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November 14 2009

Today's IMDb poll: Is it possible for Joss Whedon to get a break in television? The options seem jokier than average today.

I love that unfrozen caveman lawyer is 4th right now.
I went for the HBO option. Although I think that Showtime would be an even better fit.

And while Angel did have an abrupt cancellation (and no matter how much I woujld still love it to be on the air!), it did get a very respectable 5 years. Which is not a failiure by any means.
I wonder if Josh Wheaton would have better luck --- :(
I agree with angeliclestat, Angel's run was rather fruitful, abrupt ending sure, but longer than 11 aired episodes! And the feature film Serenity even bombed at the box office, wasn't until DVD that word of mouth hit and it started to sell so you can't really say that Firefly is the more successful of the two TV series (I pressume this is about the original run no repeats?).
They weren't very kind in this poll, even the positives are a bit snappy so I don't know what to vote for, or I'm too tired for this sort of decision...
I more inclined to vote "No, TV networks will never 'get him'" - or "yes, if he's put in a timeslot worthy of Joss Whedon" but alas, I can't.
Yay, mine's in first! It says HBO, but I'd vote to just *try* a network that isn't Fox.

I never got how people could cite Angel as some sort of failure- five seasons, dude! Respectable indeed. And to be slightly OT- I just rewatched Hole in the World on TNT and sobbed like a small, injured child. Yeah.
I don't think it's fair to act like Joss is a victim or something, some struggling artiste whose never caught a break. He has a seven season TV show that was able to hop networks. He had another five season TV show. He had two other shows, both much higher concept, actually get picked up. One got unfairly ground into the dust, the other got every chance and a renewal its number really hadn't earned before getting cancelled after a 13 episode second season.

The man has not gotten a break in television, he's gotten several. He's gotten more than most ever have or ever will. You do not have to be Donald Bellisario and have network TV success and/or durability on auto-pilot to have "gotten a break".
KingofCretins, did you fall asleep.... and thus fail to drink the KoolAid?
Just to pick, but didn't Buffy get around 8m at it's peak?
Good point KoC. I'd sell my own grandmother for the level of "failure" that Joss has.
Tim Minear's been canceled way more times than Joss. Where's his poll?
Yeah, though I was disappointed with Angel's cancellation, I'd hardly say that it was some sort of failure. I don't know what popular opinion is, but I quite enjoyed season 5 and the finale was a great hour of television. I voted for the HBO option, though, like angeliclestat, I tend to think Showtime would be a better fit.
You know watching this whole thing unfold, I believe Kevin Reilly DID "get" Joss. But he saw the same thing many of us saw on this board. The network relied on an existing fan base (hence the spotty advertising) and then watched as that fan base splintered on opinions of Dollhouse. However, he did exactly what we would want him to do.

He let the show find its creative footing in the first season, he allowed it to be left alone to some extent towards the end (no network leaves anything completely alone) and then gave it another season. And while they did that, the numbers consistently dropped on just about every episode after "Man on the Street." I think what you blame the network for this time is entirely throwing Marketing 101 out the window on this show and perhaps not recognizing their mistakes fast enough.

Of the people I've gotten to see this show and enjoy it, a majority saw Buffy and Firefly and DIDN'T like them or were at the very least too uninterested to finish. To me, networks need to stop trying to sell Whedon's name, and start trying to sell his shows.
Really everything has already been said.
But I got a few cents...

Though I do agree Joss always gets his chances and has had good runs, I still can't see the fairness in cancelling shows because of ratings. Call me young(cause I am) but I really hate that networks are only about the money.
Just for once, I'd like to see one of Joss' shows that has a TRUE ending!
*Still bummed at the whole Angel ending, I wanna know what happens!!*

But alas, networks are blinded by the greed...
So, I'm up for seeing Joss on Showtime or HBO! Anything but those folks at Fox(likes to think of them as the evil Wolfram & Hart...gotta love Angel.)!
xwolffspridex, while I understand your point in wanting a show with a "true" ending from Joss, the networks essentially exist to make money. While we'd all like to believe that they want to showcase great pieces of television, they, like any business, are there with the precise goal of money making. It hardly makes them "blinded by greed" in my opinion (unless you mean blinded to quality TV by their "greed"--still, don't necessarily see it as greed).

I wanted Dollhouse (and Angel and Buffy, AND FIREFLY) to continue its run like most Whedon fans, but I also see why the network would want to cancel it if they can only see it as a losing proposition. We want good TV and WE see the brilliance in Joss's work. Apparently not everyone does and if the business can find another way to make more money, they're going to go that direction. We're getting 26 episodes out of it, so I'm trying not to sulk TOO much.

I don't know if I'm getting across my point effectively or not, I guess I'm trying to say that I want more Dollhouse, too, but I understand why we aren't getting more (putting aside the network's insistence on little to no promotion).
My one wish is for Joss to not shy away from TV for 5 years, like what happened after Angel was canceled. And that he someday find his way to a cable network where he can experience what it's really like to have artistic freedom and support on a series.

I want whatever Joss does whether it's movies, web series, or whatever. But I need his stories on a weekly basis. TV just isn't the same without him.

Just for once, I'd like to see one of Joss' shows that has a TRUE ending!

Then watch Buffy.
I wish Joss would seriously consider the Sci-fi SyFy channel (and over look that trendy/stupid name), they don't expect top ratings and they would 'get' his shows!

I still think that Joss' character driven story telling is best done in a television format (as apposed to the shorter movie and/or online formats). I really want to see Joss on my TV set every week! Anyway, I couldn't vote; I'm not registered.

I'm still jumping up and down with my "Try HBO" sign, but I'm not sure that's the answer either.

Joss' channel perhaps?
xWolffspridex, most TV shows in existence don't have "true endings," i.e. they don't plan to end at a specific point and then follow through with that plan. Usually, a show runs until execs or the creators cancel it because they've lost viewership, they're bored, the actors don't want to get typecast, etc. Sometimes this happens at the beginning of the season, and the series is given some time to wrap, sometimes not, but either option can lead to a half-assed finale. Or a good one.

Or the show gets renewed and renewed long after it's jumped the shark or fans have lost interest, then gets canceled, and so the ending isn't very good because the show has already lost it's quality and fans pick and choose what they consider the true ending. Happy Days, Brady Bunch, and more recently, Scrubs (although I actually liked the final season, it was the couple in the middle I could have done without).

Or they plan to end, broadcast their intended finale, then get renewed anyway because everyone involved still wants a steady paycheck. Stargate comes to mind.

Ultimately, the only shows that have "true endings" are anime series' and certain other cartoons, shows that have the entire story written from the beginning and are intended to only run this many seasons, this many episodes, and that's the story. Avatar, Cowboy Bebop, Fullmetal Alchemist, and so on.

Buffy had an ending, and as I understand it, a great one (not being a Buffy fan, I wouldn't know myself). Angel had an ending too, and I honestly enjoyed it. Sure, it could have been better, but it was solid, and left on a note I could live with. Dollhouse will probably have an ending of some sort. The only Whedon show that hasn't had a true ending (on TV anyway) is Firefly. Do they deserve better? Maybe. But it's unrealistic to expect any series to end on a perfect note.
Maybe if we all vote the HBO option someone will pay attention!
Maddy! And I vote for the Joss Channel too. Though HBO would make a great second choice.
I also vote for HBO (or showtime) but not because of the mistreatment of Dollhouse. Yes, Fox dropped the ball on the advertising. Yes, Fox meddled where they shouldn't have (but American Idol is so popular! [looking at you, pop-star episode]).

But I really, truly believe that Dollhouse NEVER belonged on network tv. The concept and implied consequences of the premise are too intellectual and too existential for most of America's viewers. Primetime tv is about kicking back and relaxing for the general population.

Not mining your soul for the truth about humanity.

Sure, everyone wants to cry a little and feel a twinge in their chest cavity, but that's a far cry from the kind of moral ambiguity Dollhouse was aiming for. Shotime and HBO are much more suited for that kind of storytelling.

Of course- I love the mining, and I treasure every angsty, blurry gray-lined minute. :)
Hey Willowy! Missed everyone terribly ferious.

Now, don't think for a second that Joss is taking this as a set back, he's already dreaming up other interesting tales that could, very likely, give this world a nice spin. That is, if it's willing to listen.

Oh wait....damnit, still playing catch up here.
It is entirely boring that networks exist to make money. We all know this. I, however, do not watch television because I want networks to make money, and I'm pretty sure other people don't either.

I don't think it's crazy to say that the powers that be in television have a responsibility to present some quality programing, some stuff that is actually interesting, in return for being allowed to occupy the airwaves and sell advertising aimed at people watching brain candy for relaxation. They owe IMO.

Like many others, I watch television to be entertained, informed, challenged, and preferably excited and astonished, and I will watch such stuff wherever I can find it, if I can manage to buy it or be given it for free. I am lucky enough to be able to afford me some Showtime and HBO, but not everyone is. People who cannot afford this stuff deserve good tv too...

It is a huge privilege to own these mighty signals and they owe us all something in return, even if it doesn't always fill their pockets with gold.
Well seeing as the ratings assess popularity you could argue that the networks prioritising shows that more people actually want to watch is a way in which they are repaying the people.
Yeah, you could argue that, and if there were infinite choices of things to watch, to which people had always had access as they developed their tastes, you might have a good point.
I agree, and I know they have to make money, just sometimes feels wrong that that's what seems to be the thing that always causes problems.

And when I say true ending, I just mean a solid one to where I can say, "Everything is gonna be okay", or, "Yep, that's an example of the real world for ya." I'm aware that it's hard for shows to ever have a "true" ending, but you know -- I guess I'm just venting my..."upsetness".
Plus, I wanted to see Angel fight a dragon.(:P)
I guess when I hear of shows being cancelled prematurely, or just at a bad stopping point(in my opinion) I get a little upset.
I just would like to see more of Joss' works being given it's props and for everyone to be pleased with an ending that works.

But I'm done trying to defend myself, and I think(and hope) you guys get my point; I miss Firefly, and I miss Angel. Both great stories that I believed deserved a little more attention from the viewers and the Networks. But you know, beggers can't be choosers.

P.S.: electricspacegirl, I have seen Buffy, I liked it very much, but I was curious to see what would happen now that Sunnydale was gone(No, I don't want to read the comics, I only mean television-wise.) I believe I've seen all off Joss' shows now, just still get a little disappointed that some got cancelled when they did.

And thank you guys for making me see how cruel the world is again. Sometimes I forget, or try not to think about it. Money is definately a factor in the world, and it won't ever go away! Still, it sure can cause a lot of pain in one form or another.
I still don't understand why Dollhouse wasn't put on FX. It would still be with Fox. FX is known for some quality "outside-of-the-box" televison. It also expects lower numbers than network television. Dollhouse fit in perfectly with that criteria. I think THAT'S where Joss belongs, in basic cableland.
Tim Minear's been canceled way more times than Joss. Where's his poll?

Indeed. Tim's lucky if he gets past four episodes. But such great episodes they are.
If Joss belongs somewhere in basic cableland, it's AMC, the network that brings us Mad Men and Breaking Bad, and tomorrow the remake of The Prisoner. I have a feeling that network is going to someday rival the likes of HBO or Showtime, especially with daring projects like the upcoming adaptation of the graphic novel "The Walking Dead". The first network to make a series about zombies!
Which network nabbed The Walking Dead ?

And won't it be kinda tame, compared to the comic, if it's on network TV ? Isn't there guts a'plenty, swearing, and potentially some nudity in the comic (haven't read it yet). Actually the graphic violence and such wouldn't surprise me if it made it to air, they've been pushing further and further with that every year.
Which network nabbed The Walking Dead ?

Err, AMC seems to be kind of implied by electricspacegirl's post ? ;) Not seen all of 'Breaking Bad' yet but the episodes I did see had parts blurred out (naked breasts on an adult TV show *gasp* !) - if that's how it originally aired then it doesn't bode well for a zombie TV show which, if it's going to be actual horror, will presumably just be one big blur.

The first network to make a series about zombies!

Well, the first American network anyway (though I guess 'Dead Set' is strictly a "mini-series", especially by US standards).
*hand to head*

Yep, not paying attention and/or unable to concentrate. Time for bed.

Also can't tag properly.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-11-15 12:08 ]
I suspect Joss' work would stand a better chance outside the ratings rush on cable (but even there ratings must matter somewhat). However, let's recall that this show was a product of a development deal between Fox and Eliza, and therefore there were no degrees of freedom for where to 'shop' it.
Ratings do matter for cable (they have a way of tracking it, but I'm not sure, is it also through the Nielsen system?), but amount of subscribers also matter hugely. So, for example, when HBO saw that tons of people subscribed to it when True Blood premiered (I don't know if that actually happened), they renewed it for a second season after only the second episode (that part did happen). If 20 000 viewers cancel their HBO subscription after The Sopranos ends, despite there being a new and supposedly exciting series premiere of [insert whatever series was running at the time right after the final season of The Sopranos--John from Cincinatti, I think] might reflect badly on the new series (especially if subscribers continue to drop off from week to week/episode to episode). This is gross oversimplification, given what little I do understand about premium cable channels...but it sure seems like they have a lot more leeway to give a show a chance, compared to network-TV, or at least to let a show finish out a complete season.
I vote for AMC. The network that gave birth to and has consistently nurtured Mad Men, deserves Joss.
And they seem to be heading in a direction that includes more SciFi/Fantasy - their run-up to The Prisoner is two marathons of The Matrix trilogy.

Downside: commercials. Upside: probably more support than HBO. (I'm still not over the Carnivale cancellation.)

Definitely not in favor of SyFy, their one super quality offering ever was BSG.
AMC has commercials ? I don't get AMC here--I think they have a Canadian version of their channel, or at least an AMC-on-Demand, but I don't get it. So Mad Men's characters are free to swear and show some skin, but the channel it airs on shows commercials ? Uncensored usually = commercial-free viewing, from what I'm used to with the HBO & Showtime affiliates up here (maybe FX shows commercials, not sure. I can't remember if I noticed ad breaks in the seasons of The Shield and Rescue Me that I've watched so far).

I think HBO's hands were tied with Carnivale--it was a very expensive show to produce (big cast, beautiful sets, all that period piece clothing, occasional special effects, etc), but it wasn't bringing in the kind of numbers HBO wanted. Basically the same thing happened to Deadwood before it could get its fourth and final season. HBO has been overwhelmingly supportive of a whole lot of other shows.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-11-15 16:59 ]
Or... Joss can become a manny like Alexis Denisof! :)
Yes, AMC has commercials, although not as many as network. Also FX (Rescue Me, The Shield). Maybe it's different in Canada, but in the U.S., virtually all basic cable channels have commercials.

The one exception is IFN (Independent Film Network). And AMC sometimes shows movies commercial free, but I'm not sure what criteria they use to determine when, or which movies.

Only the "premium" cable channels are completely commercial free (i.e. the ones that don't come in any basic cable/satellite package, you have to add them on for a separate fee - HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz, etc.).

The adult content allowance varies from channel to channel, with FX getting away with the most, language and nudity-wise. Whereas A&E has been known to bleep out profanity on network shows they re-run - language that was used in the original network airing.
Go figure.
There is no nudity on Mad Men and swearing is limited to words like shit. When I watched Mad Men on the ad-free BBC, I had no idea that it had advert breaks at all (you can always tell where the breaks were with programmes like Buffy because there are always mini-cliffhangers before the breaks).
Ah, thanks for the info.

I thought AMC was as unrestrained as HBO. Even with now finding out they have ads, I thought they could still show anything (not that nudity and being allowed to say "fuck" and "cocksucker" is required to have a successful show).

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