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October 22 2009

The TV Addict pens "An Open Letter To Joss Whedon." In which the question on all our minds is aptly expressed. Update: Joss comments.

I don't agree the network put it's full weight behind DOLLHOUSE season two for reasons I'm not getting into here, but I agree it's time to shake things up somewhat.

Doing something webtacular would be a significant bit of work, but I believe Team Whedon has the creative balls to do it, and there's others out there who would step behind it. (Although nobody should use the word webtacular ever again).
And he's already done one thing that's webtacular. That ended up getting an Emmy and a great moment on the live awards show broadcast. The message here is pretty clear.
The thing is, there's always a place for TV, and frankly I think it helps employ a lot more people than interwebs stuff would. But interwebs has its place - Horrible showcased that - the question is developing an environment where it can find its audience and turn a healthy profit. I think it is absolutely doable with smart people on board.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-22 17:26 ]
Just an open question regarding Dollhouse being produced for the web... would it be possible? Is it too tied up with legal issues to go out on its own like that? Or does something like this have to be a completely new idea like Dr. Horrible was?
The question I'm thinking is this: Fox has definitely known that they're unlikely to extend Dollhouse past the 13 eps (or order a third season) for a few weeks now. However, they have made a point of bringing Joss over to direct an episode of Glee. Could it be a move to keep Joss in the Fox family? Is it possible that, despite Dollhouse's lukewarm reception by viewers, they want to keep working with him? Any chance they might try and develop a new show for next season? (Or am I reading too much into things/getting hopes up for no reason?)
I would expect it would have to be a new project. IP is a mess.
Hi guys. Lot going on.

First off, TV addict not dumb. (But you gotta get clean, man. We love you and you HAVE A PROBLEM. I'm just saying, try a book. A book about TV! Not cold turkey.)

Directing Glee. This is not a diabolical Fox scheme. This is me going "can I can I?" Did you see last night? Best cut-to-opening-credits moment since the halcyon days of BSG.

Howzabout that schedule? Well, I'm not as depressed as everyone else. We weren't about to rock sweeps anyway, and though there's a chilly November, December is CRAZY. It's like an Advent calendar of episodes! We get November to try to spread the word (which I'll be leaning on Fox to do, though it's hard to imagine them doing as good a job as the WhyIWatch guy) and then December is pure gluttony. Plus the episodes line up extremely well in these pairs, and we'll have an absurdly appropriate lead-in.

Back to breaking Tim's episode. Keep the faith, peeps. I'll bring you news (and hopefully a little humor, I mean would it kill me to punch these up a little?) when I can. -j
We get November to try to spread the word...

Which, thankfully, was the early reaction of a good number of people last night. So, onward.
Howzabout that schedule? Well, I'm not as depressed as everyone else.

This is encouraging news. Thanks for posting.
I've got two cool t-shirt slogans and a lot of conviction, Joss. I'm in....but Fox will not treat you like ABC treated a rather nice piemaker who can bring people back from the dead...and the network four Emmies a couple months after it showed the last three episodes on a Saturday night, using rumor instead of promos to tell people about it.
We'll let everyone know about the Dollhouse, as much as we can.
WhyIWatch is a girl-guy. It's a combination of a very awesome lady and a less awesome man called, well, me.

Lots of irons in the fire when it comes to Why I Watch and Activate Dollhouse. Branding will come soon.
Yay for wisdom from Joss during these murky times! Dude, if the schedule stays the way it is now, it's going to be nuts in here in December. I'll try and keep the faith during November, despite severe withdrawal.
I think the ideas conveyed in the letter have some value. They have obviously oversimplified things though. But maintaining the rights to his own material is absolutely key.

Charging $1-$2 per episode for downloads, possibly keeping budgets down by paying actors a little less for a bigger share of any profits, keeping higher portions of dvd sales (e.g. Amazon on demand or something similar), using subtle product placement when feasible to raise revenue, etc. could work.

Of course Joss would still need loads of money up front out of his own pocket or from other investors (I'd buy shares of a production company or put up money as an investment if these options were available). He'd need to rent studio space, build sets, pay production teams, special effects teams, etc. But I think it could be a gamble that could ultimately pay off handsomely.

And I know that I'm contradicting myself, but this could work particularly with an established franchise like Firefly that has a built-in audience (probably several times the size of its core audience upon Serenity's theatrical release). Of course, he'd have to work that out with Fox...On the other hand, maintaining the rights to his work is highly desirable. So perhaps a new show would be better (but also more risky).

I certainly hope that Dollhouse isn't his last television-like show, but I'd be perfectly content with future shows being on the internet. I like Dr. Horrible quite a bit, but it just doesn't do for me what a longer-form show can (but I wouldn't turn down a Dr. Horrible 2 :).
That gives me some hope, we must do as our master says and try our best to promote & promote & promote Dollhouse until we can promote no more! How to do that, don't ask me! Lets just see what people like Why I Watch come up with.
Thanks for the reassurance Joss. Not that I was panicking. Or picnicking (it's cold here!).

Still want to know if DH will air as planned in the UK. That could get interesting if it gets ahead of the US.
[composed before seeing Joss's post]

I like series TV better than one-offs or movies. Cable doesn't seem to be interested in giving Joss the kind of deal he wants, otherwise I presume he would already be producing a series for a cable company.

I wonder if the revenue streams from paid downloads and DVD sales internationally are approaching the point of equaling a typical cable show production budget. If so, the arrangement I would like to see would be that Joss create an independent series to be shown on the interweb and marketed in the various ways TV Addict lists, but then go to cable without too much delay, say two years after the first Internet release.

If this could be made to work, everyone wins.

Sex and the City was rebroadcast on network TV after its cable run and seems to be making money; why shouldn't it work the other way with a series that originated outside of cable being reshown on cable?
Confused about how TV Addict thinks that FOX has done all it could.

But, still...Hey Joss! Thanks for the attempts to keep us upbeat...and your humor is as always appreciated. :)
I don't want to spill too much on here as we're still kicking things around and spending too much time on conference calls, but right now we're looking at making the December return a big TV event. Think screening parties and invites to your friends. Even your e-friends. But not your i-friends. (I've no idea what that means).
Joss, you have breathed a bit of hope back into my depressed and tired bones. Thank you, and I cannot wait.

But seriously, I was so looking forward to more Summer... :(
But now you'll get Summer in the middle of winter. Think how cheering that will be!
Oh, another thing - I think that setting up his own website to download the episodes for a fee could also be better than Hulu/I-Tunes. He could keep more of the profits and the release wouldn't have to be U.S. only (think the Guild, but with a fee). Of course this would also call for an up-front investment in people to set up and run the website. Maybe viewers could pay for a subscription service or something similar. I think that because of his clout, Joss has the potential to make this into a profitable, realistic business model.
Still want to know if DH will air as planned in the UK. That could get interesting if it gets ahead of the US.

As I said in the other thread too, what I'm hearing, but haven't confirmed, is that they can't do this. It sounds like they can have no more than a day lead time over the US. But, as I say, I've heard but not confirmed.
Cool! Another Joss post!

I think I have to agree with TV Addict. Joss could change the world of entertainment, again. If Dollhouse should not make it to a third season, I think he should put out a highly stylized web show where we get a tale from the mind of Joss every week. (Like Hitchcock Presents or even The Twilight Zone.)

And to quote Robocop, "I'd buy that for a dollar."

[ edited by alexreager on 2009-10-22 19:04 ]
*hugs Joss*

*goes to pimp WhyIWatch*
I've asked for an answer re the international thing, b!X - they're going away to work it out. It's unlikely it will air abroad first, though, is my feeling on the matter.
I love a Joss post. I always feel uplifted. Less distressed. Happier.

I prefer TV and 45 minute chunks of narrative to smaller, internet-like chunks (Dr. Horrible is not the norm, or is it?), but hey. The internet is the frontier and it'd be wildly exciting to see what Joss & Co. might do with it. I'd sure as hell subscribe to anything they do.

But per Joss mayhap there is hope yet for Dollhouse. It is true that we now have a chance (as does Fox) to hugely promote Dollhouse coming back in December.
Yeah, gossi, I don't know how the person who tweeted me would know, but he seemed pretty sure that there's only that one-day gate in which they can be ahead of the US. So, I pretty much expect the same thing you do.
Some questions:

Wouldn't piracy be an issue with downloading episodes for a fee?

Are we sure that the two million viewers represent primarily hard-core Joss fans rather than a broader mix ?

Wouldn't funding for following episodes require income from the on-line episodes, so that it would be difficult to finish more than one or two episodes in advance?
Jossmasterflash, hello again.

Did you see (Glee) last night? Best cut-to-opening-credits moment since the halcyon days of BSG.

So Joss comes on and gives us all a little hope for Dollhouse, and being the good minions that we are we spring into action. But is anyone else noticing he didn't actually answer TV Addict's question?

True, he sort of challenged the question's underlying assumptions, and of course he doesn't want to say anything that make the Semi-Evil Overlords at Fox unhappy... but he still dodged the question.

Let's put it this way: if Dollhouse does fight its way back onto the air for a third season, well and good. And if it does not, can someone ask this question again? 'Cause personally I'm really interested in the answer.
I shall second Joss' optimism. All is not lost until it is. And if that happens, well, we'll think of something new. Here are some thoughts on The State of the Dollhouse. is an amazing piece of work, but I hear that Joss guy smells like IcyHot and Bactine.

"Is it not time to take a page from Felicia Day and her GUILD by cutting the network out of the equation?"

I'm not as erudite as Joss but lemme take a crack at it.

Dollhouse is Joss' gift to Eliza. Eliza was contracted with Fox to do a series, and after Joss went to pee he gave her Dollhouse on a paper napkin. Hopefully he washed his hands first.

I'm sure the devil's in the details but essentially he gave it to her, she gave it to them. So no. You can't just cut the network out of the Dollhouse equation. Dollhouse exists because Eliza needed something the network would buy, and Joss delivered. If the network drops the ball, maybe we'll get a comic book a decade from now but don't hold your breath.

The fact Dollhouse is a great show is better than golf on Sunday. The fact the world hasn't figured that out yet is kinda par for the course given the Whedonverse track record. Season two is somewhere between a bogey and an eagle, and November has become a sand trap, but Joss & the gang are whacking away at December and it looks like there's a hole near a green somewhere. No I don't play golf, so I'm sure I just ruined that metaphor back there in the bushes. Let's move on.

Dr. Horrible is Joss & Mo & Zach & Jed's gift to US. No network in that equation. They ARE working on a sequel. It'll happen w/time. Of course that's what I was telling myself five years ago w/Ripper but let's not cry over spilt show ideas.

Personally, I'm just enjoying Dollhouse season two and am thankful to see that. If season three happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I'll be disappointed but so far as I know the Earth will still revolve around the sun. I think. I could be wrong about that. I was thrilled when I got season three of X-Files oh so many moons ago, but then by season seven I was like ohmigod is this still on? Fandom can be a bitch.
I was this close to finishing my What Is The Dollhouse 15-second teasers, too.

Upside: I was a little stuck on aspects of two of them, and now I can retool the entire thing to focus on the November campaign for December, and the extra time might solve those two stuck parts for me.

So I've taken them all down to be reborn later.
b!X, there needs to be some real focus on What-IS-Dollhouse for newbies, so I admire your efforts on that front. We're thinking of putting together a movie-style website, which has the sole purpose of selling the premise in a deeply cool fashion to bring new viewers in.
Just throwing a random ad campaign idea out there in case anyone thinks it's worth picking up and running with it (or maybe it's already been done by lots of people and I'm late to the party)

How about borrowing the iPhone App Store's slogan and putting together ads with the tagline "There's a doll for that"?
well, Joss plans out its seasons. Chris Carter, well, was swallowed up by the mythology. I do agree that "fandom can be a bitch", though.
The point is that if Fox won't promote the show, we will, and with better ads (which is a given, if you remember the "Friday Night Fights" spot).
ETA: sab39 has the best idea yet!

[ edited by impalergeneral on 2009-10-22 20:20 ]
Me, I'm just amused at the double episodes thing. If they actually use "Double DOLLHOUSE Days", can I sue? ;)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-22 20:25 ]
TV show in trouble due to not entirely great promotions? There's a doll for that.
gossi, you're awesome
Coming from a print background (I write knitting/fiber arts books), I wholeheartedly agree. In a niche market like mine, where the audience is fairly captive -- hello, Whedon fans much the same -- it's easy to produce and market better quality content than the big publishers are willing or able to do.

So you get better quality, targeted to the audience that desperately WANTS that quality and not "ONE HUNDRED SUPER EASY SCARF PATTERNS" or whatever the network TV equivalent is (*cough cough* Cougar Town *cough cough*), and I end up making more per copy sold than I would at the big publisher. An actual living wage! Golly!

I've done more than 10 big publisher books, but I've started turning them down because I can do it better myself AND make more money doing it.


Would that it were as easy to turn on a dime and do this with TV (books are a little easier to put together than, say, TV shows). We'd have our unfiltered Whedon (tasty! delicious! nutritious!) and he'd have more money and freedom to be awesome.

[For the record, my agent and I have been trying to get a publisher to pick up a Whedon-themed knitting book for a while now. Fox asked for more money to license the thing than any publisher would ever pay ANY craft book author upfront for any project. An amount so laughable, we laughed until we cried. Then we cried more when, even after we presented the publisher with a 14 page document on the extreme dedication of the Whedon fanbase, they said no one is interested in a decade-old TV show. Sigh. I think this website would beg to differ.]
FWIW, the 15-second teases I was doing could very easily be only slightly rejiggered to be "ads" not so much directly for the show (although they'd be that inherently anyway), but for the November campaign.

My original thought was that while long-form trailers like the WIW stuff are awesome, kind of minimalist quick-hit 15-second promos are the sort of things we might be able to convince producers of video podcasts or live streaming events to drop into their stuff. Especially if they have audiences one might not normally assume are being hit.
"We get November to try to spread the word..."

November spreading the word? Oh no! Spoiler! Wait...November is also a month, not just a doll.
TV show in trouble due to not entirely great promotions? There's a doll for that.

Yeah, and according to Joss, it's November. ("We get November to try to spread the word"). I knew ending her contract early was a fake-out.
"November spreading the word? Oh no! Spoiler! Wait..."

Heh, that was my first reaction as well. TOLD you there was a doll for that!
Oops Gwen got there just ahead of me.
November will both spread the word and possibly visit devastating terror on fans who quote the wrong dialogue at the wrong time.
I guess we do need a Miracle, but it's not nice foisting all the work on her.
I can't wait for Joss' episode of gLee but more importantly, I've been waiting quite some time longer for my episodes of Dollhouse, and it seems all I get to do is wait.

I know FOX said they will air them all, but do you blame me if I'm a little pessimistic and don't believe them.

But I will wait, because I know you can't keep Joss and the fam down, and eventually we will get to see the amazing work they've created. I just hope that I get to see as much of that work as possible, because I'll always be waiting for Buffy, the Animated Series, or Firefly Season 2, or the unknown as of yet to be created project that the PTB are cooking up within Joss' brain as I type.
I prefer TV and 45 minute chunks of narrative to smaller, internet-like chunks (Dr. Horrible is not the norm, or is it?), but hey.


I'm just worried that Dollhouse will be Joss' last tv series, and that scares me! We need to keep this on the air as long as possible.

Thanks Joss for bringing some funny to this thread, and to my day. It was much needed.
Should Joss do an "ordinary" show? Go mainstream, but hopefully with the dialogue and storylines we know and love, but with a common premise to draw in big viewers?

If Joss had created House would we love it for the dialogue and characters, and welcome the big viewing figures? Or would we say it wasn't a "proper" Whedon show?
3 in 4 shows each season get canceled. Joss has had 4 TV shows, 2 of which reached over 100 episodes, one canceled, and another in its second season. He's doing way above the industry average, so I don't think he needs to make a 'normal' show.

Although in my ideal fantasy, I'd love to see him create a sitcom. 'cos it could be awesome. I'm serious.
Joss and sitcom? There's one out there.. How I met your Mother ;)


Stop screwing with our fragile minds, PLEASE. Fire those at Fox or imprint them with good advertising skills..
For all this worry, has Joss ever actually said (and I don't mean bad misquotes) that he will leave television forever after Dollhouse?

TV Addict's idea is an awesome one, and is something I've thought about myself a lot. (If I ever became rich, I'd want to start an online 'network' to fund all the best creator's shows, and then charge a subscription per show. Show the pilot for free, then charge for the rest, then sell the dvds - with a discount to anyone that subscribed as a thank you.) Joss Whedon definitely has the contacts and talent to pull this off.

I only hope that we would get longer stories than other web series. I dearly love The Guild, but an entire season is as long as just one television episode. I need a bit more than that!
I don't want to see Joss go mainstream. I love my genre entertainment, and Joss does amazing things with scifi/fantasy. It's sad that so many people tune out just because something is genre. Although every now and then the scifi sneaks in and catches people unawares (see: Lost). But yeah, Joss should stick with genre and making what he loves.

If Joss makes a sitcom, though, it needs to have Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk on it. Heck, it could have ONLY those two.
I think being on FOX is mainstream. He's just doing some non-typical things within the mainstream. Like character arcs and moral complexity! Who does those? House and Bones I'm looking at you as your supremely talented leads flirt with development but settle for mere eventfulness 9 times out of 10.
I don't think Joss should have to "go mainstream." Dollhouse was a tough show for people to connect with, but I think Joss has appeal beyond a niche audience, he just hasn't had the breaks.

JJ Abrams, for instance, is not as quirky and cerebral as Joss, but it's not like they're night and day either. In fact, their backgrounds are eerily similar.

To wit:

-- Came from a Hollywood family.
-- Went to an East Coast liberal arts school.
-- Got writing work at absurdly young ages.
-- Started out in comedy and non-genre stuff.
-- Became highly paid script doctors.
-- Moved into creating their own television shows.
-- Became geek icons.
-- Moved into features directing.
-- Directed for "The Office."
-- Returned to TV.

And yet, thanks to the homerun of Lost, the smaller hits he had with Fringe and Alias, and the phenomenon of Star Trek, Abrams is now practically a household name who can do pretty much anything he wants, whereas Joss is toiling in low-rated Friday night television and the internet.

Look, I love Dr. Horrible, but that's not how I want my Joss stuff most of the time. He's not a playwright or a sitcom writer (though he can do both very well). He writes big, larger than life stuff, stuff that is made for big budgets and wide audiences. He should be directing sci-fi epics with 100 million dollar budgets.

Joss has had some near misses this decade. In another universe Wonder Woman could have been his Star Trek. Or the studio could have jumped at his Batman pitch and he could be getting the career boost David Goyer's been getting. Or he could have done X3 and, I dunno, have made the Wolverine movie by now.

I still think he has it in him to be a massive writer-director, not just a cult-geek icon. He's very good at dialogue, character, and women, three things that are usually very bad in big budget blockbusters.

I think Cabin In The Woods could legitmately be his breakthrough -- but now we have to wait a year for that.
In fact, their backgrounds are eerily similar.

Well yes but their creative impulses don't seem all that similar. That's the main thing here. They are both household names and have both been successful in tv, but they seem compelled to make rather different kinds of things.

And if Joss can't make whatever he wants, then I don't know what Dr. Horrible is.
Joss is actually scripting his life, from the Bronze board through this one. Everyone is a Doll, and he is the Puppet Master.

Oh and wait for it:

Cabin in the woods is actually the writer's room with money people breathing on his shoulder

BTW Love the S1 DVD, but no commentary on Stage Fright?? Loved that episode! (guess I'm pretty much alone there)

[ edited by Krusher on 2009-10-23 00:13 ]
I would say their creative impulses are fairly similar too. They both have respect for genre yet love reinventing and repurposing it in smart ways. They both combine genre thrills with wit and character development. They both write strong female characters.

Joss' dialogue is more stylized and more poetic, and his work is bleaker and more complex, perhaps, but, to me, they come from a similar place.

And you're right that Dr. Horrible is Joss doing what he wants. I guess I would just say that it's not what I want him to do (not that he should pay any attention to that).

And I would also say that most ventures for the internet don't cost a couple hundred thousand dollars and feature effects work. If Joss wasn't Joss, Dr. Horrible would have probably taken place entirely in Dr. Horrible's lair. His imagination still leads him to places where a large(r) budget is needed, is the point I'm making, I guess.
I eagerly anticipate the full immersion narrative experience, yet fear the emotional bungee bounce, of Double Dollhouse December. I have just over a month to get strong.

It's like an Advent calendar of episodes!


That's a Glee-moticon. A sign!
joss : What the 7734 does an avowed atehist know from Advent calendars? :-)(-:

Really, wonderful to see you again, Your Purpleness, even for guys like moi who are in a permanent state of miff with you. So how much more for thsoe fnas who still like you, eh?
I apreciate Joss words, but I think he must be loyal to the network.
When the sad day DH will be cancelled, I'm sure the story will be different.

And I'm totally onboard with the idea of VOD Series or DVD Series, not just webseries.
I want Mutant Enemy to risk it all and do a first season series for iTunes, some VOD cable network or DVD. With the money they'll do, they're will be able to finance more seasons.

The problem here is the money they need for that first season.
Movie studios risk a lot of money with many movies, why not Tv series? With a modest 35M$, can't we have a full 13 episodes season?

[ edited by Angel TheVampire on 2009-10-23 01:47 ]
I'm just happy to know that Joss still checks in here at Whedonesque, and I'm happy to hear how excited he is about 'Glee' and future 'Dollhouse' episodes. I'm sure December will be awesome!
Sad to see the news about November... Although DH will at least have a spectacular lead in come December.
And on the Glee note, which just makes me squee: my fantasy is that Joss directs the episode in which we meet Rachel's two very musically inclined dads...Who will be played by Jesse L. Martin and Neil Patrick Harris (my personal fantasy casting). Although that might be slightly too much goodness to be contained in one hour of television.;)
but what will be the lead in to dollhouse's lead in, in december?

(what's on before the dollhouse double header?)
Whatever the local affiliates play at 7:30PM. That's not a network timeslot.
Dollhouse leads to Dollhouse. All is Dollhouse. We are all in it, those who think they're not . . . most of all! Bwahahawheezkaff.

I wanna listen to Joss Whedon and Tim Minear break a story.
I'm actually with Joss and others on this. It isn't all bad. Having two episodes per evening come December will be great. I used to watch all of Joss' shows in one-episode-per-week format, but since the advent of DVD and the popularity of tv-shows-on-DVD I've really gotten used to watching multiple episodes in a row. It's how I watch most tv now, even the new shows - where I just save a couple of 'em and watch episodes in a row alternating between shows. Except for Dollhouse, True Blood (when it was still on) and - since about two weeks ago - Glee, which I need to watch right away :).

I'm also looking forward to all the cool stuff the fan campaigns'll come up with. So November should be fun as well, in the end :)
righto... Thanks Bix. I don't know much about how tv works in America (although I've learned a fair bit following dollhouse's struggles).
I agree GVH.. I watched buffy and Angel mostly on dvd. I think It will be interesting to see whether viewer numbers go up or down from the first dollhouse to the second one.
Honestly, we've already got a guarentee that the whole second season will air. That's enough to make me happy.
Not to be a stickler, but there are no guarantees. Should FOX's sense of what's smart business shift at any given moment, so can their decisions.

They haven't written us a contract saying they will air them all. ;)
I think that even if they don't air them all, all of them will still be made, and will go to dvd.

That said, I think we should look at this positively, and build momentum for the December "relaunch," since it was never properly launched the first time.
I'd like to add a small point of interest to that article. I mean he's right in all that he says, there's just one thing he forgot. Just has 2 million AMERICAN viewers. But people of Whedonesque, Joss has more fans than that. I often feel like we're being forgotten about and I find it unfair. We're all over the place and I'm sure many of us would love to support an endeavor like this. Being a Whedonfan is Sweden, well it could be easier. To be able to follow Dollhouse... I do what I have to do. Judge me if you like but hey, I'm limited in my options. But in a situation like the one proposed I could not only stick to official channels but also actively support his creation. Which I something I'd love to do.
On the other hand I think the article grossly overestimates the number of American fans who would pay for Joss's internet stuff. 2 million viewers doesn't equal 2 million diehard fans

The obvious counterargument to the article is Dr Horrible which didn't make very much money
I'm more than willing to buy Dollhouse or a new Firefly by the episode. I'm sure there are >2 million others worldwide who feel the same way.
On the other hand I think the article grossly overestimates the number of American fans who would pay for Joss's internet stuff. 2 million viewers doesn't equal 2 million diehard fans

At the same time I'm sure plenty of fans would be willing to contribute with more than $.99/episode too... It might quite possibly even out in the end...
I think $1.99 is about standard anyway (it's what the non-HD 'Dollhouse' episodes cost) but die-hard fans may pay even more than that. Probably not enough more to even things out though IMO - it may not seem so on here (where many of us, especially those that post, are die-hards) but those fans are a fairly tiny group.

The obvious counterargument to the article is Dr Horrible which didn't make very much money

Haven't figures like $2.5 million dollars (in revenue, not necessarily profit) been mooted ? So not exactly a financial disaster. But yeah, that was a big "event" with die-hard fans buying multiple copies etc. Much as I love Joss's stuff, if he made a weekly web series I just couldn't afford to buy it 2 or 3 times every week.

(and also yeah, translating TV viewers to "people willing to pay for something" is always dodgy)
We love the idea of a Whedon internet show but then, we're a bit of a skewed sample (e.g who here wouldn't love to own an xkcd novelty tie?). I hope that Joss continues to do shows through lots of different mediums, thereby spreading the joy to many types of folk.
Should Joss do an "ordinary" show?

No! No!! and ummm ... NO!!! (IMHO) ;)

My favorite Joss Quote: "I don't want to create responsible shows about lawyers, I want to invade people's dreams"

Please Joss, don't forget that.

Ordinary is everywhere. Ordinary with great dialog and lots of funny? It's just not enough, not from Joss. I'd rather see him do a spectacular failure of a mind-bending, cutting edge show, than something ordinary.

oops.... maybe that just happened (ratings-wise, anyhow).


[ edited by Shey on 2009-10-23 11:33 ]
I concur with Shey. Ordinary is BOREdinary. Give me a Whedeonverse world, a Dollhouse if you will, a place I've never been to where I can get involved with the characters and feel for them until Joss inevitably tears my heart out... and leaves me wanting more.
What should Joss do? Whatever the frak he wants to do. I don't think he COULD do an "ordinary" show, because no matter what the situation his imagination and writing skills are extraordinary. I'm not worried about ever finding anything he creates boring.
Should Joss do an "ordinary" show? Go mainstream, but hopefully with the dialogue and storylines we know and love, but with a common premise to draw in big viewers?

In today's TV landscape I don't think "ordinary" in that sense even means "mainstream" anymore zz9 (or it's not a 1 to 1 relationship at least). "Mainstream" in this context means big audience right ? So is "Lost" ordinary ? Is "Flashforward" ? Is "Heroes" (or maybe was 'Heroes', before its ratings - and quality before that IMO - started to slip) ? Is frikkin' Glee ?

So if 'make an ordinary show' actually means 'make a show that millions upon millions of people watch every week' then yes he should (and is no-doubt trying to with 'Dollhouse', as he was with all his other shows), because as the shows above demonstrate, he doesn't have to do something without a genre element, or something that avoids asking the "big questions" in order to do that.

Whedon fans are/have traditionally been a small audience and so it becomes tempting to equate Whedon fandom with being in a small audience, to take Joss' "niche appeal" (whatever that even means) as a badge of honour but that's fallacious thinking.

(also, let's not forget that 'House' was - rightly - lauded when it arrived for its extraordinarily misanthropic hero, several articles talked about how it was a breath of fresh air in US network TV. Note BTW, not "main character" cos House isn't an anti-hero or a "villain we love to hate", he's the hero of the piece, every single week. 'House' also BTW wasn't a sure-fire hit out of the gate, its ratings weren't disastrous but they were much less than half what it gets now and didn't really start to pick up until it got 'American Idol' as a lead-in. Just because it's been around a while and is now an established part of the TV landscape doesn't mean it was always a winner or always considered a "mainstream" show)

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