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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"And I won't feel.. A thing"
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February 04 2010

Dollhouse - An exercise in paranoia. An interesting retrospective look at the show.

Nice article, but the author might want to proofread it again.
I had difficulty tracking the article's point once I became distracted with their description of "Needs", which makes it sound like the author never watched the show but instead had someone else who half-watched it describe it to them.
Well, that was a bit half-baked and poorly written, IMO. The grammar was so poor in places I couldn't understand what the person was trying to say. And I'm not so sure that the network's giving DH a second season was a signal that it would do the same for other "above-the-mill" series (whatever that means). My fear is that Fox will retreat from even thinking about experimenting with edgy, thought-provoking shows, to stay with what it knows will do sell commercial time. But, then, there is nothing left on Fox that I watch, so I likely won't know or care.
Question: if a person with multiple personality disorder commits murder when under the sway of one of the personalities, is that person guilty of murder if that personality is not his or her real one?
Did the other personality take steps to try to ensure that the murderer personality could not commit murder? Perhaps the other personalities are guilty of assisting in the murder? (Note: I know next to nothing about how multiple personality disorder works.)
Slightly wrong-headed and not saying a great deal that's new at this stage. Not going to criticise the author for the grammar etc. since i'd guess that English isn't their first language (and can imagine the hilarity if I wrote anything longer than a single sentence - preferably about restaurants or libraries ;) - in any other language) but I will say that if you're publishing something in English it makes sense to get a native speaker to read it through and correct it for you, particularly when, as in this case, the actual sense of your ideas is obscured by your linguistic limitations.
>sigh< Sometimes I feel like I was watching a completely different show. All it lacks is a swipe at Eliza's acting ability to fit standard-issue Dollhouse post-mortem boilerplate.
I appreciate what the author is trying to say about the strengths and weaknesses of the show as it was aired. It is too bad FOX executives are unlikely to see that even average viewers (i.e. non-Whedon fans) identify the "appeal to a broad viewer base" episodes FOX wanted as the weak ones.

Those of us who have been reading about Dollhouse and have listened to the commentary on the Season 1 DVDs know that the episodes this author felt were weak (i.e. the stand-alone active-assignment episodes) were the episodes FOX insisted on and were not part of Whedon's original plan. Had this author seen Echo and understood the path the show would have taken without network interference, I think his objections would have been directed less at the show and more at the network.
I couldn't get past the mention that Firefly was a failure. grrr.
Firefly was a failure, marymary. Not creatively but as a product intended to draw eyeballs to commercials on the TV machine, definitely.
I didn't look at the person's profile and did not realize the author might not be a native speaker. So I apologize to that person for coming down so hard on the grammar.
Firefly- the failure that turned into a BDM. Guessing this was not written by a fan of the Joss.
In the interests of balance, when joss pitched Dollhouse he gave them examples of stand alone episodes. He said this in press interviews - there was a many month gap between the sale of the show (November 08) and then shooting (May 09), and during this time both joss and eliza talked about, for example, the bow hunting episode. In fact joss talks about how it will mostly be a procedural in those interviews, and comparisons were made to Quantum Leap.

That's not to say FOX didn't help munk it up.
Firefly- the failure that turned into a BDM.

Which underperformed at the box office and killed off any chance of the 'Verse continuing.
I don't see a problem with the general points in the article. This just would have benefited from some revision is all.

"Needs" is tricky. First it seems like a real escape, then we realize it's part of some experiment, then in the end it's actually primarily a visualization exercise and secondarily a security test. Dreamed up by the least likely person in the room. Whom we later discover to be a Doll herself. It's my very favorite episode precisely because it's so deeply twisted.
Yeah, "Needs" is frickin' amazing. Love that 'sode.
The part where Echo leads everyone out to a very problematic and deeply compelling freedom, just to collapse right on schedule, and then Adelle shepherds them all back to awful safety like the pro she is, gets me every time. That's the show I wanted every week but I only got it every now and again.
Gossi got his facts wrong? Check your dates Gossi! '07 and '08! And in fact I believe Oct and Apr, but I'd have to do my own fact checking to be sure.

Eh, I can deal with the description of Needs since the person clearly tried to vague it up a little bit and make any new viewers still have some element of surprise despite knowing the gist of how the scene played out.

Was the phrase "above the mill" actually used in the article? Anyway I thought it was generally positive albeit backhandedly and maybe that and some of the minor typos could have been cleaned up a bit. I assume there was the general intent to celebrate the show's successes but as portrayed in the article that was more like in spite of flaws that were a bit played up/misrepresented. When there were perfectly viable actual flaws to have picked out (and that'd be aside from the usual fans blaming network interference thing).

As for that one other point raised, I think MPD is actually called "dissociative identity disorder" most of the time? (I'm basing this off high school memories of the DSM-IV) I'm totally clueless as to the legal ramifications of it though. I think it depends on if the legal system were to actually accept it as true or if they'd suspect the person of just making it up in an effort to have a legal out. But really since they're all within the same person it's not like there's any means for juries to come to a real conclusion.

Let's go with an Acker example extravaganza. Like Illyria vs. Fred committing a crime, if we were remotely in a world where this seems legit (such as the one where Wolfram and Hart might represent her) then I suppose there's that physical transformation where Illyria'd be responsible and if Fred were somehow the dominant soul wandering about.

As for if Dr. Saunders/Whiskey/Clive/sleeper/pre-Active-Whiskey did it... wow, this is getting messier than I thought it'd be.

Erm, my point was going to be I very much doubt there's a legal precedent and at best such an example might be able to plead insanity depending on if they're convincing enough and/or they have enough childhood trauma that may have resulted in DID developing to become a bit more sympathetic? Presumably this'd come down to a criminal case and really juries have the full power to do whatever they determine.

Oh and returning more to something I remotely have the right to talk about: It's so weird that they'd list Firefly as a failure since--technically it was, but as best as I can tell most people were absolutely livid with that cancellation and love every single episode.

On the other hand, Dollhouse was technically on longer if that's any measure of success. (Like as much as I dug Firefly I still generally liked Dollhouse more since there was so much potential with the premise I looked forward to.)

[ edited by orangewaxlion on 2010-02-05 00:05 ]
It's annoying how many people keep making certain to mention that Firefly and Dollhouse were commercial failures, or more recently, point to Dollhouse not attracting eyeballs as a legitimate criticism of the show (fine if we're looking at it from a stark business perspective, but why would we at this point, except within a thread, spun from an article, that focuses on that? And yet it keeps coming up). On Whedonesque, it doesn't seem like the side of the equation that we should be chiefly concerned with (aside from the unfortunate not-getting-any-more-episodes/seasons thing), we're more about the creative side.

I know a number of people who post on here, even regular, non-differently-name-colored members, work in the industry, but this isn't Variety.
Eh, I can deal with the description of Needs since the person clearly tried to vague it up a little bit and make any new viewers still have some element of surprise despite knowing the gist of how the scene played out.

While I'm fine with the counter-argument that this is what the author was doing, it's not "clearly" what they were doing.
Kris, it seems to me that Firefly's commercial failure was only brought up in this thread to clarify why the article calls Firefly a failure, because some already had expressed confusion about that in this very thread. It was brought up for a purpose, not to beat a dead horse that no one liked to begin with.

It also doesn't seem to me that that was the chief concern with the article. It was mentioned briefly and there are other discussions going on.

I get the impression that everyone who likes Firefly doesn't care that it was a commercial failure (other than your very true mention that it means unfortunately no more episodes), but it begs repeating if some people don't understand what is meant by 'failure'

In closing, I talk too much. |-)~
Firefly is beautiful. I don't consider ratings a reflection on the quality of something, ratings often come down to the ability of a network. Failure often comes from poor business decisions.

And yes, I was very confused about my dates!

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