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April 25 2009

Ratings for last night's episode of Dollhouse. Well - here it is guys. The ratings are in for last night. ETA: MediaWeek's Marc Berman says the demo was 1.2/4 (the lowest so far).

1.9/3

Okay, how do I interpret this? Is the former number affected at all by the latter number? And if not, doesn't this mean major improvements in the demo?

Of course, if so, then...
That's not the demo rating, that's the household. The season low at the household was 2.2/4 till now.
D'oh. That's no good.
All hope is lost. Shame.
Oh, shuffles.
Series low.

:(
Jobo - I did the same thing as you at first.
Does this mean it actually lost viewers from Prison Break?
Not good news, I was hoping after lots of good press for the previous four episodes and a couple of weeks for people to actually watch them we would have the ratings stay level or go up a little.

Maybe next week...
god damn it... well, we need awesome DVR numbers to give Fox something to think about.
Show is dead. Let's hope for more Terminator
The mysterious "Nick C" over in the TV by the Numbers comments asserted last night that the decision would be made based upon the performance of this episode. (Which seems rather dotty to me, basing a decision on the first episode back, which isn't even arc-related, after a one-week preemption which confused people.)
I'd rather hope for Summer on Dollhouse Season 2. But seriously, this is devastating, but not unexpected with the pre-emption last week. Hope next two do better. Hell, I just wish they'd promote the hell out of them.
Yeah right more Terminator, now you are really dreaming.
Any guesses as to how it did in the demo? 1.2? 1.3?
Whilst I hunt wild ratings news, I'm not very good on figures, or logic for that matter. Are we missing the demo rating? We have the first number, the 1.9/3 (which translates to 2.99 million viewers), but not the demo?
Hope next two do better. Hell, I just wish they'd promote the hell out of them.

That's the other thing: Did anyone even see any Dollhouse ads during the past week? I don't remember any, so unless I missed them it's even more dotty if it's true (and who knows) that this was a decision-making episode.
Yep, we have the household rating/share and the overall viewers, not the demo. But Fox averaged a 1.1 in the demo, between PB and DH. So image, PB's higher household ratings translates to a higher demo (very possible). Dollhouse could very well drop below 1.0 in the demo.
Maybe SciFi will pick up Dollhouse for a season 2. Theyve already picked it up to air in England and Im assuming reruns in america?
Nick C has now "heard" that Dollhouse got a 1.1 in the demo.
Damn - below a 1.0 b!x, yeah you could be right. I think...no, I just don't want to think...
I've come to the conclusion that people who have Nielson boxes don't come on the internet (or watch talk shows).

Excluding the lovely few on Whedonesque, of course.
It will suck if this show doesn't make it.

Though ideologically I have probably about as much in common with Whedon as I do with... with Karl Marx or Barack Obama or Sponge Bob, I love Whedon's creativity and skill in storytelling and ensemble-blending. To which point I will return.

I think the premise of Dollhouse was hard to grasp if you're a total stranger to things Whedon. The name wasn't enticing, Dushku (while, I think, plenty talented) isn't a big-name draw, and there just wasn't a hook if you don't already know that Whedon eo ipso means a great story.

So I basically started and stayed because it was Whedon, and because I have a lot of faith in his storytelling. The start was OK, but probably would not have kept me if it weren't for that factor. That's what's kept me, and I haven't been disappointed.

But why word isn't out that You're In Good Hands with a Whedon Story, I do not know. Except that people are a bit nuts.
SciFi only has UK rights for the show. They won't be showing it in the US.
Can't say I'm surprised this happened. Between the 1 week layoff, and the complete lack of advertising, I bet a bunch of people thought the show was done.
The promotion is something that just makes incredibly mad. After The Target aired, FOX basically stopped airing tv spots. I saw one every few days or so, but now they are pretty much non-existent. Watching a few FOX shows the past two weeks, the only preview I saw for Dollhouse was a short 10 second one during Prison Break's last commercial break.

I just don't see the point of airing an American Idol ad during every commercial break of every show and just stop with struggling shows. Makes no sense to me.
I really hate having to worry about this sort of stuff... the show is great, and I'm loving every episode now, but I still have to be dissapointed about bad ratings.
I really don't understand why Fox would gamble by not airing Dollhouse last week in favor of a PB re-run(since PB is already cancelled.), With the Terminator lead-in being done for the season and DH taking a week off no wonder people thought it was done(for now.)
I had several people ask me Thursday and Friday if DH had been canceled, since it wasn't on the previous week. So, yeah... Fox screwed up. They should have been very vocal about continuing the show after that one week hiatus.

I don't think Fox is evil.... they're just not as smart as we'd like them to be.
Heh. Well put, TDBrown. I was getting tired of the "well, if it just goes up to a 1.8 before the end!" stuff anyway, and these ratings are disappointing but not a surprise. It *can't* just magically get an audience with no advertising, a terrible timeslot and a canceled lead-in. Viewers do not miraculously appear out of thin air unless the network actively *does something* to recruit them.

Nick C is now saying "well, if they can just pair it with a good lead-in!" Didn't we already do this dance? Didn't it end up getting moved to Fridays?
"Tune in tomorrow for the JJ and J hours, as FOX brings you an all-new episode of Fringe, followed by an all new episode of Dollhouse."
Dollhouse demo: 1.2

ETA: Link

Prison Break: 1.0

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2009-04-25 18:51 ]
"Subject To Change" It's like a wrestling card! Prepare for the worst; hope for the best.
I really hope this can maybe get sold to SciFi, where it would be appreciated.

Of course that's probably not going to happen, and I don't mean to cast the SciFi network as the home for cast offs, but seriously Joss just can't seem to find a home on big networks, especially bloody FOX. No more FOX, they just cannot hack it.
Joss makes ABC network shows I think. That network has a long history of hit shows that focus on mystery and engaging characters(e.g. "Lost","Twin Peaks","Desperate Housewives") rather than Fox's no holds barred action preference. I think Whedon's work contains massive crossover appeal, no reason why it should be hidden away on Sci-Fi.
How big is the chance some other network will pick this up?
Scifi just picked up My Own Worst Enemy.
What with Eliza's contract with Fox, I don't think it's possible for it to be picked up by another network, is it?
Viewers do not miraculously appear out of thin air unless the network actively *does something* to recruit them.

In fairness, I think if Dollhouse were a work of stunning genius that had all the critics giving rave reviews, viewers would find it. But that's just not the case. It had a rocky start, and is now good to very good. Tons of potential, sure, but no guarantee that they'll fully use that potential and become a great show if given a second season.

Of course, you could say the same thing about Buffy S1. But it's a gamble. I'd love to see more Joss on the air, but at this point a decision to cancel isn't unjustified at all.
No. Just... no.
well, we need awesome DVR numbers to give Fox something to think about.

I watched it on Fox on Demand, and took my dose of Lexus ads, like a good girl.

Seriously, I'll watch on FOD (nice acronym, "foreign object damage", like a bird-strike in a jet engine) or Hulu, if iTunes is late getting the show up, as they are today. But I always buy the iTunes download, so I'm paying for my Dollhouse eps in real dollars.

But real dollars from real viewers don't count in this funding model paid by advertising. This is insane. Yeah, it's not a Neilsen world any more, but the alternatives sure aren't doing any better.
Is Eliza's "contract with Fox" with Fox the studio, or Fox the network? If it's with the studio, then Sci-Fi could conceivably pick up the show.
What about a move to FX? Is that in the realm of possibilities since it is a FOX-owned cable channel? I mean, NBC did it with Criminal Intent, moved it to USA.
SciFi UK picked up My Own Worst Enemy to broadcast the completed episodes of the long canceled show in the UK only. Syfy in the US did not. Syfy in the US won't pick up Dollhouse either.
Personally, the whole "Network [X] is always promo-ing show [Y] but not show [Z]" complaint just bugs me. There is such a thing as over-promoting a show, especially if you consider what types of audiences gravitate towards different types of shows. For example, lots of promos for a show like American Idol makes sense given how much of its audience would probably forget it still existed if not for the constant reminders. With a more cerebral show like Dollhouse, you actually run more of a risk of over-promoting it to the point where people get turned off because of constant adverts. I actually remember seeing a promo or two for DH in the past week and I watch very little television live.
*sigh*
I know I should contribute something to the conversation, but I got nothing. I love Dollhouse, it is an amazingly creative and interesting show.
*sigh*
I am very disappointed with those numbers. This sucks. So much. I still cling to what little hope I have, though.
I don't know what to think... there seems to be this impression that if Dollhouse were on CBS, or on NBC, it would be sitting pretty for renewal with a 10.0 or 11.0 rating. Or that if FOX would only run commercials for it every 15 minutes, it would be.

Nah.

I like "Dollhouse" a lot, but it is not something that people would be watching and making watercooler conversation about if only it was on different network or had more commercials. "Dollhouse" suffers in that regard because it's got a really peculiar premise, which is alread something an audience has to take with a grain of salt, and it suffers from an almost total lack of someone to really "root" for. The Actives are hard to root for, and Joss knew that going in, because they really aren't the same person most of the time. The only other characters we've been shown that we can or should root for, all the way back in "Ghost", were Ballard and Boyd. Boyd, though, we've already seen as sort of ambivalent about the Dollhouse, and Ballard... well, Ballard sorta lost his relatable hero status just recently. Complex and intriguing character, yes, but he's no longer our Fox Mulder so much as our Vic Mackey.

If one thinks having a "good guy" doesn't matter, even in challenging, cerebral shows, consider how Abrams/Cuse/Lindelof rewrote the pilot of "Lost" to keep Jack alive because the audience immediate attached to him and didn't want him killed off. He was the guy from day one that they could *cheer* for. "Dollhouse" not only declines to provide that, it seems to actively discourage it.

So, on the best of days and most perfect of circumstances, "Dollhouse" isn't going to be watercooler TV. As for commercials, I watch a lot of Fox broadcast, Fox News, and FX, and in any given hour, I see as many commercials for "Dollhouse" as I do for "House" and "Bones" and "24" -- none. "House" and "Bones" are promoted 10 times more by their syndication networks than by their home networks.
As I recall, even Joss himself said early in the process that even he didn't know if the whole idea of Dollhouse would work or not. Regardless of the outcome, kudos to Joss, Eliza, et cetera for trying.

By the way, there is still at least one character left to root for: Alpha
Not being on last week really hurt Dollhouse. An already struggling show cannot afford an interruption like that. Viewers may have assumed that the show was off the air, like TSCC. Plus the lead-in of Prison Break probably isn't the best for Dollhouse.

The concern I had along was that it took too many episodes for Dollhouse to really take off. People who are familiar with Joss' work knew that he was going to be shifting into a high gear of awesomeness, but the general audience doesn't really have much patience to stick with a show as it finds itself... especially a show with an already complex structure.

Dollhouse is finally hitting its stride and delivering the goods, but I fear it took a little too long to do so. I really hope the show is given more time to find its audience... and yeah, a little more advertising would be nice too.
Alpha, with the mass murder, really isn't someone to root for. Especially since we can really only guess at what is actually motivating him. Revenge on the Dollhouse? Obsession with Caroline? No idea.
I'm not sure why, but I actually DO feel invested in the Dolls, specifically now that Echo's character is progressing.

Moreso than any character in shows like Heroes or Lost, which Ive been continuing to watch out of sheer boredom and because all my friends talk about them and I like to point out plot holes and retcons to them.
The commercials issue isn't about, to me, the success or failure of the show overall. But when a ratings-troubled show goes away for a week amidst rumors that it's already been cancelled, to not make sure to advertise that it's just gone for a week and is coming back to finish up its season is pretty profoundly stupid.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-04-25 20:01 ]
Alpha, with the mass murder, really isn't someone to root for. Especially since we can really only guess at what is actually motivating him. Revenge on the Dollhouse? Obsession with Caroline? No idea.


He's virtually the only character with a reasonable excuse for his negative karmic behavior: he's a psycho, and not by his own doing (as far as we know).
Not to mention this show was pre-empted in the Louisville, Kentucky area due to their Kentucky Derby crap. (So now I have to watch it on Hulu, grrrrr.)
Wow, they moved the horse episode to show horse races. This show has the weirdest non-luck.
This is extraordinarily disappointing. It certainly does seems as if the one-three punch of the (1) badly handled news about ex-finale episode, (2) Dollhouse being off for one week with little promotion of it in the interim, and (3) the lead-in of Prison Break, i.e., the cold kiss of death, have really stuck it to Dollhouse's ratings. Great. Just great.

I keep thinking disgruntedly about what might have happened if Dollhouse had been given the kind of nurturing of Fringe. I think B!X is right: Putting Dollhouse on after Fringe isn't a half bad idea.
One cannot begin a series with weak outings and then, just as soon as critics begin to appreciate the stronger episodes, have a week's break. None of this has made sense, particularly with a show with a premise as unusual as this one.
Well alot of shows did poorly this week after the break, the Desperate Housewives(Also DH, huh)dropped 1.1 million viewers for an episode that had huge promotion and was the conclusion of a cliff hanger! Guess the week off did no one any favours!
Everyone keeps saying it was stupid of Fox not to advertise Dollhouse more heavily this week.

At this point, it would be stupid of them to waste more advertising dollars on Dollhouse, when a few extra commercials couldn't make much of a difference. It can't work a miracle and this ship is sinking fast. Better (from a business standpoint) to at least limit your losses on it.

I think the show has gotten better. But not so much better that I really care yet what happens to these characters. I cared more about the characters in Dr. Horrible after the first musical number than I do for these characters after weeks and weeks of watching the show. I'm not even interested enough to seriously DISLIKE anyone strongly. I just really do not care. I'm someone who has been watching this show every week and all I can summon is something just a little short of indifference.

I'm not here to dance on Dollhouse's grave, I had the highest of hopes, likely too high. But I wanted it to work out. I don't really think this is Fox's fault. I was very angry over the Friday night death slot thing, but now, seeing what they saw, I think that they were right.
when a few extra commercials couldn't make much of a difference.

This is where I beg to differ. As bix said, the show was off the air for a week. A few well-placed promos could've alerted a number of Nielsen viewers that the show wasn't canceled, and they should tune in. I doubt the show lost so many viewers simply because Terminator ended.
I gotta say there's something disingenuous about blaming concern about cancellation -- because the people who watched 1.09 heard the dude say "in two weeks", so they, at least, knew it would be on. And yet it still lost viewers. Those weren't people confused that it might have been cancelled.

Worse, it lost viewers from its lead-in, when we know for a fact there are commercials for it.

I sincerely hope the network believes in the show enough to sit down with Joss and talk about what changes might make it something an audience will embrace more. Because that's what the fact is here -- audiences, beyond the critics and the fans who already buy into Whedon on principle, aren't embracing this show. And yet it's easy to see that it could be something audiences might embrace -- but the changes would be to the show, not to the broadcast schedule or the advertising.
I'm picnicking, I can't help it. I blame Prison Break, and Fox's decision to take Dollhouse off for a week.

KOC, I disagree. I know a lot of people who love the show who did not watch Whedon's earlier stuff. It's that they aren't Nielson, and even if they were, they do things on Friday (unlike me).
The only real doll to root for is Sierra, because she is the only one that we know is there against her will; she did not make the choice to be there, which Echo did. We cannot root for Mellie, since she is a 5th columnist, we cannot really root for Echo since all we really know is that she was an animal rights activist who got embroiled in something; we cannot root for Olivia since she is the wheels behind the operation, we cannot root for Topher because he is disgusting, and we don't know enough about Victor to much care. Boyd is presented as some kind of voice of conscience, but not one strong enough to actually do the right thing, ever.

Don't you think there is more going on here than whether or not you saw promos for this on Fx? I watcvh Fox programs exactly 3 hours per week- Lie To Me, House and DH, and I know when they are one and do not have Fox on ever to even see promos.
I can root for all of those people, and do.
Again, I'd beg to differ, Dana. You might not root for anyone, but I certainly root for Echo, who made her choice to be there under immense duress; Paul, who now has to do exactly what he's fighting in order to stay alive and continue his battle; Adelle, who is undoubtedly on the wrong side of this thing, but seems aware and unhappy about that fact (maybe not enough for you--that's fair); Topher, who as far as we can tell has no idea that anybody in the Dollhouse is doing this against their will; and Victor, who is so pretty.

Also Boyd, but I can't verbalize my love for him. He just gives me good vibes.

[ edited by Jobo on 2009-04-25 21:02 ]
I also can root for all of them. And I do. I can root for anyone I wish, really.
Indeed, I root for everyone, including Topher, Adelle and Ballard, as well as all the dolls (ok, not the random redshirt ones). I love all the characters, and want them all to come out on top. Which is of course impossible, but there you go.
I wouldn't necessarily say I root for anyone in particular, but I enjoy watching all the characters and seeing their stories unfold. Speaking of which, can't wait for next week!
Loved this episode, can't believe the ratings.
Almost cried at the end.

Oh and Topher and Sierra, hilarius (for us geeks and nerds anyway :P)

Wonderful twist and turns in this one!
Hate to bring up the friday night slot again, but I genuinely think the show would be doing well had it got a slot in any other night when people aren't out getting wasted.

Before Dollhouse, Ugly Betty was my favourite program which aired on fridays in England. And I wouldn't stay in for it.

Its referred to as the 'Friday Night Death Slot' for a reason. Putting a new show there just seems purely ridiculous.
I've found plenty to root for and invest in emotionally in all the characters, both the dolls and the people who operate the dollhouse. It's really what sets Whedon shows apart for me - how even basically evil characters are given traits that make them somehow relatable (Spike and Dru? Faith and the Mayor?), without negating their bad-guy status. And people like Topher, Adelle, Dr. Saunders etc. are humans, not monsters, even if they're doing something morally questionable, so that ups my interest in them and why they're there.

And on a note more related to the original thread, I'd just like to state my growing belief that Nielsen ratings are part of a conspiracy to keep shows that aren't police procedurals off tv. Who's ever actually known someone with a Nielsen box?
If only more people were being so obviously forced against their will to watch a show they find absolutely nothing but fault in. Think of the ratings!
The world of television is trying kill Dollhouse. Don't you see? It's a conspiracy, dammit!
I'm a Pollyanna, I guess. But I don't think this is all doom. It will depend on the DVR numbers (will those TSSC viewers show up?). But it did grow in the demo from PB, even though it lost total viewers.
I think one of the biggest factors is what type of show people are expecting DH to be. If a viewer is looking for a show that features a white hat bringing down an organization comprised of morally grey or black characters, this is not that show.

No one is pure, and that is far more interesting to some viewers. And thus we have our niche. We're treated to an inside look at a world vastly different from the one we live in. And yet, how different is it really? We are all forced into various roles throughout our lives. The Dollhouse shows that each character's journey is different but they are all very much alone. The connections that are beginning to form are what makes for progressive storytelling.

I would argue, however, that even though Lost has Jack as its hero, Jack is far from wholesome. He's been seen over the course of the series as a recurring substance abuser, and also he always thinks he's right.

Jack is actually my least favourite character on Lost. Which may be one more reason why I am more drawn to DH than Lost at this point. Lost has become predictable, and most of the big questions only lead to more questions. In ten episodes, DH has presented several mysteries and revealed more progressive storylines than Lost did in its first three seasons.

And from the preview for "Briar Rose," it looks like more reveals are in the near future.
Jack started to lose some luster as the show went on, but the necessity of Jack was that what people later get annoyed by as self-righteousness later was actually just ethical behavior and leadership early on. He was the doctor, he was the one who was running around trying to help people, he was the one who gave the big speech about fear, the "live together, die alone" thing. And I think the show desperately needed that early on to get people invested -- that's certainly what they were getting from their test audiences, and it worked out for them. That's who people want to think they would be in the similar situation.

By comparison, "Dollhouse" seems hell-bent on deconstructing any plausible "hero" of the piece and we're only 10 episodes in. I do think that has an effect on retaining viewers, if nothing else. The moral quagmire Ballard just jumped in may have been better served as a Season 2 development. In "Dollhouse", it's easy for an audience to want to imagine themselves as the unrelenting crusader trying to free the slaves. It's much harder for an audience to want to watch a guy that they, themselves, wouldn't want to be in the same situation.

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-04-25 21:58 ]
b!X has it right. If only we could round up even more folks who think Dollhouse is bad and has almost no one to root for yet who watch it anyway *and* make the time to post about how bad the latest offering is here after each episode (the most mystifying element of the process to me), we'd have a ratings winner on our hands. Hey - could this be the basis for a new "Save Dollhouse" campaign?

In seriousness, I'm with those who find the morally gray characters on Dollhouse fascinating. And, yes, rootworthy. I felt the same way about many characters on BtVS and Angel.
Urgh, those are not good numbers. I thought it was an okay episode, though perhaps not as good as some previous.

Is it even worth hoping that they promote next week's ep? It looks so great...
I love "Dollhouse", but I also think I'm more willing to engage what about "Dollhouse" the Average Viewer must not be enjoying. I'm not forced to watch "Dollhouse" at all. I just don't think there's this impenetrable mystery behind why it's struggling, reasons that have nothing to do with commercials or a week off.
KoC, I think you raise some good points about how Dollhouse may not appeal to a wide cross-section of viewers. But that aside, I think that there are many reasons that shows - very, very good shows - struggle for viewers. I think Dollhouse is having problems in the ratings not *just* because it doesn't have any clear white hats. Plenty of shows (most shows) struggle in the ratings and fail. Dollhouse is a cult show, an oddball show, and it appeals perhaps most broadly to those who tend to watch TV via the web. The Friday night slot is widely acknowledged to be a death slot these days. Without taking recent press or lack of promotion or a week off into account, the odds have not been in Dollhouse's favor. At all. To put it mildly.

Edited to add: Where's gossi in this thread? He's usually sharing wisdom pretty quickly after these rating threads are posted.

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-04-25 22:14 ]
Crap. Of course it was my favourite episode so far.

I should just stop watching things. I may be a jinx. That could explain Kings, too.
Yeah, "Kings" failure to hold an audience frustrates me almost as much as "Dollhouse". As with "Dollhouse", I can immediately see reasons why it's the case. As with "Dollhouse", it's brilliantly written and engaging and one of my favorite new shows of the season.
I'm not surprised that this episode didn't do well in ratings. It didn't have a lot of relevance to the continuing plot, and to be honest I was actually considering skipping it when I first heard about it. The next two episodes are the ones that people should watch the ratings for, because how many tuning in for the next two weeks is going to reflect how many are interested in the overall plot of the show.
That implies that people know ahead of time what episodes are about. Most people don't. They don't have any idea what's going on with scheduling until they turn on the tv and don't find what they're looking for. I'm not sure having Dollhouse start at 9:01 is such a great idea either.
I'm not surprised that the numbers for "Dollhouse" has gone down. The only good thing about last nights episode was the horses! Otherwise, I thought it was a very boring episode. I don't think that pairing "Dollhouse" with "Fringe" would help either show. In fact, it will probably hurt "Fringe" (who I think is a better show, with a much better supporting cast) than Dollhouse.
So is this the final nail in the coffin or do we have any hope left?
I haven't seen any fat ladies singing yet, so...
Personally I'm feeling a little too depressed to sing.
I think there's still hope. Not feeling much optimism though.
There are always DVD/Blu-ray preorders and sales. If they make enough money.... well. Anything is possible.

I already have 1 Blu-ray and 2 DVDs on preorder at Amazon. I'll probably be adding another 1 or 2 DVDs next week.

Apart from watching Dollhouse on TV and the internet, preordering the DVD or Blu-ray is probably the best thing any of us can do for the show, really.

Also commenting and rating the DVD/Blu-ray on Amazon, even if you don't plan to purchase it at the moment. Decent comments and a high-star rating could help to convince people on-the-fence to purchase it.
I am sticking with my theory that the general audience who might have liked what this show is now becoming was turned off by the first few episodes and the general public who liked the first few episodes is probably not interested in the show getting all complex so they started leaving once the show started getting good. IMO a Joss show can't try to pretend to be something else and be successful. Just like the advertising can't pretend it is something it is not and expect to get the right audience.
If the show is renewed at this point it would have to be for reasons OTHER than ratings. They're just tragic at this point. If Dollhouse had been on any other night than Friday, it would have been pulled by now, sad but true.
But it would also have had higher ratings on other nights. Maybe not high enough to justify itself, but higher nonetheless.
I'm guessing the amount that Fox cares about international ratings is somewhere in the area of "not at all", right? I mean if itís a huge hit oversees, is it worth them renewing it so they can sell the international rights for more money next time? Because the show starts in the UK in a couple of weeks, and Iíll obviously be doing my best to convince everyone I know with the Sci-Fi channel to watch it, and warning them about the slow start.
The 2 week break thing was really dumb, IMO. A lot of people assumed it was canceled. Plus, next week Wolverine is coming out. This show has been dealt nothing but bad hands.

*goes off to cry*
People say they want new and different and daring, but they don't. They want the same old safe boring gao se they get from the half dozen or so Law & Orders and CSIs and crapticular reality shows that pollute the airwaves.
Guess and guess alike, we should hear one way or another next month. Here's crossing fingers and toes.
Yeah, these are crappy numbers, but I don't think we need to turn this whole thread into a "why has Dollhouse failed (or been failed)" party. Do we? Let's wait and see. (For one thing, I think that the DVR numbers could still matter to the renewal calculus.)
Can we start bribing nielsen viewers to watch the show?

Now THAT would be a campaign. Ask all your friends if they're Nielsen viewers. Ask them if they've seen this awesome new show called Dollhouse. Ask them to give it a try this coming saturday to tie in with Watch Dollhouse Week. (Bribe them $10 to turn the TV on, press their little button that says they're there, then go online and check emails for an hour)

So we worked out I believe, that one Nielsen viewer = 15,000 viewers. So based on last night numbers of 2.9 million. We want a 4.5 million total at least. That makes it about 100 Nielsen viewers we need to find and convince between now and next Saturday.

Start Tweeting my fellow Whedonites. FB this status "is looking for Nielsen viewers to watch Dollhouse this Saturday at 9pm on Fox, If you are a fan of DH, please make this your status too"

[ edited by Ivalaine on 2009-04-26 03:04 ]
[Kaylie indignation]

gao se? Law & Order ain't gao se

[/Kaylie indignation]

I very often get the impression that people feel like the viewers of police procedurals and medical dramas and other scripted standard-bearers are philistines or something for their watching that and not "Dollhouse" or "Wonder Falls". That troubles me, as a fan of both types of show.

Do we fans of procedurals *and* serialized dramas contradict ourselves? Very well, then, we contradict ourselves. We are large, we contain multitudes. I love me some "Dollhouse". Having basically conceded that "Terminator" is toast, "Dollhouse" and "Chuck" are the two shows I'm most hoping for renewal. I watch those, and "Heroes" and "Big Love" and "Lost" and "Supernatural"... and in any given hour of TV that I'm watching that one of those isn't on? I've probably got a rerun of one of the Law & Order shows on. There is value to be found in shows based on the admirable work of everyday people in often thankless jobs, and that is, at their core, what most procedurals are. There is value to be found in shows built on a certain verisimilitude and not on programmable people and mysterious islands that travel through time.

Okay, that rant aside.

I'm a big supporter of trying to rig the ratings... that's what they're there for. If you ever want to see the market adopt a different measure of value, make this one useless.
+1 to KingofCretins on all points.
It ties in beautifully with the concept of Watch Dollhouse Week. Thos who aren't Nielsen viewers - watch online so you'll be counted. And reach out to those who ARE Nilsen viewers, to try and get them to at least try the show out. It's completely doable. I think there's 22,000 Nielsen viewers or something like that. We have 200 of them as of last night, Live, and about 100 more on DVR. so we want to add another 100-150 across live and DVR. That's only about 7% of Nielsen viewers we have to convince.
So these are bad numbers? Grrr arrrgh. I love Dollhouse. I want it to come back.


BTW:phlebotinin, I agree, where's gossi? Every week he translates the ratings into english for me! I need him to explain what this means!
gossi is at a convention.
I don't just come to Whedonesque to talk shop on Dollhouse. The truth is, I do watch the show, sometime during the week. I am still a little sad that I shunned Firefly during Buffy's run and I feel like I really missed out on that whole moment, although not too unhappy I missed out on the heartbreak. I became a big fan of Joss Whedon's this past year as I got much more bored and so delved into Firefly on DVD. Dr. Horrible just fed my craze. All that anticipation, all the wondering "could this idea POSSIBLY work?" It didn't sound even remotely like a premise that could be anything but cheesy, and it was cheesy but it was also amazing and touching and a musical. I stood in awe.

Dollhouse isn't bringing the awe. Why do I post about it? Cause I'm already here, I already watched it, and so I post.

It's not that the characters are morally grey. I'm not saying that characters have to be white-knight heroes for me to care about them. I hate to go there... because it's like my go to show and I should really get a new trick pony... but I have to do it and Six Feet Under was a show I loved right out the door and the main characters were HUGELY flawed and morals, they are few. Not one character on that show ever gets to really save the others. The difference is relating to those people. It's empathy, and for DH I have none. That doesn't mean that it doesn't turn a good story, it has on occasion kept my attention quite well. But just as often it does not and I can easily see how someone less invested in JW might just let it go.

But those people are not me and going into this I knew that I would spare 12 or 13 hours of my life to a new Joss Whedon project. It would have to repel me on the level of Buffy end of season 6 to drive me to stop watching. As has been proven in the past.
I was thinking, it seems to me like it might help some if you just play the hulu episode on your computer, even if you don't watch it (because you already watched it on TV). You can mute the sound and open a new window and just let it play in the background. Boost the hulu numbers. I realize this probably won't do much good, but it can't hurt.
Bummer. Big time, bummer. I feel like this might very well be it for DH. I just hope Joss doesn't wait another five years to get back on TV again, assuming he's feeling up to it after this experience. Internet series might be fun too, but I need something weekly...
Hmmmm, if we can only somehow get Susan Boyle to mention Dollhouse...*goes off to look up S. Boyle in Scottish phone book*

[ edited by RollingInKittens on 2009-04-26 10:58 ]
I'm at a convention with Miracle, Dichen, Mark Sheppard and Felicia. Dich, Miracle and me haven't seen the episode yet.

Ratings bad. Airing that repeat of Prison Break last week was a stupid move, frankly. Don't know what it means in the context of show future.
Have a fabulous time at the convention, gossi. Seems like worrying about ratings shouldn't be high on your mind right now.

Edited because I said the opposite of what I meant. Sorry - it's late here.

[ edited by sojourner on 2009-04-26 12:24 ]
-DED- said: "But it would also have had higher ratings on other nights. Maybe not high enough to justify itself, but higher nonetheless."

Which means nothing. The expectations are higher on every other night but Saturday. So, maybe DH might have 4M right now on Monday. That would still be 4M too little...

ShanshuBugaboo said: "The 2 week break thing was really dumb, IMO. A lot of people assumed it was canceled. "

People who don't pay attention to the previews saying "IN TWO WEEKS" you mean? The audience for other series seem to comprehend normal breaks in programming.

I really enjoy Dollhouse but every drop in viewers can't be blamed on FOX or external influences. The show has failed to even retain it's original audience.

[ edited by John T. Folden on 2009-04-26 09:10 ]
Seems to me that Dollhouse, and Joss, are a better 'Fit' with FX then they are with Fox. Here's hoping Fox does the smart thing and moves Dollhouse over to its sister Cable network rather then simply canning it.
gossi make them all post/tweet about Watch DOLLHOUSE Week. Make them!
John Folden, that argument doesn't hold up. It's not just a one week skip, the other half of the sci-fi theme night had ended. I don't know about you but i do everything i can to avoid seeing the spoilers for next weeks episodes, and I'd assume 99% of viewers do the same and thusly would not hear "in two weeks". EVERYTHING that is causing this show is Fox fault. 1) Messing with the format leading to the dreadful first 5 eps. 2) Sticking it in the graveyard slot on friday nights. Not giving it a single airing on another night to give it a chance at finding an audience. 3.)After Terminator ended it's season sticking it with an alreday dead and limping lead in. 4.)This "let's not air the show at a crucial time, in favour of a re-run of this other show we've already cancelled. 5.)The shows problem has never been not bleeding viewers, it's problem was that very few people tuned into it's friday night premiere. Who put it there - Fox.

The only thing Whedon could have done was to have put his foot down and said, we'll then i'm just not doing a show for you. And even then i suspect at the point Fox went note crazy he was already under contract.
I'm not sure the lack of whitehats is really the problem. Just look at 'Dexter' and how he's the main lead, but also a serial killer. Heck, you almost hate the good cops who nearly bring him down and hope that he finds a way not to get caught. It's an odd feeling but it's true.

I think people are fine with morally grey characters. In all honesty it may be the overall arc that made Dollhouse loose viewers. Most of us love the arcs over the standalones but that's when the drop-off happened, after 'Man on the Street.'

[ edited by vampmogs on 2009-04-26 13:33 ]
People who don't pay attention to the previews saying "IN TWO WEEKS" you mean? The audience for other series seem to comprehend normal breaks in programming.

The problem here is that the audience for House (for example) isn't worried about their show getting canceled. It's not on their minds, because House has been around for five years and they know it's gonna come back (or, if it's not, there'll be huge "SERIES FINALE" promos everywhere). But everyone knows new shows often get canned, so if someone finds their show not on one week, they might very well assume it's over.

Also, I don't know about you, but I very often forget that the promos said, "IN TWO WEEKS" by roughly... the next day. I can't tell you how many times this season I've been looking forward to the new LOST, only to find out it's not on (despite the fact that I watch the previews). Actually, I can. Twice. But you get the point.

ETA some logic and sense-making.

[ edited by Jobo on 2009-04-26 15:53 ]
Frankly I'm tired of pretending to believe the "average" network TV viewer has better taste or a longer attention span that a fruit fly. Going deep and complex and morally ambiguous on network is 99% of the time, the kiss of death.
If the WB hadn't been new and experimental in the early BtS years, followed by UPN in the same "we're new, we'll try anything" space, it probably never would have made it. But it became such a monster cult hit that we also got five years of Angel out of it.

That being said, Joss is too good and far too edgy for network, he belongs on cable. Dollhouse is building to something that could produce a spectacular four or five seasons of mind-blowing TV, but we'll never get to see it now, baring a miracle.

I have no problem with a decent procedural, although not even the best (Criminal Minds, IMO) is in the same league with Dollhouse. And reality shows are such an insult to intelligent life, I can't even go there.
Dollhouse on the other hand, is in the same league with The Sopranos and Six Feet Under and Dexter. So much wasted potential, it's just beyond frustrating.

ETA: all IMO, obviously. I'm too pissed off to be diplomatic.

[ edited by Shey on 2009-04-26 16:19 ]
Most of us love the arcs over the standalones but that's when the drop-off happened, after 'Man on the Street.'

I like a series to have an arc, and for what happens one week to count for the next. But some of my favourite episodes of any series are the standalones, and my least favourites are the ones that only exist to serve the arc.
Dollhouse on the other hand, is in the same league with The Sopranos and Six Feet Under and Dexter.

I definitely agree with this. I don't think there's anything else on network TV that even compares with the complexity and good storytelling of Dollhouse.

Heroes used to. I agree with many that it's not nearly as good as it used to be.

Bones is good character development, but it still does have the potential Dollhouse does.
99% of viewers don't flip away from the previews. If that was the case, the networks wouldn't air them. It's far more likely to say that 99% of the viewers take no position on them at all, and don't mind watching them.

The "average" viewer -- far less hostile toward other viewers than the "enlightened" viewer, to be sure -- does not have the attention of a fruit fly. The "average" viewer that watches even the most formula of procedurals knows that they have traceable storylines to follow the characters through between episodes, and the "average" viewer does, in fact, watch serialized dramas in pretty good numbers.
I like Dollhouse. A lot. And I would have liked another season. But with the exception of maybe two of three episodes so far, it is not in the same league as sopranos or six feet under or dexter. Buffy was. But DH is no Buffy. IMO.
ETA sorry for the double post.

[ edited by Squishy on 2009-04-26 17:35 ]
I disagree strongly Squishy, not just because I have no interest in the shows you listed. Dollhouse is far better than Buffy's first season, IMHO, and I'd argue better than any Buffy season other than 3 or 5. I think its really difficult to fairly compare a show with a truncated season to a show of 7 seasons though.

And list me under the people who believe the average viewers have no attention spans, and are generally morons (at least in America). There are far too many brainless shows and movies that make incredible amounts of money to argue otherwise, IMHO. I'll let you provide your own favorite examples, my most obvious examples being 300 and pretty much any reality show on Fox (I'll not pretend I've never watched reality shows, but I'd argue that the majority of reality shows now appeal to the lowest common denominator).
Well count me as one who makes a point of not watching the promos for the next show. I hate spoilers and want to be surprised, especially when it comes to Joss' stories.

As for other folks, I'd take a guess that a significant percentage may not see the promos. Not for the same reason as I, but because the show is basically over so they're checking their online program guide, channel surfing, taking a bathroom break, going to the kitchen to get a snack, petting the cat/dog, etc. It's also possible that those folks who do watch the promos can easily forget about the two week break thing... some of us do have distracting lives that can tend to wipe out tidbits of info like that. Heck, I check Whedonesque just about every day and even I forgot!

It's just not good to interrupt a struggling show that really needs to build its audience. Getting people used to tuning in at a specific time is crucial, the habit must be established. It also didn't help that on this past Friday Prison Break ran a little past the 9 p.m. mark and some viewers just tuning in may have thought it was a double episode night like the previous week. The interruption of Dollhouse was also made worse if there's barely any advertising to remind folks that the show is still going.
If trailers, for TV episodes or films, weren't something audiences were interested in, they wouldn't exist. The mere fact that shows have been giving them from even before the internet when, in effect, the "next week" clip were the only "spoilers" available, tends to prove that most people aren't taking their concern about spoilers to that level.

I've got to say, I think that "Dollhouse", as a fandom, is working overtime to inspire antipathy toward the show with the people that we so desperately need to watch it and give it a chance. The DailyKos comment on metafiction all but explicitly states that the message of the show is that anyone who grooves on reality TV (which I don't) or on procedurals (which I do) or on much more straightforward "hero" stories (which I definitely do) is the artistic equivalent of a Dollhouse client.

I hope that Joss would never agree with that assessment of his work, because it is the very pinnacle of pretentiousness, and it's already bad enough that there are putative fans of the show out there spouting things like that -- as if to say to the general, undecided audience (to borrow a phrase) "and if you don't like 'Dollhouse', then you, sir, are worse than Hitler".

The content of the show hasn't always helped out, either. Imagine, if you will, an arm's length viewer, undecided on the show but figuring "hey, I recognize that actor" and tuning in. This arm's length viewer is 18-49 year's old and, demographically, there's a 70-90% chance they adhere to some religion. There is a substantially higher chance that, whether they do or don't, they think that there is a basic fundamental morality in life, a sense of equity and fairplay. Well, if they tuned in to "Haunted" at the right moment, they were treated to a discussion between two characters who agree, in principle, that religion and morality are coping mechanisms for fear and nothing else. It wasn't even all that plot-relevant -- it's not like a religious person or agnostic or atheist who doesn't reject morality as mere contrivance couldn't conceive of their own reasons why the Dollhouse providing faux-immortality was Bad. I almost winced during that scene, thinking of the "audience principle" from "Chasing Amy" -- "If you insult and accost them, then we have no audience."

I'm a big fan of this show, I honestly am, but bits like that, and bits like the DailyKos basically telling the audience that if they are the metaphorical pimps and killers if they aren't already loving Dollhouse, only hurt the show's chances when it comes to drawing in and retaining an audience.
RE: knowing Nielsen families/bribing Nielsen families...

Good luck with that.
I am utterly baffled at how people can simultaneously:

a: bemoan the fact that more people aren't watching Dollhouse

and

b: tell them they are morons without the intelligence of a fruitfly.

Because that's *guaranteed* to bring in more viewers: "Wait..wait...those Dollhouse fans called me a moron without the intelligence of a fruitfly? I'll show them! I'll start watching Dollhouse!"

Yep. That'll go well.
BetNoir, how many average viewers are reading this thread? None to many. Yelling it at random people (or even writing an articale about it) wouldn't work sure, but we are discussing here amongst ourselves.

Besides, why should we not discuss the obvious truth to placate the feelings of the people who aren't watching? I feel the same way with the point KoC brought up about religion. Why should Joss not include his view on religion to bring in more people? He should never have to appeal to the ignorant masses.
Case in serious, serious dang point -- the "ignorant masses" are just, in all of our (and I'll say 'our' because this is a "Dollhouse" fan you actually ARE talking about now) peon like myrmidon helplessness to do anything other than watch shows that you don't like are just... just... smart enough to know that there's no upside in watching shows that *treat us* like ignorant masses. I let it roll off because I see enough upside in most of Joss' work to ignore the occasionally annoying and irrelevant diversion like that scene between Boyd and Adelle. And seriously, don't try that jive about Joss concealing his view of religion to appease us "ignorant masses" -- he didn't shy away from them in "Buffy", "Angel", or "Firefly", but he also didn't actively include any scenes to slap us in the nuts, either. If you go back to "Reprise", when Angel posits his "there's no grand plan" view of the world -- clearly an atheistic view -- Angel doesn't dismiss all morality as a mere coping mechanism. Quite the contrary, he holds the notion of morality even closer for it. And, as an added bonus, Joss includes a character in that scene, Kate, that at least speculates that Angel might not be right about the plan. "Reprise" doesn't take that 70-90% of the possible viewing audience and tell them they're idiots, and yet still doesn't "sell out" Joss' view. "Haunted" can't claim that.

But what, say, of the person who *hasn't* watched and loved 269 episodes of "Buffy", "Angel", and "Firefly", bought all the DVD sets, spent maybe two or three hundred on Buffy comics who also is just my brand of ignorant, SteppeMerc? What possible enticement is it to pick up and stay hooked on a series that openly insults you? If the DailyKos is right, then the point of "Dollhouse" is to tell me how big a moron I am for liking less complicated shows. And if I flipped over to check it out because there was some interesting word of mouth and saw "Haunted" without having had the context of already being into Joss' work, then all I'd know for sure about "Dollhouse" is that the show apparently thinks that the things I believe are a big joke. Wow, behold the enticement! Let me find my DVR record button!

If the fans of the show, and the show itself, honestly believe that people who don't automatically, intuitively embrace both it and every philophical point it makes are "ignorant masses" and treats them that way, the show will be cancelled. And much like the Wolfram & Hart employees that Fred went off on in Angel 5.01 "Conviction", it will "actually deserve it".

[ edited by KingofCretins on 2009-04-27 02:18 ]
KoC, it seems like you're just overstating a strawman argument and then demolishing it. No-one said that "people who don't intuitively embrace [Dollhouse] and every philosophical point it makes are 'ignorant masses'."


That was certainly not the point of the DailyKos article (in which thread you posted similar opinions, I believe), and no-one here said it, either.

[ edited by Septimus on 2009-04-27 03:02 ]
So people who don't share your taste in television are "morons," or collectively, the "ignorant masses." And I guess that makes you the "intellectual elite" because unlike all of them, you have the attention span necessary to understand and enjoy Dollhouse?

I'm unpersuaded.
Septimus, there is someone who, just in the last 6 hours or so, has said almost precisely that twice on this very thread, using "ignorant masses" to describe non-"Dollhouse" viewers who would be put off by the overt nihilism of the series in favor of more morally optimistic serialized shows like "Lost" or "Heroes", procedurals, or reality TV.

And the central thesis of the DailyKos is that the meta-text of "Dollhouse" is that the johns/rapists who do business with the Dollhouse are metaphors for viewers who prefer those more "self-gratifying" or "instantly gratifying" forms of television, and that the Dollhouse itself is a metaphor for the people that provide it.

Where's the straw here?
BetNoir, how many average viewers are reading this thread? None to many. Yelling it at random people (or even writing an articale about it) wouldn't work sure, but we are discussing here amongst ourselves.


Uh... SteppeMerc? don't shoot the messenger, but the last I checked this was an openly readable forum for discussion. On the internet. With our five billion closest friends and all.

Besides, why should we not discuss the obvious truth to placate the feelings of the people who aren't watching?[...]


The last I checked, we actually wanted to get those people who aren't watching to start watching.

Personally I say we get back to the thoughtful discussions and constructive criticisms Joss' works are so good at engendering.
For the record, I can totally understand and consequently don't blame anyone here for being touchy what with the recent trends in Dollhouse news. Now, unfortunately, seems to be the right time to vent.
I'm just saying...
KoC, my post had nothing to do with attacking people who watch certain shows with certain styles of morality. I love Lost, and I watch Heroes, though the refusal to kill anyone frustrates me. But I still watch them, and am not implying that everyone who does is ignorant, or morons. I also watch Bones, which could be considered a procedural, and I used to watch House. I'm not making the same argument as the DailyKos, which I didn't even read.

But describing the average American as ignorant is certainly valid, based on interactions as well as studied comparing our knowledge and education compared to the rest of the world, not to mention the prevalence of creationism etc. And I do believe that the fact that things like "Epic Movie", "300" or other movies, as well as a plethora of TV shows that appeal to the lost common denominator supports my argument (the one I'm actually making, not the one that was tacked on to it).

And of course I want other people to start watching. I have gotten out the word as much I could, and gotten some, not all of my friends to watch. Its not like I attack them as being ignorant, that is not what my post was about (or at least that is not what I was trying to say). I just don't think that there is all that much more we can do other than what we have been doing, what with the time slot, and bad lead in. But while I want more people to watch, I wouldn't want Joss to change to make them watch (not saying he did, but that was in response re: religion). I'd rather have one season of Joss than 2 or 3 of diluted Joss.

[ edited by SteppeMerc on 2009-04-27 06:06 ]
eyeboogers, I've run a TV oriented discussion forum for years and so have first hand knowledge that a great majority of viewers DO watch the previews and they actually enjoy seeing them. It's a rare individual who purposely avoids them. Secondly, the average viewer is not thinking about "cancelation" and has no idea how Dollhouse is doing ratings-wise.

Also, you might call those first 5 episodes "dreadful" but the ratings didn't nosedive until the mythology episodes started.

So, yes, Friday was not a perfect day to start a new show but the show itself has to take the bulk of the blame for not keeping the viewers it started with...
Secondly, the average viewer is not thinking about "cancelation" and has no idea how Dollhouse is doing ratings-wise.

I disagree with the first half of this. I would be surprised to find a regular TV watcher these days who hasn't had the experience of liking a show, only to have it end suddenly. It's a pretty common phenomenon. They probably don't know Dollhouse's ratings, no, but if it stops airing they wouldn't be horribly unfair to assume it has ended.

[ edited by Jobo on 2009-04-27 06:30 ]
Besides, why should we not discuss the obvious truth to placate the feelings of the people who aren't watching?

SteppeMerc: So you want people to watch, but only so long as they are the 'right sort' of viewers (i.e., the nonmoronic sort)?

My, how...Orwellian of you.
It would be awfully nice if posters didn't lay into other. Next time I see this happening, posting rights will be revoked.
Jobo, I don't disagree at all that the typical viewer is aware of cancelation but old shows end as well as new ones. Both, also, typically skip weeks here and there. If a show were missing for a month then I think it might more likely cause concern rather than just a week, particularly a week where the special scheduling was advertised in advance.

I think the swap in lead-in caused more of an issue. FOX had a similar problem with New Amsterdam, which had trouble gaining traction because it's lead-in changed three times in two months. The show would drop precipitously each time they slotted a different series in front of it.
If you go back to "Reprise", when Angel posits his "there's no grand plan" view of the world -- clearly an atheistic view -- Angel doesn't dismiss all morality as a mere coping mechanism. Quite the contrary, he holds the notion of morality even closer for it. And, as an added bonus, Joss includes a character in that scene, Kate, that at least speculates that Angel might not be right about the plan. "Reprise" doesn't take that 70-90% of the possible viewing audience and tell them they're idiots, and yet still doesn't "sell out" Joss' view. "Haunted" can't claim that.

I don't see the show actually insulting anyone here, I see a character expressing his view. Nothing is negated or dismissed by that, because Boyd is not the show, and the actual plot of the episode questions Boyd statement to a great deal.

On a different note, wouldn't that kind of argument prevent any kind of story addressing morality? I mean, do we want the writer's room to adhere to "The numbers are in: All is fine, just as long as you don't let anyone say anything bad about morality. Word is it's 85% again."?

And how do we, then, cope with serial killers, rape and the other (much more negating) stuff that gets thrown at us?
Wiesengrund, you tell me -- did "Angel" avoid any kind of story addressing morality? If no, then your answer is no, because I'm not suggesting Joss use any more discretion in "Dollhouse" than he did on "Angel". On "Angel", he managed to get his metaphysical view out without categorically dismissing any other view as delusional. "Angel", in that regard, didn't violate the "audience principle".
I think where we disagree is that I don't see Boyd's statement as the show "categorically dismissing any other view". Even when I stretch my reading of the scene into angry mode I can at best see Boyd categorically dismissing any other view, not Joss or the show. But sober I see Boyd expressing his view on morality and an episode actually questioning his very view.
I think this is another case of confusing a character's view with the view of a show, and I can think of no more wrongheaded readings of the show Dollhouse in particular. At no point have any of these characters been doing the "right" thing in any objective sense, nor have they been saying the message of the show as much as bringing up the questions that we as viewers are supposed to try to answer.

Angel and Buffy were much simpler shows, morally. To continually compare that world, with its demons and higher beings, to a show about people doing things to people, is yet another problem in your approach here, KoC. I don't think anyone here, or the show itself, is trying to say your opinion is invalid. It does seem like you are either used to that happening or at the least scared of it happening. Joss has never pushed his views into characters, but rather had characters say what they would say, based on the makeup he had given them. Angel did not say what Joss would have said in that moment, as much as what Angel would have.

Joss has said several times that he had almost nothing in common with Mal, however much he loves that character and that show. Joss would have been a Central Planet-dweller (like the rest of us North Americans and Western Europeans), not understanding why someone would want to not be civilized. This pretty much proves a distinction between his characters and his viewpoints.

Just watch his speeches on Humanism and you'd see that Boyd's speech is not what Joss believes. I think your foreknowledge of Joss's beliefs colors your read, and I don't know if you watched Terminator, but did (would) you get this offended by Ellison's constant espousing Christian version of morality? I was a little annoyed by it, but separated the show from the character, in that it was realistic to have a Christian character.
I usually don't get annoyed when an otherwise excellent film espouses Christian (or what have you) beliefs/solutions, so long as it's not completely out of left field toward the conclusion or feels out of place. So why can't a TV show promote the opposite, or an alternative, viewpoint in a hardline way (not that Dollhouse necessarily has, as discussed here) ?

I know it's fashionable for writers, especially North American and European writers, to bash Christianity (or Judeo-Christianity, if you like), and that might seem like overkill on an easy target, but so what ? Are we all that suprised ? It's what most of us have grown up with, if we grew up with a religion, and it's finally socially acceptable in most of the Western world to fight back, very openly and on a consistent basis, against the illogical nature of it all (you'd see more questioning of Islam and maybe Hinduism or Buddhism if that's what the majority here grew up with). Even if that's just on a near-canceled TV show. It's important and necessary to challenge folks' beliefs in Ye Old Book of Jewish Fairy Tales. Hopefully in more persuasive, thoughtful, prompting-deep-internal-struggles-in-viewers methods of delivery. But sometimes writers, and agnostics & atheists, get impatient and frustrated and lash out and bash those they're tired of waiting to climb over the hill already. We made it out of the ocean, then the jungle, on the evolutionary climb, it's long past time hugely significant numbers of us made it out of the churches as well, for good (and you can still have the sense of community, one of the few positives that goes along with congregations, by replacing it with other social venues). But I won't be holding my breath for that to happen on a large enough scale to produce the kind of world I'd like to live in (cue Angel's, "We live as if the world were as it ought to be, to show it what it could be"). But I will appreciate every time a well-written movie, film, comic, or novel comes along to stress the need for that.

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