Fox took a leap of faith last year when it opted to keep the struggling Dollhouse on the air, despite the show's middling ratings. Show creator Joss Whedon pitched an overall vision of Season Two (and beyond) to executives, and they must've liked what they saw because Whedon still has a show. But there is no possible way they are liking what they see now.
The second episode of Dollhouse's second season checked in with a measly 2.1 million viewers and a 0.8 rating and 3 share among the all-important adult demographic. That. Is. Not. Good. It's a series low for a show that has already disappointed in the ratings -- and barring a real miracle (the return of the adorable Miracle Laurie didn't help), Fox will likely cut Dollhouse's run short.
Looking at the numbers, even an intern at Fox knows that by pulling in a smaller Friday audience than its agonizing lead-ins (sitcoms Brothers and 'Til Death), repeats on ABC, and the CW's Smallville, Dollhouse is looking cancellation in the eye.
The sad thing is, there's an interesting story somewhere in this series -- it's just being bogged down by the case-of-the-week storylines (last week's Lifetime movie special plot was particularly snoozeworthy). So will the show last long enough for us to see it?
Whedon has addressed the low-ratings issue before, insisting that DVD sales and other avenues of revenue (iTunes sales, etc.) are persuading execs to let the show live, but let's face it: Dollhouse is no Buffy, Angel or Firefly. I just don't see the fans having Dollhouse viewing parties or dressing up as their favorite Active like they do with Whedon's cult hits, let alone buying DVDs up like crazy.
The forecast is not looking good for Dollhouse. Let the Death Clock begin.