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Is There Any Silver-Lining to the Dollhouse Cancellation?

12 November 2009

As most of you have heard via me (on FB, Twitter, myspace), other fans, or some other website: my beloved Dollhouse has been canceled.  Yes, canceled.

FOX, in its infinite “wisdom” (and I use sarcastic quote marks) has chosen to pull the plug after airing the complete original 13 episode order for the current season.  Now, I’m going to eventually dwell on the good, here, but I must admit that yesterday, I was having a hard time finding it.  Even today, my mind is reeling.

Here’s how it happened for me yesterday:

I popped onto Whedonesque sometime in the afternoon (around 3ish, maybe?) after one of the regular’s posted the news from Hollywood reporter.  Immediately, I ran over to Twitter to see what the buzz was–the web was flying with speculation: Is this true?  Could it be just a baseless rumor?  Would FOX really pull the plug BEFORE even trying to air the Double Dollhouse episodes in December?  Have all of our fantastic fan efforts up to this point been for naught?  Can Whedon fans take any more heartache stemming from FOX’s sudden but inevitable betrayal?

It wasn’t long before Mo Tancharoen (writer for the show, brilliant singer, little known actress, and wife of Jed Whedon) confirmed it on her twitter.  Fans across the board were crushed.  It felt sudden, and yet, somehow not so sudden.  Yes, we’d been expecting it since sometime during season 1.  When it got picked up for a second season we were all shocked, but thankful.  Somehow, I think we all wanted to believe that FOX had grown a heart (kinda like the Grinch!), but I don’t think any of us were ever completely trusting.  When the announcement came that they weren’t even airing Dollhouse for November sweeps, I think we all sought so hard to find the silver lining… to see the good (Double Dollhouse December!, back to back, to back!), but there was that nagging suspicion.  That dark cloud looming on the horizon.  Our party was coming to an end… we knew it, they knew it… yet we tried the “Don’t Stop Believing” approach and continued our fan efforts.

So over the course of yesterday afternoon, slowly, other Dollhouse cast and crew weighed in.  Fans received beautiful words of thanks from the likes of the people who play Sierra, Topher, Mellie/November/Madeline, and then this morning: a note from Echo, herself (our “star” Eliza Dushku). Even Joss weighed in yesterday on Whedonesque including this tidbit:

I don’t have a lot to say. I’m extremely proud of the people I’ve worked with: my star, my staff, my cast, my crew. I feel the show is getting better pretty much every week, and I think you’ll agree in the coming months. I’m grateful that we got to put it on, and then come back and put it on again.

Yesterday, I hardly knew what to do with myself.  I had a paper due by midnight (thankfully, it was only a first draft being submitted for peer review… my peers will be doing a lot of reviewing, let me tell ya’) and all I could do was sulk, keep up with anything new coming from my favorite Dollhouse peeps, and check in on Whedonesque.  It was even difficult for me to really enjoy Glee last night, which never happens, typically, I love that show.

Some people will not understand my near despondence at the news of a mere TV show cancellation.  Well, friends, this is not the first time that I’ve endured this let down, particularly as a Whedonverse fan.  First to really hit me was Buffy when, part way through season 7, UPN (was it?) announced this would be our last season.  That was my favorite show.  EVER.  Seriously, even though Joss and co. gave us a fantastic ending and a season 8 comic, it still stings.  It still breaks my heart.

Then WB pulled the plug on Angel.  We got a stellar season 5, sure, but… again, heart-ache.  Before either one of these two were canceled, FOX had yanked Firefly after only airing a few episodes OUT OF ORDER.  Yeah, genius.  I hadn’t gotten into Firefly in enough time to be directly and immediately affected by THAT cancellation, but when I finally got into it on DVD and with Serenity in theaters, I was doubly-hurt.  Doubly because, I felt I had failed Joss by not tuning in sooner.  I directly contributed to it’s cancellation via NOT TUNING IN.  I vowed never to make the same mistake again.

Further kicks to the gut occurred with Wonderfalls, and, more recently, Pushing Daisies.  My broken heart still has yet to heal over the cancellation of the much loved Veronica Mars (Oh, I can hardly bear to mention that one).  Heck, I was even seriously sad about the cancellation of Tru Calling, because I felt Eliza and gang were just beginning to hit their stride with that one and then: oh, it’s canceled a few episodes into the 2nd season.

Yep.  My gut is irreparably damaged.  In fact, there may be a permanent indent there from all these kicks (is that why my stomach is now literally paralyzed?  … hmmm, maybe it’s not the lupus after all.  New theory!).

Now, I mentioned that there was *some* good here.  You have to really want to see it, but here’s what I’m choosing to look at from this point forward:

  1. FOX has, by all accounts, agreed to air the final 9 episodes, bringing the series total to 26 over two seasons.  Joss, Dichen, Eliza, Fran, Miracle, and Mo have all confirmed this.  There’s no reason to doubt them (but trust in FOX is definitely on the downswing!),
  2. Those final 9 episodes are a full two-thirds (2/3) of the season, so this is definitely something to look forward to, we’re not getting the axe RIGHT NOW, while the story is still being told.  Joss will give us some closure and some excellent episodes to close things out.
  3. Given the cancellation, I am hopeful that FOX will want to include on the DVD boxset as much incentive as possible for people to purchase it so they can make more $$$$.  This could mean crazy-making extras that will blow us away, and finally:
  4. Joss has introduced us to SO very much amazing new talent (hello, again, Enver!) and I believe these people have a long, healthy, promising future in the ‘biz.

Some people (particularly those who never “loved” Dollhouse) are also saying, “Well, at least this gives Joss time to work on some really good projects.”  Yes, true.  But also true: Joss is perfectly capable of multi-tasking and I don’t think that’s adequate reason to be “thankful” for FOX’s business decision that’s all about the all mighty dollar and Dollhouse’s apparent “inability to bring in House-like ratings (to which, I might add, FOX directly contributed BY INTENTIONALLY REFUSING TO PROMOTE THE SHOW over the last TWO seasons!!).  Not that I’m bitter or anything.  I guess what really bothers me is that they’re the ones with ALL the power and they seemed not to have attempted ANY efforts to save a show diving in the ratings.  Try rerunning on another night?  What could it hurt?  Oh, well, I suppose it’s too late now.  Must move on.

Given the above 4 points… I’m choosing to do as Buffy‘s Faith (coincidentally played by our “star” Eliza Dushku) once said and “Find the fun…”   I’ll still enjoy the final 9 episodes and hope to get amazing extras on the DVD.  I’ll still hope my hubby takes the hint and gets me some Dollhouse gear from this website here, for Christmas and/or my birthday.

In the end it’s not that the cancellation of Whedonverse shows means we will never see our stars or Joss’s work again (see How I Met Your Mother, Castle, ‘V‘, and many more as proof positive of that!), but it does mean we have to wait a little longer for more brilliance, we are heartbroken (again!), and that any semblance of trust we had left in FOX Broadcasting is gone.

For now, people, I advise that we tune in in the final 9 episodes of Dollhouse, look forward to the Dr. Horrible story continuing, and remember that Cabin in the Woods is just around the corner.

And… a little more Enver couldn’t hurt:

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Emma permalink
    12 November 2009 3:25 pm

    I’m sorry that your show was canceled, I know you really got into that one 😦 I hate when that happens! Friday night seems to be the kiss of death to TV shows, even the good ones. Sorry you’re so bummed about it. I’ll have to check out what all the buzz is about when it comes out on DVD (sorry to say I never watched in on television, but Friday nights are usually movie night!) Enjoy the remaining episodes!

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