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"I have a message for you from inside the Dollhouse."
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July 08 2009

Sarah Fain and Elizabeth Craft on leaving Dollhouse. Fain told the TV Barn: "We weren't looking to leave Dollhouse, but Tim Roth really liked our script last season, so the studio wanted us over here. It's a little sad, but everybody on LTM is great, and we're working with Shawn Ryan again, which is always a good thing. Plus, we have a great office!"

I'm with Roth there. Their script was my fav of LTM Season 1.
Plus Shawn Ryan is awesome.
Yeah their episode was pretty good though I saw it coming a mile off (maybe we were meant to ?). The general rule with "Lie to Me" seems to be, whenever Tim Roth is irrational and/or a bastard it's part of a "sting". Not a lot of surprises in the show but Roth's good value and it's as well made as any of the other 'House' knockoffs.
What are the other House knock-offs besides Lie to Me ? Unless it pre-dated House, I think Shark was one (with James Wood as a lawyer). But it felt more Nash Bridges than House.

If they have more of a role in shaping Season 2 of Lie to Me than they would have had with Dollhouse, I can totally understand the desire to switch shows (more pay and a nice office could be perks too). Maybe the desire to work with different creators as well. But if it's just a choice between two ace creators (Shawn Ryan with The Shield, exec producing The Unit, and maybe three or four quality episodes of Angel out of the five he wrote in Seasons 1 and 2, or Joss with everything he's done), that had to be a tough one.
That's really unfortunate. Lie to Me is a terrible show. I know having Craft and Fain could only improve it, but some shows are beyond fixing, and I'm afraid that, in my opinion, Lie to Me is definitely one of 'em.
I think it's at least average and occasionally good but everyone's terrible's different, obviously.

What are the other House knock-offs besides Lie to Me ?

Yeah, 'Shark' was the first I think (either one or two seasons after 'House'). Then more recently 'Lie to Me' and arguably 'The Mentalist' I guess (Patrick Jane's on a less overt quest for truth but every now and again he'll put his hunt in those terms. And morally he's ... pragmatic). 'Castle' started out looking similar in some ways but they softened his character up very quickly after the pilot.

I've a feeling i've noticed others before but they're not springing to mind right now.
"Lie to Me" is very predictable plot-wise, but I think Tim Roth is absolutely mesmerizing anyhow. Although the House knock-off factor is pretty front and center, the character he plays seems complicated in rather a different way, and I keep expecting the character unravelings to be more interesting than the mostly formulaic plots. But that may just me being hypnotized by T.R.
Ryan, Craft, and Fain can only help Lie to Me. It definitely improved toward the end of the season. Hoping it improves more in season 2 under much better writers.
Plus, we have a great office!


*makes petition to get Dollhouse better offices*
I've recently watched the pilot of 'Lie to Me', because with Shawn Ryan and Craft & Fain onboard, the series has suddenly jumped way up on my 'need to watch'-list. I found the pilot to be serviceable, but slightly underwhelming and am expecting the rest of season one to match that. Still, I will probably watch it over the summer to give S2 a chance with the apropriate foreknowledge.

I do wonder how I'm going to find the time to watch everything I want to watch this new season, though. Between returning favorites (like Dollhouse, Fringe, Mad Men, Lost, HIMYM, Castle, Friday Night Lights (that is returning, right?)) and with a massive amount of looks-to-be-promising genreshows on the horizon (V remake, Alien nation remake, Day one, Flashforward, Stargate: Universe, Caprica), a few series I'm following on DVD (The Shield, The Wire), a couple that air this summer (Warehouse 13, True Blood) and some promising non-genre premieres, it's going to be hell to squeeze all that into the limited amount of TV time out there. It looks kindof impossible right now, but I'll figure it out somewhere along the line (I'll probably be dropping off less promising shows after an episode or two - just like Fox used to do in the "good old days", ahem ;))
Friday Night Lights is indeed returning. And for two seasons no less. And even though you're already pressed for tv-time you should find a place for Dexter on your to see list.
Yeah, Dexter is definately on my radar, though I watched the first three episodes back when and didn't instantly-fall-in-love (it was pretty clearly quality TV, but just not something I was that into straight away). A show I'm also looking at picking up again is Chuck, after the massive outcry of love for it here when it was in danger. I really liked the first couple of episodes but kind of lost track of the show (I think I may have had an overdose of TV on offer when it premiered as well ;)) and didn't bother to pick it back up. Might try it again now (plus, the S1 DVDs are on sale as we speak on play.com :)).
The big problem I hear with being a Dollhouse writer is that Joss makes everyone sleep in the pods at least two nights a week.
While I am sad to see them go, and am sure that they will improve Lie to Me, but they did write my least favorite episode of Dollhouse.
I wish them the best in their move, they are fantastic at what they do. Been trying to catch up on Lie to Me, from what i have seen and heard it seems pretty formulaic and basic which is usually a quick pass for me, but knowing the people behind the Shield are now together on it makes me really want to get into it.
Good luck to them! I really enjoyed Echoes, and Gray Hour was one of the better of the first five eps. Maybe I'll give Lie to Me a chance--Shawn Ryan wrote many of my favorite Angel seasons 1 & 2 episodes--showed that Anne love!
I watched and mostly enjoyed many of the episodes of "Lie to Me," but could almost always call where the plot was headed. And truthfully, I'm usually not very good at that. It's a procedural, with all the comforts and limitations of the genre, which technically is how "Dollhouse" started out.

I begrudge Craft and Fain nothing for leaving DH. I wish them well, and am confident they will thrive, wherever they land. But all I can think of are the words Apple co-founder/visionary/freaking genius Steve Jobs used to woo Pepsi exec John Sculley to come over to The Apple Side: "Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water to children, or do you want to change the world?"

Almost certainly, "Dollhouse" will, ultimately, not change the world. But the germ is there for it to change television and entertainment in new, significant ways. It confounds expectations. It comes at you sideways, because that's how it thinks. And just try to name another showrunner who has engendered as many "WTF?" moments as Joss. (Recent example: "Whose hands are these?" I will never forget the feeling I had when Enver said that line. It was like if my dog had started talking to me. I felt like my skin was crawling, like I'd stumbled upon something disturbing and wrong and utterly riveting. It freaked me the hell out.)

I'm always on the lookout for something like that, something new, unexpected, and moving in my entertainment. 95% of what's out there always lets me down. "Lie to Me," at its core, is expertly produced, superbly acted, glossy product.
The big problem I hear with being a Dollhouse writer is that Joss makes everyone sleep in the pods at least two nights a week.

That wouldn't be that unprecedented AlanD, I read Doug Petrie saying he was once working late on Buffy so he went down to the set and slept in Joyce's bed. (I think he said he thought of sleeping in Buffy's bed but that would have been a bit creepy.)
All that talent and Lie To Me is barely mediocre, IMO.

And great offices corrupt. ;)
It seems to me that Hollywood is very much like the organized crime syndicate. If the boss wants something to happen, it happens.

You know how when we discuss ratings and what shows are getting cut and what shows are safe? It's not a "team sport" or group decision when these shows are being scrutinized. I get the impression from this article that Fain and Craft are presenting this as something like, "the studio really needs us to help them out." In other words, we dont want this but we serve at the pleasure of the chairman of the board...we're team players.

And the line about the great office seems to say, we are puppets dangling from the studio executive's fingers. (I've never heard a writer complain about or praise an office space. I've seen plenty of discussion about the company kept in a writer's room but never that it's "a great office.")

IMO, they got kicked off the show and that the studio blames them (in part) for the dismal early ratings. They are under contract and are popular in those studio circles, so the studio shipped them over to LTM. And it wouldn't surprise me even a little if Joss was behind the change. You can bet your ass if he wanted them to stay, the studio would have figured out a way.
IMO, they got kicked off the show and that the studio blames them (in part) for the dismal early ratings. They are under contract and are popular in those studio circles, so the studio shipped them over to LTM. And it wouldn't surprise me even a little if Joss was behind the change. You can bet your ass if he wanted them to stay, the studio would have figured out a way.

I really don't think it works that way. What should Joss have said? "Dear Liz & Sarah, I know you have an offer to work over at LTM right now, but could you PLEASE decline it and wait with me unemployed for a few months till we get the renewal everybody considers impossible?"
alexreager, there are some giant conclusions jumped to in your post with absolutely nothing to back them up. Very imaginative though.

I am (wildly) guessing that all the Dollhouse scripts were long finished and the studio asked them to help on Lie to Me and then C&F found a good safe spot on Lie To Me since it was never "on the bubble." Knowing that the brilliant Shawn Ryan was coming to be the showrunner was probably just icing on their cake.

All studios and all shows are cutting writing staffs these days. I'm glad they found such a cushy home.
I've never heard a writer complain about or praise an office space.

It's not a complaint or praise but there has been some sharing of Dollhouse workspaces on Twitter recently.
Someone kept nudging them. ;)
Yes Tamara, I think that was more of a flight of fancy for me...the networks are like the mob, lol.

(And did I use the phrase, "you can bet your ass"? Its a special day.)

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