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FOX (ended 2010)

Whedons worst series... some really terrible episodes... but wow at the lastest

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    spikemaniac

    [21]May 5, 2009
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    I actually liked the first 5 episodes at the time of watching them. It's only now that they seem not as good, compared to episodes 6 onwards. But they really weren't that bad, compared to the other garbage on television.
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    NJZ

    [22]May 5, 2009
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    michael_LB92 wrote:
    NJZ wrote:
    michael_LB92 wrote:
    NJZ wrote:
    spikemaniac wrote:
    FOX didn't force Joss. He took a step back, and changed it himself. FOX really didn't have anything to do with it.
    He took a step back upon Fox's insistence. Basically, he did it for them (he said so in an interview that he wanted to keep the network happy) and didn't take into account that even his most loyal fans would think he sold out.
    That's standard for new television shows though. It's very uncommon for a network not to interfere with a new show at all. IMO, if people think that Dollhouse had a very average first five episodes then that's probably Joss' fault. We've seen his previous work, and his standalones can be awesome. If anyone is to blame for the first five episodes, it should be Joss. (IMO)
    There's interference and then there's completely f*cking it up. FOX's "suggestion" as we're all calling it is what led Joss to redo the original pilot ("Echo", which was frickin' awesome btw) and make it into standalone crap. Then there's the other 4 episodes that aired after it. Sure some of them were good but compare "Echoes" to "Stage Fright" or "Man On The Street" to "True Believer" and you'll find they aren't even in the same league. See, its not that FOX explicitly said "we want the show more standalone" that bothers me. What bothers me is that that very suggestion means they didn't have a lot of faith (yes, pun, haha ) in Joss' creative abilities. They didn't think he had the ability to write a pilot script (again, I state that the original script was awesome) that could appeal to the average Joe and his longtime, loyal fans. And it was their suggestion that led Joss to thinking he HAD to change the show around. That he HAD to comprise the integrity of the show. Not for the sake of the fans, but for the sake of the network. And that bothers me to no end. What also bothers me is that he wanted Eliza so badly for this show (I get why, she did kind of co-create it) but he couldn't wait one frickin' year? Imagine this: create show in 2008/9 fall season and then fall over yourself in May 09 wondering if its going to get renewed OR wait a year til the 2009/10 fall season and pitch it to another network that will most likely renew it without a word. Hmm, which would you choose?


    So. Much. Anger.

    Overloading, overloading.


    lol, I guess I did get a little carried away. I'm just mad. Mad at FOX and mad at Joss. (And still mad at The CW for when they did pretty much the exact same thing to Veronica Mars, only difference being it wasn't a premiering show at the time)
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    michael_LB92

    [23]May 5, 2009
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    spikemaniac wrote:
    I actually liked the first 5 episodes at the time of watching them. It's only now that they seem not as good, compared to episodes 6 onwards. But they really weren't that bad, compared to the other garbage on television.


    Yeah, looking back on them, they weren't unwatchable. They just weren't hooking.
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    buffyTVSrox

    [24]May 5, 2009
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    spikemaniac wrote:
    I actually liked the first 5 episodes at the time of watching them. It's only now that they seem not as good, compared to episodes 6 onwards. But they really weren't that bad, compared to the other garbage on television.


    Yeah, they actually quite reminded me of Tru Calling in quality, and sometimes in execution (especially "Stage Fright"). Tru Calling is a great show, but not Whedon great, so "Ghost"-"True Believer" weren't as great as people had expected or as great as episode six and onwards.
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    spikemaniac

    [25]May 5, 2009
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    Yeah Tru Calling didn't get really great until Jason Priestly came in.
    Jason Priestley was Tru Calling's "Man on the Street".
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    Sam_Sam_The_Man

    [26]May 5, 2009
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    NJZ wrote:
    There's interference and then there's completely f*cking it up. FOX's "suggestion" as we're all calling it is what led Joss to redo the original pilot ("Echo", which was frickin' awesome btw) and make it into standalone crap. Then there's the other 4 episodes that aired after it. Sure some of them were good but compare "Echoes" to "Stage Fright" or "Man On The Street" to "True Believer" and you'll find they aren't even in the same league. See, its not that FOX explicitly said "we want the show more standalone" that bothers me. What bothers me is that that very suggestion means they didn't have a lot of faith (yes, pun, haha ) in Joss' creative abilities. They didn't think he had the ability to write a pilot script (again, I state that the original script was awesome) that could appeal to the average Joe and his longtime, loyal fans. And it was their suggestion that led Joss to thinking he HAD to change the show around. That he HAD to comprise the integrity of the show. Not for the sake of the fans, but for the sake of the network. And that bothers me to no end. What also bothers me is that he wanted Eliza so badly for this show (I get why, she did kind of co-create it) but he couldn't wait one frickin' year? Imagine this: create show in 2008/9 fall season and then fall over yourself in May 09 wondering if its going to get renewed OR wait a year til the 2009/10 fall season and pitch it to another network that will most likely renew it without a word. Hmm, which would you choose?

    I am afraid I must strongly disagree with you. I'm not saying "Ghost" was the best choice for a season opener--far from it--but "Echo" was a far worse one. Please do not take personally what I am about to say, because this next comment is not directed at you, but to others who actually have committed the offense: please stop acting like everyone agrees with you that "Echo" was the better choice for a pilot. We don't, and I am about to explain why. Hyperbolizing that "the vast majority thinks..." what you do is foolish, because 1) this message board is a microcosm of the fandom, 2) regardless, not everyone voices his or her opinion as strongly as you, even if he or she does agree or disagree, 3) exaggerating as you do weakens your argument because you seem to be confusing opinions and facts. Without a poll to determine who preferred which script, you have no statistical authority on which to claim that everyone agrees with you. People are vocal on both sides of the argument, but not enough people have spoken to determine a majority. If you are so desperate to believe that I am an anomaly, create a poll, and then you will have an idea what people are thinking. Until then, please speak for yourself, and stop saying that we all must agree with you because we're not speaking up. We don't.

    Now, onto why I myself did not think that "Echo" was a good choice for the introductory episode. It was a nice idea, giving us a look into the inner workings of the Dollhouse, that was not executed as best as it could have been. We're introduced to all these nuances of the Dollhouse, i.e. Victor, Echo, and Sierra lunching together, before we can even understand that this behavior is abnormal. Similarly, Echo's shooting Ballard does not resonate as a profound moment, because we have not become accustomed enough to typical Doll behavior to understand that Echo's going off mission is incredibly uncharacteristic and indicative of her special nature. It would have been opening up the show with the Alpha incident--we could not have appreciated this strange moment without a proper look at the Dollhouse norm first.

    To me, the pilot seemed like a rushed mess of all these powerful moments that would have been much more interesting had they been strung out and revealed over the course of the first few episodes, as they were. Having everything hit me at once felt like a terrible case of "too much, too soon," and as a viewer, I would not have appreciated everything that was happening, nor properly understood it. Reading "Echo" made me very content that "Ghost" was chosen instead as a season opener.

    That being said, "Ghost" lost points with me for the same reason--Echo's recognizing the captor could have been much more shocking and much less confusing had we had an introductory episode to show how the Dollhouse is normally run. "Echo" had the right idea but tried to cram way too much material into the script. IMO, the perfect pilot would have been a combination of both scripts, i.e. an introduction to life at the Dollhouse in combination with an ordinary (but suspenseful) engagement, to ease viewers into the swing of things while still maintaining their interest before the plot takes off like a bat out of hell (as it did, to my chagrin, in "Echo").

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    ___Mr_Nasty___

    [27]May 5, 2009
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    Nah, Echo was a better script.
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    Sam_Sam_The_Man

    [28]May 5, 2009
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    ___Mr_Nasty___ wrote:
    Nah, Echo was a better script.


    Care to elaborate?
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    ___Mr_Nasty___

    [29]May 6, 2009
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    Echo was a better script IMO.
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  • Avatar of spikemaniac

    spikemaniac

    [30]May 6, 2009
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    Where'd you find it?
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    ___Mr_Nasty___

    [31]May 6, 2009
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    SamSam wrote:
    We're introduced to all these nuances of the Dollhouse, i.e. Victor, Echo, and Sierra lunching together, before we can even understand that this behavior is abnormal.

    We understand it's abnormal because we have Topher telling Boyd in that scene that it is. As a scene it gives the viewer a good understanding of what is expected of the dolls while wiped and I don't feel it would have been out of place in a pilot.

    SamSam wrote:
    Similarly, Echo's shooting Ballard does not resonate as a profound moment, because we have not become accustomed enough to typical Doll behavior to understand that Echo's going off mission is incredibly uncharacteristic and indicative of her special nature.

    This wasn't Echo going "off-mission". The Dollhouse gave her a gun so that she could go and kill Ballard. That was her mission. You've misunderstood.

    SamSam wrote:
    It would have been opening up the show with the Alpha incident--we could not have appreciated this strange moment without a proper look at the Dollhouse norm first.

    I agree that the Alpha incident probably wasn't first episode material but Echo didn't have anything like that.

    SamSam wrote:
    To me, the pilot seemed like a rushed mess of all these powerful moments that would have been much more interesting had they been strung out and revealed over the course of the first few episodes, as they were. Having everything hit me at once felt like a terrible case of "too much, too soon", and as a viewer, I would not have appreciated everything that was happening, nor properly understood it.

    These "powerful moments" were exactly the kind of hooks that any story requires at the beginning to intrigue the viewer. That's something Ghost kinda lacked and Echo had in spades. I realise that Echo wasn't as straightforward as Ghost but it didn't seem overcomplicated and I can't see there would be any problems not appreciating what was happening. Perhaps I'll feel differently when I see the episode for myself but, honestly, I doubt it.

    Seems to me that the only "problem" was that Whedon isn't the kind of creator who will readily trade quality for accessibility.

    SamSam wrote:
    Echo's recognizing the captor could have been much more shocking and much less confusing had we had an introductory episode to show how the Dollhouse is normally run.

    Confusing? Really? Sure you're not just a wee bit slow?

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    Sam_Sam_The_Man

    [32]May 6, 2009
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    ___Mr_Nasty___ wrote:
    SamSam wrote:
    We're introduced to all these nuances of the Dollhouse, i.e. Victor, Echo, and Sierra lunching together, before we can even understand that this behavior is abnormal.

    We understand it's abnormal because we have Topher telling Boyd in that scene that it is. As a scene it gives the viewer a good understanding of what is expected of the dolls while wiped and I don't feel it would have been out of place in a pilot.

    This is exactly my problem with the pilot. Too much telling, not enough showing. If we could see that Dolls do not naturally group before we are told that Echo, Victor, and Sierra have bonded, the revelation would be surprising on its own, rather than requiring a character to explain in detail to us, "This is surprising!"

    I do not think the dialogue changed much/at all from when it was actually used, but I liked where it fell because we had seen the normal behavior first. When you have categories, I find it preferable to establish the prototypes first rather than simultaneously with the anomalies, or you cannot appreciate the anomalies as much.

    __Mr_Nasty__ wrote:
    SamSam wrote:
    Similarly, Echo's shooting Ballard does not resonate as a profound moment, because we have not become accustomed enough to typical Doll behavior to understand that Echo's going off mission is incredibly uncharacteristic and indicative of her special nature.

    This wasn't Echo going "off-mission". The Dollhouse gave her a gun so that she could go and kill Ballard. That was her mission. You've misunderstood.

    No, I haven't. She was given a gun to kill him. She purposely missed even though she was perfectly capable of firing a killing blow. Thus, she did not complete the engagement as required, an act extremely atypical for a doll (but once again, we must be told that this moment is unique to appreciate it at all). The other mission she completes this ep has a somewhat vague premise, so we do not really see how a routine engagement works before seeing Echo violate her parameters.

    __Mr_Nasty__ wrote:
    SamSam wrote:
    To me, the pilot seemed like a rushed mess of all these powerful moments that would have been much more interesting had they been strung out and revealed over the course of the first few episodes, as they were. Having everything hit me at once felt like a terrible case of "too much, too soon", and as a viewer, I would not have appreciated everything that was happening, nor properly understood it.

    These "powerful moments" were exactly the kind of hooks that any story requires at the beginning to intrigue the viewer. That's something Ghost kinda lacked and Echo had in spades. I realise that Echo wasn't as straightforward as Ghost but it didn't seem overcomplicated and I can't see there would be any problems not appreciating what was happening. Perhaps I'll feel differently when I see the episode for myself but, honestly, I doubt it.

    The moments were there, but the setup was not. As mentioned above, this episode was meant to be the first, so we had to be told why every moment was meaningful rather than simply being allowed to appreciate its meaning. I am in no way saying I found it difficult to understand, just that it was full of moments that we could appreciate more had we seen them later with the appropriate amount of background information given to us. Butchering parts of the pilot and splicing them into future episodes seems to have been the best way to maximize those moments' power, IMO. You disagree; that's fine.

    SamSam wrote:
    Echo's recognizing the captor could have been much more shocking and much less confusing had we had an introductory episode to show how the Dollhouse is normally run.

    Confusing? Really? Sure you're not just a wee bit slow? [/QUOTE]

    If we are having a friendly debate over a difference of opinion, as I assumed we were, I see no need for the ad hominem attacks.

    I understood perfectly what was happening, but my problem was the same one I've been mentioning throughout this post: when you require excessive exposition to explain why a moment is powerful, the moment tends to lose some of its power. Had Topher mentioned offhandedly, "I guess she could recognize someone she knew," we would have been set up for Echo to have exactly this kind of moment. Plant and payoff is the strategy that makes this show work so well, hence why the joke of Echo's hand grabbing Ballard was funny in the most recent episode: Alpha set up the expectation first. You do not always need to foreshadow what could happen, but you do need to summarize what did in a way that does not seem so heavy-handed. For example, after November killed Hern, Adelle's line was, "And our sleeper Active performed perfectly"--a pithy line summarizing a suspenseful, engaging scene. Had she gone on to say, "A Sleeper Active requires a codeword..." she would have taken the wind out of her sails. We could tell from context what was going on, because we had seen enough of Mellie to believe that she was a real person. If this moment had occurred in the first episode, it would have required much more explanation to make sense, and therefore would not have seemed as profound.

    I did not like "Echo" because the moments of revelation had not had sufficient enough prior establishment to resonate with me. They required excessive character explanations to even make sense, and so were not as dramatic as they could have been had they been in later episodes.

    Thinking back to before I understood the Dollhouse mythos, I do not think I could have appreciated the intensity of what was occurring without all the background I now have in my head. You think you would have enjoyed those moments just as well and been more drawn in by "Echo" than "Ghost." I respect your opinion.

    Here is my last question to you: what would you have changed about "Echo" (or "Ghost," for that matter) to make it into an ideal pilot episode?

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    michael_LB92

    [33]May 6, 2009
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    I would've had Echo destroy the Dollhouse in the first episode!

    Wait, no... then it would be over... I have no idea how I'd start the show. I haven't read Echo, so I can't comment on that, but Ghost was fairly average, and I would not have stuck around after that had it not been Joss and Eliza.

    I would've made the standalone storyline a lot more interesting, and a lot less focused on. I would've had some smart revelation unfold in the end, like maybe revealing that one of the workers in the Dollhouse is actually a Doll who is programmed to work for the Dollhouse, to make people go "Oooh... maybe I'm a Doll."

    But maybe they're planning that in the future? It's a whole lot easier to criticise something and say what is bad about it and what should've been done than to actually make something from nothing.

    Edited on 05/06/2009 6:28am
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    spikemaniac

    [34]May 6, 2009
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    I'm halfway through reading the script now.
    It does seem a lot better, but maybe a little too much for newcomers. They could've done this one in episode 2 though.
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    NJZ

    [35]May 6, 2009
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    spikemaniac wrote:
    I'm halfway through reading the script now.
    It does seem a lot better, but maybe a little too much for newcomers. They could've done this one in episode 2 though.


    I had the script sitting on my hard drive for months before the show aired. But the very day (or the next day, I don't remember) I watched "Ghost", I read the script for "Echo" and I greatly preferred the latter. I didn't find it complicated at all. Had I not known about the premise of the show from all the hype, I would have been a little confused but not that much. What annoys me is that "Echo" which IMO was a good pilot (but not without its flaws) was turned into something so simplistic and as dumbed down as "Ghost". Stuff like that really gets to me. I'm not saying "Echo" was "OMG, best episode evahz" but it had that quality in it that "Ghost" lacked somewhat. And it annoys me that, for the sake of these newcomers, that quality was sacrificed.
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    tv_lover066

    [36]May 6, 2009
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    First I LOVE Dollhouse! But there have been some bad and boring filler episodes but every show has some bad eps. Episode 3 and 5 are the only really bad episodes, episode 1 and 4 where kinda average but the rest have been solid high quality tv! And Joss does not deserve the negativeness... the tragedy of some truly great tv shows is that they dont get the ratings to reflect the quality!

    Dollhouse season 1 already surpasses Buffy season 1 in interestingness and quality! IMO!

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    kikimarie593

    [37]May 6, 2009
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    The only episodes I thought were boring were 1 and 4. All the others were great IMO.
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    TwistedConverse

    [38]May 6, 2009
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    I have honestly enjoyed every episode but my least favourites are Ghost and Stage Fright.
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    AllieAllie

    [39]May 6, 2009
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    I've liked all of the episodes except for episodes 1, 3, and 5.
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    NJZ

    [40]May 7, 2009
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    True Believer was the only episode I really disliked. I had a hard time paying attention until the last 15 or so minutes. But episodes 1-5 and 10 don't even begin to compare to the mythology episodes.
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