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Sci-Fi Media Television

Joss Whedon Back on TV 289

tokenhillbilly writes "Joss Whedon of 'Buffy' and 'Firefly' fame has signed on to do another TV series on Fox starring Eliza Dushku (Faith from 'Buffy'). The series is going to be called Dollhouse, and the story surrounds a group of people 'programmed' to do missions out of a sort of high-tech dorm. '[The series] follows a top-secret world of people programmed with different personalities, abilities and memories depending on their mission. After each assignment -- which can be physical, romantic or even illegal -- the characters have their memories wiped clean, and are sent back to a lab (dubbed the "Dollhouse"). [The] show centers on Dushku's character, Echo, as she slowly begins to develop some self-awareness, which impacts her missions.'"
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Joss Whedon Back on TV

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  • by Dorceon ( 928997 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:16PM (#21217713)
    If the opening is "The Light Before We Land" by The Delgados I'm totally calling foul.
  • by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:16PM (#21217715) Homepage Journal
    In episode 3 Echo downloads a music track and spends the rest of the episode evading the RIAA.
  • by fictionpuss ( 1136565 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:18PM (#21217743)
    But how many episodes before this invariably gets canceled?
    • by benhocking ( 724439 ) <{benjaminhocking} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:20PM (#21217771) Homepage Journal
      First data point: Buffy
      Second data point: Firefly
      This show has already been canceled.
      • Buffy was on for... I forget if it's 6 or 7 seasons. Either way, that's really good.

        So how the hell do you extrapolate that one unmitigated success, followed by one unmitigated failure, yields a second unmitigated failure?
        • You see, the first data point was at 6 or 7 seasons (I also don't know). The second point was at 1 season. That means this one will last for -5 seasons or so. If you thought that I really believed that...

          Look, I'm a scientist. I know you can't actually extrapolate based off two data points. It was just a joke.

          • Yeah, you're fitting the curve wrong. it's more logarithmic, so expect it to last at least an episode or two before cancellation.
      • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @06:25PM (#21218515) Homepage Journal
        You're making a joke (and not a bad one), but you pretty much describe what happened to Firefly. The decision to buy the show came from a top, but there was a huge faction at Fox that hated the idea of putting on an "anti-Star Trek" and did everything they could to sabotage it. These are your standard network suits who hate Science Fiction (especially "space opera") because it costs a lot to produce and only targets a narrow audience. They much prefer reality shows and sitcoms, which are cheap and popular.

        They did a lot of stuff that at the time I attributed to simple corporate ineptitude, like promoting the show with really badly designed web site, and putting out this really horrible souvenir poster (featuring a common housefly with a lightbulb up its ass!). Then they forced Whedon to water down the scripts, showed them out of order, and finally scheduled the premier on a night where it was sure to be delayed in many markets by late-running baseball games. I usually hate conspiracy theories (speaking as a former "conspirator" [slashdot.org]) but here it's hard to avoid having one.

        On top of all that, Joss Whedon is notoriously bad at corporate politics. So yeah, it's quite possible that his new show has already been cancelled.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) *

          In my opinion, it is a problem of the target audience. Shows that appeal broadly to the lower half of the Gaussian (reality TV, Flava uv Luv, Faux News, etc.) aren't going to hook the upper half. Likewise, the cheap gimmicks used in easy advertising aren't going to motivate the upper half to buy much of anything - most of us just snicker at the commercials, if we watch them at all.

          This leads to a problem where the advertising can pay for the shows if the shows bring in people who can be suckered by the

        • by _Sprocket_ ( 42527 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @09:08PM (#21220151)

          Then they forced Whedon to water down the scripts, showed them out of order, and finally scheduled the premier on a night where it was sure to be delayed in many markets by late-running baseball games.

          I watched the series in the as-aired order (the fact that I never saw them when they were on the air is a different but very important point). I liked the "out of sequence" ordering. I had no problem jumping in to the action. Watching the fur fly... noticing that there were personal interactions between these characters... and wondering what the story was. By the time the two-part "original first episode" shows up in this sequence, I found it all a treat to finally get to see who and what these people were. I'm not so sure I would have been as interested if it started with character introductions first.

          Clearly there are a number of people who disagree - episode order always gets mentioned when bemoaning the failure of Firefly. Maybe its a matter of sensibilities and preference. I'm not so sure it was sabotage. At least on this point.
      • by AJWM ( 19027 )
        Well, technically second data point was Angel, with third data point Firefly.

        Not that that changes your conclusion.
      • Accouring to wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

        I think that's about twice as long as the original Star Trek.
    • by MBCook ( 132727 )
      I think the Family Guy episode "North by North Quahog" is appropriate here:

      Peter: Everybody, I got bad news - we've been cancelled.

      Lois: Oh, no. Peter, how can they do that?

      Peter: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no room on the schedule. We just gotta accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like: Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That 80's Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Skin, Girls Club, Cracking Up, The Pits, Firefly, Get Real, Freaky

    • by Sancho ( 17056 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @06:36PM (#21218621) Homepage
      Here's my rant on this one.

      The show, however, is going to be on Fox. And Fox has a history of screwing up. A list of my fears:
      - The show is called Dollhouse. No one who will be interested in the show is going to see it in their cablebox guide, wonder what it is, turn it on, and get hooked. The people who are going to turn it on and get hooked are 8 year old girls and soccer moms. And maybe people who saw Welcome to the Dollhouse. This means that the show must rely entirely on promotions and word-of-mouth.
      - Fox tends to under-promote shows. Fox also tends to move new shows to new timeslots constantly in an effort either to mitigate the damage of an apparently failing show, or to try to get new viewers. Neither of these is good for shows.
      - Fox tends to stick genre shows in a dead time slot. Friday nights at 8 is the norm for sci-fi. Every time it happens, I visualize an executive at Fox saying, "Hey, this is a show for geeks. Geeks have nothing better to do on a Friday night than to watch TV. Let's not clutter up the schedule by putting this somewhere where it might get a wider audience, let's just toss it on Friday." They also forget that geeks tend to DVR shows or buy them on iTunes/Unbox/Video-Site-du-Jour. This is a deadly combination that leads to devastating viewership when combined with a crappy rating system like Nielson.
      - It's Joss Whedon and Tim Minnear. They are cursed when it comes to Fox.
      - It's Joss Whedon. He commands a fairly high salary, and Dushku probably does too. The show sounds like it's going to be rampant with special effects and stunt work. This means it's going to be way more expensive than your typical hour-long drama, much less a reality show that could fill the same spot and rake in tons more money.
      - Did I mention that it's called Dollhouse?

      I'm wary of this one. Joss tends to have good writing, even if you don't care for the content itself. He's smart, snappy, and witty. But there's a lot going against this show, and I'm not sure it's going to last much longer than the last Tim Minear project on Fox.
  • I realize that serialized mystery/thriller/drama shows are all the rage (Lost, Prison Break, Life, Heroes). But its getting outrageous. How many malevolent companies/groups/governments/cabals can we be expected to tolerate.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:20PM (#21217773)
    It's refreshing to see a new series by Joss where the main character is not a girl with superhuman martial art abilities taking on nearly unsurmountable tasks while not being aware of the subtle manipulations of an unknown dark and nefarious nemesis.... Oh wait.
  • I'll put a few bucks on 4 episodes, that seems to be the magic number, Worse is that Tim Minear is in on the project, he also does FANTASTIC work, but I swear fox has a hate on for the guy. Wonderfalls, The Inside and Drive are all his work, and all cancelled less than halfway through their seasons.
    • I'll put a few bucks on 4 episodes, that seems to be the magic number, Worse is that Tim Minear is in on the project, he also does FANTASTIC work, but I swear fox has a hate on for the guy. Wonderfalls, The Inside and Drive are all his work, and all cancelled less than halfway through their seasons.

      Why the hell are they still willing to deal with Fox? Seriously, I thought Tim Minnear swore off ever working with Fox again after Wonderfalls. They must be getting either a boat load full of money, or a contra

      • by Grey_14 ( 570901 )
        Actually I was thinking about this, afaik Whedon said he wouldn't work with fox after Firefly, and I wouldn't doubt Minear would say the same after wonderfalls, But this sounds like Eliza Dushku is under contract with Fox, and co-created the idea with Joss, she he's in because of her, and I read an interview that makes it sound like Joss dragged in Minear, neither really wanted to take it to fox, but as long as Dushku is involved they can't take it anywhere else. (too bad)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tm2b ( 42473 )

        What Minear actually said [timminear.net] was:

        If I end up being some little Americanized BBC, churning out limited series for DVD, and the people who employ me want to keep handing over 20 or 30 million dollars for me to do that, then I'll be perfectly content.
        Gotta respect a man who makes the best out his reality.
  • A book [amazon.com] by Joe Haldeman [wikipedia.org].
  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:25PM (#21217825) Homepage Journal
    I am NOT going to watch another show just to see the best, most clever, smartest and funniest person die.

  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:32PM (#21217919) Homepage Journal
    Uh, Alex Proyas [wikipedia.org] (The Crow [wikipedia.org], I, Robot [wikipedia.org]) did this in his 1998 movie Dark City [wikipedia.org]; an alien race constantly wipes the minds of their captive humans, reshuffling them in order to better understand the human concept of a soul (so that the dying alien race can learn this trait and perhaps evade their fate). The movie is one of my favorites, but I don't expect Dollhouse to be anything but drivel.
    • by glwtta ( 532858 )
      So a part of the premise is vaguely similar to that of a 10 year old movie? Yeah, might as well not bother. (I quite enjoyed Dark City; Rufus Sewell is a hugely underrated actor)

      I don't expect Dollhouse to be anything but drivel.

      Based on what?
      • by Khopesh ( 112447 )

        Remember Dark Angel [wikipedia.org]? It was a show by a well-known writer (James Cameron), centering on a very attractive main character (Jessica Alba) with a corny storyline borrowed from a Jet Li kung-fu film (Black Mask [wikipedia.org]). It was a weak show and was canceled early into its run. This seems rather similar.

        I expect to dislike Dollhouse based on an observation that the big networks (especially Fox) always kill anything that sounds like it has its share of espionage and intrigue (the "conspiracy" theme hasn't flown since

    • Ah, thats who wrote that! Dark City was very good, sort of like "The Truman Show" meets "The Matrix." I think one of the reasons it didn't do well was probably not enough "wow" factor and/or action for the general public to get into like "The Matrix." Similarly for the "The Thirteenth Floor" or "Gattacca." Too much of a thinking man's movie(s).
    • by giminy ( 94188 )
      Uh, Fritz Lang did this in his 1927 movie Metropolis; separate classes of humans yadda yadda. The movie is one of my favorites, but I don't expect Dark City to be anything but drivel.

      Okay sorry for the sarcasm. But my point is that nothing out of Hollywood is original. If you prescribe to Joseph Campbell, no story anywhere is really original [wikipedia.org]. Watch it, or don't, I suppose it doesn't matter ;-).
  • by Steeltalon ( 734391 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:33PM (#21217933)
    Sooner or later there needs to be an intervention and his friends and family need to tell him that, no matter what it says, Fox doesn't really love him.
  • hybrid shows (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @05:37PM (#21217979) Homepage Journal
    Although most writing is just rehashing of old ideas, only changing sets or characters, it seems that we are getting more straight hybrids, with little else change. For instance, the so-called bionic women seems more a hybrid of Alias and perhaps some young women show, maybe gilmore girls, though I realy don't know. No new writing, just put it in a blender.

    The sad thing is that really out there ideas, those that are not rehashes, are not popular. Stuff like Salvage I. I guess people want what they want. This show, however, seems like a surrender to the status quo. After years of trying to be out there, the show is a realization that money is only made when we give people what they want. Firefly made no sense, and was sci fi, so it was dropped, thought it was still more realistic than friends. Oh well, like goes on.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Yinepuhotep ( 821200 )
      The only reason Firefly "made no sense" was because Fox aired the episodes out of order and didn't even bother to air the pilot until AFTER they had canceled the show. Imagine how much sense your favorite novel would make if the publisher had chopped it apart and shuffled the chapters before binding it, then printed the prologue at the END of the book.
  • I'm fairly certain something like this must already be happening. At least at my work. Its the only plausible explaination for people to constantly make the same bad decisions over & over again.
  • Joss Whedon directed last night's episode of "The Office."
  • this is a rip off of Topcow's Aphrodite IX
  • The series sounds like All My sins remembered [amazon.com] by Joe Haldeman [wikipedia.org]. An average citizen is conditioned through hypnotherapy to assume given roles for a time period until the mission is over. After that he returns to base, debriefs and is assigned another mission. Eventually the brain cannot take the strain of repeated wipes and reprogramming and by the end when he is not on mission he is a schizophrenic stew of previous programmed personalities (thus - All my sins remembered).
  • Joss read "All My Sins Remembered". If you havent read it its a Joe Haldemen book about an operative that is programmed with personalities for extreme missions who has his memory wiped after each one. The memories slowly coming back leaving him devatated. He may have forgotten he read the book but theres little doubt he read it.
  • This smacks of the Puppeteer plot line in the Masamune Shirow Manga: Ghost in the Shell.
  • Hopefully... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cervantes ( 612861 ) on Friday November 02, 2007 @07:28PM (#21219241) Journal
    Hopefully, this is part of some backroom deal so Joss can secure the rights to Firefly (which expire at the end of this year).

    Because, otherwise... Joss, buddy, what the hell? You're like a hooker who keeps going back to her abusive pimp for another shot. What's next, you'll add a secondary character for Nathan Fillion, just to ensure that Fox will cancel it?
  • As Joss was quoted while talking about this:

    "There's a hiccup in that process because of the [potential] writers strike. I will be good to go the moment we are in agreement with the studios. But I won't pick up a pencil while we're not."

    "Next year, you're going to see a lot of new novels."

    So. It's vapor now.

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs