Monday, April 27, 2009

Could Dollhouse come back as a mini-series?

After last week's disappointing ratings, some people are worried the Dollhouse will close even before Paul Ballard has a chance to find it. The only advantage it has it that it's getting high DVR and internet showing numbers. This may say more for the terrible Friday time slot more than the quality of the show itself. The show has only two weeks to go with a new story that may lead to several major confrontations, especially involving someone who's a leaf on the wind, or maybe a large tree in a hurricane.

Recently, James Poniewozik of Time magazine suggested the best way to keep the Dollhouse open: bring it back as a mini-series in 2010. He admits this is unlikely, becaus networks buy dramas that go on for years, not just one season. CBS' murder series Harper's Island is the exception, but that's only an experiment. Compare that to cable, where HBO, FX or USA are happy with 13-episode seasons, even split in half. Just like the major nets, though, they'd be even happier if their shows went on for years.

Response to the "limited-series" idea seems to be positive, according to the web page. Some argue that Fox should be willing to experiment with limited series, since its original mission was to be different thank everyone else. If Fox won't do this, cable should. This goes back to my wish that you can have Tales of the Slayers through TV movies or mini-series, and that TNT or FX give it a try. Who wouldn't want to know if Faith becomes a Watcher as part of her restitution, or Vi becomes an internet mogul by day and Slayer by night? It just adds to the current comic series.
Come to think of it, you could try that for Veronica Mars, Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles (probably eight episodes, but enough) and Pushing Daisies(ditto).

The idea of a series setting a firm end date has worked, especially for Lost after viewers wanted to know what was the deal with the Island. Deciding that the show would end in 2010 forced the writers to provide those answers, and pace them to keep interest high. Some are suggesting that Heroes do the same thing after it started to stray lasy year.

While Joss Whedon was planning to use the Dollhouse to pose interesting questions about identity, memory, reality and sexuality for years, maybe even longer than Buffy or Angel, maybe this is a concept that was meant to have a shorter life. After all, Adelle DeWitt and Mr. Rossum could run out of ideas to keep Paul Ballard away, or Echo...or any other Active...from being a person rather than a pet, a lot sooner than they expect. It's a bigger shame to have a series end before a suitable ending is planned. That's happened a lot lately, from Kyle XY to Veronica Mars.

So, if Dollhouse is meant to last one more year, give them 13 episodes..and leave Joss Whedon alone.

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