the reason why...)

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2009-04-10 21:00 ]
$3m is a very crazy number for any show not Heroes or Lost. It isn't a realistic number if Epitaph was at normal DH cost. And the negotiation thing was pulled straight out of thin air by me. It just seemed a likely tack.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2009-04-10 21:03 ]
The WaPo is my hometown newspaper. I have to say, this particular columnist has fallen increasingly out of my favor in the last couple of years. Her misinformation, misplaced snark ("out of the mouth of babes" in re: Tim Minear's post on whedonesque? Huh? Wha?), and the general sloppiness of this recent piece of hers doesn't surprise me. How irritating.
According to Variety (from a FOX release):

"Mental, the internationally-produced drama starring Chris Vance and Annabella Sciorra, will now launch a week later than previously announced, on Friday, May 29, at 9 p.m."

At WAS scheduled for Friday May 22nd. There is currently absolutely nothing announced as scheduled for Friday May 22nd at 9pm, unless I've missed a press release.

By the way, I'm not suggesting FOX will actually air the episode in question there. They've explicitly said they won't, by making Omega the finale.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-10 21:09 ]
Gossi... now you're just causing trouble!
I'm not, FOX are. They made that scheduling change a day or two before their May press release listing Omega as the finale.
A House rerun is scheduled for May 22nd at 9pm.

I didn't follow all the spoilers when the episodes were being made so I have no idea, but wasn't there some confusion on which episode Tim was writing and whether it would be a two parter or some such thing? Could some of that confusion have come from finding out 13 may not air?
A House rerun is scheduled for May 22nd at 9pm.

Ahahahahahahaha. Haha. Hahaha. Ahaha. Hmrph.

Fail.
This was recently posted on the Dr. Horrible twitter:

"Dollhouse Ep 13 bottom line: If more people watch Dollhouse LIVE, the higher our chances for a 2nd season(AKA airing 13). Pass it on. xoDrH"

This seems to equate the airing of episode 13 with renewal of a second season. The converse of that...
I think it was now established by multiple sources that Tim wrote and directed episode 12, "Omega", which now turns out to be the season finale. It maybe was envisioned as a two-parter back in the day (a year ago), and we know the director's cut ran over ten minutes too long, but otherwise it's a normal episode.

Thanks for the info about the House re-run.
You think they wanna test for a last time, if they can pull in better numbers with a re-run than with original programming?
Wow, I chose the wrong profession! If I knew I could be a reporter working for a big-league paper like the Washington Post with basic research skills that sloppy, my life would be a whole lot easier. What boils my blood is that hacks like this DO have an effect on the public perception of the fate of the show, and thus on its actual fate, and yet if we call them on it, we're just crazy fan boys. I do not believe it is impolite or fanwanking to point out that Lisa deMoraes, on the evidence of at least this story, is incompetant at her job.
Wait. What is she wrong about? That is not a snarky question on my part, but an honest one; otherwise I would not have posted this link. What does she have wrong, that we categorically know is wrong?
FREE THE DOLLHOUSE 13!
Actually, the House rerun thing is interesting. Pushing back a new show ("MENTAL") for one week to air a House rerun instead makes no sense. Unless - you're keeping that slot free as an option.

It appears that episode 13 is being handled as part of the negotiations over season two, if I believe the Horrible Team's tweet. That would explain nobody being willing to talk to the press over it yesterday.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-10 21:31 ]
To quote b!X:

We've known there's a thirteen episode since, like, ages ago.

WaPo Buffy do?
Dana:

She says after the press release calling Omega the season finale, word came out that a 13th episode existed. Wrong. We knew long before that.

She says an average drama series costs 3 million an episode. Wrong. It's more like 1-2.

Those are the most blatant. The rest are more nitpicky.

For example: which ardent fans call Dollhouse a feminist manifesto? Even the people enjoying the show don't seem to be calling it that, and plenty of ardent Joss fans think it's vile/misogynist.

Also, as I mentioned, she speculates as to why Fox would pick up a show and then not like the pilot. Which, as I've said, any journalist should know happens ALL the time. And, as has been said, the show was already picked up pre-pilot. It wasn't sold based on the pilot, but the idea. Which she clearly does not know.

She also says it's highly unlikely Fox would pay for a 13th with the ratings as low as it is. Fair enough, but simplistic. Shows with ratings nearly as low or lower than Dollhouse have gotten second season pickups before, which means the network is committing to pay for many episodes of a low-rated show, not just one, hoping it will improve. But she makes it sound as if they would never want to waste money on a show with low ratings. Which makes it sound like Dollhouse is cancelled. Which it isn't, yet.
WaPo Buffy do?

Go WaPpy ?

What does she have wrong, that we categorically know is wrong?

We categorically know she's wrong to even wonder why the show was picked up in the first place since basic research would show it had already been picked up before the "pilot" was even shot. So this is bunk:
The first first episode of "Dollhouse" was deemed unairable by Fox execs -- which, of course, makes us wonder why they picked up the show in the first place.

We also know that people knew about the 13th episode for a while before the current kerfuffle and, for various reasons (not least what it apparently turns out was a mistake by Kevin Reilly) believed 13 episodes would be shown. So this is also bunk:
Then word got out -- "somehow" -- that there exists a 13th "Dollhouse" episode, "Epitaph One," which Fox has declined to air.

I.e. word had been "out" for a while (e.g. here).


ETA: As, like, everyone mentions ;).

[ edited by Saje on 2009-04-10 21:37 ]
Dana, it as been common knowledge that there would be a 13th episode almost for ages, this report says word only leaked out this week.
Fox ordered 13 episodes at the start yet this report questions why they ordered the season if they didn't like the "Pilot". There was no pilot. Again, common knowledge and a big deal at the time Dollhouse was announced.
Whoo! Almost a triple simulpost!
Triple jinx, touch triple wood !
I'm so mad I clicked on that link. All that work to put order to chaos yesterday and this is the best comment they can come up with???

How exactly do they write our history??

*baffled!*
I wish someone would explain to me what the story actually got wrong...
I also question her use of the word "unairable." Again, pilots get retooled and reshot all the time, it's a common TV practice. She basically makes it out as if Joss screwed the network out of their money by producing an episode so terrible it wasn't even fit to air, rather than just being a little out of sync creatively with the network vision, which again, is common.

Also, she does realize that they SAVED money on the later epsiodes, by having several minutes of screentime filled with the stuff they took from the original pilot, right? I would say about a third of the original pilot made it to air anyway.
Dana5140-

-Using Tim Minear's quote in a way that suggests he spoke for 20th C. Fox

-Completely getting the timeline wrong about when it was public knowledge that Epitaph One existed, with the result of adding to an overall mischaracterization of the course of the fan response.

-(this one slightly more interpretive) characterizing Fox Network "got only 12 episodes that its execs considered good enough to air." Yes, we all know the chaotic history of the original pilot, but I think characterizing the thing as if they received a baker's dozen of already produced episodes and found one they thought was not good enough to air is retrograde rewriting of the story. The issue was never the "quality" of a single episode, but the back-and-forth over whether Joss and Fox were on the same page about a workable premise for an ongoing series. I don't believe anyone has come up with evidence (or even a strong assumption) that the problem with "Echo" was that it was LOW QUALITY as opposed to NOT REPRESENTATIVE OF A SERIES PREMISE FOX COULD GET ON BOARD WITH (the latter scenario of which is, of course, Fox's absolute right to take issue with as much as it would be their right to take issue with a low quality episode).

The writer appears to be doing her best to come up with reasonable theories for why the network and the production studio may be disagreeing about what to air -- I have no problem with her attempt to get to the truth of that issue, and she might be on the right track. But neither that, nor the accelerated pace of modern "web" journalism is a good excuse to hide her lazy research into the background of the controversy behind her fashionably snarky tone about the past record of the show and its fans.

ETA: to be clear, while I am hopeful that Epitaph One airs, I am NOT claiming that we, the fandom, have some absolute right to have it aired. I fully accept that there are layers upon layers of business and marketing concerns always being hashed out between creators, producers, and networks and that none of that, in and of itself, implies one of those parties to be acting villainously.

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-04-10 21:52 ]

[ edited by doubtful guest on 2009-04-10 21:53 ]
Actually, I thought the most blatant error was:
Anyway, the drumbeat started this week when Fox announced that it would air the season finale of "Dollhouse" at 9 p.m. on May 12.

Fox should stand by Kevin Reilly's promise to let all 13 episodes play out.
Fox execs make incorrect statements occasionally though, Simon. There was the classic one here a month or so back, about House airing at 10pm. Except Fox isn't on the air at 10pm.
That's the other thing that bugged me about "unairable," doubtful guest. She was implying that Fox was like "wow, there's a real stinker in these episodes you gave us. It's too bad to air."

When in fact, the pilot was retooled so that the other episodes could be made over in the way Fox wanted. Not because it was awful.
Man. That better be the best episode of House ever. The one where Wilson morphs into Mr. Hyde, or something.
Cuddy juggles flaming chainsaws too. It's a classic.
That would be the most interesting thing Cuddy's done since ever. Not that the baby arc isn't interesting as an idea, but it's House. They write only unapologetic curmudgeonliness well.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-04-10 21:55 ]
The May 12th thing was the icing on the totally wrong cake for me. We can only dream that the show was scheduled for Tuesdays. Total fail.
I enjoy House, but it is amazing to me how they can create on character who's among the greatest in TV history, and then surround with so many characters who are mildly interesting at best.
For example: which ardent fans call Dollhouse a feminist manifesto? Even the people enjoying the show don't seem to be calling it that, and plenty of ardent Joss fans think it's vile/misogynist.


No offense - heh - but these 'ardent Joss fans' who find Dollhouse 'vile/misogynist' have no idea how to read media texts. And yes, of course Dollhouse is an energetically feminist show. That it's not a 'little girl with superpowers kills monsters' show might confuse less perceptive viewers, but...
Kal Penn returns as a patient in the throes of severe marijuana-induced paranoia, pursued by an anarchically enthused Neil Patrick Harris, who enters the hospital astride a very -- um -- mean -- horse!
I occasionally find Dollhouse wildly offensive, waxbanks, in it's approach to dealing with things.
Eh, I think the jury's still very much out on what Dollhouse is or isn't in terms of feminism. There's a lot of room for disagreement there, and the themes have only partially played out in the major arcs so far.
waxbanks, gossi, etc. Would it be fair to say that Dollhouse, while obviously intended as a feminist show, could be perceived as a failure in that regard by some attentive readers -- that failing in one's goals is different than not having those goals?

That sort of response to the show is the reason that, despite the fact that my own view of what Dollhouse is doing (and I think doing well) is largely in line with the vision waxbanks has described on his blog, the offhand remark of the author of the WaPo (is that like Alpo?) article about "not seeing" the feminism of the show was actually not something that bothered me.

(posted because, after turning into a ranting Mr. Hyde, I seem to then revert not to becoming Dr. Jeckyl, but to becoming Richie Cunningham.)
We find out the whole of the fifth season may or may not be Kal Penns' really bad trip (the episode's largely set in the psych ward and called "Wasted Again").

(still love the show but at the moment i'm hoping the fifth season is the one we look back on as "the slightly shit one before it got totally great again")

Re: Dollhouse, I think it can be seen in different ways though I also think if you really examine an issue like this and don't want to just make a fairy-tale then you're going to sail very close to the objectification wind and that's going to offend people. I think a lot of us expected a hero tale of self-actualisation when what we're actually getting is darker and more ambiguous than that (and to me, more interesting but less lovable).
I'm not going to get into a debate on Dollhouse's themes in a thread about renewal, I was just saying I'm perfectly capable of watching the show, understanding the show, and occasionally finding it offensive. If anybody wants to tell me I'm not intelligent enough to understand it, then - well - no.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-10 22:12 ]
Don't cross the streams !

That would be ... bad.
Yes, that was us via twitter B!x. I just posted about it too on Buffyfest because it's really bothering me. It doesn't make sense. If they really never intended on showing the finale, why would Joss confirm Felicia Day's appearance?

Between that and the fact that Fox anounced/told Dollverse that "all 13 episodes will air" I really don't think Whedon and co. were prepared for any of this. Spin spin.
That's the true tragedy of the thing. Felicia Day is going direct to DVD. :(
Well, I guess it's not written in stone yet. I mean, that would be both expensive and time consuming.
I was supposed to be interviewing Jed and Maurissa after episode 13 aired, so, ya know - there was belief it would air between some people. Like, you know, me.

However, I also heard back over a month ago that episode 13 may not air. The issue had clearly been going on for some time, and nobody thought to send out a press release say 'Hey, we've got this really cool episode that's going on the DVD as an extra'. That's all that they needed to do (or just air the thing).
I occasionally find Dollhouse wildly offensive, waxbanks, in it's approach to dealing with things.


[long post deleted as this is not the thread for it]

[ edited by waxbanks on 2009-04-10 22:26 ]
Don't cross the streams !

AAAAH! Marshellows!

waxbanks, I find your arguments on point, but I disagree with the execution. Or restating, I totally agree with you, but I think we need to find a better way to "deliver" our discussions to people who feel the opposite.

Or, nevermind.
Thank you all for explanations. I have to hold that something is terribly wrong in all this; at the least, this is not how to build a show.

"No offense - heh - but these 'ardent Joss fans' who find Dollhouse 'vile/misogynist' have no idea how to read media texts. "

Uh, say what? I have not been a fan of this show, for many reasons. But whether or not I like it, it is open to many readings, not all of which you may agree with. While I might not ever call this vile (I reserve that for shows like Glenn Beck and his ilk) or misogynist, I do feel it has come close to completely objectifying its female leads, in various ways. And I can read media texts just fine, reader response guy that I am.
the offhand remark of the author of the WaPo (is that like Alpo?) article about "not seeing" the feminism of the show was actually not something that bothered me.


Jane Espenson helpfully points out that sharing your writing with nonwriters is helpful in a limited way:

If there's a problem they'll alert you, but they might not be able to give it a name.

They almost certainly won't be able to identify the true nature of the problem, will instead say things like 'I don't find the character likable' or 'It was too depressing.' e.g. The first problem might call for a solution like making the character's goal clearer - i.e. revealing it as an articulation/embodiment of will - rather than changing that goal. The latter is often not about resolution but about hope.

They almost certainly won't be able to suggest a fix.

Something similar goes for cars: I say the car is sputtering, the mechanic asks questions about the circumstances under which it does or doesn't sputter, I answer the questions. I couldn't provide the questions for her. I couldn't begin to suggest which parts to look at. Then she rolls under the car and exercises her knowledge of craft. I don't need to possess it, and she could never have fixed the car without my reportage, but I sure couldn't've done it myself.

The WaPo writer probably believes herself to be talking about feminism; personally, I'm inclined to think that she's responding to some other formal aspect(s) of the show and mislabeling her reaction. Dollhouse is a polemic, but not (merely) about the mistreatment of women. It assumes certain critiques. Plenty of the show's detractors seem not to get this, might call it a litany of mistreatment. But I don't think the mistreatment has anything at all to do with their responses; after all, TV is largely a carnival freak show and the systematic stripping of humanity is its stock in trade. Nah, I think it's...well, I've already said a first draft of what I think it is.

The point being: I don't think the show is failing at its feminist-polemical aim. I think its aim is one abstraction/misdirection layer higher than what detractors are assuming.
Dana5140 et al. -

Uh, say what?


Y'know what? Given our respective feelings about 'shipping' and identification/projection and your oft-stated reliance on versions of reader-response theory I find critically inadequate in a variety of ways...it's not worth it, man. If you can say this -

I do feel it has come close to completely objectifying its female leads, in various ways.


- and not get that objectification of women isn't the show's aim (which would be plain ol' misogyny) nor intended as a primarily visceral pleasure but the 'bait' part of 'bait and switch,' then there's little point in us talking about how to read this show. Because I'm gonna ask you to make a category switch that you're never in this world gonna make at my request.

So to hell with it! Yeah! I'm gonna head out and just hope the show isn't cancelled. 'Night, everyone.
Fox execs make incorrect statements occasionally though, Simon. There was the classic one here a month or so back, about House airing at 10pm. Except Fox isn't on the air at 10pm.

I really don't think he was saying House is at 10 pm. His point was that big hits generate a lot of revenue in the long term, and NBC is foolish for giving 5 hours a week to Leno (instead of showing a potential hit).
Well, good to see that some fans consider their interpretation not only the last word on the matter of feminism in DH but in fact the only word worth considering. Certainly saves me from taking the time to air my views.

[ edited by baxter on 2009-04-10 23:09 ]
bonzob: Different companies. The network didn't care about the DVD's. The DVD publishers did (even though they may be owned by the same overlords, they are run as different companies) - and so an extra one got made for the DVD, not for the network.
Just for the record - unsurprisingly Twitter is abuzz just before tonights episode airs with comments about Dollhouse being cancelled and people freaking out 'cos they've noticed it's not on next Friday. Epic fail.
I get that they are different companies and don't care about each other, I'm just saying -- pilots get reshot or thrown out all the time, yet, as far as I know, a show has never shot an episode "just for DVD," if it wasn't cancelled (even then, the unaired eps aren't "shot for dvd," they just aren't aired because the show's cancelled). And comments from Joss and others have indicated than until recently, or at the very least, the last few weeks, the people behind the show expected it to air.

That's why I said my feeling is normally buying the "extra" episode would just be a formality, but Fox saw a loophole and took it. I wish I had a concrete example.

My sense is that this is a somewhat unique situation, both in that "Echo" wasn't a true pilot, and that in that very few shows can be wrapped up by their second to last episode, which took some of the pressure of Fox. Otherwise, if they were even THINKING about not canceling the show, it would make no sense to hold off on the finale and leave everyone hanging. Even they wouldn't want that much bad PR.

[ edited by bonzob on 2009-04-10 23:39 ]
The episode was not shot "just for DVD". It was shot to fulfill 13 episode obligations to foreign broadcasters. UK scifi bought and paid for 13 epsiodes, as did Channel 7? in Australia and others in about twenty some different countries. That is why Epitaph One was made. The US DVD is just getting it as a bonus.
I can add some context to the episode 13 thing - you don't HAVE HAVE HAVE to see it to understand the main arcs of the series and have them resolved. "Omega", episode 12, skillfully boxes off the main arcs of the series. Of course, episode 13 should air for fans. But - and I think this is part of the problem - it's not your average FOX finale episode. Or, in other words, I believe they simply don't want to show it.
wb- you offer one reading on your typepad website. It's fairly canny, and certainly a defensible read of the show. But it's your read. Why get angry when others don't agree with you or offer some other reading? What could it possibly matter? And how can tell us, rather definitively, what the show's aim is? You know this for a fact? Or is this simply, again, your take on the show? Because I sure see it different and I do not know and would never agree that there is one and only one way to view it. I don't know, and don't care, if my read is right or wrong (and I don't know if there is a "right" read), because, you know, it's mine.
Okay, about this "Omega was always going to be the finale, we made 13 for the DVD" thing. Joss said on October 26th:

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

That to me is clear that even then, nearly six months ago, even as he was reworking the scrapped pilot episode 13 was already set in stone as an "extra" episode, to air after Tim Minear's "finale".

You would think that someone in the prodco would have called someone in the network and said "So, who's going to pay for 13?" and sorted this out then. Otherwise Fox productions just decided to spend a million bucks or so on an episode without even asking Fox if they would pay all or some of it. Does that make sense?
That's what I was speculating, Gossi. Tamara, thanks for clarifying, but my point still stands: if you even think you're gonna renew the show for US TV, there's no way you can get away with not showing the finale UNLESS it's a non-traditional finale (especially of a serialized show, of course... would not matter for Law and Order or something).

I mean, imagine if at the end of Buffy Season 2, there was some weird loophole and Becoming Part 2 was an extra episode. The network decides not to pay for it or air it, but then renews the show. So the season ends on Becoming Part 1 and comes back with Anne. And if you want to know what happened last year, you can get the DVD or go to another country?

zz9: The network issues may have been the reasons behind that decision, but all that quote says to me is Joss is planning a big arc-ending ep, and then an insane ep after that. Episodes that wrap up arcs don't have to mean "finale," and "insane" doesn't mean "extra," at least to me. He could have been describing season four of Buffy right there. That doesn't mean "Restless" was an extra episode, or Primeaval the finale. Heck, the Superbowl episode of Alias wrapped up nearly all that show's arcs, and that was halfway through season two.

[ edited by bonzob on 2009-04-10 23:59 ]
zz9, "That to me is clear that even then, nearly six months ago, even as he was reworking the scrapped pilot episode 13 was already set in stone as an "extra" episode, to air after Tim Minear's "finale".

You've added the "extra" and "finale" into that quote. (And added quotes). Joss never said Tim's episodes were the finale. By the way, parts 11 and 12 are a two parter, it's just split between two writers (Jane and Tim).
gossi, that was zz9's actual point I think: Joss has always spoken as if 1x13 is the finale, not 1x12. The quotes were put around "extra" and "finale" because that's how Fox has decided to refer to 1x13 and 1x12 respectively.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-04-11 00:19 ]
Oh. I am dumb. Apologies.
Honestly, I'm surprised any of us even know our own names anymore after the last day or so.

Love, Ralph.
What do you mean, Ralph? My name is Delta, and I like pancakes and relaxing massages! Why are you not sitting with us for breakfast?
My bad, I didn't mean to imply that Joss said Extra and finale, as the exact quote I did quote clearly didn't. I just meant to highlight those words.
My point was it suggests that, knowing now that Tim Minear's episode is the finale and that Joss said then that Tim's episode was 12 which was then followed by an "insane" (quote) episode, which seems to match the spoilers for 13, it must have been clear then that 12 would be the finale and 13 the extra.

Either way, it is obvious that somebody knew many months ago that they were making an "Extra" episode. I can't believe Fox just handed Joss a suitcase of cash and said "This is for those episodes, twelve, thirteen, whatever" and no one thought to clear it up until yesterday.
zz9, you'd be amazed.
Really Gossi? I thought the suitcases of cash were for hookers and blow? They use them to make shows?
When they (creative team) were doing the episode, they will have known the situation. (See also, Tim's post from yesterday). However, those people (rightly, by the way) expected it to air.

However, it seems there was some confusion at FOX and Fox and Fox HE (I'm not making all these companies up) about the status of the episode. Many people knew it wasn't going to air. Not everybody. When the press queries first went in about Omega being the finale, for example, the press team didn't respond to emails and took a long time to return phone calls (a whole business day). Why? Because they didn't have an answer. They had to ask around.
These last 2 days make me feel like I'm stuck on a rollercoaster and no one's stopping it to let me off. But then, I'm not really sure if I actually want to GET off, as there might have been part of the ride that I missed.

In regards to messing with episode orders and not airing Season finales, we can hark back to a decade ago when the WB made the decision not to air 'Earshot' or 'Graduation Day Pt 2' in the US.

Joss's advice to fans wanting to see the unaired episodes back then was "Bootleg the puppy." I wonder if he would offer the same advice in regards to 'Epitaph One'?
Speaking of which! I've just put in a query to Canwest about Dollhouse airing on Global. I should be able to confirm shortly if it will indeed air in Canada (and so, illegally, online). If FOX fail to air the episode and it's available online, I say download away.
I can understand there being confusion , but you'd think they would have been on the ball when it came to the money.
This episode was clearly planned six months ago. Did Fox (production) just decide to pay for it themselves? That seems very generous. I would have assumed they would have gone to Fox (Network) and tried to get them to contribute all or some of the cost and the status of 13 would have clearly been central to that.
No way the network would agree to pay for an episode if they already thought they owned it. And Production wouldn't have expected them to pay without broadcasting it.
The status of the episode must have come up. Somewhere.
zz9, the episode had to be made for existing commitments - mainly international sales. FOX didn't pay for it, hence why it had a small budget. The hope was FOX would pay to license it for airing retrospectively. That's my understanding. I almost fell asleep typing that, btw.
Gossi, I know they had to make it for the DVD, but wouldn't it be blindingly obvious to at that point call up the network and say "Hey, we've got to make another one, do you want it?" Even if the network paid half. A quarter. The catering bill. Anything. I cannot accept that the prodco would have just signed the cheque, sorry, check, without making at least one phone call to the network.
In fact, I would assume the network would have first refusal on any episodes made and that the prodco would have had to have ask permission to make an episode for their own use without it airing on the network that has the contract for the show.
The network chose not to buy the episode.
When? And if it was more than two days ago then why didn't they or the prodco announce that then?

I think we both agree that had they made an announcement and said what was happening and why it would have prevented the panic and rumour mill that the last 24 hours have been.

And speaking of hours, it's quarter to two! What are you still doing up?
I'm very suspicious of any official statement suggesting 1x12 was ever the official finale...but talking hypothetically I'd like to ask a dumb question:

Why didn't they just use the (non)pilot as the "extra" (so to speak) on the dvd or overseas markets to fulfill the commitment? Why would they spend money making another episode?
I'm very suspicious of any official statement suggesting 1x12 was ever the official finale...but talking hypothetically I'd like to ask a dumb question:

Why didn't they just use the (non)pilot as the "extra" (so to speak) on the dvd or overseas markets to fulfill the commitment? Why would they spend money making another episode?
buffyfest, "Echo" makes no sense in terms of the narrative of the show now, so they couldn't deliver that as the extra episode to international networks. It's unairable.

zz9, my understanding is certain people at FOX (Kevin) (is my name) decided months ago it didn't want to air it. I certainly knew at the beginning of March they didn't want to. Except the publicity people kept saying they were going to air it all. Because: they didn't know.
That sucks if it's true. I always thought Kevin seemed like one of the good guys.

Um, I mean you. Cough cough. Not any other Kevin.

[ edited by bonzob on 2009-04-11 01:57 ]
Also, many scenes from Echo were used in other episodes AFAIK, so it would be severe deja-vu watching the series.

Fair point Gossi, but then surely Joss et al must have known as well. Wouldn't they have realised that they should announce this in an orderly and controlled fashion?

Or does this lead back to my viral PR stunt conspiracy theory.....?
Do what to the puppy? In your boot with your leg? Poor puppy!

My belief: people finding, um, alternate routes to see Epitaph would have negligible ultimate effect on DVD sales or such, so I think Joss circa "Earshot" is good advice.
zz9, I think it's a maze of miscommunication. I can kind of understand it, as I need a flow chart to keep track of what happened myself. Logic would dictate somebody would have sent out a press release about the episode being on the DVD as a special feature at the very least, but for all the flowchart reasons this didn't happen.
It is easier for us to keep track of what's happening, we're concerned with one show, two if you include TSCC, where the people at the network have to juggle dozens of shows and what's happening with all of them.
But then, that's what they're paid big bucks for...
Well I guess I meant more for the dvd extra than the international market....obviously "Echo" wouldn't be good for that, true. But dvd wise, I'm sure it would've sufficed. So is the international market really the reason they made another ep knowing it wouldn't air in the US? I'm so skeptical.
I'm with you Buffyfest, I would be very surprised if they signed deals committing themselves to a certain number of episodes at a point where they had only filmed one or two.
Shows get cancelled all the time, even ones with "guaranteed" orders such as here. What if Fox had scrapped the whole deal after a couple of episodes were made? What if there were major problems? What if key cast fell ill? What if exactly what happened happened? It can't have been the first time.
There must have been a get out clause somewhere.
I cannot think of any show that has been cancelled by the US network where the producers have then carried on production to keep overseas customers happy. They must all have a "We do not guarantee to make X number of shows" clause.
Abso-fricken-lutely, zz9. It makes the kind of sense that's...not.

That mixed with Joss being so confident about Felicia's appearance make this whole thing stink.
I think Joss mentioned this article during his talk at Harvard tonight; unfortunately I can't quite remember his exact words. I think he took issue with Dollhouse being called a "feminist manifesto". Does anyone else who was there at Harvard remember his comment?
I would be very surprised if they signed deals committing themselves to a certain number of episodes at a point where they had only filmed one or two.

Dollhouse was ordered upfront for 7 episodes, then order expanded to 13 episodes upfront. This was announced in the press both times.

The 13th episode legally *HAD* to be produced. No ifs. No buts. No rumours. That's how it works.
WARNING: Please take all snark contained herein with a grain of salt, as Tarae had to drive for roughly 6 hours today over some of the worst roads in Middle of Nowhere, Oregon and is currently too caffeinated to sleep even though she would desperately like to be doing so. So, don't flame me too hard for what I am about to say. Nothing but love here, folks. Well, maybe just a soupcon of frustration, but - mostly - love.


Well, whatever FOX is doing, or not doing, it's working. Because here we all are, me included, into the wee hours of the night, talking/reading/twittering and otherwise fretting about a TV show. **OUR** TV Show, to be sure. But (still, and I have to keep reminding myself of this) just a TV show. One that we all knew was going to have a rough road ahead of it from the get-go, anyway. :(

Unfortunately, all of this "free advertising" they are getting for themselves is almost universally negative. It is seriously screwing with Joss' brand identity. I hate that part of this... the part where people are starting to say crap like "Maybe he doesn't have *it* any more." (He has *it*, they just aren't showing *it*!!) But hey, from FOX's point of view, at least people are still talking about the show. Dollhouse is getting talked about, blogged about and written up in poorly researched newspapers (for free) all over the world tonight, no doubt. Who was it that said all publicity is good publicity? Love me or hate me, just don't be indifferent towards me? Maybe they work for FOX now.

I hate to be a cynic, but I am... and this is how I see it. FOX is using us to advertise their show, keep their (increasingly irrelevant) network name front and center in the news cycle/blogosphere, and- somewhere in the process- maybe *somehow* gaining viewers? I see it as being sort of like the gnomes with the stolen underpants... how does all of this eventually equal profit, again??

Of course, for people like me who hate confusion and disorganization, (and are mostly just tired of getting jerked around by big corporations) this makes the show less attractive... even though I absolutely love it. After all, why would I want to hang around and watch my favorite plane go down in flames? I wouldn't. But, then some people have morbid fascinations and like to look at car accidents on the highway. Maybe that's the audience they are trying to reach with all of this flailing about?

Who knows... it's all above my pay grade, anyway. It just feels vaguely like we are all being manipulated. Something to keep us all "engaged in the process" and "in a tizzy". It just feels like other FOX (ahem, News) style manipulations to me.

Frankly, I can't wait to see how long we will stay in the news cycle when we all start sending in something DH related... like banana pancakes or flowers in vases... whatever. Boy, that will be a spectacle! What do you think? 20 hours, maybe 25?

We're going to need a bigger boat.

(sigh) Anyway, I sure do wish I could just watch TV like I did when I was a kid. I like a show, the network puts the show on, and I get to watch it and just enjoy it. Now I have to practically crunch numbers to see if it is likely the show will get cancelled just *after* I get really engaged. I actually find myself thinking, "Hmmm... it's on NBC, hour long drama, only one big name actor, on this night of the week, against this and this and this, but it's produced by this guy. And he has one heckuva contract with this production blobbity that is owned by that studio whatsit. And I don't think SAG is going to strike this year... maybe it will go for more than one measly season? Should I even bother?"

How tiresome.

When do we get to just *be* fans? When do we get to stop organizing and fighting and worrying and hoping and wishing? Damn it, isn't anyone else just tired? Doesn't anyone else just want to watch a show without wondering when it is going to get yanked out from under you?

And if there is anyone else out there like me, why don't the networks see us? Why don't they see us shaking our heads and leaving for other options (books, internet, DVDs) in record numbers? There is almost nothing on TV for someone like me. I don't watch reality. I frakkin' HATE reality. Where are the shows for me, for us?

Alright. I'm done ranting. I now return you to your regularly scheduled and well moderated forum. Thank you and goodnight. :)
Sorry Gossi but can you name another show that was cancelled mid season (plenty of those) where the producers have carried on making episodes to satisfy overseas customers or the DVD?
Tru Calling, for example, had it's second season order of thirteen suddenly cut to six and the show ended there. Lots of overseas networks would have been left with fewer than promised episodes.
This issue doesn't exactly cause me much outrage since we'll be able to see the episode on DVD anyway. Does that make me a bad fan?
The thing is, shows get canceled mid-season even after the episodes have been filmed and finished. (Firefly comes to mind.)
Ecactly Septimus, but they stopped shooting new episodes the instant it was cancelled. They didn't carry on and finish the season.

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