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October 04 2009

Dollverse - 'Dollhouse at real risk of being pulled off the air'. If you want more Dollhouse, now would be a good time to volunteer your help. Earlier this weekend, some suggestions appeared at blank_dolls and the IMDB Dollhouse Board to try and boost the show's ratings.

You know, about ten minutes ago I searched for gossi on Twitter, and what do I discover? Basically the end of the world. Not happy stuff for a sunday night.

I'm up for helping. I have the time to spare most evenings.
Anything I could do to help I would gladly do.

Also, here's a cool link with some info and icons/buttons to show support:

Blank Dolls: Help Dollhouse
Oh, mother of god, again?! I hate Fox, I really do.
Damn, I'm hoping we still get the remaining episodes aired. This really, really sucks.
I'm not sure how this could have been avoided; FOX seemed intent on keeping Dollhouse's return and episodes kind of a secret from the viewing public. Plus, last episode up against Zombieland opening and SGU? Surprised there was anyone watching FOX at all.
I'll do anything I can. What can I do to help?
Is a chatroom needed, or is their one already? It might just be me, but instant communication and brainstorming comes in handy in these situations.
I'll do anything I can. What can I do to help?


I tweeted the following at our Whedonesque Twitter account

"You can help Dollhouse by watching it, telling people about it, lend/buy the DVD, buying the episodes on iTunes, watching it on Hulu".

Any other suggestions are welcome. Particularly for those outside the US.
Nielsen family? Watch live. Not? Watch via DVR. Then buy it from iTunes or Amazon Video, then re-watch on FOX.com or Hulu.
Go old school: Paper flyers posted around town in the physical world. Use the Dollhouse glyph/icon (from the pdf on the Virtual Echo site). Network, day, and time. The bit about how to watch depending on Neilsen or not. Maybe a tagline or two. "Did you fall asleep?" "It's time for your treatment."
Hey, I don't want to be the pessimist here, but even though I support all efforts that could help the show, the problem with all these campaigns is that they are more or less aimed mainly on the internet people and not the casual viewers, who don't spend their time surfing through websites and forums dedicated to TV shows. However, in reality it's not the first group of people, but the second that mostly determine whether TV shows are successful (in terms of viewing figures) and survive or end up in the can. So even if we persuadeevery person on the internet we can to watch Dollhouse, in the end it will be just a tiny drop of water in comparison to the vast seas of casual viewers who don't give a damn about internet buzz. I'm afraid that only Fox itself can get the casual viewers for Dollhouse, but that would require more active marketing and perhaps even some exposure of the show to new viewers (for example by airing repeats of some of the episodes on different days after stronger lead-ins). But I think that Fox won't be willing to spend the extra money or effort needed to reach those new viewers...
Watch on Hulu, iTunes, Amazon. If you're torrenting, consider buying a US voucher off eBay and buying a season pass. I realise buying a season pass abroad is a major hassle, which is part of the problem, but hey.

Join the forum referenced above if you have suggestions and - critically at this stage - have graphic design, web design and/or PHP/Python/Ruby skills. I'm trying to put together a proper viral marketing team at short notice with no budget, which is a lofty and slightly impossible goal, but Join Me on it. (And read Danny Wallaces books 'Join Me' and 'Yes Man', they changed my life).

Somebody tweeted me just now and asked what "normal people" can do. We're all normal people. Every single one of us. It's not our job to advertise the show, but people still don't know it's on so we might as well try to tell 'em.

I'm so proud of Dollhouse on so many levels. Episode 4 of this season is amazing and deserves to air. So, let us see if it can.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-04 22:26 ]
Man. I hope we at least get to see all 13 episodes. If we at least get to see the entire season, I'll at least be remotely satisfied, since I really wasn't sure a third season was a possibility unless the show majorly improved ratings out of nowhere anyway.

But if we don't get to see this entire season at least I'm really going to be uber-pissed.
Anuris - I agree.

The problem is there is no action plan that we can take to affect that. The only one I can actually think of would be for us to actually fund the advertisements, which outside of Farscape I don't think has ever been done. And that would be a major test of both the fans' faith, financial resources, and sheer dumb luck (because it still might not work).

Fox won't, because to advertise Dollhouse they have to not advertise something else like House, The Simpsons, or American Idol. I don't think they're willing to make that sacrifice.

I don't think anyone's saying we're not normal people, it's that we're a very specific demographic that is a smidge on the avant-garde side and internet savvy. That's a very specific demographic and all Dollhouse promotion seems aimed at it.

I know a few people who are now fans of Dollhouse because I explained the premise but are also religious American Idol viewers. If it is the fan's job to find these people, I don't know how Fox ever expected THAT to work.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-10-04 22:39 ]
From Maurissa Tancharoen's twitter:

Work should be interesting tomorrow...


https://twitter.com/MoTancharoen/status/4611128249
I want to help. I don't really know code nor do I have money.I have time and I want to spend it helping my favorite show. A couple of friends of mine said if I gifted them some copies of the show on itunes they would give it a chance. I did that but I don't have the money to keep doing that. I'm buying a house. Life sucks. I have time but no useful skills-Isn't that the way it always is?....
Maurissa had also posted about how Friday nights numbers weren't good. Jane Espenson replied something along the lines of how more people see a series on DVD than they ever do on its television broadcast and how it's really just a measure of "early adopters." I sort of wish the network's would realize this and fully embrace it at some point. :(
B!x, DVR viewing is still only counted if you're a Neilsen household. Hulu and iTunes is the only way for everyone to be counted.
I'm not even sure all 13 episodes will get made at this point. I know in the other thread I said I bet my left my hand they would (because I stupidly believed business sense would prevail), but right now I don't know. And I'm right handed. Thank Goddess.

A plan will form between all of us, but putting together something constructive is going to take a few days. So hang fire if you don't know what to do. I don't want Dollhouse to sink without a fight. Without the physical fighting, because have you met me? I met Adam Baldwin once and my physical reaction was to cower.
The One True b!X said "Go old school: Paper flyers posted around town in the physical world."

We could make an Eliza/Joker (Maybe Sen. Perrin?) Shepard Fairey spoof and canvas the town.
b!X's idea isn't a bad one, BlindHawkeyes. Someone mentioned earlier how it's the casual viewer and not Internet viewers whose interest we need to catch. Maybe taking it to the street is the exact kind of campaign that might become effective?

If FOX isn't paying for billboards, we can make our own???
You know, I tell EVERYBODY I know to watch Dollhouse. Unfortunately, most of the people I know go to the football game Friday night instead of watching Dollhouse. We go too, but we never stay for all of the game so we can get home to watch Dollhouse. That's what we're up against. Life.
Oh I agree with the whole posters idea. I was just suggesting an idea for the posters since the Obama/Joker poster went so viral in LA that so many news outlets heard about it across the country.
gossi - I have a quick question. If Fox has paid for 13, and Fox Studios still has a DVD to put together, why would they not produce all 13 even if Fox network canceled it tomorrow?

Would it be the principal of the thing?
Whedon is god, get them to watch on Hulu. That way they can see the show and be counted!
Email them the link when the show appears on Hulu.
Isn't watching on fox.com more accurate? Hulu won't count numbers. I guess doing both wouldn't hurt.
Well don't get too crazy. One of the things that the internet does allow you to do is track exactly who is viewing a page. Something as simple as tracking cookies would tell the network very quickly if I have 10 people watching the show, or one person watching it 10 times. And there are more advanced ways to do it than simple cookies.
Hulu does count numbers. Remember Hulu is owned by Fox, NBC and ABC. Those numbers are very important to them and the technology makes it easy to produce viewing figures.

They don't have the category breakdown (Age, social group, gender etc) that Nielsen does but it's still valuable data.
As a clarification, since 2006 TiVo has tracked and reported DVR usage of its units through its Audience Research & Measurement (ARM) division. So if you have a TiVo, you're being counted-- although not by Nielsen. Like Hulu, such info may get reported to the networks as a separate audience slice, which some now report to be a deluge of confusing data. A new "Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement" has just been formed to standardise all this disparate audience ratings, which may turn into a competitor to Nielsen.

So there is definitely a sense of suspicion about the accuracy of the current ratings hegemony.

[ edited by Whedonage on 2009-10-04 23:07 ]
azzers, I'm purely speculating (WELCOME TO THE INTERNET), but Fox hasn't committed to a 13 episode DVD. It's possible for FOX to back out of the production deal at penalty, probably. I'm not sure if the studio has already sold a 13 episode second season to international and how the US network affects that.

Right now I don't care. I want a full second season, and I want them to air it, and advertise it properly. More accurately I want them to advertise and air. Call me radical.

Watching on Hulu, FOX.com, Amazon and iTunes definitely DOES count toward overall viewership and accounting.

I believe FOX Broadcasting Corp also buys ARM stats. So DVR.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-04 23:00 ]
There seems to be two main efforts on Dollhouse, Gossi' Dollverse and B!x's Double Dollhouse site (as well as the Unoffical ME site/twitter feed).

Any chance you two can work together on something as well as the rest of us? Both of you seem to have a lot of experience with this sort of thing.

Off to watch iTunes download of Instinct (again)
Thanks for that Whedonage, I stand corrected. Although if that data conflicts with the Nielsen rating data I suspect the advertisers will believe Nielsen...
Gossi - I want a full second season two as well. And To be sure, Hulu and Fox does count. They sell advertising in both places.

What I am saying (and I'm not defeatist, I've just worked on the internet too long) is that if Fox really gets curious, they can "back out" duplicate numbers.

Do services like Time Warner that sell DVR boxes also publish their viewing? I DVR every dollhouse episode but it might not be counted.
But Gossi - they have sold something to Sci Fi UK.....we know that much!
US shows are cancelled mid season all the time and overseas broadcasters just have to lump it. I assume there is a "Subject to continuing production" clause in their contracts.
@azzers While it's possible that viewer data may someday get monitored by cable cos, I suspect its not yet standardized. The systems used for set-top DVRs from cable providers aren't designed for that purpose, so far as I know. For example, Time Warner offers the Scientific Atlanta (now part of Cisco) Explorer 8300. According to the FAQ for the unit:
Does the cable operator gather information from what I'm watching or from what I'm recording?
No.

In my incredibly limited knowledge of these things it does seem like the real life options (B!x's [and anyone else who mentioned it] billboard/signs etc) and getting real world media to notice it is both harder and also more effective.

(Not to say web stuff is pointless or anything).

So I'm very up for helping out as much as I can. How much does an ad/billboard etc cost? (This is sort of a rhetorical question, as I don't necessarily need an answer, just an option)

[ edited by fmwt on 2009-10-04 23:27 ]
Is there no possible way for the show to go to cable?
Well, this just sucks.

I just don't understand how Fox could have really expected the numbers to rise with terrible lead-ins, the worst slot, and little/poor promotion.

It seems like the people whom we really need to reach are those with Nelson boxes. Even if Hulu and iTunes are high, with the ratings we currently have, it's curtains.

I'm in love with this show. And like the Shepperd said, "if you can't do something right, do something stupid".
I hope that all the episodes get made this year, and I'm sad for Joss and Eliza. But Dollhouse has just been "eh" for me except for 2 or 3 episodes. When Buffy, Angel, & Firefly were on TV, they were the best shows on TV. I just don't feel that way about Dollhouse.

My hope Joss doesn't disappear from TV for years again. And I really wish he would do a show on the SyFy channel, as ratings would be good enough to continue and he'd have the freedom to do a show how he wants to.
Holy crap. We're at the precipice again so soon? Bravo to gossi, b!X, and all others who are steering this fight that I didn't realize we were having. The idea that not even the 13 episodes originally ordered might get made is deeply depressing-making. Another Firefly-level story interruptus? Really?

At the numbers Whedon et al seem to tend to pull in, time and again (we're at four TV series and counting), it seems they really do belong on cable. Cable isn't the holy grail, but it'd probably sure beat this.

And yes. The lead-in sucks very, very deeply. How anyone can think that that is not a factor is beyond me. Maybe not the defining factor, but come on. Ditto the advertising or lack thereof. Plus the lack of a "previously on." It's almost like Dollhouse is being sent on a kamikaze mission. What's the point of renewing it at all without nurturing?
If someone makes a poster, I'll print it and post it places. Where lots of college students will see it. (I'd make one myself, but I'm pretty clueless with computer graphic stuff.)

Also, gossi, if you want to set up a Paypal thing for your viral marketing campaign, I'll totally donate. I'd try to help design or whatever, but again pretty much useless there--so let us know if money will help. Because I love this show too much to see it die.
Sucks because I know most of this season would have owned and now they might not make it. But really, after the first two episodes I'm not surprised. Fox can't be blamed for the creative flaws. Deeply annoying situation.

Good luck everyone, though.
Again I'll suggest FB advertising. It's fairly cheap, and can reach people who don't read TV based forums. $40 bought me 200,000 impressions. I know I reached people who had never heard of Dr. Horrible or CSTS.

A bigger budget would reach a lot more people.

But the question remains... How would one do it without raising the ire of FOX?

Raising money for that is going to be easier and start the advertising sooner than putting together a newspaper Ad.

All you need is a $10 donation to start the ball rolling and you can have that from me. The more money that pours into the account, the more ads you can run, the broader you can make your target list.
If anybody wants to compare reactions to Firefly get cancelled (and obviously Dollhouse isn't cancelled) here is the topic. Simon's headline ("Bugger") made me laugh. Firefly is a giggle, because go back to 2002 and people just seemed to hate the thing online. Which now seems... odd.
Ivalaine, don't FOX already do Facebook advertising for Dollhouse?
Another thought: write a short, clever blog post about how much you love Dollhouse (with links to hulu), and post it on facebook. If a bunch of us do that--but with a strong focus how good the show is and little-to-no mention of impending doom--there's a chance that will up hulu traffic. Which might help a little?
Ivalaine,

Yep fb adverts sound like a cool, fast solution for now. (phase 1 of many perhaps?).

Gossi does Fox care about us doing adverts?

(Do we care if they care?)
Right. I've posted a topic on the forum asking for Google banner adverts (designs). I'm going to place them on websites. Also Facebook advertising. I'm also going to contact some of the press and let them know fans are paying for the DOLLHOUSE advertising now.

More stuff will follow and I'll balance it out with charity things also.
FWIW, Double Dollhouse Days is a dead site anyway. It was a specific campaign leading into S2. Watch DOLLHOUSE Week last season got a lot of play. Double Dollhouse Days, however, almost no one cared about or tried to push, despite my efforts to make it otherwise. That comes across, I understand, as bitchy but it's mainly just disappointed on the show's behalf. DDD was basically the only "don't forget about Dollhouse" effort going on during the Summer, but no one at an institutionalized fandom level cared. Why no one cared trying to keep the attention up over the Summer, as we headed towards S2, I have no idea, but there you go.
Others have probably mentioned it in the past, but does anyone know the particulars of Dushku's contract with Fox? Is it usual for individual actors to have contracts with major networks like that? If they want her to be a spokesperson for Fox, then why would they not throw all support behind whatever her current project is?
When a network cancels a show that usually means that production gets shut down because the studio can't afford to make the show without the licensing fee from the broadcast network. I can't recall an instance where a whole series has been completed after network cancellation. The other thing to recall is that how much difference in profit would there be for FOX releasing a 6-8 episode (or however many have been shot already) DVD set vs. a 13 episode DVD set?

ETA: Networks often have development deals with actors, it doesn't make their shows immune from cancellation. There comes a point where the numbers just don't make sense for the network regardless of other factors.

[ edited by helcat on 2009-10-05 00:11 ]
Because if Dollhouse fails, they can use Dushku for something else. If they think that they're not going to get a return on their investment, they're going to stop supporting it regardless of Dushku's involvement. It's not pretty, but there it is.
I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure that ED's contract is/was with the studio and not the network. The network would be the ones to decide about cancellation. The studio doesn't want cancellation. Clear as mud?

[ edited by TamaraC on 2009-10-05 00:12 ]
I'm sad, but I don't blame Fox either.

Maybe next time.

/did I fall asleep?
B!x yep I agree, and I think we will come to rue that we didn't do more for DDD. However I personally am trying to look forward and hope that people with the good ideas, skills etc (you, Gossi and the rest of us) can enable whatever level of doom is happening to stop happening. (it's very easy for me to say that when effectively I've done bugger all apart from tweeting about watching DDD)
Felicia Day has over a million followers on Twitter. She could kindly ask them to watch Dollhouse.

I don't know details about Eliza's deal with Fox, but I know it was with both the production company AND the network.
Do we know how many eps have been shot so far?
Maybe we could get people who started to watch it (past episodes, 9 pm hour) to continue - any ideas?
Sorry B!x, I didn't even hear about DDD.

I have no idea about Fox/DH ads on FB. I'm in Aus, so I would never be one of their targets. Plus do we really want to leave advertising up to them in the wake of that terrible ad from last week? Their advertising people suck, we can and should do it better. And how would it hurt for there to be more ads on FB about DH?
I think Felicia did mention that she was going to watch Dollhouse on Friday.
They're midway through ep 7 at mo, I believe.
That's not very comforting :(
Just wanted to throw an idea out: what about organizing dollHOUSE PARTIES? What if everyone invites friends over on some upcoming Friday, not friends who already watch Dollhouse, but friends who don't that should. Yeah, won't make any bumps in the ratings, but if it's coordinated, it could get some publicity.

Taking it a step further, larger "parties" could invite their local newspaper TV critic, or a reporter from a college newspaper if it's students attending, in the hopes of them then writing an article about the event and the show. ("Come see non-Dollhouse viewers imprinted with the show! Be part of the engagement!") It could generate some free local publicity in old media.

Again, just an idea...
What Ive been doing is small but Ive been tweeting and I also sent e-mails to Ausiello and the WWK team asking them to help in any way no matter how small they can. Also Im going out to buy my copy of season one tomorrow. FYI the show has been preforming kinda excellently in Ireland. Its number 4 in the overall charts the last time I checked despite the fact that the show didnt air on any Irish channels and that the Sci-Fi channel has literally no advertising over here
People may remember the Firefly parties - I'm pretty sure Kiba does - so if anybody wants to take that and run with it for organising that would be grand.

I've also noticed quite a few people tweeting @foxbroadcasting asking them to #advertisedollhouse which makes me giggle.

By the way, I hear the DVD is doing extremely well in the UK.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-05 00:58 ]
If you haven't bought the season 1 DVD, that could be helpful.
I really don't understand the logic of just not finishing up the season when you've got more than half of them filmed. Why not just air it and let it finish it's run. It's not like they have something better waiting to fill that horrible time slot.

I was so excited when they renewed the show and then all the news of the shows that they were going to be up against started coming out and I knew it was going to be a problem. Ugly Betty & Medium both have dedicated followings and were on bigger networks. Then SGU is put up against it too and you have all the SG fans and the BSG fans looking for a new space/scifi show and I knew it was going to be even worse.

I hope they decide to at least finish out the season so Joss can wrap it up and give it a proper ending but now I'm worried that won't happen.
If it ever gets to the point where fans would mail networks (like the hair gel for Angel), my suggestion, as I posted on gossi's other site:

My crazy idea involves cheap, generic Barbie dolls and/or blow-up dolls... writing on their backs or legs in Sharpies like, "Watch Dollhouse, Fridays, etc.)" and then leaving them at big public places around town. Viral marketing at its best.
What were the numbers for online viewership? Most of the events I cover are Fri/Sat/Sun so I usually catch the show via Hulu. I should start DVR'ing it as well.
I just don't understand. Fox knew that getting a second season would be a risk. They decided to take that risk. Why would they want to jump ship after only showing 2 episodes? The general lack of advertising felt like they didn't even try to make the show a success in the first place.

All I want is to see the full 13 episodes of season 2 of Dollhouse. I want to see an Epitaph 2. I want to see Alpha again. I want to see many episodes with Summer in them. I want to see Echo evolve as a person. I want to see some of the beginnings of the things we saw in flashbacks in Epitaph One.

They can't cancel the show now! I was prepared to lose it after season 1, but now I am addicted.
With ratings like these, there's no point in fighting. It can be relaxing to realize there is absolutely nothing that can be done.

I just hope they'll produce all 13 episodes, even if they won't air them.
Gossi, sent you an email. And I concur, they should be finishing episode 7 this week.
AnotherFireflyfan, the show was renewed because it was likely to keep the same numbers it had last season but it is losing too many viewers too fast.
I really don't understand the logic of just not finishing up the season when you've got more than half of them filmed. Why not just air it and let it finish it's run. It's not like they have something better waiting to fill that horrible time slot.

I'd put money down that reruns of House/Bones/pretty much any other FOX show would get better ratings than Dollhouse has managed this last week in that time slot.
I'm looking forward to Joss being able to express his creative vision with fewer constraints from Fox.

I'm a huge supporter of Dollhouse: watched every ep, bought on iTunes, bought DVD. But when I attended his talk in NYC he mentioned how -- even now in season 2 -- they struggle every episode trying to reconcile their creative vision with Fox's fundamentally different view of what the show should be. That's not a slam on Fox -- they're certainly allowed to have a different vision. But it means that Dollhouse may always feel awkward because it's torn between two competing philosophies.

Maybe the best thing is to wrap it up cleanly and let Joss move on to an Internet studio or cable network that gives him more creative control.
Is Fox taking into account the promotion errors they made (wrong season return dates) when looking at the ratings for the first 2 eps? This snafu certainly didn't help. There's quite a few people who seem to have been caught in the trap of not realising the season had already started, and this will no doubt hurt the show's ratings if they get confused and don't come back.
Sent an email to Tycho at Penny Arcade to see how much an ad there would cost. And if they would run it.

(of course people who can actually draw etc will have to come up with something)
With ratings like these, there's no point in fighting. It can be relaxing to realize there is absolutely nothing that can be done.

I just hope they'll produce all 13 episodes, even if they won't air them.



What we're fighting for now is not for the show to be renewed for a third season or even to get a back 9 for this season. We realize there's almost no chance of either of those things happening now. Which I'm prepared for and would be ok with at this point.

What we're fighting for now is just to ensure that 13 episodes even get produced. I don't think anyone is prepared for this show to get pulled off the air right now and production to be shut down. That is simply not acceptable.
Whoever runs this

http://twitter.com/savethedollhous

please stop spamming other Trending Topics on Twitter with this. Seriously bad form.
Good point B!x. That's the sort of crazy that just makes sure everyone else will not try Dollhouse.
I noticed that Buffy and Angel Facebook groups had status updates promoting Dollhouse last week. Many people seemed very ticked off by it. I have a feeling that's not the best method to promote it.
What is it about Dollhouse that makes it so unpopular? Sure, I didn't fall in love with it as quickly as I did Firefly, but once it found its footing, it's been quite an amazing ride. But my Aunt, a huge fan of Buffy (and Joss's other shows) hates Dollhouse. My Mom watched season 1 with us... grudgingly. Every episode she got less and less interested in continuing. I just spoke to a coworker last week - I was surprised to learn he was watching it - and he wasn't very impressed by Eliza's acting in the season 2 premiere episode or the engagement, but he liked some of the other things going on back at the Dollhouse. I managed to convince him to keep watching, since this season sounds prepared to delve into some amazing stuff.

Critics and bloggers have come around on the show since it got much better, and appear to be behind it. But outside of them, there just isn't any promotion for the show. I'm just worried that even Joss's core audience seems to be turning their backs on Dollhouse. I can't explain why they dislike it, but it's something I am seeing a lot of both online and off. These are the small numbers that we need (and Fox hoped would tune in on Friday nights) to keep the show alive.

Will we get a chance to spread the word? (Fox - don't pull it just yet!) More importantly - HOW can we convince would-be watchers that Dollhouse is worth the investment of their time?
redeem147 - if Buffy and Angel fans are ticked off by promotion for Joss's newest show... then who else do you suggest promoting it to? It seems to me that someone that understands the genius of Joss and has loved at least one of his shows would be the most likely viewer of Dollhouse. (Also - we've got Eliza, Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Alan Tudyk, and soon will have Summer... plus many of the same writers that made those other shows so great!)
Exactly WHY did Fox give the Friday nite 9:00 slot to Joss?

That was Firefly's night, just 8:00 though, right?

Why couldn't he have any other night? Hmmmm...... I personally think it's a commie plot.

I'll get people to watch it on HULU cause I think its good.
Major Media coverage is the only thing that will save Dollhouse. The answer is not in Internet Campaigns. Given numbers like 2 million viewers, it's obvious the Internet Base is too small. You need to get Major Media involved. Now. Right Now.
I know that Fox hasn't done a huge amount of advertising, but I have to say that I think that the general message being used is not properly reflective of the show. And I wonder if that's why people (being general non-Whedon fans, who seem to be the audience that needs to be targeted) aren't showing much interest.

I think that the advertising approach used so far by Fox tends towards the “let’s watch pretty girls be exploited in this week’s situation” rather than show the greater story arc. If the promos hinted more towards what’s to come, utilised the set up in Epitaph One, looked at the way the Dollhouse is affecting all the characters and highlighted the conspiracy of Rossum a bit more, it would be more effective.

An example to compare might be Lost. I got very quickly bored with Lost after the first season because I couldn’t see where it was going and I had difficulties catching it on Australian TV. But from the buzz I heard about it from fans during the WGA strike, the main thing that galvanised the US audience was the conspiracy angle around the Dharma Initiative. There was a lot of energy put in by the network and fans into highlighting the big picture to keep fans interested (including a lot of viral/multimedia/merchandise). It would be interesting to see if a similar approach with the Big Bad Rossum Corporation would pay similar dividends. Particularly since Season 2 episodes are finally delving into it more.

The Virtual Echo app is interesting, but it's still as a message of "exploit me" which may be a turn off for a lot of people.

Maybe we need to change up the message in whatever promotions we as fans come up with? Less "what do you want a doll to do" and more about the big picture of Dollhouse?
Well, this is just very sad all around. Not sure there's much I can do from here (can't contribute to the viewing figures, already own the DVD, don't have relevant skills or a relevant network of people to turn to), but I'll be keeping an eye out for things to contribute to nevertheless.

AnotherFireflyfan, I too have noticed people who love Joss' other work tune out of Dollhouse. The reason, I think, is quite simple. Dollhouse, while good, is very different from Joss' previous shows. I always had a hard time imagining why any die-hard fan of - for instance - Buffy, wouldn't want to watch - for instance - Firefly, because those shows are very similar in set-up, style and voice. Same thing goes for DHSAB or Joss' comics. Dollhouse is different to all of those in most respects, so it makes sense that it'd "loose" more people from inside the established fandom than those other shows. It's just slightly dissapointing that the show hasn't managed to pick up enough new fans yet. Which I guess is where possible fan campaigns come in.
I'm sorry to hear that the ratings are low and I'm hopeful for staff, crew, & fans that the show gets a chance to try to prove itself yet again. But try as I might, I just can't work up the sincere enthusiasm to recommend it to anyone these days; the first two episodes just felt scattered, weak and inconsistent compared to the second half of the first season. Honestly, there are only so many times I'm willing to keep watching something that's not holding my interest in the present, for the promise that it might eventually get good. If I can just wade through weaker waters until such-and-such upcoming brilliant episode. Bummed it's the case, but the case it seems to be.
What GVH said. I agree with it all, and same goes for me on the "not sure there's much I can do from here".

I took my dvd to work and it's been going from person to person... 4 already watched and are now fans of the show. But I'm pretty sure they won't import the dvd (not now anyway), or do anything that would help, just like I can't really do anything that counts. Frustrating.

But you know... I'll retweet stuff and all (though pretty much everyone who follows me already watch Dollhouse).

Also, what b!X said... the @savethedollhous spam is NOT cool.

[ edited by maxsummers on 2009-10-05 02:30 ]
To get a bit controversial and slightly off-topic, my feeling on why more people couldn't get into the series was a frequently stated concern early on: the main character has no consistent persona with which viewers can feel a sympathetic connection. Having her go through a traumatic event of the week then getting wiped at the end is effectively a "reset" that Joss himself says he dislikes. People aren't willing to invest their emotions into a blank doll, no matter how attractive she is, because her character arc is barely perceptible. The Dollhouse organization backstory and supporting cast are more interesting, although most of them are morally gray-- but most folks tend to want characters to be more clearly (or at least strongly) defined.
Any chance SyFy would pick it up?
I think a range of FB ads would work best. With images of the main (well known) actors.

A direct appeal to Nielsen viewers specifically would also help, as that's where we need the most help.
Damn. I don't have the time, skills, or network to help out, but I'll pick up an extra DVD of season one and donate it to the library.
Damn.
What JenskiJen said above.

I will hate it if it gets pulled before all 13 Season 2 episodes air. It will be of maximum suckage. And I'll do what I can to promote it.

But if it can't find its audience... well, I dunno what to say.

I wish I didn't have this nagging suspicion, though, that it couldn't find its audience because Fox didn't 1) have enough of a clue about what it was initially, thus messing up the show (I'm one of those people that love "Echo" and 2) that confusion, and very standard marketing thinking, led them to mis and then under market the show.

Buggers.

ET: make it clear that my WJJSTM ; > was in reference to her remarks about the nature of Fox's Dollhouse marketing efforts. I don't know a thing about Lost nor its promotion.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2009-10-05 03:37 ]
My comment seems to have been swallowed by the internet, so briefly...

GVH, I see your point that Dollhouse is different from other Joss shows, but I'd also argue that it still carries many of the Whedon trademarks - subversiveness, genre defiance, intelligence, even (although to a lesser extent) humor within dramatic moments. I wonder why so many other Joss fans can't seem to see what they loved in his other work in Dollhouse too.

JenskiJen, brilliant idea. Advertise Dollhouse like Lost was done. Go with the 'It's happening today' angle. Make Rossum the new Dharma Initiative. What is their true motive? What if people could be wiped and imprinted with new personalities at the whim of the rich and powerful? Would you fight... for your very identity?

Exciting themes (showcased excellently in the stupidly unaired Epitaph: One), yet Fox doesn't promote them at all. Dollhouse is NOT about pretty girls/guys being exploited. It's about the reasons for that exploitation. It's about fighting back, claiming your own identity. It's about what can go wrong with that kind of technology. It's true science fiction in the sense that it uses technology as a foil to explore humanity.
Whedonage your concern is precisely what season 2 has been addressing. Echo is remembering, she is 'awake', and therefore wipes aren't working.

But now people have already tuned out, and we need to tell them that their concerns with the show have been answered, and they should return.
Yes, well, the Dharma Initiative thing was not some random no-budg fan effort, however. It was a funded marketing effort. And half-assed attempts at such things tend to just get laughed at. They aren't easy to make and maintain, and aren't done on the fly.
Controversy = ratings!
Isn't there a rumor going around that Eliza Dushku will show partial frontal nudity in episode four?! Well... there should be!
LOL Hjermsted. Actually that sounds very Fox.
Whedonage - While I don't think an unsympathetic main character is the show's only problem (or even an accurate description of that particular problem) I do think it would have helped immensely if Paul Ballard had been the main character. He's a way into the world. Someone accessible to the audience who can introduce us to the world of the Dollhouse because he too is being introduced to it. He's the only one in the show with a clear goal the audience can support. Well, now Echo as well, but not in the beginning, and still not proactively.
Hjermsted, that's nothing compared to the ;-) Spread the word!


I think we all know the real reason the show is in so much trouble now. Whedonesque finally added three Dollhouse photos to the front page last week. What a jinx!
I do think it would have helped immensely if Paul Ballard had been the main character.

It's strange, but I can't stand Ballard, and the people I know outside of the internet that also watch the show also can't stand him. Furthermore, I don't support his goals...I don't even understand his goals.

That said, I have no problem identifying with the other characters.

ETA: I guess my point is that "you win some, you lose some." If Ballard were the star of the show I would have tuned out ages ago.

[ edited by ShanshuBugaboo on 2009-10-05 03:06 ]
bobw1o - Honestly I think you're correct. In the absence of Echo's emergent personality... the audience needed someone to bond with immediately.

While I always understood Ballard to be a conflicted hero with a short fuse, he was written (or interpreted depending on your viewpoint) in such a poisoned fashion that a majority of the audience choked on him and instead waited to bond with someone else instead. As Shanshu points out, no one likes the guy which was a problem.

In Season 2, you don't need Ballard anymore for that function... but I think it was an obvious weakness in season 1 when for five episodes it was quite common to complain that there wasn't someone we really liked. A lot of the Dollhouse staff love came a little later in the series.

I don't think in an ensemble show you have to have one good guy/girl for the whole series run. But you should have someone to root for at all times.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-10-05 03:14 ]
To be clear, I was speaking of the character, not the actor or the way he plays the character or even the way the character is written (part of the time at least). I liked Tamoh as Helo, but I don't like him as Ballard. I'm gonna go dodge all the fruit coming my way.

His goal though is pretty clear: Shut down the Dollhouse. The reason: The Dollhouse is bad.

And I never said anything about identifying with characters.

Azzers - I absolutely think Ballard is needed for the same reason in Season 2.. Like I said, so far Echo is not proactive. Ballard arguably isn't either, but at least he's all talk about it for now, Echo is chillin' so far.

In a parallel universe spin-off... If Simon had infiltrated the "school" River was in and became a spy from within to bring it down, he would have been the main character of that story, not River.

But I promise to be on topic now. |-)~

[ edited by bobw1o on 2009-10-05 03:17 ]
That's ok, I'll take the fruit hits for you. I'm the unapologetic Ballard supporter. ;)

As to what we need to do now. We've said we're going to try to do Facebook and other ads.

Have we discussed what exactly about Dollhouse we want to sell yet?
@bobw1o You're quite right that what I wrote was just a gloss of the issues with the show; but to hang so much on Eliza/Echo character— to the point that the season 2 title sequence includes over a dozen shots of her in various garb, but no one else— seems to me to be a grave mistake. What Whedon fans may have grown accustomed to expecting was an ensemble work, with individual, differentiated characters we can relate to. Dollhouse hasn't quite fulfilled the admittedly high standards we've held. As I think has been universally admitted, the engagement-of-the-week segments are the least interesting part of the show.

Regarding Ballard, his motivation seems kind of gutted now that he is effectively part of the Dollhouse— and to be honest his obsession with Echo wasn't ever particularly clear to me.
Yeah I agree, I can't stand Ballard. For the exact reasons. I'm sure that will change. I prefer Victor and Sierra to Echo, they at least had something emerging as real even whilst in blank state earlier in season 1. Had that started in episode 2 or 3, it may have helped.
And I never said anything about identifying with characters.

Huh. I just assumed that sympathetic characters = identifiable characters. My mistake.

However, I still don't agree that Ballard's motives are that pure. I tend to agree with Adelle's take on him.

Have we discussed what exactly about Dollhouse we want to sell yet?

I'd love to see the philosophical aspects of the show -- particularly the subject of identity -- brought into the advertisements, rather than the "engagements with hot girls" angle.
How can international viewers help? I've been trying to spread the word on my journal and on SlayAlive and since I live in the US I don't know if/how they can help affect a change.

Anyone know?
What if you could hire someone to be absolutely anything you wanted them to be, and have them actually be it, complete with actual memories, not just an actor playing a part? A Doctor, a Lawyer, a Lover, a Friend, your dead Mother? It's all possible at the Dollhouse.

Why not make an ad for the Dollhouse itself? Like it would have to fit inbetween Epitaph One and where we are now timeline wise

like how they marketed Tru Blood drinks pre season 1?

Just a thought
Folks, here's one reason...

Dr. Horrible is still Amazon's 17th top-selling DVD in SF. But Dollhouse S1's DVD isn't in the top 50 for Amazon's SF... and the Blu-Ray edition is only pulling 97th. (The normal DVD set is pulling 6th in SF boxed sets but that seems less impressive somehow.) Heck, good old Firefly's still plugging away at #43... seven years after it went off the air.

The studio saved Dollhouse because of the DVDs. And yes, I know we all went out and bought them at once... but Firefly had legs. If the studio was counting on a bigger/longer surge in DVD sales, and isn't getting it, it may have gotten cold feet about putting up any more money.
Emmie... I would think that international viewers can't directly help but they can show up as additional considerations. I'd say their best bet is to do the same thing we are doing in the States.

If Dollhouse became a big show in the U.K. or Australia, it still wouldn't save it in the U.S. but it might lower the acceptable ratings in the U.S. for renewal or continuation. And I'm not saying that's a realistic scenario... but I think they can definitely help. There's a reason that both Angel's & Demons and The Da Vinci Code were financially successful and it certainly was NOT the U.S. market.

-Sorry for the random example utilizing a not spectacular film... it's just the one time I really remember looking at where the money was coming from Europe and not the U.S.. I'm sure there are better examples.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-10-05 03:46 ]
Back to brainstorming.

How about a picture of a nice, comfortable pod with a tagline like, "It's only a 5 year commitment."

Not great, but it takes me a while to get going.
One idea for a fan-promotion theme is "Exposing the Dollhouse". Kind of like if a protest group put together a promo/trailer that is intended to expose the dollhouse (per the intention of Ballard and Sen. Perrin) which puts a spotlight on the Rossum conspiracy, the exploitative nature of the program and the “what if” scenario of the technology let loose.

Also, in terms of viral marketing, there's also the Senator Perrin website/twitter/facebook presence. Does anyone know if this was generated by Fox and if there's a plan?


[ edited by azzers on 2009-10-05 04:09 ]
I think JenskiJen's idea for a video is awesome :)

And I wish that the person running the Perrin site would find some coding help, because it's an awesome idea...but the site needs work.
I like both azzer's advertising the Dollhouse itself stuff, and Jen's exposing the Dollhouse idea.

I'm really partial to the advertising the Dollhouse directly stuff, especially. It's got a nice edge, and might conceivably appeal to mainstream media.
"I paid off my college loans, my credit cards, and earned enough money to put my kid through college five times over! Find out how."
Whedonage your concern is precisely what season 2 has been addressing. Echo is remembering, she is 'awake', and therefore wipes aren't working.


The problem is, going by the season's first two episodes at last, it seems pretty clear that this theme of her growing awareness looks to be set up to advance at such a glacier pace that - as much as it pains me to say it - I really can't fault my fellow viewers for giving up on the show in the mean time. The show overall may be destined to come out brilliant in the end, but - just as the makers of the Sarah Connor Chronicles learned the hard way - you have to make the journey worth it for the viewers if you want them to get there with you.

ETA: For the record, I'm one of the viewers who will stay a viewer regardless.

[ edited by brinderwalt on 2009-10-05 04:38 ]
Honestly, anything we do that's not in poor taste or too oblique or confusing will be a good idea. Brinderwalt brings up a prime example of why the show does have exiting viewership. But if we do nothing to introduce new people to the premise then those people we wouldn't blame for staying aren't going to find it. I know people who were quitting Lost in season 3 (I was one of them) and it still has an audience. It's not an accident and it's not because these shows retain 100% of their viewership.
Man, the Advertising the dollhouse idea, and the exposing the dollhouse idea would have been awesome ways for fox to have promoted the show in the beginning... I think it would have gotten tons of people interested and would have also shown that dollhouse is a unique show (with a unique marketing campaign).

I would have watched it with that type of campaign, even if I didn't know who Joss Whedon was
I forgot to mention earlier that I know a couple of people who watched Dollhouse last season and mostly liked it but when TSCC was canceled they blamed Dollhouse so they aren't watching this season. The sad thing is that they are the only Nelson people I know. TSCC was Dollhouse's lead in and if it's fans left Dollhouse that could explained some of the Drop off from last season to this one. I don't know what to do about them. Summer joining Dollhouse might help if we can ever get to her episodes but I have no idea what else could help.
beckyboo - you are so right about that. I don't know why so many TSCC fans blame Dollhouse, but there definitely is that element out there.

gossi - where is this forum you speak of? I'm wondering where the contact point for this effort is going to be since I'm guessing it won't be this topic.
That sub-camp of TSCC fans understands, doesn't it, that if Dollhouse had been canceled last year it still most likely would not have meant TSCC was renewed, yes?

That was rhetorical.
I like the scandalous tone of this tweet I saw:

"Same-sex relationships in the Dollhouse? http://bit.ly/19DVNM"
Sent an email to Tycho at Penny Arcade to see how much an ad there would cost. And if they would run it.

They run game ads, specifically for games they've tried out and they like, or at least that was the working model when I read them more regularly. And they've been pretty clear on not liking Dollhouse, even if they would be willing to consider a tv show ad. Scott Kurtz on the other hand does like the show. But I doubt a comic artist would be willing to run an ad offered by someone other than the entity who owns the copyright to the property advertised. Especially when that owner is someone as big as FOX. Either FOX, in this case. Comic artists get more than enough legal trouble from weird places already, I think.

I didn't follow LOST-- where were those fan ads run?

I'm wondering where the contact point for this effort is going to be since I'm guessing it won't be this topic.

Yes, there should be a thread somewhere-- over at .org, or Dollverse, or wherever else is handy for people to chat in a more sustained way-- where people can brainstorm these ideas and run them by each other. Otherwise I fear people's worry and good intentions might get a bit out of hand or at least be very uncoordinated. This thread's going to get harder to follow and fall off the front page soonish in the week, with the pace of posts lately. Better not to rehash points in every one of the related threads soon to appear.
If we wanted to do viral marketing to real people, would it be completely out of line to create little informative paper pamphlets all about Dollhouse and how people should watch it and start leaving them on restaurant tables, in public restrooms, gyms and locker rooms, classrooms, co-workers' desks, etc. anonymously?

When I worked in fast food, Jehovah's Witnesses used to do this in regards to information about their faith all the time. Why not?!
Couple of things;

- I like your hair. It's pretty.

- There's a forum on Jossverse - linked in the Dollverse article - for the thing. I plan to run it through Activate Dollhouse once I've got things in order, but I need a few days to get a CLEAR message and to organise the troops.

- Whoever is behind the spamming of OTHER Twitter trending topics, please stop.

- One of the best assets we have is Hulu. Because the episodes people aren't seeing are RIGHT THERE. And they're free.

- Please don't send blow up dolls to the network.

- I realise this might seem kind of hopeless and disorganised (or just hopelessly disorganised), but it does take time to pull things together.

- I just dreamt I was NPH in a musical about fandom. It doesn't get much better than dreaming you're Neil, let me tell you.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-05 06:20 ]
On the surface there's no problem with that. But I guess the question we always have to ask ourselves is, if we come off as evangelistic do we do more harm than good?

gossi - which twitter spamming are you referring to? The dollhouse conversations or are you seeing something specific?
azzers, the thing I posted about earlier. People tweeting about Dolhouse but keyword-slugging those tweets with the unrelated terms in Trending Topics.
Azzers, somebody above says there's an account called savethedollhous spamming random topics. It's probably well intentioned but I imagine it will cause a backlash. That said we also totally need to embrace Twitter. I'm looking for programmers on the forum who can code to the Twitter API, I want to try some smart things with that.
Oh, THAT guy. Now I know what you mean.
Let's think here.

1) Are we angling to keep the show on the air?
2) Or are we hoping that Fox will let Joss finish production of the 13 for the S2 DVD, regardless of airing?

If it's the former, then I'm worried; can we launch an awareness campaign in less than a week? And we'll likely need to, because a third straight week of dropping numbers would probably doom us. But things have happened faster than that on the Internet, so I wouldn't despair just yet.

If it's the latter -- Fox wants money above all. Show them preorders for the DVD. Yeah, I know it would be getting Amazon et al. to promote material that hasn't even been made yet, but they often do that with books. Show Fox a dollar figure that will be theirs if they are willing to finish making the product.
By the way, I gave a design of a Facebook app to send episodes to friends to somebody earlier who offered to help. I got out of bed just now and he's made it whilst I was sleeping.

Fans are so cool.
gossi, what is the Facebook app and where can we get it on there??

Also, thank you, I think your hair is pretty too. :)
Facebook app still in testing, not finished. My hair is awesome and luminous. It's kind of odd, actually.

By the way, something which I haven't been overly clear on so far but I might as well put out there I suppose: we need to be up and running within the week. By the time ep 3 airs.

Also, for international fans (which by the way, hilariously includes me) there will also be some co-ordination as everybody a chance to get involved. I'm aware of this and I'm working on it. The show is a pretty big deal for Sci-Fi UK, so if anybody wants to contact them and ask they reenforce to Fox how much they want to see it continue...
By the way, I've been watching both Vows and Instinct ON HULU ...from where I am..
It took Hotspot Shield, and to restart it twice, but it was very easy and I managed to let both episodes run..
So, might that be a thing, for those who want to help ratings from other places??
Other than buying dvds if some of us still hasn't, of course..
That's a point. Could somebody put together an easy-to-follow tutorial on how to watch Hulu abroad? Which, obviously, we shouldn't HAVE to do. Except when we HAVE to.

I also need to get together links for all the episodes on Hulu, iTunes US and UK, Amazon etc. The strategy here has gotta be combining $$$ value to the network and studio WITH word of mouth (both between the fan base, between other people and via press).
I'll get you the episode-by-episode link list if you want.
Okay, the first advertising is running online now. It's this banner. If anybody has any websites they think would be good to target, post them here (and mention why). Planning to place this ad shortly also. The banner ads are across websites via Google, they're targeted at only people in the US, they exclude mobiles and they lead straight to Hulu, ep 2x01 Vows.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-05 07:32 ]
b!X, that would be good. Also a "launch pad" page with an embedded episode combined with a "previously on" for season one catchup may need to be put together, all using Hulu so it's legal.
I'd sort of campaign for a crossover with Glee actually. It's their big hit, reputedly Whedon is a fan and wants to direct an episode, and Dushku is a pretty good singer we've discovered.

I still think it's totally plausible to some extent that they'd do a pro bono case and send an active to help out this school (or their evil coach might hire someone to try and take down the glee club) and it'd help raise awareness of Dollhouse at the expense of losing one of their actors for a few shooting days. Granted, Dollhouse would need to survive until next winter or whenever Glee airs their back nine otherwise it'd just be another Chenoweth case of Glee getting guest stars shortly after their show was cancelled.
Some useful tutorials for watching Hulu:
thenextweb.com
www.brenelz.com
It's very simple really, but it took to install the thing, run it, fail at the first attempt, then restart it..

Hulu eps:
Instinct
Vows

Then, I'm guessing what works for Hulu can work for Amazon On Demand, too..and this is a place where you purchase episodes, so might be good.. I haven't tried yet with season 2 though..
Okay - the biggest markets DOLLHOUSE has is:

America
UK
Canada
Australia

As far as I know? I know it's massive in the UK on DVD.

America can watch on multiple sources. UK can buy on DVD and iTunes. Canada can watch free on Global website now. Does Australia have the eps available for purchase or stream? Do we know anything about the Oz DVD?
gossi I just emailed you the link list and then realized I forgot Canadian iTunes links. So a revised list is coming shortly.
Oh, I didn't know it was Canadian iTunes. Nifty.

I want to get Activate Dollhouse redone as a portal for watching. Which uses geolocation of IPs to automatically link to the right streaming/buying sites. Which, lofty goal.
I admit that didn't read every post, but did anyone suggest an advertiser campaign tie-in like the Chuck Subway fan campaign? After all, it really is what TV is about from the suits' perspective.
Is there like a sponsor or anything that we could give money to the way Chuck fans did with Subway? And if FOX do end up dropping the show, is there any way Fox the production company could move it to FX or something?

Sorry if these questions have been answered, I looked over the posts but I didn't see any answers to them.
jinx ;)

[ edited by MizBehavin1 on 2009-10-05 08:21 ]
That's another item for the agenda. Frequently Asked Questions page. I'm not mocking, there needs to be a page for fans to see answers to the questions they have.
Okay, there's now four banner adverts running on websites across the (US) interwebs for Dollhouse, thanks to our shiny graphic designers who've contributed their time. They show when it show is on (bonus points - we've got the day right), and link back to Hulu so people can watch "Vows" free of charge.
One thing I said over at Jossverse right now re: international viewers: If you live in a country where Dollhouse has not yet been picked up, ask your local networks politely to consider picking up the show. Twitter them, mail them, phone them.

I know, it's not short-term and everything, but it can't hurt. :)
It can only help, wiesengrund. International pickup pricing queries and such go to the studio, who are our friends in all this.
Is there any chance we could get some banners made that would be good for forums? Preferably the 500x by 150X variety?
Also short-term for Friday: Market "Belle Chose" as by the writer of "Out of Gas" (Firefly) and guest-starring Colonel Tigh.
Info on the Australian airings/promotion of Dollhouse:
- The Fox8 Dollhouse site is here but I can't find any reference to it streaming past episodes. It'll probably be too late, but Foxtel is launching a TV/Movie Download Service to subscribers in October (so that they can watch shows they've missed).
- Dollhouse is not listed in the Australian iTunes store.
- Dollhouse is not listed on Bigpond TV.

I've checked all the places I could think of and I can't seem to find any means for Australians to purchase episodes or watch them legally online.

Annoyingly, if it has stayed on Network 10, the episodes would have been available for online to view. Grrr.
Probably not a huge amount I can do either (beyond - possibly ;) - buying the eps on iTunes) but i'll happily chuck a few quid in a pot if necessary (for photocopying, printer ink etc.).

Personally I think flyers/posters are a great idea and may well be more effective than web banners (though those can't hurt), especially if something cool can be done with them. Stick them places people will see them (not a big fan of handing them out on the street etc. just because it becomes a big litter issue).

Would it be within copyright to include the Virtual Echo augmented reality icon on flyers, maybe as a pull/tear off segment ? I haven't seen the AR portion so have no idea if it's any good but it might be another way to generate interest (AR being the new black and all).
Well the FX in Latin America is still showing Season 1 in Latin America. I think that most of Latin America is about to reach Omega and in Brazil they're about to reach Haunted (I think).

The video site for the Fox group of channels, has become a pseudo-hulu thing, and have yet to feature full episodes of Dollhouse, but it has some preview clips for now. Can be linked for general promotion.

Spanish site for most of Latin America.
Portuguese site for Brazil.

People could send emails or leave messages at the forums asking for the second season and Epitaph One, which as it seems is not listed in the broadcast listing. ALso can be used to request the show to be featured in the website with full episodes, so it'll also be legal viewing online for viewer outside the US who can't usu Hulu, purchase them from iTunes or Amazon.

I'm just so sad that once again we have to this by our own hands, again, as part of the network seems unlikely to really help (why do I get the feeling that there's a fox exec that really hates the show, and want to kill it, and replace with Human Target, instead of playing with them side by side).

I like the idea of changing the angle and playing up the Rossum side. Yesterday, I tweeted that I watched the movie Gamer, and it reminded me of Dollhouse, but didn't elaborate further. I think with that movie we could envision what Fox wished that Dollhouse was, but instead they got a subversive tale, combined with stories of self discovery and empowerement.

There's just much that seems to be playing against it:
There's backlash from the cancellation of TTSCC, which is just as annoying as the backlash Firefly got back in the day from Dark Angel fans.
There's the fact that we have the worse lead in shows the whole Fox line-up for this fall (if there's a good time to have Bones at Fridays would be now). Not counting the fact that the competitor networks have realized that this is not dead hour, and decided to really compete in it.
There's the fact that Dollhouse is not exactly the typical Whedon show (and we were somewhat prepared for that earlier this year). It's arguable that Firefly was not Buffy and Angel either, and that was a lot of the talk back then.
And what for the lack of promotion. Won't even get started in that comedy ad they ran for Instinct, cause that's just lazy. I didn't see they run full page ad in the Fall TV magazine issues, like they did for House (already a power house - pun intended)), Bones, or Fringe (which for some reason has been the one favored, between the 2 last season debuts). If Fox were expecting to hold on their audience from last season without work, then I'm not surprised that all of this is happening.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2009-10-05 12:54 ]
DVD release is still set as "future release" on ezydvd.com.au I'm afraid.

Now obviously we can buy the DVDs from Amazon if that helps.

A while back someone put upa link of a group that sold and setup US iTunes gift cards. More safe than ebay in a few ways I guess. I registered but never got my email (no money had changed hands) I guess I missed a step or something, the process seemed fairly complex.

If someone knows of a simple group like this that will do it, or if Gossi and co might be willing to sell us US iTunes gift cards via ebay, it might help those of us outside to influence the US numbers.
I think if you really want to have cause for concern, the D- the second episode got rated over on TWOP should do it for you. That's with 2500 voters voting on the ep.
Can we make printy the chair our mascot and make a cartoon of him and put him on t-shirts? Vote 1 Printy - for a better, more perfect America.
Dana, I don't care if some other people don't like the show. I do.
I just want to say that when trying to inspire people to watch Dollhouse, for the love of god do not harass people who are not interested in the show. People who are fans of Buffy/Angel/etc have most likely already given the show a chance, so spamming Buffyverse-related boards/communities is absolutely useless and will only create bad blood towards DH. If someone says that they didn't like DH, at most ask them if they could give it just one more chance (maybe as a favour, just to boost the ratings), and then move on.

My sister used to be a huge fan of Buffy (she was the one who originally introduced me to the show), but these days it's hard to get her to watch even her favourite episodes because to her anything Whedon-related is now associated with the annoyance created by people who kept trying to get her to watch Serenity when she wasn't interested in it.

Also, I would refrain from bashing other shows (yes, even the comedy lead-ins) while trying to sell DH, especially when combined with the rhetoric that DH is too cerebral/complex for general audience. People don't react well if you tell them that they're stupid and the things they like suck.

(Dollhouse hasn't been under the threat of cancellation for 24 hours yet and I've already seen multiple instances of both)
I think Fox made the same mistake Paramount made with Serenity. They assumes the online fan community actually comprised of a huge homogeneous group, millions strong, that would come and watch the show so they don't need to spend much on advertising.

Truth is there are millions of people out there who have never visited a fan forum in their lives and wouldn't be able to pick Joss out of a line up. They are the ones that they need to reach.
Gossi- you are not enough to make the show a success. Everyone here is not enough. 2500 people taking enough time to vote a poor score, on a webiste that really likes that show and features it, may mean little in the long run, but it surely cannot help.
TWOP showed an A- for Target when i looked up dollhouse. Where are you looking Dana?

Personally I loved that ep
He's talking about "Instinct" Ivalaine.

"Instinct" was definitely a little underwhelming but a D? C'mon, it was NOT that bad.
Dana is referring to the grade that TWOP users have marked for S2:2 "Instinct". It would be interesting to see how that may or may not change once the TWOP Dollhouse recapper has graded the episode, as the past few have been given no less than a B.

I know that TWOP isn't really a gauge of what the majority of people think, but it does reflect some interesting things. Particularly, that a whole lotta people really didn't like "Instinct" (the response level to "Instinct" is second only to "Echoes") and that there appeared to be a much smaller number who didn't even bother to vote on "Vows".

TWOP Grades
S2:2 "Instinct" - Couch Baron: N/A | 2819 USERS: D- (user numbers are climbing)
S2:1 "Vows" - Couch Baron: B+ | 707 USERS: B+
S1:12 "Omega" - Couch Baron: B+ | 1079 USERS: B+
S1:11 "Briar Rose" - Couch Baron: A- | 1367 USERS: A
S1:10 "Haunted" - Couch Baron: B | 1087 USERS: A-
S1:9 "Spy in the House of Love" - Couch Baron: A- | 1429 USERS: A
S1:8 "Needs" - Couch Baron: A- | 1423 USERS: A-
S1:7 "Echoes" - Couch Baron: A | 3050 USERS: A-
S1:6 "Man on the Street" - Couch Baron: A- | 2017 USERS: A-
S1:5 "True Believer" - Couch Baron: B | 751 USERS: B+
S1:4 "Grey Hour" - Couch Baron: B | 923 USERS: B
S1:3 "Stage Fright" - Couch Baron: B | 1434 USERS: B+
S1:2 "Target" - Couch Baron: A- | 1470 USERS: B+
S1:1 "Ghost" - Couch Baron: B- | 2466 USERS: B-

TWOP would be a good site to have web banner ads. But since they're powered by Bravo and their advertising contact is someone at NBC/Universal, I'm not sure how much luck we'd have in getting them to advertise a Fox show.

But talking the show up on the TWOP forums (with discussion, rather than evangalising/spamming) certainly couldn't hurt there.

[ edited by JenskiJen on 2009-10-05 15:11 ]
Careful JenskiJen, those statistics are actually complete and therefore allow us to make an informed interpretation, has nobody ever taught you how to lie with numbers ? ;). Think I smell a small rat. Cos Really ? Nearly 3 times as many voters as for last season's finale and 4 times as many as for last week ? We've already seen one public poll that came out heavily against 'Dollhouse' and turned out to be (according to the site itself) stuffed by 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles' fans, it's possible that happened here (though we can't know).

That said, the viewer ratings are trending down so it doesn't seem to be any secret that 'Dollhouse' isn't pleasing some of the people that have viewed it (whether or not it's appealing to the people that haven't). I doubt even the most "dedicated" disgruntled T:TSCC fan is going to watch the show in order to deliberately stop watching to get the ratings to go down.
I think people grade on a Joss Curve. Instinct was not D tv but perhaps a low score when we're talking Joss TV. Vows wasn't the worst episode of Dollhouse but I know quite a few people were upset about the lack of Boyd.
I don't understand the hate for "Instinct" some people, including most of the TWOP voters seem to have. It wasn't the greatest episode, but it was by far not the worst. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense for it to be rated a D- when all the other eps, including Stage Fright, which I consider to be the worst, have no lower than a B-.

I have a sneaking suspicion it may be a case of the vultures starting to circle now that people are sensing the end may be near.
I could just cry. I love DH, although I really had no hope for more than this season's 13 eps (and faint hope for a back nine) - but if we don't even get the full thirteen, that will be heartbreaking.

Worse yet, I'd love to thrown myself totally into this effort, even if it's tilting at windmills. But I have neither time nor money, my life is in a state of pretty extreme crises at the moment.

So the best I can do is run through all the eps on both Hulu and Fox:on demand, and buy a few from iTunes. And sit on my anger until the ax officially comes down, then boycott Fox forever, Which I would seriously do.
The only other Fox shows I watch are Fringe and Lie to Me, and I'd be fine with just catching those two on Hulu, since they don't seem to pay that much attention to Hulu.
Shanshubugaboo - Sorry, I was vague when I expressed that Echo being unsympathetic was not the only problem, nor an accurate description of that particular problem. My point was that there are plenty of issues with enjoying the show, and that the issue with Echo is more about having someone to root for than to sympathize/identify with. I never identified with Buffy, Angel, or Mal, but I did with Xander and Wash. Huh, maybe that's why I never enjoyed Angel quite as much...

I love the video ideas. I especially like the idea of anti-rossum/dollhouse videos. Which can also be posters and banners. Let's tell everyone that something called Dollhouse is bad and then tell them something called Dollhouse is on at 9pm Fridays! I'm serious, that's awesome, they'll want to see what it's all about!
JotheCat, how did you access Hulu with Hotspot Shield ? I used the program in the past but it stopped working on Hulu a few months ago. I only get a message saying "based on your IP address, we noticed you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool". Which obviously is exactly what I'm trying to do. I only wish I would be able to do it successfully.
What about making a recruiting video? Using some of the ideas that Ivalaine articulated (as well as Paul's joke to Madeline), maybe we could shoot a short kind of recruitment video, featuring pretty people saying things like "I've paid off my student loans..." or "I bought my family a big new house..." "Ask me how." And then having the Dollhouse logo, and info on contacting them.

And now I'm getting too ambitious for my own good, but it could also be a series, like the first being a teaser as described above, and then the next few each delving deeper into the particulars - 5 year committment, great spa-like amenities, etc., eventually hinting at the real content of the engagements, all with a happy, smiling face attached.

The vids could circulate on youtube, Dollhouse sites, etc, and potentially build interest for the show.

I'm a film student, so I have access to the resources we'd need. Again, I'm probably getting myself in too deep, but this might be something I could do. Something I want to do.

What do you all think? Worth it?
I'm having the same problem.
I'm happy to help out in any way I can. At this point I'm not really hopeful for a back 9 order or a season 3, I would be happy with the 13 episodes ordered. But the idea that it could be pulled off the air and production stopped so suddenly is just heartbreaking. If it's going to be cancelled, at least let the guys finish out the 13 episodes and give them notice so they can wrap up the story. I find the US system so bizarrely set up that not finishing out the story could even be a possiblity.
If people want to make videos about how awesome the show premise is, go for it. Keep 'em under 2 minutes though 'cos people outside the fan base don't want to watch a long fan vid I suspect. Forum topic here.
Wooo Instinct is back on top of popular eps on hulu!!
Bought the bluray twice, here we can't access hulu or episodes on itunes, and I have to admit that seeing gossi like that must mean it's impending, well the world is about to end in 2012 anyway T_T
Well here is some good news. (sarcasm)

[ edited by Sunfire on 2009-10-05 18:56 ]
marvelknight616, I fixed your link. Not understanding the translated content there though. Season 3 aired earlier this year?
I think viral marketing is our best bet at this point. There are several approaches to consider:

-From the L.A. (or any city you are in?) Dollhouse's POV: Recruiting video as suggested above. Flyers on bulletin boards in cities or on campuses advertising what the Dollhouse can do for you. List the Dollverse url and the night/time for the show as contact info.

-From Rossum's POV: Medical advancements, memory upgrades, etc. All courtesy the friendly people at Rossum. Think back to the Umbrella viral marketing campaign for the Resident Evil film franchise. Rossum has some very Umbrella-esque vibes.

-From Sen. Perrin's POV: Information about the illegal activities of Rossum/Dollhouse. Could also be geared toward "Wanted" posters or "Have You Seen Me?" posters for Caroline, Priya, "Victor," etc. Or even stock photos of attractive young people to avoid copyright shenanigans.

Getting the word out among college students may be our best chance since their demographic is where Fox expected bigger numbers. If we can get more 18-20whatever year olds to watch on Hulu or download from iTunes/Amazon, we have a fighting chance of finishing out the 13 episode run.

"In here, we protect the house. A tide is rising. Until we learn how to turn it back, we pile up the sandbags together."
Does anyone know: Contractually, does FOX the studio have any leeway at all on promoting one of its shows airing on FOX the network? Would they be contractually barred from being up to, say, YouTube a clip?
The studio put the Dollhouse recap video on YouTube before episode 12 aired last season.
This is certainly true.
When trying to friends/family/anonymous strangers to watch Dollhouse, I would avoid emphasizing too much that the show is on the verge of being pulled of the air.

Too many people have been burned by getting into a show, only to have it canceled. Everyone needs to stay positive, and try to get people into Dollhouse because it's an awesome show, not because OMG, it's going to be canceled!! type of mentality.

I would try to get things going that are positive, especially through social media. Try to get Dollhouse to trend on Twitter with a link to watch the show on Fox or Hulu. And emphasize the positives about the show, and avoid anything about the cancellation. Make it seem like the hottest show that everyone must be watching.
Yeah, that was a not insignificant part of the problem last season. People not willing to invest in a show presented even before it aired as being in trouble. And then FOX didn't bother to try to tell anyone it was (1) renewed in May and then (2) starting again in September, so few of those people were invited to come back and invest this time.
Right now I think we are dealing with a self-fulfilling prophecy; that is, once things get sort of negative, it feeds itself, the viewers hear it and then begin to stay way, and when fandom reacts, a lot of people withdraw because, you know, fans are crazy.

I realize that TWOP ratings are easily manipulated, and if it takes my comment to mobilize enough people to go vote again, you are just gaming the system. I am not really an "ends justify the means" kind of person- the program needs to succeed on its own terms or it should be let go. All of the things people are trying to do here really will not help in the long run. People need to buy in, they need to do so in numbers far larger than can be mustered here, and I am not sure how any of this can be reversed. Are people hoping there is no more bleed of viewers? That will not really help much. So, growth is needed, but the growth that is needed is pretty large, and that is hard to do- how could DH do it?
Michael, Hotspot Shield has, I believe, done something about that in the meantime..I think they updated the programme..
The first time I tried to watch Vows yesterday on Hulu, I couldn't access it and got the same "You're using a protected connection" message, but then @GrrAargh (from Twitter) told me to try and restart the application, and then it worked..
I think that now, 2 things are absolutely crucial if Dollhouse is to have any future.

Firstly, the next episode has to rise in the ratings. For starters, it doesn't have to be a huge increase, but the show needs to send a signal to the Fox management that it still has potential to be stronger and at least return to the average viewing figures of Season 1. However, if it further drops, and especially if it drops under 2 million viewers, it's most likely dead. Next week the show will go off the air because of baseball and if by that time Fox won't see any positive trend regarding the Dollhouse's ratings, it's very possible that they won't bring it back.

And secondly, it would help very much if the numbers for DVR showed a huge gain for Dollhouse. When Dollhouse was renewed, the Fox management was all about the huge amount of additional viewers who watch Dollhouse through DVR. So if these figures also drop for the second season, Fox probably won't be very happy and willing to be patient and continue with the show. But if the figures actually increased, that might help the show very much. And if it was a BIG increase, it might even save the show. Maybe not in the sense of giving it another season or the back 9 order but at least allowing Joss et al. to finish the already ordered batch of episodes.

From these two things, we can (questionably) influence only the first one. So, as I see it, we (well, with me living abroad and all, not as much "we" as "you, who live in the States"), do our best to promote the hell out of Dollhouse and bring some new eyeballs to Belle Chose, but if that fails, then we can only hope for a miracle in the form of massive DVR numbers.

Speaking of which, does anyone know when will we see the figures for Vows? I think I heard something about this Thursday, but I'm not sure whether that's right.
I desperately hope Joss & Co get to finish this second season. A few weeks ago just last week I felt sure of that, but sadly it seems to become less and less likely every day now. Kevin Reilly has provided some miracles before, so who knows.

Whichever way things go I hope the relative lack of succes does the least damage possible to the reputation and careers of either Kevin Reilly or the people involved with creating the show. That's both for totally selfless reasons and because I genuinely care for their jobs. Cause if there's one thing I agree on with those that want to see the show cancelled because they believe that would free the people involved up to do something better, then it has to be that the creative people involved are incredibly talented and that if allowed to, they'll be able to do great things, also after Dollhouse has ended (which hopefully won't be for a long time.)

It might be slightly less on topic, but I just came across this rant by David Cross (Dr. Tobias Funke) on YouTube and it made me laugh and think of Dollhouse (which was nice for a change) so I figured I'd just post it.

And I realize this is sliding further off topic, but I just have to ask: Numfar PTB was Gamer any good? I've become quite the Michael C. Hall fan after Six Feet Under and Dexter so when I saw the trailer in cinema, which featured him quite heavely, it certainly piqued my interest. So if anyone could mention how large/memorable his part actually is, that'd be fantastic.
When the Denisof's (more her, than him) were on the Emmy red carpet on TV, I was hoping to see Alyson...with Alexis by her side... mention that her husband was on Dollhouse.

Instead, Alexis hid in the background...again!...and all we got from Mrs.Denisof was her blabbing about herself/HIMYM, and their kid.

It shows you how little/bad the promotion has been for Dollhouse.
I'm pretty sure, all things considered, the press on the red carpet had far more interest in talking to Alyson. It's not Alexis' responsibility to horn his way in and market Dollhouse at people, nor hers to make sure to pivot the press in that direction.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-06 01:05 ]

It shows you how little/bad the promotion has been for Dollhouse.


I just wanna be clear here - Alexis is a sound guy (I say this having met him in my home town) and Alyson is more adorable than the baby in "Instincts". It's not up to Alexis to promote Dollhouse on the red carpet with his wife; 'tis totally up to Fox.
Gamer is worth seeing if only for Michael C. Hall (which is basically why I went). But you could certainly wait until DVD.

Umm, I mean... Dollhouse shouldn't get canceled! |-)~
Just an update: I'm moving on the recruitment/viral video idea I discussed above, and filming today. I hope to have the whole thing done tomorrow night or Thurs!
Glorificus, I want to cuddle you. Email me when you have news. (actually, just email me).

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-06 16:33 ]

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