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April 14 2009

(SPOILER) New details about the final episode of Dollhouse season one. E! Online has some more tidbits on what to expect from 'Epitaph One' (spoilers for other shows as well).

No main characters? Does that mean no Dollhouse main cast is in it?

Okay, while I'm still intrigued, I'm sort of disappointed.
It may have been a contract thing.
Pretty obviously, if anybody missed it, this is Felicia's Episode. The episode should air, and I believe that it may.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-04-14 14:38 ]
It may in May?
DO you have any REASON to believe that it may, Gossi?

My picnic-meter and my hope-o-meter are both bouncing all over the place. These readings can't be right!
Oh my. That is sounding way beyond anything I had envisioned the first season to go.
Given the alleged nature of the episode not showing it as part of
a season seems to make a little more sense; its independent of
seasons and is not apparently a proper season finale. This is not
what Fox wants any part of. They can't promote it as a finale
without misrepresenting it. To show it at all would mean doing
so after finales week which they clearly do not want to do at
this point.
Yeah, I was initially pretty disappointed when I heard FOX wouldn't be airing it, but it sounds so far removed from the rest of the show, it might serve better as a special episode over the summer or something. (Assuming the show gets renewed. Which, if not, it'll be on the DVD anyway.)
Well yeah, Fox would have no interest in / reason to show it unless they were renewing the show...

(hence my hope/picnicing!)
I'm interested to hear that it shot on video. I wonder if that will noticeably affect the look. I mean, I realize they're not exactly shooting on the Sony Mini-DV tapes that I am, but still...
Well, BSG was shot on video, so ...

Let's just say I think it can be done well.
Does shot on video mean shot on digital cameras instead of the classical film cameras?
Well, it could mean shot on non-digital video (i.e. like an old camcorder). But I think it's safe to say that yes, in this case (as with BSG) it means shot on digital. I'd be happy to be corrected.
Uh... I gotta admit the network's position is easier to understand now. We all know that it's probably very fine Joss television and Felicia goodness, but how can FOX look at this as an episode that's going to draw in new viewers to an already struggling show? How is a diversion 30 years into the future with none of your advertised cast (particularly your advertised *star*) supposed to propel them toward a second season they (being the network) think will have fans wanting to watch?

Really, could "Restless" have been the last episode of Buffy... Season 1? As written, a three year flashforward, no context whatsoever?

How about FOX end on a strong, continuous season arc for Season 1, renew the show, and then air "Epitaph One" as a standalone in the summer or something or part of a season premiere special?
If the show doesn't come back for a season two, however, it would mean the episode would never air. Unless they air it now.
I'll reserve judgement on Fox's decision until I actually see 'Epitaph One'. Same goes for the unaired pilot, i'll wait until I see it on DVD to weigh in on the debate.

Weighing in on the merits of 'Epitaph One' or the unaired pilot is a waste of time in my opinion. Its about as accurate as judging the pilot based on the dream I had of it the other night. Every character was permanently on a motorbike and wore coloured jumpsuits. Actually, it was alot like an episode of Power Rangers. I remember thinking 'Ahhhhh... now I see why he decided to reshoot it'
Gossi, do you really think that it's likely that Fox would air Epitaph one without renewing the show for a second season?

Aside from the narrative unsatisfactoriness of that that everyone else has described, I kind of figured that the negotiations would be an all-or-nothing deal. I can'' see Fox paying much at all for a single episode of a series they aren't planning to show. (I mean, I guess it could be a one-time, summer special event or something, but really what's the point? They'd have to have bought it for very, very little considering the kind of advertising theycould expect to sell for it, compared to, say a House rerun.)
I'm getting so sick of hearing about this episode.

Can't wait to watch it though!

;)


(Seriously, though, after Tru Calling I just don't deal well with impending cancellations....)
Gossi, if the premise of FOX's decision is that they want a solid arc finish without any high concept standalone to confuse the hell out of people so that more people are thinking "Dollhouse" going into a second season, then it actually would bode well for them to hold back that episode or not air it. If they aired it now, IMO, it would more imply that they were just getting it cheap and airing it so they have a week less of "Cops" on Fridays.

I just don't know... I don't think "first season finale of already high-concept show" is the place one would normally want to even *make* a wildly experimental episode that will confuse people. Anecdotally, folk tend to watch "season finales" of shows they don't really even watch just out of boredom or the off chance something cool will happen. What would a random channel-flipper gain in terms of need to tune in for a hypothetical season 2 by watching "season finale 'Epitaph One'" and thinking "isn't that chick from the Hulu commercial supposed to be in this?"? I'd rather the channel flippers who don't want to watch another SVU re-run or NBA playoffs would see "season finale of 'Dollhouse', 'Alpha'" with a description on their TV guide talking about the climax of this arc.
I still say it's a magic formula for win if released on the internet. I think the people who might give Dollhouse another shot once all the episodes are in and they see something like this is a bigger number than people who would buy the DVD with that episode but won't if it's on online.

ETA: Specifically the magic formula is

WHEDON + DAY + WEIRD STORY + ONLINE = WIN.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-04-14 17:50 ]
Do it as an iTunes or Hulu exclusive, that might be a good idea. Presented by FOX and some sponsor.
Really that = should be a little yield arrow with INTERNET above it as the delivery mechanism. It's so hard to communicate wacky abstracts in proper chemical notation on the internet.
Knowing that this episode will not have any of the main characters I can understand (a little bit) why Fox would not air it in a prime position (as prime as Friday night at 9 can be). I choose to see it as a really long webisode. Which is interesting insomuch that Joss has been quoted as saying he doesn't like webisodes. I am looking forward to seeing Felicia Day on again. Last time I saw her is was shrapnal to the gut, not something I like lingering in my brain.
So, anyone want to speculate about what a Dollhouse post-apocalyptic world looks like?

I mean, I'm not really thinking Terminator or nuclear wasteland. More like, what? Warring factions each with their own dollhouse technology? Rampant dollhouse-enabled slavery?
Tim Minear says it's awesome. That's enough to make it "must see" for me. I can't imagine it won't at least reference the characters and situations from the original Dollhouse. I don't mind watching stuff on a computer screen, especially if that's the only way we get to see it (other than the eventual DVD). But there's no substitute for seeing DH in HD, on a big honkin' TV screen.

I wonder if the post-apocalyptic world depicted in Epitaph One won't be something along the lines of the fall of Rome, with rampant corruption, violence, and carnality?
While I find the concept intriguing, I totally don't blame FOX for not airing it now. I have to admit it sounds like a bit of an odd way to end the first season of a show, unless it was written when Joss knew his renewal prospects were bleak. Not involving any of the main cast makes it seem more like an epilogue or I guess "epitaph" lol. It'd be like if BSG aired one of the Caprica eps in the middle of its run... or at least it seems that random. Though if Dollhouse doesn't get renewed, I'm sure we'll all be grateful to know where Joss was headed.
I don't quite get the "this turn must be the result of thinking it would not be renewed" line of thinking. It seems like the exact opposite to me. It's a totally forward-looking episode, right? It's a preview of what is to come in the second season. I would think that if it were written/produced when they though they would NOT be renewed, then they would end on a backward-looking, wrap-everything-up episode. It's not like airing Caprica in the middle of BSG; it's like airing Caprica at the end of BSG, a taste of what's-to-come (except that Caprica is a prequel, but ignore that for now).

(Am I wrong in thinking that this is forward-looking, a sense of what is to come for the next season, if there is one?)
Epitaph One seems somewhat comparable to the coda on BSG's finale. Which, by the way, I totally loved.
What I'm most curious about is what direction the show would go in if the show actually does end up getting renewed. How would this episode fit into the scheme of things? I'm assuming the second season would include most of the main cast we're used to, including Eliza. I doubt Fox would want to invest in a second season if it actually continued from the point Epitaph One takes place in, with a completely different cast, hence their reluctance to show this episode at all.
Except the coda on BSG involved Baltar and Six, who were characters we knew...

Septimus, I guess I could be wrong about it being series finale-ish, but I have a hard time imagining it really previews where Joss would take the show in the second season. He's not really going to abandon his cast (and I can't imagine there's any way even if he wanted to that FOX would let him). I mean TSCC did jump 30-odd years into the future in their finale, but they took most of their cast with them...
I suspect it will fit into the scheme in the same way Fray fit into the scheme of Buffy prior to being more directly confronted in the Season Eight comics.
Well yes, I didn't mean to suggest (though I did consider it a possibility) that they were just going to pick up Season 2 30 years in the future with all new people. (Though they could do it somehow, I bet, maybe even with some of the same people... do you age in the Attic, or is it like suspended animation?) I guess I just meant that it shows an ultimate point in the future, the direction that the series is heading, kind of like in Terminator you know there will be a rise of the machines (ignoring the time travel paradox stuff), or in Rome you know that Rome is going to fall. It still seems pretty forward-looking, which was my point.

(Honestly, I would probably prefer it if the entire tenor of the show changed to a post-apocalyptic venue, with our slowly-becoming-beloved characters Scoobying up to fight the forces of nastiness. But that would be hard to pull off with a 30 year time difference.)
I was sleepy and was actually responding more directly to SteveJ2008, though I guess he was responding to you :). It is always a possibilty. I suspect that you still age in the attic, though I imagine it would come as quite a shock for your consciousness to suddenly be active again in your aged body after you have been unable to think for decades.
I suspect it will fit into the scheme in the same way Fray fit into the scheme of Buffy prior to being more directly confronted in the Season Eight comics.


agreed
A different cast doesn't automatically mean different characters. What if Felicia plays a doll who gets imprinted with some version of Echo/Caroline's persona?
A different cast doesn't automatically mean different characters. What if Felicia plays a doll who gets imprinted with some version of Echo/Caroline's persona?



I still don't see any way a second season would go forward with a completely different cast. Even if that was Joss's intention, which I doubt, I don't see Fox agreeing to that scenario. Given the fact that virtually all the marketing for the show has been based around Eliza, not to mention that she's also a producer on the show, there's no way a second season is happening without Eliza, and therefore the rest of the current cast, present.
I don't think that if there is second season it has to happen in the future set up in Epitaph One. It could go back to the present time with the characters that we know. And now the audience knows where it is heading, the next season(s) could show us how we got there.
Steve, I think Prodigal just meant for the episode itself.

And it's an idea I love. The thought Felicia playing Echo/Caroline/Whoever? Awesomeness.

Dying to see this.
When I first heard that Epitaph One would be a standalone of sorts, I thought to myself, 'Oh, so then season two could have Epitaph Two, then Epitaph Three, and so on...'

What if they are meant to be a series of ongoing coda to abridge the present with the future? What if each season we get one [or two, depending on the number of episodes per season] glimpses into what is to come in the world of Dollhouse?
Awesome idea, CrazyKidBen. Sad, as well, cause I doubt we'll get to see anything but One. Maybe not even that...
Maybe not even that...


Well, if you don't buy the Blu-Ray/DVD, sure :).
Yes, despite what's been said in the media about FOX not being settled on the episode being on the DVD and maybe not even wanting to pay post-production costs for the episode: bullshit. Fox Home Entertainment have been counting on the episode being on the DVD for months, and about the post production: if it's not going to be done, somebody should have told the people who already did it.
Heh, zeitgeist :).

By the way: didn't 'Babylon 5' do this kind of flash-forward-to-the-future-without-the-main-cast type of episode in its fourth or fifth season as a season finale? It's been so long ago, I've kindof forgotten (and am too lazy to go and read synopses to find out ;)), but that's what this discussion is reminding me of.

Anyway: I really want to see this episode. But I guess, being FOX, the extra episode without the main cast after the arc has been wrapped up, might be a bit too 'out there'. So I do understand them. But man: this seems like a great episode. Plus, Felicia Day. Who needs anything more than that?

Also: there have been reports that the episode would not be on the DVD? Jeez, is there no end to this PR disaster?
As far as the episode possibly not being on the DVD, I would have thought Tim's post on here pretty much confirming it would be should be confirmation enough. Leave it to the media though to not get their facts straight.
What if they are meant to be a series of ongoing coda to abridge the present with the future?

That is what I thought it might be. I think it is an awesome idea. Too bad we probably aren't going to be able to see any besides this one.

A side note, wasn't the plan for five seasons of dollhouse?
When you pitch any series for a broadcast network, you need to give them a rough idea of how you string it out for 5-7 years.
When I first heard that Epitaph One would be a standalone of sorts, I thought to myself, 'Oh, so then season two could have Epitaph Two, then Epitaph Three, and so on...'

What if they are meant to be a series of ongoing coda to abridge the present with the future? What if each season we get one [or two, depending on the number of episodes per season] glimpses into what is to come in the world of Dollhouse?


That's exactly what I assumed when I first heard about it. I think it's a fantastic idea, a great way to end each season (if there were going to be more seasons...which... are we still at maybe?)

Still buzzing from yesterday's delayed viewing of the amazing episode from last Friday, so I'm feeling VERY enthused about Dollhouse at the moment.
Babylon 5 were told they'd not be renewed on the WB and so wrapped up about half the story threads a year early and then made Sleeping in Light, an episode set 20ish years in the future. This episode was always intended to be the final episode, so when B5 got another season on TNT, the first episode they shot was a new season finale for Season 4. This went many many years into the future of earth and didn't involve the regular cast for more than about 10 minutes. Was very well done...

Then Sleeping in Light was moved from S4E22 to S5E22
I'm kind of hoping to see this episode tomorrow... Just wishful thinking though.
Anyone else getting a Felicia as a kind of Malaka Fray character vibe from the description?

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