Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Saving Dollhouse

**I'm going to be a jerk here. If you don't feel like a giant dose of jackass today, do not read on.**

I adore Joss Whedon's Dollhouse. I've said it before, and it isn't going to change. I think to show appeals to people who desire a certain wit from their drama, that seems to have been lacking, of late. I love the premise. The characters appear easy to understand but continually impress me with their depth and complexity. The mystery of the show is unraveling beautifully, engaging me more with each episode.

That being said, I'm really tired of trying to save Dollhouse. Since its very conception, it seems that Dollhouse was created to be canceled. Anyone who loves King Whedon's work knows that his journey through the throes of the FOX network have been tumultuous at best. Every internet forum this side of Malaysia insists that Firefly was canceled way before its time. This well known FOX faux-pas doesn't seem turn the tides for Dollhouse. I was surprised (pleasantly, of course) that FOX renewed Dollhouse for a second season. I thought that perhaps all the petitioning, emails, tweets and - dare I say - threats, may have done some good (lets face it, we none of us could truly threaten the almighty FOX.) Now, I'm not sure why FOX bothered to renew the series in the first place. We're two episodes in, and the only thing I've heard is how Dollhouse's head is on the sweep chopping block once again. Tweets are flying around, trying to garner attention, interviews are everywhere, and there is an ominous tingle every time I tune in that it will be the last. Granted I don't fully understand sweeps, or how the network gets its stats, but it seems like they've renewed the series to shut us up, only to take it away and blame it on the ratings. Then when they do cancel it, they can play the big hero who gave it a second chance, and we are the villains who didn't tell enough of our friends to tune in, or put the correct twibbon on our Twitter Avatar (I tried, I don't know why my twibbon is gone). Really, FOX? Maybe don't put the show on a Friday night when your target demographic is either working, or squeezing in an over-priced dinner out with their geek-with-benefits buddy.

I guess all I'm saying is either give the show a chance, or don't. Don't make me beg for the TV I want to watch. FOX already knows the 'verse's position on Dollhouse. I think they also know that if they're willing to give it a chance, and let it ride, it will succeed on a marginal scale. However, I think the biggest problem is that it doesn't satisfy the almighty dollar hunger that infects every decision they make. I get it, networks are in it for the cash and they have to be, but if that's the case then why did they even air the show in the first place? I'm done begging, FOX. The ball is in your court. Too bad I know what that means. Don't fool yourself though, I will not be tuning into "More to Love" to console myself.

Ok, jerkness over. For now.


  1. I can't really comment as I haven't seen it, but I do resent networks assuming that the loyal fans should do all the dirty work of marketing the show FOR them. It's not fair to the fans, and it's not fair to the creator.

  2. Yeah, Dollhouse is in a tough spot. Ratings are in free fall, and at this point there's not much incentive for Fox to make the necessary investment to turn Dollhouse into even a marginal success.

    If you're curious about how the nets get their ratings, there's a fairly accurate wikipedia entry for it.


    It's basically a combination of viewer diaries, which are filled out during sweeps weeks, and a monitoring box that records what channels are tuned into when and for how long.

    Ratings are then reported on a ratings point / share basis.

    One ratings point equals about 1.1M viewers, share is the percentage of tv sets tuned into the program at that point in time.

    A 4.0 / 8 rating would mean that there were about 4.4M viewers, and 8 percent of the tv sets were tuned to that channel.

    It's not a great system, but it gives a general idea of where things fall.

    Dollhouse's premiere clocked in at a 1.0 / 3 for its premiere, and then dropped to a 0.8 / 2 in its second week. Pretty dire.

  3. And just to give a point of comparison, the highest rated new shows of the season are:

    The Good Wife - 9.1 / 16
    Flash Forward - 6.7 / 11

    And the highest rated scripted shows so far this season are:

    NCIS - 12.9 / 21
    NCIS: Los Angeles - 10.6 / 16

    No sophomore shows really making an impact.

    As an aside, the highest rated scripted Friday night shows are:

    Medium - 1.8 / 6
    Ghost Whisperer - 1.7 / 6
    Numb3rs - 1.6 / 5

  4. Thanks for the info. It is nice to at least understand the system, even if I think it blows big chunks of...well, you know.

  5. And here's some more grist for the mill...


    The interesting thing, if this guys numbers are anywhere near the mark, is that despite Dollhouse's terrible ratings, it's still turning a small profit...