Joss Whedon Gets Control Over His Dollhouse

Published 5 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

dollhouse 01 eliza dushku Joss Whedon Gets Control Over His Dollhouse

When Dollhouse premiered, the show was received with enthusiasm by Joss Whedon fans. Yet as the show’s first season kicked it in gear, many of us were confounded by what we saw.

The diehard Joss fans stuck it out because, well, it’s Joss.  But others were getting their minds muddled and weren’t surviving the first few episodes. For some, the first half of the season seemed disjointed as each episode acted as a stand alone event in the Dollhouse mythos.

The Dollhouse premiere opened to only 4.7 million viewers while time-shifted viewers increased the numbers by a whopping 30%.  The following month, viewership dropped to 3.5 million viewers.

As it stood, Fox did stick their nose in the mix and pulled the original episode that was supposed to be the pilot and just plain interfered with Joss’s vision and the episode order (Firefly, anyone?).

But as the second half of the season wore on, things picked up and the story was starting to flow. I feel that this happened because Fox backed off and let Joss actually run the show. Which is nice, being that he has a proven track record of pretty decent success.

If you aren’t sitting, you may want to… Fox is now saying that they will be leaving Joss Whedon alone to do his thing in Dollhouse’s second season.  For me, that means let him do what he does best, and that’s bring damn good entertainment to the tube.

A statement that did annoy me though, which feels like they were passing the blame, was “I think in the second half of the year, he found the show and started having fun with it. I don’t think he was having a lot of fun early on…

Of course he wasn’t, Kevin Reilly, president of entertainment for Fox.  He didn’t have any control over his own show in the front half of the season.  I’m sometimes amazed at what comes from the spin machines of networks.

So for the moment, Fox says they’re backing off and letting Joss have the freedom he needs.  Of course they’ve renewed Dollhouse with cost concessions and only gave it a 13-episode run.  I can’t help but wonder if they’ve just tossed Joss overboard to flounder, and if it’s a hit, they’ll probably point to themselves and say “See, we had faith!”

What I do know is that after seeing “Epitath One” at Comic-Con, which kicked some serious entertainment butt, I have hope that Joss can really pull one out of the hat, even for a Friday night show.

Bonus Joss Whedon Opinion:

At a Comic-Con party, Joss was asked who would win in a fight:  Angel or Edward from Twilight.  Joss’s answer:  “I think Robert Pattinson’s really cool; Angel would kick the s— out of him…”  LOL.

Nice. Sorry Twilighters, but I have to back Joss on this one.

Sources:  Sci Fi Wire, EW

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TAGS: dollhouse

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  1. I, for one, am totally excited for the second season. I’ve been doing my best to spread the word around to my friends and co-workers about this amazing piece of television and it seems to be working. I want Joss to have control over his show. This needs to play out, especially because of Epitaph One. Blown away, and I don’t want the show to end with that kind of potential. It reminded me of the end of Angel, but less welcomed (at least for me).

    As far as the show goes itself, the cost cutting shouldn’t be a huge deal. Epitaph One was made for a lot less than any regular episode and it was fine. Spotty looking at some points, but still fine. Writing of the episode was good, the acting and direction, too. So I’m really excited to see what Joss and his crew can do now that they have to monitor what they do. Do more with less, so to speak. I totally can’t wait to see what happens to the characters, and to the overlying story arc shown in Epitaph One.

    And Joss is totally right with the Angel kicking the crap out of Edward. . . wouldn’t even be a contest. Although, you know, Edward has the pleasure of living in a stupid reality that lets vampires walk out in day light where Angel is still restricted to the shadows, but hey! This isn’t about bashing Twilight and it’s questionable settings and rules, so I end my comment!

  2. I only saw the 1st episode of it and didn’t come back to it, but now that I know it gets better in the 2nd half I might have to go rent the DVD volumes.

  3. Juging from Buffy and Angel, things are set to only get better in Dollhouse Season 2, so I’m game.

    And as for Angel vs Edward Cullen… Cullen may sparkle instead of burn in the sunlight, but that doesn’t much matter since Angel is bound to find some underground tunnel system in order to get around in the day so he can track Cullen and stake his arse (and then stake his heart). Of course Angel would win.

  4. Hm, Edward from a tween vampire romance movie versus Angel from an action/comedy tv show where he beats the crap out of everyone in every episode. Not to mention David Boreanaz is probably double Pattinson’s weight, so even if you say that all vampires across all vampire movies have the same powers and are just as strong proportionally to their size, yah, I agree with Joss that Angel would mop the floor with Edward, with one hand tied behind his back and while wearing a blindfold… :-D

  5. @Ken

    Not to mention, Angel’s had practice, however many years killing vampires and demons (and demons are usually meant to be harder although I can’t count the amount of time’s he’s simply lopped ones head off and been done with it). That’s gotta give him a huge edge.

  6. I think it’s good that the second season are 13 episodes, in that way they can focus on the important episodes instead fill a half of season with unnecessary episode. Look what to T:SCC, 22 episode and most of them was boring. And Lost, in the middle of the second season was quite dull. And don’t get me started on Heroes!

  7. With the tightened budget Joss has, he is going to really have to shine, but shine, he will.

    SkyK1nG: When DH first aired, the premise was hard to get into. I didn’t feel a flow, or any real character development. Or more to the point, depth.

    So yes, the stories not only seemed to get a bit better but we started to get continuity across the characters. We started to get to know them.

    So I am hoping for some good stuff!

  8. I’m going to go along with the general consensus here and say that a lower budgeted show of 13 episodes isn’t going to diminish the entertainment value.

    I get upset when people make the connection between budget size and entertainment. It’s wrong and it needs to stop. There have been hundreds of exceptional TV shows and movies that are very entertaining even though the “seams” sometimes show. Is there one person here who hasn’t popped in an old disc of DOCTOR WHO and been entertained?

    The lower budget and the limited run give Joss and his team the opportunity to create a cohesive run of entertainment that is perfect for the TV run and the DVD market. A 13 hour serial for television. That’s exciting.

  9. You’re right Bill. SUPERNATURAL got much better when they had their budgets slashed and had to create more stringent, character focused story lines.

    Not to mention that a 13 epi season is really hard for a studio to break up into 2 half seasons to make more money off of us!!

  10. Regarding the Reilly quote that bothered you, you might feel better if you read the entirety of it: “I don’t think he was having any fun and we were a big part of that, and ultimately once he hit his stride, I don’t think we spoke.”

  11. I did read it and I just found their choice of wording to be mind-boggling that they even went there up front, but I am remiss for not including the entire quote…

    I got a bit focused on my angst, considering Fox’s track record with Joss.

    Thanks THE ONE TREU B!X.

  12. I thought Dollhouse got better each episode as well. I hope they find a way to bring back November, she’s a sweetie. So is that Doctor doll, but I think you already reported once that she was tied into another show.

  13. MANDARR:

    Amy Acker (Doctor Doll, Dr. Claire Saunders) has a few projects going, but they’re hoping to balance out some of her time for Dollhouse… the same with Alan Tudyk (Alpha), who is in the pilot of ABC’s V. He’s got a few other projects in the works too.

    Timing can suck when someone good on your show gets snagged away.

  14. Just want to note that the original unaired pilot is excellent. Pure Whedon. Rent the first season DVD and you’ll find it along with Epitaph on disc 4. If Fox had shown the original pilot I think that there would have been an increase in the ratings numbers for the second episode instead of the drop off that was experienced.

  15. DAVID H:

    Indeed. But my suspicion is that all programming managers at FOX receive a manual on how to run the network. My further suspicion is that on page 2 or 3, there’s a section titled JOSS WHEDON.

    In that suspected section, I also suspect is says that no matter what WHEDON proposes, use 12 or 20 sided die to determine what #’d episode to show first, then 2nd, etc… and to never air his creative pilot ideas.

    I’m just saying, this debacle sounded almost exactly like what happened with FIREFLY, except now, with the internet generating more attention, and public heat, they had to relinquish for the 2nd half of season 1; letting JOSS’s show flounder or not, and then relinquish control for all of season 2, after pulling funds to agree to the renewal.

    Or so FOX says it’s giving him control. Gads, this is upsetting as I dwell on it. I’m off to let out a primal scream somewhere.

  16. I’ve been hearing for a while now, how in the past few months Fox has been undergoing a vast re-organisation based on the abysmal year they’ve been having. There’s a good chance that the reason history didn’t repeat itself here with Dollhouse is because they actually have people at Fox who almost know what they’re doing (almost, they still forced him to re-shoot the pilot).

    I seem to remember a quote from someone actually saying that people at Fox really liked the show, and I think that’s a big thing. I don’t think the people who used to work at Fox actually got Firefly, so it wasn’t hard for them to cancel it, where as here, they were looking for ways to keep it on the air while keeping their advertisers happy.

  17. Joss Whedon’s criations are amazing, he is smart and has a lot criativity! My favorite works from him it is Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Angel, two perfect histories in a series with success. I watch Dollhouse and it is great! Always.