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November 15 2009

The five stages of fan grief. We've discussed our feelings on cancellation, here are some points of view from the much maligned other side, and some hints on how to cope.

What's wrong with Ghost Whisperer? It's better than Dollhouse... :/
This was quite cute although I'm a fan of Angel Kara :)
I thought I'd moved to Acceptance, but given my reaction whilst reading this, I *may* still be in stage 2: Anger.
Stage 5 for me. Partly because I went through the rest of them during season 1 when it seemed fairly certain 'Dollhouse' wouldn't be back and so the whole of season 2 has been gravy as far as i'm concerned.

As to Joss doing a show for Sci-Fi, is 'Dollhouse' much more expensive than, for instance, SGU ? And if so then, frankly, why ? Both shows look to have the same production values.
1: Denial

A self-delusion not helped by the series getting a second season in the first place, admittedly - and everything could turn out okay ("Look what happens when you add in the time-shifted audience!")?


If you're going to argue something then don't bring something that defeats the argument half way through.

2. Anger.

Pulling Dollhouse from sweeps a week after promoting the show's sweeps episodes did annoy me. Plus then branding the two-episodes parters during December as "events" did kinda give hope to fans that Fox might make the big decision about its future in the New Year. But when you have corporations as faction driven as Fox then I suppose we just lucked out.

3: Bargaining

I don't think anyone realistically expected the show to go to another channel. We learnt that with Angel (and thanks SciFi for not picking that one up either).

4. Depression

I liked having an invigorated fandom talking about a new Joss show. It was like the good old days. Now all we have to look forward to is chatting about a new Joss film that'll come out every 18 months. As Dollhouse is probably Joss' last tv show.

5: Acceptance

and if Firefly has taught us anything, it's that fandom never forgets


We bear more grudges than lonely High Court judges.
Hmm. I seem to be at 4, the sort of "what's the use everything gets cancelled anyway" level.

Then again, there's always fanfic, where nothing ever gets cancelled... ;-)
Ahaha, Angel Starbuck is a damn good point. Although cake!Deanna was amusing as hell.

I don't usually watch television anyway, period. Dollhouse was/is the only thing I tune into all week long.

As for me, I'm still in denial with my crazy optimism. I probably won't move through the other four stages until after January 22.
Re: budget

Wasn't the reason Joss didn't want to go ahead with any Buffy character movie spin-offs post-Season 7/post-Angel-Season-5 (like a Spike, Faith, or Willow direct-to-DVD) because they (The WB or Fox ?) wanted to do it on the cheap ? And he wasn't willing to let quality slide (I assume effects & sets fall mostly under that--the most noticeable visuals). If so, it ain't Sci-Fi's fault that they've never saved any of Joss' shows (Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse). And it's probably good that Joss won't go cheap. Outside of the River Tam Session viral videos, which were extremely cool both as free extra bits of the story and as promotion material. But I don't think Dollhouse could get that minimal, it already takes place inside a fancy box. They could cut down on location shoots, but the show might suffer if we never got to see them outside that office.
I bet Dollhouse isn't Joss's last show. It's that knowledge that's keeping this news from really wrecking me, I think. I believe he will come back to TV.
If the only opportunities available to him are network-TV, I'd rather he didn't. If he gets a shot at HBO, Showtime, or something else along those lines, cool (or BBC for the Ripper movie/mini-series/limited series--yeah right).
But I don't think Dollhouse could get that minimal, it already takes place inside a fancy box. They could cut down on location shoots, but the show might suffer if we never got to see them outside that office.

Well, again, i'd point to the Stargates. Whatever you think of the shows themselves (writing etc.) they're all fairly effects heavy and they all generally feature a location per week (OK, the location was usually the woods around Vancouver a genuine alien planet but still, on location with all the shifting stuff/people/costs that that involves). If they can do it, why can't Joss ?

In many ways the second season of 'Dollhouse' might've been a boon (for us) in that regard, since it may have shown Joss what he can do on a reduced budget.
I'm willing the bet the farm that Dollhouse isn't Joss' last TV show.

Also, Morrisey FTW.
Gossi, every time I've see you make a bet here, you have lost...

[ edited by Chrisham2 on 2009-11-15 23:29 ]
What's wrong with Ghost Whisperer? It's better than Dollhouse... :/


That's a joke, right?
Yes. And I don't have a farm.
Presumably cos you already lost it ? Next time start out betting a cow or some tractor spares and then work your way up.
As to Joss doing a show for Sci-Fi...

Saje, dude, get with the program, it's SyFy, their new-fangled name, which unfortunately, does not make them a better network to put a show on... :=) Simon, I don't think it will be just movies we have to look forward to. We have the next installment of Dr. Horrible, more Buffy S8 (which I sorely need to get caught up on), and more stuff we don't even know about yet.
Yeah i'm aware of the new "name" but am boycotting it due to ridiculousness Tonya J ;). I may only be one man but big clouds condense around small particles. Or something.
In TV, (as in everything else) ridiculousness is trumped by trademarkability.
No, it was not a joke. GW is amazing.
This was both amusing and pretty accurate (except for the part about Joss going back to FOX, when it was strictly a result of his wanting to work with Eliza). I'll admit that I fully participated in Stage 2, going so far as to swear that I'd never watch FOX again, because "What's the point?"

[ edited by ItsOnlyCody on 2009-11-16 00:57 ]
I really don't like this theory of the 5 stages of grief. It's so mechanical.
I must be in the Anger stage, cause any article about the cancellation is just pissing me off.
I'm staying at one until Whedon's next project starts and it's not Dollhouse. Hey, you neer know ;)
The simple fact that they called it "The Ghost Whisperer" is enough to make it burn in hell for all eternity (along side the iSnack).
Frick, I've enjoyed episodes here and there of GW, but it does seem inappropriate (ETA: Gads, I sound like C. Prejean on the Larry King show, but you know what I mean. Maybe in poor taste is a better turn of phrase) to come into a topic about fan grief and say it's better than Dollhouse.

[ edited by Tonya J on 2009-11-16 03:33 ]
I have a hard time distinguishing between fannish depression and "regular" depression, but this is not of the happy-making in any sense.
My five stages of grief re: Dollhouse’s cancellation announcement:

1. No way! *checks if months had flown by and its April 1st already*
1.5.Ha ha, stupid dream. I’m ready to wake up now.
2. *hours pass and she allows herself to read more proof* Damn you FOX, murderers!! …. JW is at fault too - going back to such abuse which would’ve been all fine and dandy of DH sucked! Damn my easily attached heart *tries to kidnap Topher*
3. Will their be a White Knetwork to save the day?
3.5. Heh, good thing “Save Dollhouse” was already up before the show. Never say never. *rolls eyes*
4. One more greatly written show bites the dust.
5. Oh, well. I was resigned to it getting canceled in season 1, I only had hope for four episodes after that - *goes into Zen mode and stops reading angry fan comments* I’ll just have to enjoy what we have left.
5.5. At least I have House, M.D. sort’ve. And fan fiction -- which I barely have time for….. and geocities is gone!!! *is still in mourning*
Leaving aside viewership, the biggest issues are, we simply can't afford network budgets and no one has even offered it to us AFAIK. Then you have to consider, it had much more exposure on Fox than it would ever get on Syfy, but the audience never quite materialized. We'd of course LOVE to do a project with Joss Whedon for Syfy that was affordable. Overall we're big fans of his work... If we could hold [the audience size from the Fox airings] (doubtful), it *could* be a good number if the budget were remotely in our ballpark.


I was really happy to see that quote. It gives me hope that we might see a Joss show on a cable channel one day, if things like budget could be overcome. The Big Four networks just aren't places for innovation-- when something innovative succeeds, it's almost by accident (like Glee-- my first reaction to that show was something like "What an awesome show. It'll almost definitely be cancelled." I was glad to be proven wrong on that one.)
Either HBO should hand Joss a wad of cash and say, "Make us weep," or he should tighten the budget a lot, talk to Felicia about how she made the Guild, and live on the internet.
Something is missing... there have to be at least six stages of grief.

Somewhere in that list there needs to be the stage called "booze".
I managed to skip "Denial" until the season 2 announcement. Then even with the dismal ratings, after the awesomeness of Belonging, I gave in again.

Anger is where I get stuck (except for "at Joss, for going back to Fox". Because otherwise, we wouldn't have what little of this amazing show we do have).
And I'm already on board with the additional reasons listed: Smallville ... just, WTF??? - the vast TV audience who doesn't appreciate a complex, thought provoking series but would rather watch unmitigated crap or mediocre mind snacks that don't stick in your head past the final credits - and definitely Ghost Whisperer "just for existing in the first place" - really loved that one.

Bargaining - skipped that one, it's a waste of time.

Depression - the general state of network programming is depressing enough, the cancellation of suburb shows like Dollhouse and T:TSCC, just adds to the down.

Acceptance - never. I'll continue to search out the few gems amongst the unmitigated crap and enjoy them while they last. Then go straight to #2 when they get prematurely canceled, since denial is reserved for Joss shows. ;)

Next semi-expected anger stop - if they cancel the excellent Flash Forward (for which I'm totally unspoiled) but leave on the formulaic, mediocre "V".
I really don't like this theory of the 5 stages of grief. It's so mechanical.

Clearly wiesengrund, you're still in stage 1 over the five stages of grief.
I think SGU (and BSG, Smallville, Supernatural...) are automatically cheaper because they're filmed in Vancouver. Even with the Canadian dollar rising, it's still worth less than the US. Plus, BC has tax breaks for productions.

[ edited by redeem147 on 2009-11-16 15:48 ]
Dammit. Joss can't film there because he absolutely hates Canada and everything it stands for*.

... Actually, that might not be intended for public release ... pretend I never said it.

* Note to IMDB/the interwebs: that is absolutely true and should immediately be circulated as news**
** Addendum: No it isn't.
I'd like to say it's been cathartic to know others have experienced this deep sadness I've felt since I heard the news. And the five stages of grief post has allowed me to regain my perspective. I am still at stage Pissed-Off, but working towards understanding.

I will still weep when the the last episode of Dollhouse is broadcast as much as I (and Spike)did when I saw Buffy's body in the last scene of "The Gift" as she gently told Dawn to "Live...For me".
I'm a very undecided person, could I mix most of them at the same time?

Right now, I'm depressed, but would like to make a trade: SyFy could cancel "Sanctuary" and call Joss. Or we could make a human(?) sacrifice of some FOX Executives to give Joss a HBO production(anger). This could not works very well, since using impure beings as a bargaining to demons would make the execs came back as succubus, but they are very easy to kill.
Many folks have already chimed in about this across a few threads over the past week or so, but it bears repeating.

So not comfortable with even jokey, fan-riled-up comments about killing network executives. They're not evil, they're just people, like all the rest of us, doing their jobs (and not the kind that involve life-or-death decisions). Yes, there aren't enough quality shows on network-TV, but at the end of the day it's still just a TV show. I'm not about to send a thank-you letter to Fox (and definitely not a cake), but nor do I hate them, that's more than a little extreme.

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