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October 22 2009

Fox to bench Dollhouse for November sweeps. Michael Ausiello reports on his Twitter: "Exclusive: Hearing FOX will bench DOLLHOUSE for November sweeps and air back-to-back eps on Friday night in December." Futon Critic has some information on what will air instead.

Well that makes the kind of sense that's not.
At least the 9pm hour would get a better lead in...


I'm sorry...bad joke. This really is crappy news.
So the November schedule they just released five days ago is out the window already? (And as for the "back-to-back" thing, that's probably the two reruns on December 25, and we already knew it.)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-22 03:20 ]
Nice rumour Ausiello; can we get some proof now?
I have no idea if this is a good financial move for Fox but it sucks for me. Sweeps should be in December when I've got tons to do on Friday nights.
Not surprised if it's true.
Thing is, we heard they might drop it for sweeps a week or so ago from The Hollywood Reporter, so that possibility isn't new. And I'd be willing to bet the back-to-back thing is only the Dec. 25 deal.
Man, I hope he's just getting confused. Talk about bait & switch if he's right!
Yeah, how is this new? Didn't we already know this awhile ago?
Unless it went from maybe to definitely, which is always possible. But in the swagger of the entertainment press, I'll wait for someone to say clearly and officially.
We knew there was a chance they'd do this, but it hadn't been -confirmed- as happening. Only mentioned as a possibility.

I was really hoping they'd wait to see if the ratings would increase with the upcoming episode before deciding. How badly might this hurt us? What with people assuming the shows been canceled?
Technically, Dawnfire87, it still isn't confirmed. ;)
Yeah, I thought they would wait to see the numbers for the last Oct. eps before making a decision too. If they don't show at least one new ep during sweeps, I totally lost a bet! [Why do I believe in press releases??]
Hmm, I don't get the logic of this. What would be the point in not airing the episodes in November? It's not like they have something else, something better to air in it's place. So I hope this isn't true.
But they just said they wouldn't! Grrr!!!!

Back-to-back episodes four weeks in a row is not a good sign.
activebrowncoat, they do have better things, in terms of ratings. And sweeps is all about ratings.
Grr. Arg. I really hope this is more entertainment lies. Because I want my Dollhouse. It isn't like I'm watching anything else on Fridays...
Since I am Australian, I had to google 'November sweeps' to get an idea of what this means. No new Dollhouse in November when they count the ratings, and lots of new Dollhouse in Demember when everyone is preoccupied with holidays?
Hrm. Now I have a source telling me the same.
So they'll put two brand new episodes back-to-back on Christmas day? How is that a good idea?
Are they seriously going to split up the 2-parter?!
Maybe they just liked my Double DOLLHOUSE Days idea from over the Summer. ;)
Damn. This doesn't sound good. At least they're airing them, though. I suppose.
It also apparently gets a new lead-in for January, presuming it's still around. No idea what.
''Are they seriously going to split up the 2-parter?!''

That's what I'm most worried about. :(

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-10-22 04:09 ]
Michael elaborates with a full blog post:

"This isnít a good sign: Sources confirm to me exclusively that Fox has decided to pull Dollhouse off the schedule during November sweeps. Joss Whedonís ratings-challenged drama is expected to return in December and air back-to-back episodes on Friday night.

Bottom line: Barring a ratings miracle, Dollhouse will be shut down for good after it completes its current 13-episode order."
Are they seriously going to split up the 2-parter?!

Trying to get the answer to this now.
That is no vote of confidence.
Very curious to see what they will air in its place. Repeats of Glee?
This blows. Coupled with the complete lack of promotion, I'm pretty frustrated at Fox.
I changed the link to the Ausiello post. Not really more information there but seems more stable than a Twitter link anyway.
Well this is the perfect way to end an totally crappy day. I think I'll talk it over with my good friend Jimmy Beam.

Seriously, I thought this was sorted a week or so ago. With last week's episode being interrupted, what in the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks could have changed?

I'm so glad I wasn't around for the Buffy, Angel, and Firefly ratings. I have a feeling I'd have an ulcer named Joss.
Pretty sucky,especially after releasing the November sweeps press release last week with each of Dollhouse's network synopsis and their sweeps air date.They release it's sweeps schedule including Dollhouse and then turn around and pull them.
Bleh.

Pass the Jim Beam, Eric_Curtis.
This is very crappy news and it does somewhat make me feel that nothing we do will be of much consequence. Nonetheless, I have a faint glimmer of hope that if somehow (miraculously) the ratings this Fri and next are significantly better, they might consider giving it a chance. If anyone can find out what they plan to put in place of Dollhouse for November, at least we'll have a sense as to the numbers we have to beat.

Also, I have seen all kinds of products and programs sell, even without good reason. I still - maybe stubbornly - believe that it's all a matter of marketing. This show has an audience and a much wider potential audience. We have to figure out how to reach them and we should do it with this week's episode b/c it's possibly the most cohesive and strongest shot we've got.
Both halves of the two-parter -- the Summer Glau episodes -- are pushed back to December. This Friday's episode is the last Dollhouse until December.
I'm relieved that the 2-parter is together but this still feels like a kick in the pants after the press release. I feel completely bad for fans who worked so hard to try & get the ratings up before sweeps. I'm really sorry you guys. But this could be a unique opportunity to spin a Dollhouse "movie night" in Dec. Or something. I'm not good at that marketing stuff.

[ edited by buffywrestling on 2009-10-22 04:56 ]
that's even worse... only one more episode, then nothing till december. having a week off was bad enough
Well thats just fucking fantastic.

Is it completely stupid to hope that this won't affect the airing of episodes in England?
why the hell were they advertising the summer glau episode as "in 3 weeks times"? what a waste of advertising money.

[ edited by mortimer on 2009-10-22 04:59 ]
As crazy as it sounds, it might be a good thing that they don't plan to air an episode on 10/30. That's because games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series will be in Philadelphia, and the weather in that neck of the woods is unpredictable (It could be perfect or terrible), so it could have been preempted anyway.
I assumed that's what was going to happen all along (actually, I thought it would just be canceled before sweeps-- but, barring that, replaced during sweeps).

They'll probably run reruns of anything that can get better ratings-- House, maybe. A weekly rerun of Glee has been thrown around too.
Thanks, just added that Futon Critic link to the entry. It's as expected: reruns of more popular shows. Brothers and Til Death in the same boat it seems.
Bah. So, we get tomorrow's episode and then nothing for a month?

Bah.
I'm too sad to comment.
Actually, crazygolfa, game 3 is on Halloween. October 30 is an off night for the World Series, so it wouldn't have affected Dollhouse that night.
Well could this at least be a chance to change the lead-in as Im pretty sure someone mentioned further up? Kind of reboot season 2.
Anyone who didn't believe the show was canceled when baseball was on last week is going to think it was canceled when the advertised Summer Glau episode does not show up.

Off a week, on a week, off a month does not bode well. At all. I don't think any positive way this can be spun could possibly out weigh the harm.
Yefa,

You're right. I got my dates mixed up. But Games 1 or 2 are probably going to be in New York, so there was still a chance for preemption if the weather failed to cooperate because they would just move back the games a day.
I agree with the earlier sentiment about the waste of the "Summer Glau in 3 weeks" advertisement.

What about those screeners for this Friday's and now December 4th's they just sent out? That's seems kinda-uber-silly.
So the third, red, flower in November's vase puts Dollhouse on hiatus until December.
Now it really does seem like they're jerking us around and trying to destroy any chance of gathering a bigger audience, on purpose. Colour me hugely frustrated that they for once do some PR, then turn around and pull the show for a month in contradiction to what they've told everyone.

Is there any chance this is not true?

*holds on with fingernails to the tiniest shred of hope*
Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. I'd like to think season 3 would have been "downfall of the Dollhouse". Or maybe that would have been season 4. But I would have watched avidly and loved it.
The show really needed the next episodes to air. Critics are pretty much raving about them and the show could really use some positive buzz.
Is there any chance this is not true?

Any chance that what isn't true? The news? If that's what you mean, no, there's no chance it isn't true. It's true.
Upside: The two-parter will now air on a single Friday in December
Yeah, this is bad news for the show's future and lots of fans are sad to not have the show for a month (eh, we survived 4+ months of the summer without it, aside from new material on the blu-ray/DVD in the form of "Epitaph 1", one version of the pilot, and deleted scenes--November is nothing to wait out). But I'm kinda looking forward to Dollhouse Movie Nights for three Fridays in December.

Dollhouse finally has a decent lead-in (quality-wise, even if not viewer-pull-in-wise). Itself.

*shrugs* It sucks, but it was kinda expected. I made sure to clearly look at Season 2 as a bonus addition to the show, couldn't get too attached even after watching "Epitaph 1" and feeling the season had a strong start in "Vows".

The heartbreak will probably set in after Episode 2.13.
Huh.

I think I'll go back to sleep.
So what the hell does this mean? it's gone for good, or it's just taking some big break?

I'm so not happy right now, and I would love for someone to tell me what's going on here.

[ edited by Allen Doyle on 2009-10-22 06:11 ]
I hope everyone involved is able to make the very best of the last few episodes and have the show go out with a resounding bang.
But Fox, my feelings... :(
crazygolfa - That's a good point about a possible postponement of game 1 or 2 in New York. This is disappointing news but I'm not surprised given the lack of effective promotion by FOX this season.

[ edited by Yefa on 2012-02-08 07:29 ]
I'll still reserve tearing Fox a new one until something more official than ratings shuffling occurs. I will say that their entire behavior with regards to Dollhouse has been baffling. First in that it seemed uncharacteristically patient and long term oriented, and now after announcing a schedule to advertisers they're going to change it which is about as panicky and short term oriented as you can be.

[ edited by azzers on 2009-10-22 06:19 ]
That's just depressing. The lack of ads (after midnight after showing doesn't really count as we really showed the ads), and promising to air the 13 episodes just seems like Fox going passive agressive. Damn.
While I think this is a sure sign that Dollhouse is a goner and while I'm sad to see it go, I can honestly say that I'm not mad at FOX for our second season. Beggars can't be choosers. FOX tried, they really did try to promote the premiere and the fact that the show was coming back with new life. But after the low premiere numbers, there really is only so much you can get away with (budget-wise) to promote one of the lowest rated shows on your network.

Hardcore Dollhouse fan here... but it just did not perform. The fact that they are giving us the full order that they said they would is pretty darn nice of them. They must now know that they are going to let it go and just want to secure their advertising dollars for the next few months by airing House and Bones. I would like to see it stick around but it really does seem like they are trying to give us what they promised, in the most beneficial way to their network. At this point, just be glad that we get to see the gang the way Joss & Co intended for them to be seen instead of cutting the season short or making us wait for a DVD release.
So what the hell does this mean? it's gone for good, or it's just taking some big break?

As it says: Hiatus for November, back with two episodes every Friday in December (I think the Dec. 25 ones will be reruns, unless they air something else altogether). What it doesn't say, but what I've heard, is it then goes back to single episodes per Friday in January, with a different lead-in.
FOX tried, they really did try to promote the premiere and the fact that the show was coming back with new life.

They did?
The One True b!X, true, and I like House and Bones. But I'd rather see something new, not the reruns they aired only a few weeks before. But I guess I'm in the minority there.

This is just such bad bad news. Six weeks without Dollhouse. If people aren't watching the show now, there will be even less viewers in December, during the holiday season.
Well, I was having a good day. I should've known better than to trust TV Guide's upcoming listings as law.
On a positive note, maybe this will be the impetus needed for a switch to cable. Dollhouse is pretty esoteric for network audiences. It'd probably do better on SyFy or Showtime.
Well, a nice ride, and longer than we expected, too. Also this gives Joss & Co. enough time to give us a good send-off. So, quit sweating it, enjoy the season, and buy lots of Dr. Horrible stuff so Joss never has to go back to network TV.
They did?

From a realistic standpoint, yes they did. I certainly wish they they could spend 1/4 of their advertising budget on their lowest-rated returning drama, but they obviously couldn't. However, I do think that they pulled out all of the stops to get the word out that Dollhouse was returning and had a new vision behind it.

Could they have done more? Yes. Could they have done less? DEFINITELY. They gave us a second season when they undoubtedly did not have to. For that, I think we should all be just a little grateful. Although as I type this, I am going to miss Dollhouse.
I know we're lucky enough to have Joss actually occasionally read these forums, so Joss, if you're reading -- do us all a favor. We love your shit. But stop returning to FOX. It's getting to be an extremely dysfunctional abuser-abusee relationship between you and them, and your fans are getting dragged along with you.

Yeah, I'd rather have had two seasons of 'Dollhouse' than nothing at all. But you keep giving us these tastes of something incredible that die early in their lives, and it's driving your fans fucking bonkers.
And the good news is, they're doing it to add 3D. :-P
I love 3D! They should do that to all of Joss' upcoming projects!!
It'd be cool if "Epitaph 1" got aired before the show ends (if it ends--it's still an "if" folks, however slim the show's chances might be).

Agreed re: please Joss if you're gonna do TV, don't do any more with Fox (or any regular network, preferrably). If allowed, shop the heck out of this thing to premium cable like HBO, Showtime, AMC, FX--whichever of those will have you. Maybe SciFi/"SyFy" too. They could pair it with the Battlestar Galactica spin-off/prequel series they're doing and have a major sci-fi block on Friday nights or whenever that's airing (unless the new Stargate already has that honor--in that case, a three hour Friday night sci-fi block, why not?). Dollhouse really could use less restraints if it continues, the one friend I've managed to hook on it has repeated that a few times while we've watched. Not because it needs T&A and package shown to be successful, just less prudishness with its sexual material in general. The subject matter and themes explored don't exactly mesh with the little that's allowed to be shown visually.

LOL@BeerGood.

If 3D continues to be a profitable/popular trend, I wonder if TV will soon adopt it. I know it's time-consuming, so they'd have to plan it for a premiere episode or something, do it over the summer.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-10-22 06:54 ]
Oh well. I tend to think that it definitely has been cancelled this time. As long as they get to make all 13 and go out with a bang, I'll be happy.
I don't see this as being a problem with Fox, though. Dollhouse would have struggled on any broadcast network, and none of the networks allow shows as much time to grow as they used to. If Dollhouse got the ratings it got on ABC or CBS, it would already have been canceled.

To call Joss abused for how Fox treated Dollhouse is a little much. Remember how it was the lowest-rated network show to ever get a renewal? Yes, they could have promoted the show better. Yes, the creative differences early on didn't help the quality of the show. But to say that these problems are unique to Fox seems like a stretch.

As has been mentioned, none of the people who were at Fox when they canceled Firefly are still there. It would be like calling a football team dirty because they team they fielded twenty years ago was dirty. It's the players that matter. There is no Fox broadcasting mandate that says "screw with Joss Whedon."

Anyway, this news sucks, and I am peeved we have to wait so long to see Summer. It agree with others that it seems especially mean after those "in three weeks" promos and after the fifth episode was just sent out as a screener. At least we'll get these thirteen episodes. From what we've heard it sounds like they will be amazing.
So Fox ripped us a new one. *sigh*
Although Dollhouse is not officially cancelled yet, this news pretty much tells us it will be. Let me echo what others have been saying: let's enjoy the remaining episodes -- they're likely all we have left!

While FOX is partially to blame for some of the show's problems, I'd still like to thank the people over there for not only giving us a second season, but actually letting it all air despite the awful ratings. I wish you weren't going to pull the show, but thanks nonetheless for giving us all more than we were expecting.

2010 is going to be a pretty lonely year for Whedon material due to this news along with Cabin being pushed back to 2011 (grrr, hate 3D!).
Been getting accustomed to the idea that these 13 would be it (while nursing the hope the ratings would pick up) so I can't say i'm surprised. It's a pity but I see 'Dollhouse' season 2 the same way I see 'Serenity' - it getting made in the first place just shouldn't have happened so its existence is pure gravy, thick, peppery anomalous gravy.

Course Fox'll probably go and amaze everyone by renewing it again now.

...in that case, a three hour Friday night sci-fi block, why not?

No reason at all. Sci-fi used to have a three hour block on Friday nights (BSG and the two Stargate shows) and enjoyed their best ratings ever for scripted TV.
WHAT AM I GOING TO DO IN NOVEMBER NOOOOOO.

Sadface. :[

Also, from an advertising standpoint, this isn't any good... hard to make folks tune in when there's nothing to tune in too. This makes me so many different kinds of not happy.
what a lovely news to wake up to. *sigh*
I don't at all buy the MGM 3D bullshit. Will be shocked if Cabin actually gets released Jan of 2011. Don't count on it. I'm sure it is good, but the delay had nothing to do with 3D and everything to do with future valuation for a prospective buyer.
Not really thinking it would be pessimistic at this point to say, Well, it was fun while it lasted.
I'm not giving up. Stranger things have happened.
To be unrealistically optimistic, one could choose to take the entire month of November as an opportunity to do more grassroots PR, for a somewhat not insignificant ratings jump in December. Allow the fan campaigns to work at getting new viewers, without the pressure of newly sucking ratings, every Saturday.
Knuckleball does have a point. We definitely do need to jump on the fan advertising campaigns and we need to jump on them hard, given this break, if we are to bring about something positive from this. Re-mobilization is in order, as is an up in magnitude.
On that note, whyiwatch tweeted earlier about putting up a place to hash out collaborative stuff, and they'll tweet the link when it's up.
I wonder if Fox is burying it on TV for the sake of DVD sales? It's obviously a tough sell to a mainstream audience so, like they always have, they are dumping it in timeslots where they're not going to get large audiences anyway, but given it already performs well on DVR (where timeslots don't really matter) and it sells well on DVD... it could be simply a profit-maximising exercise.

Anyway that's my rationale for their second season renewal despite its poor TV ratings, so I wouldn't be surprised if this sort of thing persists, and Dollhouse survives despite it. Be thankful to Fox, for it moves in mysterious ways...
When Fox said they would run all 13 episodes of Dollhouse season 2, clearly they meant they would run all 13 episodes into the ground.
Dollhouse finally has a decent lead-in (quality-wise, even if not viewer-pull-in-wise). Itself.


Lol!

To be honest, these Double Dollhouse Days thing in December will be awesome. And re: marketing, I really like to the idea of lots and lots of Firefly/TSCC-fans tuning in for two-hour Summer Glau-evening on Dec 4.

Time to promote it we have.
...they are dumping it in timeslots where they're not going to get large audiences anyway...

The timeslot isn't actually changing though is it ? They're not airing any in November and then airing 2 eps a week in December (one at the normal time and one an hour earlier) so that by January they'll be more or less caught up. And then presumably back to the normal schedule.

It doesn't feel like dumping the show to me, it feels like they're trying to get the ratings that count most for the network (i.e. the sweeps viewerships that are used to set advertising rates) as high as possible. Seems hard to blame them for not gambling their next financial year on an underperforming show that may well not even be on next year.

(but yeah, it's a profit maximising exercise, most/all exercises that corporations engage in are intended to be profit maximising, that kinda comes with the sickle)
We still need word from SCIFI in the UK on if they're contractually obligated to not air before the US.
B!X, I was just about to comment about what will happen with that. I'd be so hyped if they just go ahead and air Dollhouse. It's not like FOX care or anything...
Basically, I hope Sci Fi UK airs it too, since it will lead to what we've been asking for since the beginning of the show: Stream some episodes in advance, let the people who have seen it spread the word. If the UK gets to see them first, they will leak, and we will have that exact situation, marketing-wise.
So, let me get this straight - they're shelving it for a month so that they'll show an hour of Miracle Laurie's character on an engagement as a maid, sweeping up?

Or have I got this all wrong?
I plan to round up the troops and see what we can do with this later today. It makes things more difficult as the screeners and the promos all had the wrong dates on them now, and in terms of building momentum... Yeah.

Re Sci-Fi UK - I've emailed their scheduling guy.
That'd be a pretty one-sided contract, to have the schedule of an entirely separate channel in another country dictated by Fox's whims (and with only a week's notice to boot) so i'd be surprised. But not very surprised.
Grr. Aargh. Is there someone at FOX that we can call and complain to?
I always assumed the earlier released schedule for sweeps was either incorrect or an attempt to put out 'feelers' to advertisers (admittedly having absolutely NO idea of how these things work), given that there were earlier leaks about pulling it for the sweeps and the fact that Brothers and Til Death were also left in. Let's face it, the people that FOX must satisfy are shareholders (assuming this is publicly traded) and not JW fans. And keeping low rated shows on during sweeps, when they are supposed to be garnering interest to add to the bottom line, could be seen as negligent. A reminder that it is show BUSINESS, people. Ditto their advertising strategy during the season. I agree with some of the other posters above that FOX went further than I would have expected (given the numbers) in renewing and agreeing to show all 13.
Although this IS a change from what FOX was planning just five days ago, I don't think it's as 'doom and gloom' as the rest of you, and even if it is, I'm going to remain 'out of the conversation' when it comes to lambasting FOX. This is in no way, shape, or form a repeat of the situation that arose with Firefly, since Kevin Reilly has given DH more support than it otherwise likely would've gotten anywhere else, and has to be credited for doing so.

[ edited by DigificWriter on 2009-10-22 10:42 ]
I'm just going to enjoy the episodes we have left.

I strongly believe S3 is out the window and Dollhouse will finish at the end of this season. At least we got two seasons out of them and FOX actually gave us an additional year.

And they're airing all 13 eps, so that's a bonus.
Well Global do air Bones one day ahead of the US in Canada, but they still follow Fox when there's no new episode like in this week.

If I remember things correctly SciFi UK is still the first network to air all the Firefly episodes, and were aired in the original intended order, before things were shifted around for the DVD release.

People complain about Joss doing business with Fox, but remember 20th Century Fox the production company has always been friendly to us, they were the ones who had a contract with Eliza that jump started this process.

That it ended up being a Fox network show is another issue altogether.

It be cool if Joss continued to work with Fox (the studio), but this time produced something for FX for example. It be an interesting move.
Damn it! I'm having major surgery tomorrow and I was looking forward to watching Dollhouse as part of my two month convalescence. Now I'm really pissed off.
It be cool if Joss continued to work with Fox (the studio), but this time produced something for FX for example. It be an interesting move.


I think Dollhouse will be his last tv series. The internet and the movies beckon.
Something occurs to me that is more troubling. Fox did this at a time when they had to know that there were significant fan efforts underway to get more people to watch. That's not a good thing at all.
I'd imagine it's coincidence that the fan efforts happen to be gearing up just prior to a sweeps period. It's sweeps week (and advertising rates) that Fox care about, not whether they're stepping on any fan campaigns.

(and can you blame them, really ? When have fan campaigns ever worked to actually raise ratings ? Note, I don't mean to get a show on the bubble renewed, I mean to actually get significantly more people watching. So why would Fox gamble on the fan campaign working for 'Dollhouse' ?)
I don't blame Fox for pulling DH for November. But releasing a schedule with DH on it and then taking it off a few days later is another PR cock up.
Just as with the Epitaph One airing fiasco, had this been announced early there would have been no panic. Saying you're going to do one thing then doing a 180 a few days later is just asking for people to assume the worst.
I don't know how far along they are in filming. Would this give Joss and Co. a chance to give the show a proper send-off? The wall handwriting tells us that we won't see more after the 13 eps air, and, frankly, I'm not up for a Dollhouse comic.


I think Dollhouse will be his last tv series. The internet and the movies beckon.

Sadly for us fans, I think you're right, Simon.
I don't blame Fox for pulling DH for November. But releasing a schedule with DH on it and then taking it off a few days later is another PR cock up.

Oh yeah, absolutely zz9. I'm not saying they know their arse from their elbow, more like "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence" ;).
I don't think you can fault Fox for the viewers who
did not come back. Promotion is (imo) mostly about
bringing in new viewers and only secondarily about
reminding folks that a new season is starting and
they did enough promo to achieve the latter. If
many of your old viewers don't return you are dead.
You can blame them because that's what has happened.
I don't know how far along they are in filming. Would this give Joss and Co. a chance to give the show a proper send-off?

Joss said in an interview the other day that he's writing and directing the finale and that it will provide closure (though it will leave some doors open)

Sadly I think it's probably true that Joss won't make another TV show - at least not for many, many years. I really do wish he'd make something for a cable network, though. I am excited by the idea of him making quick, cheap internet stuff but it's hard to beat an ongoing TV show
I can only say one thing: Gutted! I just hope SciFi UK might air them first.
if I was an actor who has worked with Joss Whedon in the past, I'd be looking to buy him lunch in a couple of months time.

... but seriously, I agree that this will probably be Joss Whedon's last television series (at least for many, many years)
He was writing the finale for the 13-ep season, that is.
'Firefly' was his last TV show for many years so I guess never say never and it's all speculation anyway. But yep, I see him focusing on other stuff for a while too. Just from comments he made while filming season 1 it sounded like he kind of couldn't be bothered with all the bullshit anymore.

Which is fine by me, whatever he chooses to do, i'll be there (unless he chooses to lounge about in his pants eating Jammie Dodgers cos I don't wanna be there for that ;).
Joss is a 'big boy' and knows what it is like to play in the 'big leagues', having had more opportunities than many who had the same aspirations. If he gets another good opportunity at a TV series (like he did with DH which basically came to him through Eliza's deal with Fox) I suspect he will take it. Undoubtedly, though, he will mix it up with other creative efforts, as one would suspect given his diverse interests and talents.
If Joss doesn't ever do another TV show I'll be disappointed. I'll check out anything he does because I've enjoyed all of his work but nothing can beat TV. Unless he did an internet TV show that ran for a long time. I was really surprised by the quality of Dr Horrible (production not the writing) so Iíd love for him to give it a shot. Maybe he could even do a couple of DH webisodes? Iím sure the actors would be happy to come back.

Mostly I just want DH to succeed but Iím kinda exhausted trying to put on a smile and hope for the best. Miracles can happen (we were renewed last season) but it just seems more unlikely this time around. Itís all a bit depressing reallyÖ
Old wounds are reopening.

If this rumor is true, than this is without a doubt the end of Dollhouse. Kinda sad. Here's to hoping Joss shops the series somewhere else. Here's to not having hope!
I dont see this as 100% bad. Everyone seems to assume this is the end of the show. Just because Fox doesnt want to drag their ratings in sweeps doesnt mean they are dropping the show.

I think its an interesting idea to run back to back episodes for weeks in a row. Talk about an opportunity for new viewers to get hooked. I hope they capitalize on that and advertise it with something like, "a great time to jump in." Wont other networks be running re-runs right after sweeps anyway? Hindsight may prove this to be a brilliant move.
I'd like to make a couple points:

1. In the current television environment (or even that of its time, really), Buffy wouldn't have lasted past a few episodes on a big broadcast network. It was on a fledgling network and grew with the network. FOX hasn't been fledgling for a very, very long time. They can't wait for shows to grow with them. And as sad as that makes me, I know it's true.

2. As everyone has pointed out, FOX did us a solid by giving us a second season when business sense pointed against it. I'm disappointed in this about face but I think the tone of fan communications with FOX needs to be positive.

GOOD IDEA:
Tweet @FoxBroadcasting I'm really looking forward to new Dollhouse in December!

BAD IDEA:
Tweet @FoxBroadcasting anything mean or insulty.

...so yeah. Keep that in mind.

[ edited by Kiba on 2009-10-22 14:19 ]
You might be right, alexreager. But I could read this another way, much more negative. Running back-to-backs lets them complete the season faster before ending it (and yes, I know that they could have done the same if they simply had braodcast as originally scheduled). But to take the show out of sweeps time, and then run back to back in December, is just not good no matter how you cut it. Is it likely people will jump in 6 eps into the season, if they have not seen it before and do not know the background of what is going on? This is part of the reason I generally wait and buy DVD sets, so I can get a complete understanding of the show's universe, whatever show it might be. I won't jump in on FlashForward right now, a show I am interested in but have not yet watched, but will buy it down the road.
Well fuck-all. It's one thing to only give us two seasons, considering the ratings. But to advertise November dates then a week later, cancel all November airings?

It's not as if anyone is going to be watching in December, just recording. And most upsetting of all, this makes me far less trusting that we'll actually see the final shows aired.

If they can pull this, a week after promoting eps for November, who's to say they'll even air the final eps?
What does this mean for Sci Fi UK? Will they be airing episodes ahead of the US or are they gonna have to stop along with Fox?
After a night's sleep, this news is even more unpleasant. Clearly, Fox should do what it believes to make more business sense. I get it. But why send out the screeners a few days ago, including an episode that won't air for over another month? Perhaps they've just decided to cut their losses and to hell with it all. But then why even air the rest of the episodes?

The internet is great. Movies are great, too. But I hope to the sky bully that Dollhouse won't be the last TV series from Joss Whedon. I say that regardless of whether Dollhouse ends after the second 13-episode season or whether by some miracle it continues. In my opinion, there ain't nothing like the storytelling possibilities of great TV. Joss taught me that, first with Buffy, then with Angel and Firefly. I had never felt so passionately about long-form visual storytelling until I was introduced to the works of Mutant Enemy. It was a gigantic, glorious revelation. You can create a world and play so deeply in it....Ack. Joss Whedon, creator, must follow his muse and his own dreams. But I hope we are lucky enough that Joss works with that storytelling form again. My dream is that he is wooed by cable. His sensibilities are more cable-like. His numbers are, too.
In the immortal words of Bart Simpson: "I didn't think it was possible but this both sucks AND blows."
Can't say I'm terribly surprised, though.
:(
Very sad, very disappointed.

The only consolation for me is that I won't have a television distraction during NaNoWriMo. I guess that is good. Maybe I'll have to work a revenge subplot against a corporate broadcasting company into my novel.
I know he prefers the US broadcast networks to cable TV but.. wouldn't HBO, Showtime or even AMC be a much better fit for Joss' storytelling sensibilities?

The net only idea is a bold one but it would cut Joss off from the masses a LOT more than a move to a cable TV-based audience. There are still folks with a TV but no computer. And then there are people like me who have a computer, know of cool net shows like The Guild but simply don't watch them. Even though I can click to it and watch it as I am typing this, I'd be much more likely to watch The Guild if it was on Adult Swim or something. Sad, but true.

I don't see why someone with Joss' clout couldn't work out an arrangement where his shows debut on cable and the internet simultaneously. His name is a proven brand now.
Re: the UK, I'm hearing but haven't confirmed that they can't air before the US, except for a one-day "gate". In other words, they could technically air it the day before the US, but that's it.

As I said, hearing this but haven't outright confirmed it yet.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-22 18:30 ]
Bet they're wishing they hadn't started with a double bill now.
Bottom - come on Sci Fi UK, FIND a loop hole :D
To quote Darth Vader: NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Well damn. I didn't see this news until just now so am still digesting it, but it's definitely not a good thing, no matter how you cut it.

A few things come to mind. Does this pretty much mean the network has definitely decided these 13 eps are it or is there some small tiny sliver of a chance they could still decide to renew? I know the temptation is just to be resigned to this being it, but if there's any chance at all, I don't think the fan campaigns or anything else people have been doing to raise awareness should end, if anything we should try even harder. Then at least we can't say we didn't go out without a fight.

Also, it's probably a good thing in my eyes if Sci Fi UK is not able to air these eps in advance of the US. The last thing we need is people torrenting these episodes like crazy weeks before they air and giving even less incentive to actually watch them live.

All that said, if this actually is the end, I intend to enjoy these last episodes and hope to god this is not the last we ever see of Joss Whedon on tv as that would be a terrible shame.
Well, this really sucks. I was hoping we could build some ratings momentum after the uptick in episode 3 and the terrific fan campaigns we got going. But a month off the air will surely kill the momentum. Heck, we saw what a week off did to the show in season 1 (ratings-wise).

The only way I see to salvage this is if Fox PR takes it upon themselves to promote the HECK out of the Double-Dollhouse Days in December. Hey, if Dollhouse is their only primetime show for that day of the week, at least they can't do crappy Friday Night Fights promos for it anymore. ;-)

I'm resolved to enjoying what we get and not expecting anything beyond this season. I really hope this isn't the last of Joss on tv, because as others have said, he works really well in the medium. Internet just doesn't have the budget to deliver 44 minutes a week of fresh episodes. Movies you get about 2 hours every few years. I want my Joss on TV! (And particularly cable, where his shows would surely be allowed to grow). But I'll follow him wherever he goes next. Dollhouse was a gift, I didn't expect another Joss show, and I certainly didn't expect a second season, so that is really special.

I need to find something to watch in November now.
It's too bad Dollhouse isn't on the CW. Dollhouse fans wouldn't have too suffer through all this sports causing hiatus nonsense if Dollhouse aired on the CW.

Maybe airing back-to-back eps will help Dollhouse.
Why do you guys think Joss would ever choose movies over television? That side of Hollywood has been far harsher to him. You guys notice that thus far, despite four television shows under his belt, he's only had ONE film out under his name? Granted there's another one on the way, but there's at least two more in development hell. Meanwhile, he had an excellent run with the Buffy series over eight years, and Dollhouse has already generated its first 'sequel'.
Hasn't he SAID that he'd rather do movies?
I wonder if it's possible as a last ditch attempt if FOX were to move Dollhouse to another weekday, just anything but Friday. I don't think rating would shoot up, but I think they would be better than they are now.

That said I look forward to Joss doing more work for the Internet, where there is no filter via the network or any studio as the case may be with movies.
If the show is done after this season, then they better damn well go out in a blaze of glory. No more babysitting or background singer episodes.

Have a doll malfunction during speed dating with multiple sociopathic personalities, have a doll dress up as a cheerleader with Charlie Sheen and get caught by the paparazzi, for the "Epitaph Two" episode put a terminator at the top of the ladder on the roof.

Have fun with it.
I would dislike all of those more than babysitting or background singers. ;)
Have Rossum be a subdivision of Wolfram and Hart

Have a flashback where we see that no-one has actually touched Boyd through the entire show (some retconning may be required) and that consequently he's The First Evil

Have them climb the ladder in "Epitaph Two" only to find themselves surrounded by "local colour", just as all seems lost who should arrive but Cap'n Mal and his merry band of misfits. Topher whips up a quick (yet perfect) Wash imprint which they put into Alpha's body. Happy days.

Have Spike in it
Spike makes every show better ; )
Well fuck-all. It's one thing to only give us two seasons, considering the ratings. But to advertise November dates then a week later, cancel all November airings?


I've said this before, but it bears repeating:

This 'bad behaviour' is not only understandable but morally neutral if you remember that your fandom has absolutely no value to FOX beyond the financial.

You're going to buy the DVDs anyway.

But you're not cutting checks for advertising clients.

Your money is as good as spent, friend. So what difference does it make whether they offend you? The only meaningful decision has already been made, by you.

I know he prefers the US broadcast networks to cable TV but.. wouldn't HBO, Showtime or even AMC be a much better fit for Joss' storytelling sensibilities?


I'm not convinced that this is true. Joss is a master of a particular mainstream TV storytelling style. Remember his comment that extending episodes to 50 minutes actually hurt him on Dollhouse Season One - he was trained to write 42 minutes and ended up (by his own estimation) with flabby overlong episodes. I'm not sure I agree with his self-assessment but there it is.

[Forgive my dilettantism in the following.]

I don't doubt that he could make the transition to ad-free, freeform hourlong cable drama, but consider the form of his best TV work: 'The Body,' 'Restless,' 'OMWF,' even 'Chosen.' Very, very strong structure built around the assumption of intrusive ads ('The Body' is four realtime scenes and 'Restless' is four movements!). He's worked for more than a decade in a particular structural mode for which he has a real affinity. He's known for blending serial and episodic elements, working with pop formulas, playing off genre conventions like the Big Scary Act Break. As time's gone on he's gotten much craftier about such things. But unlike, say, David Milch - who found the four-act strictures of network TV totally neutral from a storytelling standpoint and was the absolute master writer of HBO on Deadwood - Whedon seems to draw strength from these ol' fashioned structural/generic constraints.

I think Joss would do wonders on a cable network. But his 'storytelling sensibilities' have flowered on mainstream TV (if you count the hands-off WB years as 'mainstream') precisely because of its familiar, arbitrary constraints. He's really, really good at that specific thing. He may have the advantage of being a genius (his Sondheim-related averral notwithstanding) and that'd no doubt smooth the transition to cable. But we shouldn't assume that it would be this immediate renaissance. His most challenging and thematically complex show is, after all, a weekly pulp anthology in the conventional form.

(I'd also note, incidentally, that the writing staffs of The Sopranos and The Wire were unusual, older groups - The Wire wasn't even primarily screenwriters - and every word of Deadwood was written by one man, if 'man' is the right word for Mr Milch. David Simon and especially David Chase had TV experience, of course, but the approach on their shows was decidedly nontraditional. Near as I can tell, Whedon runs a bog-standard writing room that happens to contain one freak of narrative nature, i.e. himself. Imagine the Buffy writing staff heading over to HBO for a hypothetical Season Nine, 'free' from any kind of storytelling constraint. Do you think that radical recontextualization makes the initial work easier? Or much harder?)

I protest too much. Yes Joss should be on cable. Obviously. I just feel the need to point out that 'cable' presents its own challenges even before questions of viewership and executive relationships come up.
I agree that Joss clearly thrives off of constraints, and that it might be tough to move over with Buffy or Dollhouse, which have "network TV" as part of their identities, but he did an awfully good job of making a movie out of Firefly, and Dr. Horrible deals brilliantly with a whole new set of constraints. He'd be great on cable. Don't just think Deadwood and The Wire, think Flight of the Conchords, too. :)
Dr Horrible is basically a three act short film/TV episode though so it's a slight adaptation from the normal 4 acts but not a massive leap (Joss has gone from screen to comic for instance, which seems a bigger leap than from 4 to 3 or even 4 to 6 acts).

Remember his comment that extending episodes to 50 minutes actually hurt him on Dollhouse Season One - he was trained to write 42 minutes and ended up (by his own estimation) with flabby overlong episodes. I'm not sure I agree with his self-assessment but there it is.

IIRC his main issue with the longer running time was that it meant making an extra 8-10 minutes with roughly the same length of time to create episodes. Maybe he felt they were flabby and overlong because he was used to writing over and then cutting back, which I doubt happened as much with 50 minute episodes (i.e. cutting less could maybe make it feel like he hadn't cut enough, whether he actually had or not) ?

He does seem to prefer 4 acts though since he's commented on his issues with 6 act stories i.e. it's harder to come up with compelling act outs. One of those areas of friction between the commercial and creative aspects I guess.

(similarly I reckon US network "half-hour" sitcoms are just too short nowadays and almost all feel rushed and/or insubstantial - 20 minutes just isn't enough time to tell a proper story)
This sucks. I have to wait until December?!

This is sad sad news for fans.
Saje, that's probably why NBC does an hour-long of The Office when it's necessary for some of the bigger moments/dramatic arc climaxes. Surprisingly, The Office does often feel long enough at just over 20, 21 minutes--they're able to get in there and tell a satisfying, funny story. What annoys me a little bit lately is premium cable like HBO and Showtime making shows that skirt the line between comedy and drama (but are mostly dramas, not "dramedy") that they crunch into 30 minutes, when many weeks they feel way too short and rushed. Nurse Jackie, Hung, United States of Tara--sometimes the shorter format worked, but many weeks the eps felt unsatisfyingly brief.
Wow, threadsurrection ;).

With drama it's especially noticeable, I saw some of "United States of Tara" and agree that they felt slightly "bitty" and too brief (though that was probably partly the sort of "slice of life" - or lives in that case ;) - style too).

With standard comedies I think the more like a traditional sitcom it is the better it works in 20 minutes (where the "situation" often means "environment" e.g. an office, a community college etc. rather than "a set of circumstances" e.g. a 40 ish recently divorced single mother) because you can lean on the format a bit for shorthand. But while some creators make it work I bet all of them could make it work even better with an extra 4-5 minutes.

(and it could also be partly because i'm used to UK comedies which, especially from the Beeb, tend to be around 28 minute "half hours")

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