This site will work and look better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Loo, shag, brolly, what the hell is all that?"
11945 members | you are not logged in | 31 October 2014




Tweet







August 31 2009

Saving Sci-Fi from the Friday Night Death Slot. Wired Columnist Scott Brown urges the geekdom to take back their night and save Dollhouse from an undignified premature death.

Includes references to Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Firefly, and Dollhouse

*thud*
*thud*
*thud*

You mean the premature death it suffered last season, like everyone said?
I'm sorry, but THE friday night death slot is 8-9pm EST - Dollhouse is on at 9-10pm EST.

Nitpicking I know, but still... It just bugs me.
to be honest if dollhouse got cancelled last season it deserved its death. It is probably the lowest rated show ever on a major network to be picked up for a season 2.

That being said now we're gonna have a flat out amazing season 2 and its gonna be unfairly cancelled this year if it does.

I just hope it doesn't go back to something goes wrong with echos programming of the week episodes ugh.
Are we still talking about this?
We'll be talking about it for the next few months. Especially with the lead-ins for Dollhouse.
OMG, is 'Dollhouse' on Friday nights ?? Damn you Fox !! Oh well, it was nice while it lasted and at least we'll get the boxed set and it frees Joss up to make the new Buffy movie/'Serenity 2: Ever so Serene' and ...


... wow, glitch in the matrix, deja vu all over again.
I think Dollhouse benefitted from the reduced expectations of a Friday night. In the form season one was, it would not have survived the full season in another time slot I don't think.
This guy didn't mention the Nielson box. The entire world could be watching except those with the boxes and the D-House would still be low-rated. Also, I assume it works like this... If you need to go out - just leave your TV on. Surely that would sort that issue?
While I (optimist as usual) agree that Dollhouse is not "in danger" just because it's on Friday, I thought the article actually made a very sweet and decent point in the end. And we have to consider that while the Dollhouse-renewal was fairly spectacular and fairly enough evidence that the Friday Night Death Slot isn't the same anymore in 2009 as it was in 2002, it is still just one show that got that miracle. TSCC died. Others will certainly die there too. It's not unreasonable to say: "Let's organize and hype the niche we want to see on Big Time TV instead of cops and lawyers."

I also very much applaud this:

We must stay home Friday nights and save Dollhouse, even if we don't like it that much.


While I don't think it needs "saving" (see above: optimism), I think it's awesome that people are reaching out to the ones not overly excited about the show.
I hesitate to tread here, but T:SCC needed a much larger miracle given it's even more precipitous drop off in the number of warm viewing bodies and from what I'd heard whispered at the time, its miracle was that it got the last season and that miracle came about because of a subsidized price for the show from the studio. I'm not bagging on it, I watched every episode and some of it was downright brilliant, just "thinking aloud". I've always been optimistic about Dollhouse's chance and you can see that going back to my constant cut and paste regarding Kevin Reilly here on the Black. On a sidenote I can't wait to watch Season 4 of Friday Night Lights, which got a season 2 because of KR and after S3 got a two season pickup from NBC/DTV. Certainly that's a special case due to the dual funding, but it's an encouraging thing to see as a fan of quality television.

I'm sorry, but THE friday night death slot is 8-9pm EST


Of course, Firefly rarely aired in its actual slot, though Wonderfalls did.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-08-31 13:45 ]
Ah, I remember a long ago Happy Hour at the hip hangout of my youth--well, my earlier middle age. One couple got nervous--things were just heating up but they wanted to leave. To watch a TV Show--how unhip! But they got thanked for reminding everybody it was time to catch Brisco County Jr. It was great that X-Files caught on--but we could have used more than one season of The Mighty Bruce.

One complaint: Any serious bar action on Friday night will really begin AFTER prime time TV. If you're going to a bar with live music--do you really need to watch the Opening Band set up?
While I also wonder about the "going to a bar" aspects of such arguments, I think going to the movies might really be a big factor in the lower Friday night viewership. Genre movies premiere on Friday too. Dollhouse's weird one-week ratings drop for "Gray Hour" was most certainly influenced by the Watchmen-premiere.
Ah, good ol' Brisco :) Must rewatch that on DVD soon!
Have to say I take major issue with his premise. The X-Files survived while MANTIS and Sliders died because it was an entertaining, well-made show that people actually enjoyed watching. Dollhouse has to stand on its own two feet if it's going to make it through another season. Brown's argument would have us watching any old sci-fi crap the network chooses to throw up on the screen just so they'll keep throwing it up there.

(Not that I think Dollhouse is crap, although there certainly was some of it last season. But if I keep watching it, it'll be because I enjoy what the show is doing, not out of some kind of blind loyalty to genre.)
While I also wonder about the "going to a bar" aspects of such arguments, I think going to the movies might really be a big factor in the lower Friday night viewership.

I think 'Watchmen' was a special case though, I wouldn't expect to see such a drop for most other films, genre or not (another Trek or Star Wars movie maybe). And I don't know how it works in the US but over here more and more "big" films are opening for advanced screenings on Thursday or even Wednesday night anyway - dedicated genre fans are surely more likely to go to those showings.

Just "going out in general" makes as much sense to me - live music or not, if you're going to a bar i'd say most people don't wait until 10 pm to do it.

ETA: ... but T:SCC needed a much larger miracle given it's even more precipitous drop off in the number of warm viewing bodies ...

Yeah, the article's just incorrect on that point. Like 'Dollhouse' (which was actually number 1), T:TSCC had one of the highest proportions of viewers on DVR i.e. its ratings increased by one of the larger percentages (often in the top 5 week on week) BUT the actual numbers in absolute terms were still quite low in comparison to e.g. 'Lost' - most of the time neither 'Dollhouse' or Sarah Connor chronicles finished anywhere near the top 20 for total DVR viewers.

[ edited by Saje on 2009-08-31 15:15 ]
So... if you watch Dollhouse, you're a nerd/dork/dweeb. And if you're a nerd/dork/dweeb, you're ipso facto "chronically unbangable" and will never again enjoy the least little bit of sex. But stay home, be a dork and don't get laid to watch Dollhouse, even if you don't actually like the show.

I guessing this isn't the kind of buzz Fox was envisioning to expand Dollhouse's audience. There's a time and place and way to celebrate genre culture, but I'd prefer it if people didn't vomit their inner geek on my shoes.
If I lived in the US I wouldn't be able to watch Dollhouse....9-10 is time I need to get to town, then we have pre-drinks then we go to a club and get drunk. Friday night really is the death slot...
We must stay home Friday nights and save Dollhouse, even if we don't like it that much.

I'm very uncomfortable with this thought. When is begging people to watch something they don't like ever a good idea? It would never happen anyway and declaring they should makes its fans look bad.

I'm sorry, but THE friday night death slot is 8-9pm EST

It seems they both were, since Dollhouse is the only Fox Friday show in 10 years to survive for a second season.
I'm very uncomfortable with this thought. When is begging people to watch something they don't like ever a good idea? It would never happen anyway and declaring they should makes its fans look bad.

I don't think "don't like it that much" is the same as "don't like it". Especially with a show like Dollhouse there are a lot of people who gave it a try, expecting a new Whedon-hit, and were disappointed down to "meh"-level. Most of them are probably not actively seeking out new exciting news about the show, and most of them probably haven't bought the DVD or seen "Epitaph One". I think trying to bring these people back is not wrong.
I think it is wrong. "Watch this show so it doesn't get canceled" is a terrible approach.
Trying to entice some lapsed viewers back is fine. Doing it by running around going "WATCH SO THEY DON'T CANCEL IT" is a recipe for "screw you, go away, and leave me alone".
Well, it's probably a question of nuance and contextualisation. While I wouldn't do it that way either, I think it's also fair to say that one of the many reasons I watch and hype this show is because I want to have more like it on TV. So in a way, I am investing in the TV landscape beyond the show itself. It's not much different than mentioning that Dollhouse and Chuck being renewed is a good sign for fan-beloved niche-genre-TV. Looking at it from that perspective/context, it's a valid point to make, imo, as long as it's not shouted or anything. :)
Yes, I was being unclear, I agree with bix's statement. I think encouraging people to give it another try, especially since the two halves of the season are so different, is fine. I take issue with people saying they're not all that fond of it but all you nerds should watch, to support the genre. Supporting what scifi you think is bad or so-so just to support scifi just exacerbates the problems scifi already has.

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-08-31 17:39 ]
Yeah it makes sense that supporting bad sci-fi is likely to lead to more bad sci-fi, which would be, y'know, bad. Being a sci-fi fan doesn't mean supporting any and all examples of the genre just as being a fan of an actor or writer doesn't mean you have to believe everything they ever do is flawless.

That said, saying "This has got a lot better, you should give it another try" is fine IMO. I'd never have watched "Babylon 5" beyond about the first 8 episodes if a friend whose opinion I trust hadn't told me that (and i've done the same for 'Farscape', urging people to stick with it long enough to see beyond the "muppets in spaaaaacccccce" first impression).
I dont even know why networks even air original series on Friday nights...they could easily air some reality TV garbage that costs way less to make if they dont expect anyone to watch it. I think its unreasonable to put something on Friday nights as a "test" to see if they could move it to a more desirable night. Also, it would be interesting to know how much of the audience watches the show online. I personally dont even get network TV let alone have a DVR...I just stream everything online...is my viewership even counted?
Your viewership is counted more than those of us who just watch on tv and are not Nielsen households actually. Assuming you're watching through an official source like Fox or Hulu that is.
"We can't expect the assimilation of sci-fi into the TV mainstream to continue apace."

Is it? I know a few franchises have had cross-over appeal and done well for themselves (Star Trek, Star Wars), but I think that has more to do with their action orientation and their overall epic scope. (We humans do like our epics.)

I'm not sure where "mainstream middle America" is actually located... but it might be about where I live. Columbus, Ohio is THE test center for all things food franchise-able. If it doesn't fly here... the rest of the country probably won't universally embrace it. We are indeed the LCD. (It's a bit depressing.)I really don't find many people around here (in my highly unscientific polling) who even bother to register the existence of SF. They like their fiction to happen in a more "concrete" world. I would guess that we register pretty low as a city on the GeekometerTM.

(On the upside though, we do have S.P.A.C.E., the Small Press Alternative Comics Expo, and the Mid-Ohio Con. So all geekdom is not completely dead -- just marginalized as usual. ;))

Ya know, just a thought, for some Dollhouse cross-over appeal... nothing beats a good government/big business conspiracy. Even the most middle-of-the-road person out there knows that those elitist selfish pigs are all out to get us. ;) I figure THAT was the reason for The X-Files wide appeal.
SYFY has been airing some of their best shows on Friday for years. To me, it's Saturday that is the "Death Slot" for shows.

You need to log in to be able to post comments.
About membership.



joss speaks back home back home back home back home back home