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September 20 2009

Friday nights are not what they used to be. Dollhouse will be facing off against Medium, Southland and Ugly Betty this Fall. So the L.A. Times is wondering if Friday is becoming "a day for appointment television". There's some insight from Joss into the matter.

Also Smallville on The CW, same timeslot.
I forgot about The CW but then sadly I think most people do these days.
Smallville has been shifted to Friday night, with their relaunch on September 25th as it happens. So I hope people indeed have forgotten The CW and about Smallville. (Although seriously, what season of Smallville is it? 21?).
Is that supposed to be Eliza Dushku on the upper right? Huh.
If anybody is wondering, Glee got 0.9/3 with 2.76 million in Dollhouse's slot on Friday night.
Smallville is on at 8/7c, not competing with Dollhouse.
Oh! I'm wrong about something (it's not against Dollhouse), I'm frankly shocked. I should get a job for Fox marketing.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-20 22:51 ]
Count me in to those who don't care about theCW anymore. Which is sort of sad, as I loved the Wb ten years ago. I pity all those current teens for not having such a great network.

Anyone else here who loves both Ugly Betty and Dollhouse? If I lived in the US, it would be hard for me to choose between one of them.
You caught the same thing I did hacksaway... what a bizarre description of Echo.
"It's 'Firefly' all over again!" wrote one worried observer on the website Whedonesque.

Only one?
I forgot about The CW but then sadly I think most people do these days.


Only day I even think about it is Thursdays, so don't feel too bad there.

I have to admit, I share Joss's feelings. Exposure's good, but so's no competition. Hopefully this will work in our favor though.
Thats a crappy drawing of Eliza..
So, random question, but is season two definitely only 13 episodes, or is there a possibility of a back nine?
The last we heard there was a possibility of a back nine. That was a month or two back during TCAs, when Kevin Reilly said a repeat of last season's performance (which, frankly, I think it will beat) could be enough for them to order more.
There is indeed a possibility of a back nine. Not sure how many hoops Dollhouse has to jump through to get it.
I'll be watching Dollhouse, DVRing Medium, catching Southland on Hulu, and watching Stargate: Universe 3 hours early on my HD feed. Sorry, Ugly Betty. Actually I gave up on it halfway through last year.

gossi, I already thought you worked for Fox Marketing. We all know the tuna company is a front. The back nine is certainly a possibilty. And it will be very amusing to watch tvbythenumbers predict how Fox will never order them. :)

BTW: Dollhouse banner ads all over thefutoncritic with correct times and dates and everything. :)

[ edited by TamaraC on 2009-09-20 22:40 ]
Well, TVbytheNumbers' Robert Seidman still has his Dollhouse background up. ;)
Given the marketing for Dollhouse season two, I think it might bomb hard (ratings wise). I hope I'm wrong. I'm kinda pissy about it because the people running the show have addressed pretty much every reason I saw during the first season why the audience wasn't always 'feeling it'.

Also, I'm not saying it won't get the back 9. I've always said it has a shot. Ultimately the execs aren't stupid, they know it's in a tough slot on a tough night with a tough lead in.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-20 22:51 ]
I don't think it will bomb (although I make no predictions as to the first episode back). Between those who watched last season, those who didn't but came around after word of its second half got around, those who weren't going to bother unless it was renewed, those who got jazzed because of Epitaph One, and those from inside and outside this fandom being pulled in by the guest stars, I do believe it will ultimately best last year's performance.
Re: the Friday night drawing - yeah, when I first opened it, I had a little frisson of excitement, as my people say, at the thought that we might finally have a caricaturist to rival the late Hirschfeld. Nope - I had to spend far too much time figuring out who some of them were, which is not what we expect from a caricaturist, except maybe the ones at the beach.

I think the Southland guy was supposed to be Michael Cudlitz (one of our beloved zombies on "The Zeppo", among other Whedonesquery) but it could've been meant for any of them, really.

And I'm gonna hafta assume that the female drawn on the upper right was supposed to represent Eliza, but it looks just as much like Summer or even Mila Kunis.

Well, actually, the woman it most looks like to me is Yoko Ono in her mid-30's.
Man, I still get tweets and emails asking me when it's back on. When the hardcore Joss fans don't even know when it's on..

I've been very, very positive about the show and the network for months now, but I do want to take one thread and say - hey, show is awesome. You should all watch. But I feel a big fall out brewing over the ratings, and I don't believe that is the shows fault this year.
i'm more cranky that it's going up against stargate: universe. i think that's gonna pull more viewers from dollhouse than any other show really. at least for the time being, it looks like it won't be going up against chuck. fortunately, we've got a tivo hd xl dvr, we can watch one show while recording two others.
Personally, I don't think some hardcore Joss fans not knowing when it's back is especially relevant, since a number of hardcore Joss fans opted out of watching it last season anyway.
It's relevant because if you don't tell Joss Whedon fans when a Joss Whedon show is on, you probably aren't getting your message to the wider audience either. That's my belief, anyway.
And I just don't think it's any different in that regard, and that audience, than last season. So I don't think it factors in as much as one might fear, especially for me, who subscribes to my above notion of prospective new audience members.
Meanwhile, Dollhouse ads have been spotted during NFL football on FOX today.
What new audience members? Last season it had wall-to-wall adverts on shows like The Simpsons. This year it's had, like, 5 adverts or something silly. One of them even had the wrong airdate on.
Heh, I was wondering why Southland sounded familiar. There were articles about it not too long ago, praising it for the gruff/beefy and low-key portrayal of a gay male cop as one of their regular characters, played by Michael Cudlitz, as QuoterGal mentioned (had one of my favorite funny lines in that ep--something like "Did you tape all the Walker, Texas Ranger I missed ?"). Course, Six Feet Under got there first with Keith and maybe there were others before that, but yes, we'll pat network cable on the back for finally getting there.

I would say that hardcore Joss-specific fans might drop with every new series/project (but then new ones come along as well), but a funny thing happened with Firefly. Many Buffy/Angel fans, either people online or close friends (plus my sister), didn't watch Firefly or didn't like the first episode enough to keep up with it. Later, either heard good things about it and checked it out on DVD themselves, or were lent the discs by friends, and loved it. I was hanging around TwoP at the time quite a bit and there were a number of opinion reversals later. I have no idea if the same will happen with Dollhouse, after the DVDs have been out longer.

I know someone who generally has good taste, watched "Ghost" and thought it sucked balls. He doesn't think Eliza Dushku can act (he wasn't a Buffy/Angel viewer, so I have to assume he saw her in films or was unfortunate enough to catch Tru Calling maybe). I want to convince him to give Dollhouse another chance (it picks up huge around Episode 5/6, has a great one or two episodes after that--"A Spy in the House of Love" and also "Needs", IMO--and the last three episodes are a ride, the final of those a ballsy jaw-dropper...plus I could sell him on his Eliza-bias by saying that the show proves to be very much an ensemble thing). But he also doesn't often stick with shows to their conclusions--either they actually do get bad if they go on for too long, or he just gives up too soon out of disinterest or not liking certain changes (for example: he stopped watching Dexter because he thought it was a mistake to kill off a certain character toward the end of the second season, which I don't understand, would've more understood giving up on the show over some impatience with how things were going during Season 3, which he didn't bother with). So given that he might just give up after Season 2, might not be worth the effort to get into it (even though I will hand him the blu-rays).
I've got Smallville, then Dollhouse, then Flashpoint (happily moved to 10 on CTV.) Don't bother me on Friday night.
watching Simpsons, saw DH ads 3 times in the last 40 mins.

[ edited by edcsLover9 on 2009-09-21 01:06 ]
Simpsons AND football makes me kinda happy, since they are as close to the little AI-push we got last year as it can get.

I think it will struggle hard to reverse the trend and get back to that 1.5 it averaged last year. But I also believe that the show has picked up a lot of new folk over the summer, just as b!X said.
As usual Joss has pierced to the heart of the matter: Competition equals Bad.

The Whedonverse should be the only game in town and the easiest way to do that is shown by the ad to the right of the article. If mediocre to mildly entertaining NCIS can get can get NCIS: LA then Dollhouse should be able to sustain at least 18 spinoffs. We already know there are more than two dozen Dollhouses.

We all love it when whedonverse alums show up in Dollhouse, so Joss should just go all out and do Dollhouse: Persephone. And where's the last place anyone would look for the Dollhouse's supersecret command centre? Under the Sunnydale Crater of course.
The good news is that the advertising spots have finally, properly started now. 1 week is cutting it extremely close, we'll see what happens.
Friday is becoming a big night on tv, at least for me.

I've got Ghost Whisperer at 8, and then at 9 I'll switch to Dollhouse. Guess I'll have to tivo Medium because I like that show too.
I had to read this blurb like three times...I thought it said "a day for DISappointment television". Must be Freudian or something...
I discovered Dollhouse last week, when I received the region 2 DVD I ordered from UK (I live in France). Watching the first episodes, I clearly understood why the start was not very brilliant: they're "good", but not "whedon-good" as opposed to the last ones (let's say from half the season to the end). BTW, the original pilot was really *not good*, I completely understood they did not broadcast it (I think it saved the show).

I was particularly stunned by "Epitaph One" (of course). This might have been discussed here (since I avoided any kind of spoiler on Dollhouse I probably missed it), but I was wondering about Epitaph One, and especially the name: do any other whedonesque think, like me, that we could have one "Epitaph" episode per season (and thus Epitaph Two in season 2, etc.) and that these "special episodes" will in fact describe the overall arc of the show, albeit split during each season rather than gathered at the end of the last season? I was really thrilled at this idea (which would truly be a master-piece of storytelling invention); it can be hard to maintain on the long run, and I am not sure it is easy to maintain a coherent story (this would mean that, right now, the staff knows "how it ends" without knowing how to go there, and that any further development would have to take into account these "last episodes"), but this would be truly interesting to watch (and a possible way to attract viewers - but also, perhaps, to loose some...). Anyway, it is possible the showriters already made declarations which contradicts this possibility (as I said, I stayed away from comments to avoid spoilers).


Last word: it is obvious that the writers of Epitaph One read Stephen King's "Cell"...
Le Comité, your thoughts on the Epitaphs is what I originally thought as well. But then some things were said that suggested otherwise. But then some other things were said later that suggested maybe they will do it that way after all. I guess we'll see. Heh.
I agree about the original pilot, Le Comité. The general opinion online appears to be people love it, and I loved the original script (I gave it 8 out of 10 on Dollverse) - but I didn't like it once it was put together. I'm not sure why still. It's way too confusing for a first episode, I think.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-09-21 13:21 ]
The original pilot is far too busy of an episode, for a first episode. There were moments here and there...but, eh. Bits of it got salvaged elsewhere, even that one blonde actress.

Between "Echo" and "Ghost", I'm not sure what would have made the perfect opening Dollhouse episode. Maybe there was no way to open this show perfectly, even if they were allowed to make something bigger than what we got within the commercial-reduced hour. It's a big premise and takes a few separate storylines/engagements to really get a handle on (although speculation among fans lead to a lot of figuring out or at least accurate guesses before we were shown), plus the cast is of a decent size and some characters took longer to warm to than others.
I'm one of the people who loved the original pilot. Of course I didn't watch it as a first episode and I must admit I have watched it only once (the only Dollhouse ep I watched more than once is "True Believer", which I watched a second time with the excellent sofadogs commentary with Tim Minear on.) and while watching "Echo" I didn't really have the perspective of a new viewer in mind, but from that limited point of view I think its a real waste it wasn't used as an introduction, especially the first act, and while of course the Paul bit might have been too much at once for new viewers (again, I wouldn't know really) it didn't come across that way to me at all.

I have much more mixed feelings about "Ghost". If it hadn't been for the track record of the people involved I wouldn't have made it through the first half hour, but the scenes with Paul and the actual "Ghost" storyline in the second half won me over, though I still don't think it works well as an introduction. I would have prefered to see a "normal" engagement first and something like this somewhat later in the season.

I guess the Joss fandom is a bit more divided on Dollhouse then on other stuff like Dr. H. or Sugershock. "Epitaph One" is an episode that didn't do much for me (talk about a too busy episode) and that episode seems to be quite well liked by "the fandom" as well.

It's too bad to hear there isn't much marketing going on for Dollhouse S2, because with all the talent flooding Dollhouse S2 I would have tuned in again if I had dropped out during Ghost or the early half of S1, so it would be a waste if they didn't let people know about it.

Based on the first episode of S4 Dexter I'd say it seems like that show will manage to shake of its S3 problems this year. I hope the first ep of the new Dollhouse season can make me feel that way about our series as well.

[ edited by the Groosalugg on 2009-09-22 11:38 ]

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