Dollhouse Season 2 Premiere – Ratings & Discussion

Published 6 years ago by

dollhouse Dollhouse Season 2 Premiere   Ratings & Discussion

Fox took a chance – a huge chance – when they ignored all the social media hype about The Sarah Connor Chronicles and focused on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse.  At least at first glance, that is what it looks like.

Friday overnight ratings for the premiere episode of the fantasy TV series Dollhouse were rather miserable looking.

Which could make perfect sense if you count on the fact that it’s a Friday night and there were other shows premiering on other networks, but Dollhouse averaged 2.5 million viewers.  At least they beat out the encore episode of America’s Next Top Model.  LOL.

(Sadly, it also looks like Smallville only brought in 2.5 million viewers for it’s Friday night premiere… but that’s for another article.)

We still have the “Live + 7 Day” ratings to come in, but will they be reassuring?  Who knows.

For me, the premiere of Dollhouse was fractured and yet satisfactory.


Having watched last season, it was odd seeing what looked like a new feel of the relationships in the Dollhouse.  The Dolls are having some form of subtle social interaction (Sierra (Dichen Lachman) and Victor (Enver Gjokaj) smiling and holding hands?) and that threw me for a loop, considering all of last season they just walked around between assignments in a haze, as they went to their yoga, swimming or other activities.

Echo (Eliza Dushku) was off on an assignment, being married to arms dealer Martin Klar (Jamie Bamber).  If you saw the episode, that was not Jamie putting on an accent.  That is his accent.  It was refreshing to see… or hear, actually.

But Agent Ballard… sorry, former FBI agent Ballard (Tahmoh Penikett) was using Echo to bust the arms dealer and Ballard has an uneasy relationship with the Dollhouse.  He was the client, of sorts, for this assignment.  Eh?

As if that wasn’t hard enough, Echo’s mind programming started to snap and other personalities were sparking up in the middle of her assignment.  At one point, in front of Klar, Echo asks out-loud, “What did they make me this time?”  That is until Ballard fixed her.

You know how sometimes thumping the copier machine helps it work?  Ballard thumped the copier machine a few times before it kicked it in gear.  Literally.

Dr. Saunders (Amy Acker) is flipping out.  She found out at the end of last season that she’s a doll and this information is not going over well with her.  At all.  To distract herself, she’s playing practical jokes on Topher.  At one point, she tries to sneak into bed with Topher (Fran Kranz), which creeps him out… considering that he programmed her to be repulsed by certain aspects of himself.

There was some serious deep conversation between these two that revealed there’s more character to Topher than met the eye last season.


Unfortunately, from what I can tell, you had to have watched last season to understand this first episode of season 2 of Dollhouse.

What I mean by that is not everyone is as involved in the show as some fans are.  Not everyone cruises the internet looking for back episodes.  Not everyone is a fan of Whedon.  Sometimes, shows have to be able to grab uninitiated viewers and gently pull them along, as well as keep the seasoned viewers engaged.  It’s a very hard mix to accomplish.

dollhouse jossdushkutahmoh Dollhouse Season 2 Premiere   Ratings & Discussion

I get where Joss is coming from in this premiere episode as everyone is still picking up in the aftermath of Alpha’s attack.  Yet I fear potential new viewers could be confused.

I asked a friend who watched this episode (at my bidding) and I think I’ve created a distant shell of conservative trust.  He said it was an odd, dark and fractured episode.  Too many things happened for him that kept him off-balance.

It was truly Dollhouse / Whedon as we know it.  It did not disappoint this fan and yet the ratings are scary.  The episode was dark and angst-filled for me, but that’s what I’d expect at this point in the story.

I just hope all those other ratings commodities help keep Dollhouse around for it’s full 2nd season run.

Did Joss make a mistake by shoving the uninitiated viewer into the show like this?  Was he just focused on the veteran fan of the show?

Speaking of fans, Was Dollhouse all you expected it to be?  Or have you even seen it yet?  Let us know your thoughts.  Screen Rant wants to hear them!

Ratings info source:  TV By The Numbers

TAGS: Dollhouse
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  1. You’re right. I saw the first season on and off but didn’t really follow it, and I had no idea what was going on in the season 2 premiere, so I stopped watching about halfway through, though I did stumble back toward the end because it looked like they were about to fight, and they did. Eliza Dushku fighting is kinda hot. Anyways, I probably won’t be watching it again. It doesn’t feel “welcoming”, like I could follow it if I hadn’t seen much of Season 1. In any case, canceling TSCC in favor of Dollhouse was probably the wrong move. God, I miss TSCC…

  2. i loved the episode but what do they expect after putting it up against Medium, which had one corker of a cliffie end of last season?

  3. So what if it did have 2.5 million viewers – those results do not include the number of internet views. The technologically-adept people who love love love Joss Whedon are probably watching it right now. Nielson ratings are an archaic form of measurement anyway. Screw the ratings, I feel Whedon kicked this season of in his typical fashion – with a bang!

  4. Yeah,But Dollhouse wont be a long term success with just internet viwings.
    If I were Joss I would destroy The Dollhouse .
    In the aftermath Echo and her fellow dolls would search for their true identities and it would lead to the origins of The Dollhouse .
    They have to find some way to make it more accessible or it will fail.

  5. Hey Gary, have you seen Epitath One?

  6. I miss TSCC too. I dont like Whedon’s style. I done think its that complex or good. not very streamlined. but thats just me :).

  7. You know, when they renewed it for a second season, I was excited, but there was always a little apprehension with me that they were simply setting us up for a great fall when they cancelled it after weak ratings during the second season.

    Like you said, this episode was fine for people who are fans and have seen all of the previous season (multiple times if they bought the DVD), but take the premise and compare it to something like Buffy, a show that you could sum up in the title (her name is Buffy… she slays vampires) and you can see how alienating it may be to people since it has an ongoing story arc (and yet didn’t have the marketing behind it like other shows with ongoing story arcs had, such as Lost or Flash Forward). And yes, I know Buffy also had an ongoing story arc, but there were a number of episodes, especially early on, where the season wide story didn’t take precedent over the monster of the week (which one can to be either a good thing or a bad thing, but bottom line, they got seven seasons).

    Otherwise though, yeah, I liked the episode. Goes to show what decent writing can do, even when your budget is slashed.

  8. Dollhouse is very bad.
    Okay, I watched the pilot episode last season (and it was bad), and I didn’t understand much of what was going on in the season 2 premiere, but it was even worse.
    Bad, bad writing. Everybody talks the same, as if Whedon puts himself in every one of his characters. It’s the big Whedon ego show. It should’ve been cancelled after the pilot. Just like TSCC, by the way.

  9. @ Rhaemye

    If all you watched was the pilot,then of course you are going to think it’s bad,because the first few episodes were,and there in lies the problem.

    Too many people didn’t give the show more than the first 3 episodes,that were dictated by Fox and not Joss.

    This isn’t a show where you can casually come in for a few episodes and expect to know what’s going on.That’s like watching a couple of Lost episodes out of sequence and saying the same thing.Doesn’t make a lot of sense.

  10. Bruce,
    Not yet.
    Isnt it only available on the DVD?
    I watched the premiere and the one thing that kept me from turning the channel was Jamie Bambers performance.
    I totally BELIEVED he loved her.
    I think it was a real mistake not to show us at least one flashback to show us where that depth of feeling comes from.

  11. Constantly trying to like this show is tiring, for the soul. Every time I’ve tried, I’ve felt confused or a little disappointed or both.

    TSCC never failed to deliver on the human side, and honestly had a better premise and was so much more accessible.

    I say fox should dump its two best shows, and show TSCC from 8:30 to 9:30, against office and parks and recreation.

  12. I think that the first episode of season two is huge for the dollhouse. From the first minutes of the episode it was clear to me that it was finally coming into its own. Joss Whedon has completely changed the construction of the show and has reassigned characters to new parts of the story. I was worried that they second season would just be more of the same, but I now have high hopes of a great story!


  14. @mattdubz

    Fox doesn’t read this you know…

  15. I loved Buffy, Angel, and Firefly; that said, I have a hard time with Dollhouse. I still have the last 2 episodes in my TiVo to watch from last season. I just can’t bring myself to watch. The TiVo is set for this year. Will I watch them or delete them unseen? Jury is still out. Adore Joss Whedon’s humor and symbolism but didn’t see much of it in the entire season of Dollhouse last season. It was dark, unpleasant, and just plain silly.

  16. Joshi: Probably not, but you’d be surprised who does visit Screen Rant.

  17. Hah, I don’t doubt it

    Even still, someone from Fox coming to the comment boards of a film website… nope, can’t imagine it, that would suggest they listen to fans.

  18. Hmm. good point.

  19. As a woman, I find the show to be extremely sexist and offensive. If you want to compound that issue by calling me narrowminded, go right ahead. It’s what’s been done to women basically forever, after all. It won’t change my opinion, and it won’t make me stop smiling every time this hateful show crashes and burns with horrible ratings, poor DVD sales, and rampant cancellation rumors that will (hopefully VERY soon) come true.

  20. I love this show but I almost gave up on it during the first half of season one. I’m glad I stuck with it but I’m sure I’m going to have to deal with losing Dollhouse to cancellation very soon. The ratings are just too low. Its a shame too. I think putting this show on Friday nights was a mistake. Your target audience is not at home watching TV on a Friday night. Thats proven in the high DVR numbers (from season one). Unfortunately you can’t sell advertising time based on the DVR ratings since people just skip the commercials. I bet they’ve already decided what show they want to replace Dollhouse with come January. :(

  21. @ Gwen

    How do you find this show sexist? It’s strongest characters are Dr. Saunders and Sierra, who are bot females. And Echo (also female) is the one that’s leading the charge to save everyone. Plus, it’s from Joss Whedon. He created another television show called “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and the strong hero was a woman. If you look at his stuff you can tell Joss is not sexist in the slightest. He always develops strong female characters, and he may use situations that are sexist to strengthen his character. To survive the pain, one must be strong. To adapt and overcome. That’s what Joss is doing with those things.

    In discussion about the episode, I think it’s okay to follow. I mean, all you really need to do is read up on the first season and you should be all right. Not as good, but you’d understand why the doctor is all of the sudden sitting in Topher’s bed. To what the story is really about, Echo saving everyone in the Dollhouse, not a lot was put into it. And that’s fine, you set up the character, the setting and situation and go from there. At the end, Echo said she wanted to save everyone. All we need to know going forward. With that part alone, all of season one become almost irrelevant.

  22. Sorry Vic,
    I got a new computer and that is the second email I have accidentally ssent
    Growing Pains LOL.

  23. I think this episode was great! It started off kinda confusing, but it quickly picked up. Of course you can’t start watching this show from season 2. Just like Lost, if you were to start at season 2 you would be LOST! Maybe DollHouse could have had a quick recap, but its not a big deal. And I only watched this on Hulu, not when it premiered on TV. I hate FOX forever, biggest reason for CANCELING FIREFLY! >:(

  24. I was already a few drinks in when I started watching, but I did enjoy it. I need to watch it again on my DVR. I loved seeing Jamie Bamber. Missed him since BSG and had never gotten to hear him speak in his true accent. That was fun! The episode was a bit fractured, but I love a show that you have to know well to watch. Makes it feel more special.

  25. Did I hear right? In the premiere of Season Two, did Echo say “walking in these stiletto heels…” when getting her feet massaged?

    I DVR’d it and played it for friends and we all agreed we heard the same thing. In Michigan, Dollhouse comes on at 9:00 p.m. on FOX and we were very surprised to hear the ‘F’ bomb to say the least.

    Folks talked about SNL and the F word but that comes on after 11:00 p.m. While not prudes, I do have tweeners who watch the show.

  26. How do I start this how about Fire Fly, Futerama,Family Guy once or twice, the Sarah Connor Chron. I’M DONE WITH YOU FOX!!! WHO EVER IS IN CHARGE OVER THERE NEEDS TO BE FIRED,and I liked Dollhouse but there is no way I’ll let you drag me in just so you can shut the show down mid stream and leave me hanging once again wondering why I even botherd.

  27. @CW

    Family Guy was brought back, as well as Futurama.

  28. I just watched the season 2 episode 1 last night (it was recorded) and I was so glad to see this discussion going on because I wanted so badly to talk to someone about it.

    I watched all of Dollhouse season 1 and REALLY liked it, but even I was confused by season 2. I agree that a show with an arching story makes more interest for the continuouse viewer, but when the arching storyline has fractured into subplots and focuses on individual character’s agendas for the majority of an episode it is just too confusing. I enjoyed the last 15 minutes of the show this seasons premiere.

    At the very least they should have started the show with recap.