'Dollhouse' canceled: Are we peeved or pleased by this development?

dollhouse_lIt seems that, sometimes, no matter how smart, how full of ideas, how fun a thing may be, it will still outlive it’s usefulness to the people who run the show. Heck, if beer can have an expiration date, so can everything else. And so the day that all Joss Whedon fans knew would come has arrived: Dollhouse has been canceled by Fox. Apparently, they’ll air the balance of the 13-episode order and, most likely, shuttle it to DVD as quick as possible.

It’s not a surprise, really, given how anemic the ratings have been — the real surprise was that the Eliza Dushku mind-wiping show got a second season in the first place. And it’s not a surprise to anyone who knows Whedon’s history with Fox, the same network that gunned down Firefly after airing as many episodes as you can count on two hands. The writing has been on the wall for almost as long as there’s been a wall.

From where I sit, there are two ways to feel about this:

1) Pissed, because there won’t be any more episodes of a TV show that was just beginning to hit its creative stride. Joss tends to get better as he goes; breaking down some characters, building up others, seeing just how far he can push the world he’s created until it snaps, then snaps back. I’d have liked to see him get to the point where he, and his staff, was truly firing on all cylinders.

2) Pleased, because it’ll free Whedon from a show that, let’s be frank, was never going to climb out of the hole it was in. Dollhouse had too much viewer attrition and too little network support. It’ll let him chase down the myriad other things he could be doing — writing more comics, making more Web content, and, perhaps (as more than a few people have suggested) getting in bed with a cable network that’ll give him the latitude to do what he likes, how he likes. As for what Whedon’ll do next, here’s what he posted on Whedonesque: “I’m off to pursue internet ventures/binge drinking. Possibly that relaxation thing I’ve read so much about. By the time the last episode airs, you’ll know what my next project is. But for now there’s a lot of work still to be done, and disappointment to bear.”

I sit firmly in between the two camps. I liked Dollhouse, but didn’t love it — I kept watching because I knew that, at least once or twice, Joss would surprise me. And that patience was rewarded in episodes like “Man on the Street,” “Epitaph One,” and “Belonging” — all episodes that deserve a slot in the Whedonverse Hall of Fame.

Where do you fall: pissed or pleased? Or maybe you never watched the show and don’t give a flying frak.

More ‘Dollhouse':
‘Dollhouse': Where did it go wrong?
‘Dollhouse’ premiere: Lies within lies and hot geek-chic sex
‘Dollhouse': TV show, or repository for geek-hall-of-fame actors?
‘Dollhouse’ exclusive: Joss Whedon talks about EW’s ‘Epitaph One’ first-look images

Comments (248 total) Add your comment
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  • Hannibal Tabu

    I loved Dollhouse. Amazing range of performances from the “Doll” actors, great creative grist, perhaps Patton Oswalt’s greatest moments on screen, and Topher was just taking off. Very sad to see it go … but honestly, maybe Whedon can give up his lust for serialized storytelling and just make movies for his fans? Works for Kevin Smith (who’s not even a fifth of the writer Whedon is) …

    • CC

      Thank you. Though I, myself, would much rather see him do another television series, I’d be happy to watch and/or read whatever he decides to create next.
      And a small note to those here and in other boards jumping in with such degrading, nasty comments like “Good riddance” or “Thank god that horribleness is over”: Is it too much to ask for a little sensitivity, even a little grace? By all means, every one is entitled to their own opinion, and its still just a television show, but for those who were invested I still think its understandable for us to be disappointed and a little sad.

      • Jackie

        It’s the internet. Unfortunately all semblance of sensitivity, grace or even manners seem to disappear behind the veil of anonymity.

  • MM

    We all knew cancellation was a matter of time but it is still sad. At least Fox will air all 13 episodes, which helps a tad.

    Joss really shouldn’t market a show to a network. His stuff belongs on cable or as a pay per view web series. The content is simply much too ‘niche-y’ & thought provoking for network tv.

    As always, looking forward to what he springs on us next.

    • A

      I am pissed. I loved Dollhouse and I am a guy. My GF started watching it and to be with her on Friday Nights it was either watch it with her and be home alone. I am faithful so. Anyway my point is once I started watching it for her, I loved it and kept watching it for me. Now you cancel it? WTF. There are a few shows out there that are less creative and interesting than this show, yet they stay. Like freaking Jay Leno and his stupid nightly show. Joss is a creative genius and he belongs on HBO or somewhere he would be appreciated. I hope that this show gets moved to HBO and then I will be one happy camper. GF is gone now but the show must live on! lol

  • Oscar

    I am Pissed. As Joss Whedon can weave a yarn like few others can, and Dollhouse was a show that challenged the viewer and took us to dark places other shows are afraid to touch. ‘Belonging’ was operatic to an almost Battlestar level, and that made me very happy.

    I am Pleased. Because he will get to tell the end to his story, even if it came before its time. Closure may heal the bitterness of cancelation.

  • FarleyC

    I am pissed. I literally screamed “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” when I saw the headline. Whedon definitely belongs with HBO or FX or Showtime or somewhere where his genius can truly be appreciated. Long Live Joss!

  • cate

    I’m actually pleased that Dollhouse is getting canceled. I’m a HUGE fan of everything Joss does, but this show has never hit the right blend of funny, sexy, epic that is his calling card. I think the main problem is the concept. We just can’t get attached to a main character who changes all the time. Eliza Dushku being pretty isn’t enough. It’s a great acting exerise but horrible for audience attachment. Perhaps if Eliza were a detective with Tahmoh trying to take down the Dollhouse because her sister signed up… Still have the opportunity for sexy dolls, but a consistent main character. I just hope Joss gives TV another chance, hopefully on SciFi or USA.

    • Browncoat Jack

      I very much agree with this statement. Dollhouse never really grabbed me conceptually, and if Joss wasn’t a part of it, I would have never watched it.

  • Francisco

    Thank god that horribleness is over.

  • Marcus

    I’m really gonna miss it. There are few truly original shows on TV anymore and its sad when any of the good ones go, especially this one, which had so much unfulfilled potential.

  • Alex

    Im really pissed that it was cancelled, even though I knew that it would eventually happen. My only consolation is that Joss now has the opportunity to make a new show that does not have Eliza Dushku as a main character.

  • jd

    4 words: Faith the Vampire Slayer

    • Joseph

      one word: No

    • NPD

      Firefly should be brought back and put on Sci-Fi (or SyFy).

      • Browncoat Jack

        Yes, please, that would be absolutely amazing.

  • Gah

    FOX should had kept Sarah Connor. So good ridden.

    • davey

      I think you mean “good riddance” ???

      • walt

        Nice catch! Good thing you’re around to check spelling errors, even though you apparently understood the statement.

      • to walt

        Close only counts in horseshoes, buddy, and getting simple idioms wrong makes you look ignorant. Snarking back at people correcting you makes you look ignorant AND belligerent. Use that energy you wasted to learn English, please.

      • A

        Hey Walt was right. If you can understand what was written who the hell cares if proper grammar or english was used. I sure don’t. So chill out To Walt.

  • uhh..

    I’m annoyed they canned “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” last year to make room for this show, only to cut this, too.

    • EL

      I too was very upset when they canceled TSCC. Unfortunately, it was an expensive show that only found a small audience.

      I think Fox would air American Idol 24/7 if they could.

      • Andy Bluebear

        Well, d-uh! AI makes money.

    • Clam Cakes

      Perhaps they can give TSCC to Whedon.

  • Kur

    I’m pissed. I’m so sick of getting involved with shows, only to have them cancelled a year later while other networks air 15 versions of NCIS. American viewers are one dimensional and boring. The networks are even worse. I’m done with network tv for good after this.

    • Advisor1

      I’m bummed about Dollhouse too. Amy Acker should have stayed in it more!! BUT NCIS is really a very good show (NCIS: LA not so much). But I agree, between NCIS 1 & 2, CSI 1 2 & 3, Criminal Minds, Law and Order 1 2 & 3, Forgotten, Cold Case, Numbers, The Closer (another great show), there is just too much the same on most networks these days!

  • James

    Kur: American viewers never knew this show was on. Fox condemned it to Friday night before the show even aired its first episode. Everyone knows that Friday night is the new Saturday for networks TV. There are just not enough people home to watch. To add insult to injury, they messed with the show from the very beginning forcing Joss to drop the original pilot (which the network thought gave too much away)in favor of the crap we got. This is Fox’s fault.

    • Andy Bluebear

      Yeah, it’s always the networks fault. It couldn’t be that as much as the internet hypes him up, Joss Whedon’s shows just aren’t that great? True, FOX screwed over Firefly, but it’s not like the movie did all that great at the box office. I mean, they’re all right, but maybe the rest of the world is right. He belongs on a niche channel, like Scifi or USA of F/X.

      • Altrntvgrlfrnd

        Um, don’t you think that maybe Serenity’s failure at the box office might have something to do with the fact that it was tied to a series that also wasn’t marketed well by the network which also didn’t get all of its episodes played?

  • Lola

    I’m not happy about it, but I had a feeling that it was coming. I’m glad that I invested my time in this show, if only because of getting a chance to watch the actor who plays Victor. I hope that Enver Gjokaj finds more work in the futre. He’s incredible.

    • Ellie

      I completely agree with you Lola. Victor (and his relationship with Sierra) became my reasons to watch. The show did have its good moments but mostly it floundered for reasons previously mentioned. Now I’m pleased it’s cancelled so we can see Enver, Joss, Amy Acker etc go on to more solid stuff.

  • Shaun

    Really would love to see him revisit the Buffyverse now that he is freed up. I think it’s time. Oh, and the new movie, which he is not involved with in any way, absolutely doesn’t count!

    • Minda

      You can catch up with Buffy through the comic book, which Joss Whedon supervises and periodically writes for.

      • Diane R

        I’d pay to *see* a new Buffyverse of any kind. The comic book is just not the same. It just isn’t.

      • Miya

        The artwork in those comics is so unappealing to me. That along with things like bicurious Buffy and Giant Dawn really cured me of my Buffy-grieving. Which is a shame.
        What about Ripper though?
        (That was a joke. Like that was ever going to happen.)

      • Jena

        I’ve seen previews of the comics and agree with Miya. The comic should never have started.

      • Chaz Winterbottom

        I started reading the comic but ultimately couldn’t hang with it.

        I just breezed through a trade paperback on my lunch break and was reminded why I stopped reading it. Giles with an AK-47? Slayers with rocket launchers? C’mon! Give me a break!

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