May 10, 2009

Dollhouse: Episode 12

So, I missed a post or two, but here we are, the (possible) end of the series. Honestly, I'd be fine with this as the end of the series as long as Joss Whedon did another 12 episode series next year, and another the year after that, and so on. More than anyone else that I can think of, I think Joss Whedon is uniquely in a position to bring the UK format of television series to the US. He's got a smallish but totally devoted fan base and creates shows with enough watchability to pull in a few non-devotees here and there. His shows aren't going to be the center of a broadcast network's Thursday night lineup, but they'd make decent fill ins for the summer or after the fall lineup has been culled of the dead weight. He also knows how to sqeeze impressive results from a constrained budget. This is probably wishful thinking, because a stupid reality show will always be a cheaper fill in than a scripted show. Still, it'd be nice.

What would also be nice is if Fox would give Dollhouse another chance. They hobbled it from the beginning by dropping it behind the flagging Terminator show on Friday nights, when nobody watches TV. They made it a mid-season replacement, which probably get renewed even less frequently than a new show in the fall, which have pretty short average lives to begin with.

This episode, like most of the series, made interesting use of the premise and got great performances out of every member of the cast. It was also perfect in striking the balance between "end of the season episode" and "last episode ever," unlike Firefly, which was brilliant right up until it just stopped.

At the end of the day though, there's just not much I can say about the episode. If you've been following the series, you'll almost certainly like it. If you haven't been following the series YOU'VE BEEN KILLING SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, YOU BASTARD! Ok, breathe...Anyway this leave enough open doors to pick right back up in the fall, but closes enough to not leave the fans screaming at their TVs (or computers if you've been watching on Hulu). Everyone and everything related to this show is underrated, and I can only hope that Fox gives the show a chance to catch on with a broader audience so that may be remedied.


Unknown said...

I think you can blame Fox's scheduling, but only to an extent. The trend line for Dollhouse ratings over the course of the season is a consistently downward slope. The season-finale was the lowest rated episode of the season. If the ratings had started low but slowly increased, Fox would have a much better case for renewal.

Personally, I desperately hope the show will get renewed, and I will be terribly disappointed if it doesn't. But it's a mistake to blame it all on Fox.

MosBen said...

How is declining ratings not related to the scheduling? Friday and Saturday are the most inconvenient days to schedule a show because just about everyone has other things that require their attention. A mediocre show like "Big Bang Theory" can coast along because it's the lead in to a more popular show on a night when people are predisposed to watch TV because they just want to relax after work. "Dollhouse" may have gotten 100% viewership from Whedon fans in the first couple weeks our of loyalty, but after that people's lives take over. While a mediocre show can draw casual audiences on inertia on a normal weekday, you'd need an absolutely stellar show that everyone wanted to see to draw a consistent audience on Fridays. Hell, "Friends" would have had a ratings dip if they moved it to Friday.

"Dollhouse" was never going to be "Friends." It was never going to be the biggest audience draw to Fox, but it could have been a much better and more consistent contributor on a better night.

Unknown said...

Friends would have had a ratings dip if moved to Fridays. it wouldn't have steadily lost viewers over time in the same time slot. Dollhouse did.

Dan said...

I just wanted to note that The Big Bang Theory (regardless of the fact that I consider it to be more than just mediocre) has seen consistently higher ratings than the show it is the lead in for, How I Met Your Mother. I love both shows, and HIMYM more than BBT, but they're two of CBS's lowest performers.

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It's look like an interesting programme to watch.

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Unknown said...

Good news: Dollhouse is coming back with thirteen episodes this fall. Bad news, it will still be on Fridays, and will probably have a significantly lower budget.